Thursday, June 25, 2009

We Killed Michael Jackson


Everyones taking control of me
Seems that the worlds
Got a role for me
Im so confused
Will you show to me
Youll be there for me
And care enough to bear me
- Michael Jackson

I’ve written about Michael Jackson a number of times, but the stampede of facebook lemmings writing things like ‘sicko, but great artist’ has moved me to write (the way rancid uncooked chicken moves me to vomit). I can’t remember an entertainment personality who was the victim of as much malicious venom as MJ. Not convicted rapists like R. Kelly or Mike Tyson. Not those caught cheating. Not murderers, heroin users, sexist and homophobic rappers, female pop stars who set back feminism twenty years.

What’s it about? Even before an obviously money-lusting couple of abusive parents sacrificed their child’s mental health to get money out of MJ, the King of Pop was the celebrity spittoon of gossip mags and of workplace water coolers, where abject cruelty and easy-target pot-shotting is passed off as humor. People couldn’t stop talking about his strange pets, plastic surgery, sleeping chambers, outfits, etc.

Watching Man in the Mirror a few years back, I figured it out—we hate him because he makes us feel bad about ourselves. Really bad. Because he is good. Really good. When all of pop music was turning ironic and narcissistic, he took the risk to write sincere songs about the suffering of other human beings. He spent more of his money on charities than any singer. He turned his house into a playland for children with terminal illnesses. He also took artistic risks, going for epic showmanship, symbolic power, and theatrical sincerity. He hired excellent directors and singlehandedly turned the music video into a viable art form. How could the shoegazer generation forgive someone who attempts not just to entertain or provide an outlet, but inspire and move to action?

Michael Jackson causes us to look up from our self-obsessed Depeche Mode/Mars Volta/Alice in Chains/singer-songwriter snowglobe and face the world. We resented him for it and wanted to believe—NEEDED to believe—that only a severely fucked-up individual could be like this. We do the same thing to other generous celebrities (Bono, John Lennon). And so we made special allowances to discredit Michael Jackson: innocent until proven guilty doesn’t fly for MJ. Our trite self-help philosophies about not caring about appearances, about looking how you want to look? Sorry MJ, doesn’t apply to YOU.

We killed Michael Jackson, just like we killed Laura Palmer, Charlie Parker, Pier Paolo Pasolini. Our cynicism killed him. May we give birth to the next heroic ATTEMPTER to make up for our crime. Will you be there?:

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is idiotic. Michael Jackson died because he spent too much money and lived like a freak. The financial pressures that HE CAUSED put stress on him and he forced himself to do the shows in London, combined with HIS prescription drug abuse, most likely caused his death. Michael Jackson was a pedophile. To say we caused his death is lame. No logic.

Anthony Cristofani - The Sacred Dice revolutionary salon said...

Pretty courageous words for 'anonymous.' At least MJ had the balls to go out into the world with his own name, and take his own blame. We caused his death because we distrust and resent altruists of all colors. Glad you're not judge, since you don't seem to need evidence to convict pedophiles. Stick to commenting on blogs for the reality shows you're addicted to, 'anonymous.'

Cristofani, linz said...

No logic? This blog is a speculation based on facts such as his philanthropy and lyrics. The only people who can confidently speak about his emotional state regarding his finances, drug use, or sexuality are those in his close inner circle. I assume, anonymous, that you were not.
Also, if he was a pedophile, why wouldn't the hundreds of kids who visited Neverland come out with charges against MJ? You think a pedophile just chooses one child in a lifetime?
Are you sure you know what logic is?

Vanessa said...

Cultural memory is simultaneously in a state of constant erasure and constant calcification. The newspapers today reminded the world that MJ has actually not performed in 12 years. 12 years--during which the Wacko Jacko reputation was calcified, and memories of his music and philanthropy were erased. What we feel now is the loss of potential--he ... Read Morewas about to tour, about to make more music, about to give us MORE, about to reenter the sick and snarky music industry with his abject awe and dedication to grand mind-changing. The line between sentimental and truly evocative, between manipulative and emotionally honest work is hard for cynics to see. They'll never like MJ because of this. I'm sad in part because I'm scared. Scared that the small windows of opportunity for artists who aren't world-weary and self-protective are closing, and closing fast. This is why we all have to think of Jackson as a sage, not an icon crusted in our nostalgia.

[[ ..:: •Ϻiƨƨ Ṩtяɑnɢɘ• ::.. ]] said...

You're right, he was so talented, sensible, he was a genious, he was one of a kind... and he tried to heal the world...
I think the media killed him... 'cause they can't live if they don't destroy lifes... specially lifes like Michael's... and all the people who believe all the bullshit that they watch on TV...
Of course nobody should judge him, he only tried to help people always...
He wasn't a pedophile, he was never declared guilty, nobody found evidence that proved he was guilty...
All this stress, all the media pressure, and all the people who hated him because a crime he never commited... all this killed him... [nobody can handle it... try... and you'll be in Michael's shoes]
He has gone... and all his fans are missing him... we've lost such a good person...
RIP

[sorry if my english is not so good... ]

Anthony Cristofani - The Sacred Dice revolutionary salon said...

Thanks Miss Strange. Despite all the media and pop culture hatred, it's still amazing and inspiring to me the magnitude of his fans' love, especially outside of the U.S. (a country too cynical for him, I suppose).

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rosies poem. He had the beauty beaten out of him and was put to work at 5. Anyone strange enough to sleep with kids was strange enough to do something improper.;;;;;;;;don't know how improper but definately improper. He loathed what he had become. Anyway if the kids are not complaining as adults, what the hell is it to anyone else? Can we just still admire him for the broken child he was? There was a lot of good. What about all the charities?

The Sacred Dice - A Revolutionary Salon

The Sacred Dice is a salon of musicians, scholars, poets, sound sculptors, activists and artists of all kinds committed to art that is committed.  That could get us committed (to an asylum).  That disdain's art for art's sake and artists who have no idea why they do what they do.  We know why we do what we do--to create and celebrate community in a country still stuck in capitalist fantasies of individualism.  If you want in, you're in.  If you want out, don't worry--you already are.