Tuesday, July 07, 2009

"We are the world, we are the children!"

Michael Jackson’s Memorial Service at the Staples Center today, playing on all the networks from 1 PM-4 PM EDT, came across to me as a musical review of most of my own adult life. The music would remind me of being in a car, perhaps in rural Texas, maybe on the way to a Sierra Club weekend near the Glen Rose power plant, or perhaps of a Florida weekend at Epcot when it was relatively new, or maybe a few years later when I explored Belle Glade from a rental car during the height of AIDS panic. Or, fast forward a few years, when I was back in the DC area, and I began to get involved in the debate over gays in the military – when Jackson made fun of the military at a superbowl half time. What does it mean, to have been “the greatest entertainer that ever lived.” It’s the music, so many songs, spread out over a few decades, making one reconstruct one’s own adult life, and long for times and relationships that have been lost. Yet the music tells the story not so much of Jackson’s spangled if trouble life, as it is about our own lives. Jackson’s music and acts seems to take our own lives and turn them into epics.

The emotional high for the service came near the end, with “We are the world, we are the children.” Here is the CNN link (this one did not have embed code).

Visually, the service was stunning. The crowd seemed to be overwhelming as viewed from above the dark blue convention center (Staples) facility, as were the gold casket and roses. It was simulcast by satellite around the world, including in many movie theaters.

"Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;"

Attribution link for picture of Staples Center in Los Angeles

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