The “not of this world” talk around Michael Jackson makes me run the other way, toward finding things that prove he was of this world. Not sure what that impulse is. Certainly it wasn’t all tabloid created– he spent a lot of time thinking about and creating a persona that was untouchable, unrelatable. Whatever we wanted before, it’s obvious that we now want pop stars who speak to us (Kanye West is probably the best example of someone who wants it both ways, to be both untouchable and to speak to his audience directly). Would MJ have been better-liked these last few years if he had his own YouTube channel?

Anyway, here are some things I’ve been re-watching/listening to lately, if only to remind myself that, yeah, he could be a regular dude too.

Michael Jackson wants to go to the Salvation Army. Best line: “You find good stuff, don’t you Tito?” It’s been a minute since MJ was in the Salvation Army, it’s been minutes since Tito was in the Salvation Army.

Michael Jackson, Magic Johnson, and KFC. This just happened, so not much to say, except this is the single best reason to kill the KFC grilled chicken campaign. Nobody wants that crap.

Michael Jackson dancing to R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” in the back of an SUV. Which is more unexpected, the dancing or the trucker cap?

“Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (Demo)” First of all: what as he, like 20, when he wrote/recorded this demo? And all the essential ingredients are here, the beat, the 500 hooks. That’s the not-of-this-world part. Jackson recorded this with Randy and Janet on glass bottles and shakers, and it starts out with the family giggling like children. I read that Katherine Jackson was pretty horrified when she heard the title was “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” because it meant “don’t stop ’til you get enough (sinful sexual union).” The family convinced her that it could be anything, which is maybe why Jackson sings “keep on, with your heart..” instead of “keep on, with the force..” Maybe they were giggling because they were recording something sexy right under their mother’s watch. And that’s sort of sweet.