2009-06-26 10:00 am (UTC)
I have no doubts I'd agree on every single one of these views. I've always despised both his music and the person behind it, and everything it represented.
The interwebs and media are going to be full of Jackson for days to come. I don't have anything to say that others won't say better.
I'm surprised at how much of a personal blow this has been to some of my LJ friends. I find it hard to understand why anyone would choose to make an emotional investment in Jackson (who was never going to make old bones)- but I don't want to trample on their grief.
2009-06-26 10:25 am (UTC)
Some of my friends, both on LJ and in RL too seem to have connected a part of their own adolescence and youth to MJ's music - hopefully not to his lifestyle. I respect that, and will therefore refrain from my usual evil comments :D
I'm too old to have been swept away by Jackson. He wowed my kids, not me. I think Billie Jean is a great song. Otherwise, well, I'm going to try and keep my mouth shut....
I don't think it is any coincidence that rampantly unstable people make it into the realms of entertainment stardom. There's a theory that bipolar people, for example, are only brave enough to do what they do on stage when they are on a "high" - they really do believe they are the best in the world, it's confidence gone mad. Then the lows set in and they self-medicate with drink and drugs to get through it and back to the creative mood. Not sure if that was Jackson's particular problem but he was certainly weird in some not-quite-normal-mental-state way. So not making old bones is almost normal for rock stars.
But among Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Phil Lynott, John Bonham and so many others, Jackson managed to be SPECTACULARLY weird for such a long time. It is a wonder he lasted as long as he did.
If you aren't slightly weird to begin with, big-time success in the entertainment industry is likely to make you so. All that money, all that fame, all those courtiers, effectively insulate you from the rest of the world- and from the implications and consequences of your weird behaviour.
I don't think it is any coincidence that rampantly unstable people make it into the realms of entertainment stardom. There's a theory that bipolar people, for example, are only brave enough to do what they do on stage when they are on a "high"
Heh. That's weird - I just wrote a long post on the same phenomenon that you mention. And dared - dared! - to place my humble self among those luminaries!
I look forward to your iconic album / stand up show / Booker prize award!
'tis in the works - I'm trying to negotiate my way past various plotholes.
I thought well he did the moonwalk didnt
he that is something but I looked at
a youtube of a michael jackson dance including
moonwalk and it looked like a lot of fidgeting
with little bursts of a gliding motion which
is not much to look at either.
I vaguely remember going "wow!" the first time I saw the moonwalk- but once you've seen it you've seen it. It's a clever little trick, but it doesn't take you anywhere.
One of my online acquaintances divided Jackson's life into two periods: "amazing music" and "batshit insane". Nobody could write a hook for a pop song like Jackson. He *was* a creative person, he gave people pleasure with his music, and then that all disintegrated into self-destructive surgery, rumors, lawsuits. I'm not deeply grieved--in fact, I never considered myself a fan--but I'm sad.
I can stand back and admire what he achieved at the peak of his career. That was a long time ago now.
Alas, it *was* a long time ago. That's the sad part, for me.
Like most great pop artists he had a very brief moment of cultural ascendancy. For how long was he truly the King- one year- a couple of years? He very quickly became old hat- and was sadly unable to re-invent himself.
Some of his late stuff is quite nice and understated; some of it is rubbish.
I always had a secret weakness for "Earth Song" despite the trite lyrics and the trucker's gear change near th end that Sting, of all people, had the hypocrisy to criticise!
Me too. Earth Song is awesome. I loved the resurrecting elephants.
I feel sort of safe posting this here, even though I wasn't going to say anything.
I totally dislike mentioning MJ and Elvis in the same sentence BUT - they were prisoners of their fame. They could barely go to the bathroom without there being a press release. This would make anyone who was even CLOSE to normal - and neither of them were close to normal - start closing themselves off.
He was an amazing dancer, I'd suggest seraphimsigrist
check a little further into the YouTube videos. He seemed almost boneless. I was stuck at home when the Thriller Phenom hit, and although I do not own a single piece of Michael's recorded music, I loved that video.
BUT. I do not think news of his death should throw the REAL news of the world off the front page (speaking metaphorically here....) You know, news like what's happening in Afghanistan, or in Korea, or for that matter in Iraq and Iran?
I'm old enough to remember the cute - and he was VERY CUTE - child with the round head, the one who sang "Oh darlin' give me one more chance...". As with the Beach Boys, the person who pushed the Jackson 5 into the spotlight was their father. The father who said "Oh, I heard he wasn't doing so well." Interesting, isn't it, that Brian Wilson (a giant talent) ALSO has had problems with reality and fame?
okay, okay, I'll step down off my soapbox.
Tony, I do hope none of Trash's relative think of calling on you.Edited at 2009-06-26 02:03 pm (UTC)
No-one stands beside Elvis. Elvis symbolises a particular cultural moment- the birth of rock 'n' roll- and all that rock 'n' roll means. He may not have been the first- or even the best- but he's the icon.
Jackson was a victim of his fame- just as Elvis was. He was a fragile, needy person who surrounded himself with yes-men. Money can't buy you happiness, only illusion.
I don't grudge him his headlines. I think he was important. He stands for all sorts of significant things in our culture- some of them attractive, some very, very ugly. People will be discussing him- and his legacy- long after most of the events- and personalities- we consider newsworthy have been forgotten.
2009-06-26 04:14 pm (UTC)
My thoughts are simple. 1) He was a musical phenomenon, truly gifted. 2) He had a life so far removed from normalcy at any stage that he was bound to go "weird", so I don't blame him for it. We see it with 99% of people exposed to this kind of fame - Britney Spears being a recent example of celebs who go off the rails. So I would say that he became unusual as opposed to being born that way.
We actually know very little about him- or at least very little we can trust. I believe that many of the most outrageous stories- those about Bubbles the Chimp for example- were untrue. The Jackson publicity machine encouraged stories about his weirdness.
I suspect your views on Michael Jackson are a lot like mine. I put my feelings on a blog that nobody else can read but me, but I will say this - some people need to get a grip. It's not like he was a John Lennon or a Bob Marley. His music was cheesy 80's pop and very symbolic of a very poor time for music.
I hold no brief for Jackson, but I think sometimes John Lennon wasn't exactly a John Lennon. "Watching the Wheels" is an example of the latter.
Lennon had his off days, definitely. But when he was on, he was really on, and nobody else could do what he did. I am pretty convinced that all of Michael Jackson's music could have been done by anybody with a good voice and a reasonable talent for dancing, what with all the help from Quincy Jones and studio musicians and producers. Lennon could do it on his own, and though he did write some truly awful songs once in a while, he did it all, good and bad, banging on his J-160 or his old piano or his Epiphone Casino.
I think that's fair. I admire one or two of the songs- and, to a certain extent, the energy and showmanship. I feel little emotional connection to anything he did.
To me, John Lennon was the poet, musician, spokesperson of his time, who died senselessly at the hand of a loony. Sad it is to think that the recent death of a musician got a lot more print and a lot more airing than did that of John Lennon.
"What fools these mortals be..."
I agree about Lennon. I think he was extraordinary.
But surely his death got a huge ammount of media coverage. Of course we didn't have the Web back then.....
Edited at 2009-06-26 08:35 pm (UTC)
"Martin Luther Lennon" Paul McCartney referred to him once in a moment of exasperation I think.