When someone dies, it is all but impossible not to reference that person in terms of one’s own life. That makes a writer—well, this writer, at least—uncomfortable, since the moment should be dedicated to the departed, rather than those he left behind. Still, how can proper tribute be paid without passages on how they affected those who surrounded them on this little blue planet of ours?And so it is with Michael Jackson, who died peacefully at his home in London on August 30. He was 65 years ...

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