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Being on Team Michael: Part 2

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After MJ’s passing, it was easy to go right into tragedy-mode. As with any one who dies so unexpectantly, just like when one loses a big championship game – everyone goes over all the things that could have gone on differently. What had we missed? What could have been done? What were our (his) mistakes? How could this happen?

For those who have read previous blogs of mine on here, you would know that I personally did not participate in such post-game analysis. In fact, I had checked out completely. I didn’t know if the team was still playing or preparing for some other game, nor did I care. And now after all this deep reflection, I discovered that it was exactly this ‘team’ mentality that caused me to check out for about 5 years. Because once MJ died, for me I automatically thought he – and we as a team – had lost. So that was it for me. I was done playing.

Me being done with the game followed with it a 5 year long removal of any mention or acknowledgment of [I]ANY [/I]game. It had to do with my emotional relationship with death itself in my own life – and MJ’s death just catapulted my desire to emotionally distance myself (as explained in previous blogs). I had to process the fact that I was wrong about my belief in this team’s abilities. I had to process the fact that maybe I didn’t belong on that team – well, of course I didn’t, because if I did we wouldn’t have lost. And this connection to Team Michael and my investment in him winning – just like anyone watching a game on television and screaming and yelling over the outcome, I was personally effected. I projected myself onto the game. So if MJ and the team lost, then I would lose as well in this game… against these opposing forces that kept MJ down: judgment, greed, close-mindedness, manipulation, lies, loneliness and isolation.
So with no other choice I moved on…until I listened to Xscape 5 years later. MJ pulled me back into the fold. And I, in essence, couldn’t say no to MJ.

And having made the decision to dive myself into the fandom again, I quickly the discovered that YES, Team Michael was STILL playing (for some unfathomable reason). And over the past couple of months, I had this unique experience of taking in each game and each battle in superspeed – able to look at it as if I’m experiencing it for the first time and ALSO in retrospect, both at the same time, since this stuff had already happened.

The more I learned, the more it was like becoming a fan for the first time again. I became fascinated with every detail, reading book after book, taking in other people’s accounts leading up to his death, trying to piece together the puzzle. And the more I read, the more layers where piled on to this complicated tragedy. I could never take what happened to MJ as simple. But what in his life was simple anyway? As complicated as the things I learned were, the more sense his death made – ironically enough.

I was driven by my analytical mind. I figured, if God or whatever forces pushed me back into this world of being a Michael Jackson fan, one I was so engrossed in as a child and teenager…there HAD to be a reason. And that reason, I believed, rested in me fully processing his death. But what could I have possibly gotten out of it? We LOST. It was over. What could I possibly learn from it?

Because admittedly, my first instinct had been to blame MJ. He was our MVP. And he put himself in a position to lose. But I couldn’t hold on that position long the more I learned. Sure he was making the plays, but he couldn’t have predicted everything. And he couldn’t control everything. And I hadn’t been out there on the field (and hell, I barely know the rules of football and yet I’m sitting here criticizing lol) – so how could I possibly judge? Who knows how I would have done in the same position when the pressure was on.

So I started reading the wrongful death transcripts, first for Murray. Just over the past years, I knew Murray was nutty, and while reading the transcripts I found myself back on the team even if I knew the outcome. It was Team MJ vs. Murray. Once again, there was always someone to play against. Team MJ won….sorta. Unfortunately Murray is still walking around to play another day.

I however had moved on to the AEG case. And boy had I hooked on to that one. A lot of that case I hadn’t seen snippets in the media about so it was all new to me. I read on like I was in the audience waving my team colors. It was obvious to me that Team MJ should have them (AEG) as our new arch nemesis. But as I learned more, it seemed as if this was the point when Team MJ had become divided on who to fight – AEG or MJ’s family (and a multitude of people after that). But that wasn’t the most interesting thing to me. The most interesting thing to me was this drive to fight at all.

I had to ask myself why? Even in my outrage against AEG (that still holds to this day)…I had to reflect and ask, why did it MATTER to me so much? Isn’t this why I quit the game in the first place? I knew this was a losing team. And it was ESPECIALLY a losing team because we didn’t have an MVP. Michael. No matter what, we won’t have true reconciliation – and the amount of blame we can really place on any one of these parties involved – MJ himself, Murray, AEG, even the years of ridicule from the media, the lies of the allegations, a possible conspiracy to get his catalogue, all of these things that might have led up to the moment of his death – we can’t ever truly determine. (note, I’m not saying Murray WASN’T to blame – but I’m speaking more of the details that go further than that. What even created the circumstance for Murray’s negligence to even happen?)

And from a bird’s eye view, the more I read and observed the fan community, I realized the divide of the team is caused by this desire to FIND someone to blame and oppose. After all, how can we be a team without someone to play AGAINST? I’ve seen campaigns against everyone – MJ’s family, MJ’s friends, his estate, Sony, AEG, and eventually on the fan community itself! The reasons I’ve seen to go against ALL of these various entities I thought were legit. And even if I found a lot of reasoning to be legit, in the end – what would it amount to if one side of the community was right or wrong? What could be done? Not much. Being right or wrong wouldn’t bring MJ back. But we’ve created a simulation for ourselves that if we’re right or wrong, we’d still win the game. ANY game. Even imaginary ones. Because as I said earlier, people still cheer on their favorite teams, even if they lose over and over and over again. There must be something in the act of playing, no matter what the outcome.

I fell right into that. I kept searching, like I’m sure many fans did, for an opponent. I stuck with AEG for a bit, but after reading Aphrodite’s book I blamed Sneddon and the allegations for crushing MJ’s spirit. Then I read the bodyguards’ book “Remember the Time” (which as with all books I read like this, I do so with skepticism and try to focus on the bigger picture rather than details that might be sensationalized), and from their accounts I began to blame the people around MJ for not being there when he needed them. I blamed MJ’s superstardom and isolation (kinda hard to rage a war on that, isn’t it?).

I read Leonard Rowe’s book, and as an African American myself I saw immense plausibility in his theories, and having believed MJ in his assertion that powerful record companies and other institutions often are very racist – I then started to blame them. For trying to get MJ’s catalogue and stripping him of everything he worked for.

But even with this, I began to be more and more focused in the reasons why I fell in love with MJ in the first place through these little bits of stories from all these personal accounts with him. Personal memories weren’t what I was looking for when reading these books. I was looking for clues to the puzzle. Clues as to WHY I should keep playing. But still, I became engrossed (as I did when I first became a fan) with all these stories, and sure each book probably had varying degrees of truthfulness to them but I tried to look past them – tried to find the common thread in all of them, and of what I’ve observed in MJ from my experiences watching him in public. And the common threads were ALWAYS, always the same. And I truly believe that the truth about MJ rests in these common threads. I felt myself switching my role of being a team member looking for someone to play AGAINST to a team member who was once again cheering FOR someone - for MJ - for love and goodness to prevail - through these memories (even despite knowing the tragic end to all of these books).

To be continued in part 3...the game's doesn't stop

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Updated 03-09-2014 at 01:46 PM by J5master

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  1. Daryll748's Avatar
    Wonderful read J5 ;)
    Stirs quite a bit of an own reflection in me, heehee!