It's hard to reconcile all that with his genuine record as one of the all-time great performers. When the news broke, I was in a bar in Annapolis. The guy with a guitar who was the live music for the evening started off his set with a tribute to Michael Jackson that sounded sort of like an apology, like we have to justify appreciating his music without endorsing all the other stuff. I can remember conversations like this in elementary school in the early '80s, when even then it was crucial for reasons none of us could quite articulate to separate liking Jackson's music from liking him, per se. But in the end, when all the weirdness fades away, the music will certainly remain. Thursday night, when the guitarist finished his windup, he launched into Billie Jean, and the crowd hummed along, perhaps in spite of itself.