Monday, June 29, 2009



Rev. Jesse Jackson (R) with Joe Jackson (Far L).
Unidentified posse member (Middle)


(June 29, Encino, CA) This will be an event, or rather, a long, inane, series of events marking the death of a person who is no easier to honor (or define) in death than he was in life. But, will they ever make a go at it!

Michael Jackson was many personas for many people, an ever changing character who became a living caricature as he sought to define himself in every sense possible. He apparent need to live as a chameleon took him around the world as a celebrity, to numerous cosmetic surgeries to acquire tangible, physical change, through a musical career spanning decades with those very same years either celebrated or severely tarnished by his own behavior, life style and aura of there is “something-is-just-not-right” with this man.

If he sought to employ mystery, to enshroud himself in a place mentally, emotionally and culturally, all his own, he was a spectacular success. If he thought his antics from the most trivial and petty to the most incomprehensible and bizarre , would gain him the status of being supremely “unique”, in that regard too, he succeeded. But, no matter, the years of public psychoanalysis will most certainly continue. As time passes that exercise may become the least important given the wealth of vexing issues that have enveloped this man, usually by his own design, since his, arguably, greatest artistic achievements in 1984. Nothing was ever or could ever be different for him after that.

How many story lines can be extracted from the death of this man? There are literally dozens.

There is the child, the Motown darling fronting the Jackson 5. The sordid underbelly to that phase of his life was the overbearing, brutish, barely literate father who saw his sons and, particularly Michael, as his cash cow. He’d ride him as far as he could and then some. If almighty greed pushed Joe Jackson to abuse his youngest son, the fact that the fame and fortune showered upon them all made it worth it, right? One widely purported tale was that the “adult” Michael went far off the deep end trying to capture a childhood he was allegedly robbed of. Yeah, that argument takes the sane only so far.

We readily permit our “celebrities" their eccentricities; it seems part and parcel for the lives they appear to live. We do not expect them to abide by the same mundane, everyday rules that we must. They are , after all, “different”. And we seem willing to concede that difference as a sort of ‘carte blanche’ : when you are rich and famous the need to conform or recognize the commonly accepted rules of society, seems small-minded. “Our” rules, mores, codes of conduct and ethics are rendered blasé’ in the shadow of celebrity.

From sequin glittering tuxedos, matching socks and a single, signature glove, to bearing an uncanny resemblance to Diana Ross after so many plastic surgeries, the character became more and more ludicrous. During this phase he became a celebrity among celebrities for no other reason than his eccentricities. With his talent well established it appeared as if Michael Jackson finally found the freedom to be as insane as he cared to be.

Then came the odd couplings, marriages to Brooke Shields and Lisa Marie Presley. He seemed to want to put increasing distance between his race and his reality; he had children by suspicious circumstances as his own sexuality, if not sanity, came into question.

Then came the charges, criminal allegations about child molestation, pedophilia and inappropriate contact with children who had become his only companions. He bought a lavish, sprawling ranch that became some neurotic incarnation of a perpetual playground where reality was suspended for this man-child’s own delight.

The court appearances, depositions, attorney’s wrangling and this man’s talent was overshadowed by a cloud of rumor, innuendo and a good deal of smoke most likely emanating from fires. Michael Jackson had become a joke; a late night comic ridicule who failed to realize his own demise.

Now, in death, he is being portrayed in a manner that defies - actually denies - the sad and harsh, perverted realities that had become his existence.

The theories and rationales are now irrelevant. The excuses and justifications more hollow today in his wake than they were in his bizarre, other-worldly presence.

The larger question is not what does this freaks death mean but rather what does it say about us as a culture that we turned eyes askance with each increasing sign of psychopathology?

Just a few of the many thousands of links out there:

Copyright TBC 2009 © All Rights Reserved

No comments: