The City That Killed Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's life would have been incredibly different (read: more normal) and lasted longer if he lived in New York instead of L.A., argues Gigi Levangie Grazer. She says the isolating qualities of L.A. enabled the downfall of the King of Pop.

"What happened to Michael Jackson could only happen in Los Angeles - a city where elegant, moneyed suburbia, and its favorite accessory and most insidious symptom - the elaborately gated community - isolate its residents. Eventually, it was his isolation that ruined his life, that attracted those who could further isolate him, that killed him."

Had he lived in New York, she argues, Jackson wouldn't have been able to maintain such a bizarre private lifestyle.

Full Story: Perilous Isolation: The Very L.A. Death of Michael Jackson




God sakes... what rubbish...!

First off, Michael Jackson didn't live in LA. His home Neverland is about 40 miles NW of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Mountains, about 160 miles from downtown LA and well outside the urban area of LA.... Ronald Reagan country to be more precise. It would be like living up the Hudson somewhere near Albany and calling that New York City.

Second, I lived in Manhattan for a good chunk of my adult life and I can tell you that there as many nut-cases in New York as there are in LA (and I am partial to New York as a place to live).

Give me a break. This story should have been submitted as one of Planetizen's Friday Funnies.


Michael Lewyn's picture

Not really "Reagan country"

This is somewhat off the main point- but didn't Reagan live in Pacific Palisades (which is a heck of a lot closer to LA than Neverland)?

Reagan country indeed...

Reagan spent 20+ years at Rancho del Cielo (the "Western White House"), also located NW of Santa Barbara in the Santa Inez Mtns., not far from MJ's Neverland (only about 10 miles away, in fact). Reagan spent his last years in Bel Air (West LA) after he got Alzheimers. I think he lived in Pacific Palisades earlier in his career when he was Governor.


Michael Lewyn's picture

The broader point ...

is that had Mr. Jackson lived in a more walkable environment, he might have acted less crazily. (And indeed, the nearest public street to Neverland, Figourea Mountain Road in Ynez Valley, CA has a Walkscore of 0).

On the other hand, even if you assume that this point is correct, not everyone in Los Angeles lives in Neverland-like environments. Mr. Jackson could have easily lived in walkable Westwood in Los Angeles. Conversely, had he chosen to live closer to NYC, there are plenty of isolated exurban estates that he could have purchased.

Living In A Walkable Environment

is a relatively minor issue compared with everything else that went on in Michael Jackson's life. Being a celebrity who is mired in debt obviously causes much, much more stress than living in an environment where you can't walk.

People tend to exaggerate the importance of their own subject. I am a big backer of walkable neighborhoods, because they are good places to live and good for the environment, but I don't think they will end all mental illness.

Charles Siegel

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