Thursday, June 25, 2009
"It's close to midnight..."
...actually, around 11:30 pm in the Eastern United States, where I write from. Michael Jackson passed from this world a little less than six hours ago. Already, the culture vultures are descending; a mob scene formed around the Los Angeles hospital where he was brought, and pronounced dead. Already, canny marketers are mounting tickets from his now never-to-be-presented 50-show tour on plaques, ready to be sold on e-Bay [as similarly quick-thinking people did when Elvis died]. Already, the circus has descended. Then again, was there ever time that Jackson's life wasn't a circus?
Child of a father who reputedly beat him, and from whom he was estranged as quickly as he could be. A major performer, in the Jackson 5 with his brothers, at a time most children are just learning multiplication and division. A superstar around the world before he was really mature enough to understand just what that would entail.For a time, he truly was what the hype named him - The King Of Pop. He could dance, he could write songs, he could help craft the videos that made him one of the indelible images of his heyday. And yeah, he could sing.
Of course, the life of an icon is never that simple. There were the continual rumors: the charges of child molestation [does anybody think that Jackson ever really understood that what he was doing was wrong? How much time had he ever spent in normal life to get that kind of context?]; the plastic surgeries; the skin condition that drove him to bleach himself [which led to another whole series of questions about his sense of racial identity]; the leaked stories about his bizarre lifestyle [how could he know what was normal?]; at the end of the day, he had no escape from "the beast about to strike". Fame is a brutal creature...
R.I.P, Jakko. Emphasis on peace...