Michael Jackson

I read the news yesterday – in the top right-hand corner of page three. Shock. Disbelief. And then of course the radio and TV stations were full of it. His songs, the reactions, commentary, analysis, the autopsy. For much of yesterday I had a few of his songs on as a kind of background music in my head. Bad. Thriller. Billie-Jean. Heal the World.

I was never a great fan but I was as fascinated as anyone else by the phenomenon (good, bad and strange) that was Michael Jackson. On SkyNews yesterday evening the tributes were coming in thick and fast. And there was also a sense that his troubles are over, which allows the genius and the music and the dancing to come to the surface again. He will be celebrated (and rightly so) for all of this.

I was going to post something about “Saint Michael” and how he is being glorified now that he’s gone. But I actually like the fact that this happens. There’s a settling of accounts, a tallying up with the greats. Is he as good as Elvis, better even? The parallels are also interesting. Have just read DoctorDi’s comments and I think she’s captured a lot of the sadness (and loneliness) behind the mask.

Here’s Billie-Jean:

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9 Responses to Michael Jackson

  1. I have an uneasiness about Michael Jackson–because of the allegations of child abuse. I don’t want to separate the human being from the work that a human does, though he was important to music, I know. I’m uncomfortable. That’s what it amounts to. I don’t know for sure. Either way.

  2. sandy,phd says:

    “a sense that his troubles are over, which allows the genius and the music and the dancing to come to the surface again. He will be celebrated (and rightly so) for all of this”

    you captured something that was floating around in my psyche but hadn’t quite articulated. now that he won’t be parading around his various bizarre dramas or dangling his child from a hotel balcony, we can remember why he achieved all that fame. he was a damned good singer, song interpreter, songwriter, and dancer. he was an awesome dancer. and a dozen surgeries ago, he was a really good looking guy.

  3. Pete says:

    Lilian – I’m also a bit uncomfortable for the same reason. Incidentally, I stumbled on this link which lists “8 Scandalous Michael Jackson moments” (at http://listverse.com/2009/06/26/8-scandalous-michael-jackson-moments/). I didn’t know that MJ was the originator of the crotch-grab for starters!

  4. sandy,phd says:

    and you picked the video clip that captures it all. excellent.

  5. Pete says:

    Sandy – Thanks. Have just read Emily’s post here (http://wheelsonthebus.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/gonna-have-the-whole-world-on-a-plate/) and I think she’s so right about children being allowed to be children. From a developmental psychology perspective, it seems pretty clear that MJ never really developed emotionally beyond childhood (as brilliant as he undoubtedly was). Billie-Jean for me is one of his most interesting songs because of what it says about Michael (and because it’s such an infectious dance number).

  6. litlove says:

    It was a shock to hear he’d died, but then thinking about how frail he’s been looking, and the fact he’s 50 and training for 50 concerts, well. But I’d been reading up about Britney and about the psychological profile of the performer, and about the mad, twisted world of fame and.. well, it’s interesting and distressing to see the same pattern repeating over and over. To have one’s personality forged in the white heat of media madness must be more damaging than we can ever imagine. And to think people chase it as a dream when it’s really your worst nightmare! I was going to post on this at the start

  7. litlove says:

    …of next week. Sorry, working on my notebook with its teeny keyboard that makes it even easier to hit the wrong button…

  8. Pete says:

    Litlove – Is Britney in your book – how interesting! And good point re personalities being forged in the media spotlight. I just can’t imagine MJ at 50 still trying to be that precociously talented cute little boy and coping with the added pressures of being a confused man who can’t tell innocent sleepovers from potential abuse.

  9. doctordi says:

    Yeah, I completely understand that uneasiness… OF COURSE. I’ve just – and not in a naive sense because sadly the facts of child abuse won’t allow such a thing – never believed it. He just seemed too broken and childlike to me. And I know what they say about abused children often becoming abusers themselves, but… I don’t know, he just didn’t strike me – from this gigantic and insurmountable distance, it should be said – as the predatory type. I’ll be very interested to see what surfaces now he’s gone, and really, really, REALLY depressed if any of it turns out to be anything more than a grab for his cash. If there’s truth to the allegations, it will definitely affect my own feelings about his legacy to a fundamental degree.

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