Sunday, June 28, 2009

On Michael Jackson

Honestly, I will heave if I have to read or listen to another thing about how incredible and miraculous Michael Jackson he changed the world, etc.. No, he didn't. Watch any interview with Michael and you will see a seriously weird individual. Maybe borderline disturbed. Something was not quite right with the man.

I have no idea if he was actually guilty of child molestation. If he was, I hope he is, well, burning in hell, whatever that means. If he wasn't, then I am very sorry he died but really, enough already. He was a very talented musician and dancer. Unique. I saw him perform in the eighties and he was great. It did not change my life.

Assuming he was actually guilty of child molestation, can we still appreciate his music and talent? This is actually a very old question. Can we appreciate the operas of Wagner? The poetry of TS Eliot and Ezra Pound? I can go on and on with a list of creative geniuses who were evil individuals. The entertainment industry in particular seems to breed creative people who either lead amoral lives or hurt other people. Can we still appreciate the art if we abhor the artist? Very interesting question. I have no answer.

Assuming that most of the world thinks child molestation is very, very bad, if you think Michael Jackson deserves to be mourned, you either:

  • don't think he was guilty of child molestation;
  • don't know if he was guilty or not and have decided not to deal with the question because listening to Thriller gives you the warm fuzzies about your childhood in the eighties;
  • think that even if he was guilty, acknowledging that he was possibly a horrible person is enough and you are able to separate the artist from the art;
  • think that even if he was guilty, his music was world-changing and therefore he deserves our veneration.
I personally lean toward the second choice, regardless of the fact that I don't mourn Michael Jackson. I'm sort of done with all the MJ specials and tributes, and interviews of people who knew him or claimed to have known him. The excess of the world's response to the passing of a pop icon is too much, too too much. Really, I've had enough.


shoshi said...

I am no fan of Michael Jackson and I never liked his music.

But if people claim now they were his fans, if people cry because he died, where were they when he needed them?

Anonymous said...

Child molestation accusations aside (and I know that is a BIG aside), Michael Jackson was a huge innovator in the worlds of music and dance. Pop music today (worldwide) would NOT be what it is without his influence. Whether you like his music or not, or whether you like him or not, that is undeniable. In terms of dance, it is evident that he was influential in today's popping and locking and other forms of dance. You yourself even described him as an icon. Think about that.

Let's not forget his contributions to hunger aid and other social justice issues. We Are the World was written and composed by him, and in days he helped to raised nearly $50 mil for hunger relief in Africa. His philanthropy continued throughout his life.

Yes there was something wrong with him. He clearly had psychological problems, the depth of which the public will probably never know (or should know). He was not well physically or emotionally. Yes he was weird. So are a lot of people. That does not take away from his skills and contributions as an artist.

I have mixed feelings about Michael Jackson as a person, but his talent and influence were incontestable.

And yes, there is an overwhelming amount of air time (radio and tv) and web space devoted to Michael Jackson right now. I think that is a testament to his 40 year career. That's right, 40 years. His artistic influence spanned generations, and his death has an impact on multiple generations. Would I like to see other things on tv at this point? Absolutely. World issues have not stopped because he died. But his decades of global influence do deserve to be acknowledged, and the coverage will die down soon. At least he actually contribued to society and culture, as opposed to Anna Nicole Smith who really didn't. And the news coverage of her death was ridiculous.

I do understand your frustration about the constant coverage, and his death may not have hit you the way it did his legions of fans... just be patient, the news will go back to normal eventually.

SuperRaizy said...

The cult of celebrity idol worship is way out of hand in this country.
I like Michael Jackson's music and dancing and I think he should be honored for his talent, but these endless tributes are way too much.

kisarita said...

The more I read about Michael Jackson the more I mourn him. I don't mourn the artist- His music is here with us to stay. I mourn the man and his life. I suspect many others are feeling the same way, without putting it into words.

May his suffering and pain and resultant death be a כפרה for his sins, and a נחמה to his (possible) victims. And may his memory be a blessing. And may he rest in peace.

Ayelet Survivor said...

He wasn't born the way he ended up being. He was exploited and abused. Did that lead him to abuse others? I'm not sure. But he was a musical genius and, as the second commenter noted, he did a lot of charity work. His life was a tragedy.

Liz said...

Oh my gosh! I am *SO* bullet #2! (re: listening to Thriller gives you the warm fuzzies about your childhood in the eighties). Honestly - I appreciate what you are saying. It is getting a bit much. I am very much a rational person like yourself, however, something about MJ's death has grabbed me. I swear, I think he left his spirit behind and everybody is being haunted by it. I dunno. There *was* something magical about him and I think its probably due to the fact that he simply became an all American Icon (akin to Elvis or anybody else that makes you go, ahhh!). I picked up a People Magazine yesterday (something I never do) just to try and get some facts about the molestation accusations. I am disturbed by the fact that in both major cases, the mother of one of the boys had drabbled in welfare fraud for most of her life and the second had a dad who was perfectly happy walking away with $20 million. I mean, if someone *really* did that to your kid - would money be enough to make you walk away? I dunno. Thats just me trying to not feel guilty about being actually a bit sad about him dying. Ach. Who knows. Im really torn. Great topic though!