I received a text message from one of my sources at 3:00 pm that Michael Jackson, often called the King of Pop, was dead. This was fifteen minutes before the official declaration and by 3:30 pm the calls, text messages, and emails asking me to write something were rolling in. My initial response to all requests was that I had no intention of writing a story about Michael Jackson’s death. My reason being: that everyone was going to have something to say and that I had nothing to add. I have a passion for writing and or talking—I’m a storyteller by nature, but a good storyteller should have something unique to say or at the very least a unique viewpoint.

Over a three-day period I did follow the story. Requests for my attention to it did not cease, some coming from the most unexpected people. As these days passed my response to requests that I write about Michael Jackson’s death changed. I began to tell readers that I might write on the topic of the inconsistent through line that had become so evident in, not only the nonstop media coverage, but among the general population as well. One of downtownster’s most highly educated and respected readers was particularly intrigued by my introduction of the through line concept—and was seemingly not too sure exactly what a through line was. So let me clarify:

A through line is the spine of a story. The concept, first introduced by Constantin Stanislavski, was a way for actors to think about characterization. The idea being that it is not enough to understand what we are doing or trying to do, but rather we must understand our ultimate objective—thus creating a link from action to action that propels us to our ultimate desired outcome.

As I watched the first few hours of cable news coverage each channel and commentator had a take and in some cases several. Fox News in particular filled their time with inaccurate information that was astounding. And of course the vile Nancy Grace was already ranting about the children and custody issues. Michael Jackson in a matter of minutes was called a child molester, a music genius, the loneliest man on Earth, an adoring father, a boy trapped in a man’s body, an icon, in debt for 400 million dollars, on the verge of a comeback, worth a billion dollars, and ABC’s Martin Bashir, who did more harm to Michael Jackson’s reputation than anybody, except for Michael Jackson, made a statement that knowing Michael Jackson was one of the greatest honors of his life. This actually caused me to shake my head. I recalled him saying that Michael Jackson’s home Neverland was not safe for children. But the words genuine or honest do not come to mind at the mention of the name Marin Bashir.

The truth about Michael Jackson and the through line that is now being decided on will be two very different things. The truth about Michael Jackson with respect to his music is: Michael Jackson was a musical genius and one of the best entertainers ever. His personal life was for the first 35 years, the personal life of the rich and famous. And let me interject here that it is ridiculous to perpetuate the myth that he was somehow robbed of his childhood. Given the choice, I doubt anyone including Michael Jackson, would choose being a poor black kid in pre civil rights Indiana over being world famous and a mansion in Beverly Hills. The last 15 years of Michael Jackson’s personal life were about prescription drug addiction and plastic surgery malpractice—NOTHING MORE. All the rest of the behavior, some very strange, can be attributed to these two factors.

But there is big money involved in the business of Michael Jackson, now. So the though line will be this: Michael Jackson was a musical genius, buy everything with his name on it and take a tour of Neverland Ranch, which will become Graceland West. And to be honest—even I’ll go take that tour. Why? Because his music made life for all of us better— and now that’s really all that needs to be said.


  1. I think this is an excellent short aricle with an idiosyncratic perspective. Thank you.


  3. michael jackson is soooooooooooo awsome you can get lost in his music he realy cared
    how could a people betrade him all he wanted was one word peace he did what ever he could and peaple still hatinon him it makes me sick hel

  4. Dear Michael Jackson ,
    Mr . michael jackson i cant tell you how much you put a impact on my life . And i feel that if you where alive i know you prbably felt as if you werent cared that much really but i also know you loved your fans an to be honest WE LOVE YOU TO . and michael your death being brong upon us was the worst historical , devastating , horrifical , thing that could happen to the united states in the year of 2009 . Michael we miss you and WE LOVE YOU . The way you wrote every song you made even in the jackson five with your brothers you were great but like i was saying the way you write your lyrics it touched everyones hearts and it meant somthing to them and to me some of your songs made me feel like i wasnt alone and like im no different from anybody else in the world . but michael words cant explain how i feel so i wanna thank you or your web designer for letting me have the strength , respect , and oportunity for me to be writing this . With much love and respect . – Bre`ana Jordan . ! I LOVE YOU MICHAEL . !

  5. I wish everyone would let Michael rest because no one knows the truth and no one will ever know the truth except god and the person who is responsible okay so let the man rest he really deserves to

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