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Tony Grist

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This May Lose Me Some Friends [Jun. 28th, 2009|02:30 pm]
Tony Grist
The music never dies. It goes on and on and on. Ad nauseum. Someone switch the bloody thing off.

Jackson's work is kitsch. Even the better stuff is slick and empty.

Fred Astaire said Jackson was the greatest dancer of the 20th century. I refuse to believe he meant it.

Bad? Not in the way he wanted us to think.

I find it shocking that people make excuses for Jackson that they wouldn't dream of making for other middle-aged men who like to share their beds with children.

By the time of his death he was a freeloading junkie who indulged himself in every little whim- but couldn't be bothered to pay his staff.

Celebrity turns men and women into monsters. The strong-minded get out before it destroys every last scrap of decency and truth.  Jackson wasn't strong-minded.
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Comments:
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From: algabal
2009-06-28 02:25 pm (UTC)
Wow. I admire you a lot from reading your blog, but this is repulsive.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 02:37 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry that you think so.

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[User Picture]From: rosamicula
2009-06-28 02:35 pm (UTC)
Mind if I use this in class tomorrow? Year tens will be examining different media responses to his death for the non-fiction part of the GCSE.

I'm going to shift after this topic into looking at the freedoms citizen journalism affords people in oppressed parts of the world and your liberty to strike a different note to most of the media and most of LJ leads nicely into that.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 02:38 pm (UTC)
Please do. I'd be honoured.
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[User Picture]From: kishenehn
2009-06-28 02:36 pm (UTC)
I agree completely ... so this might gain you some friends, too.

Thanks for having the courage to say it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 02:39 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome. :)
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[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2009-06-28 02:37 pm (UTC)
I was never a fan, don't think I could recognize anything of his except Thriller.

Fred Astaire must have been going senile - no way was Jackson better than him OR Gene Kelly or even Danny Kaye (and that's stretching it, Kaye was not a dancer either).
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 02:41 pm (UTC)
Maybe Astaire was just being polite. I don't know. Or modest.

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[User Picture]From: suzilem
2009-06-28 02:52 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed some of his music. "King of Pop"? Naah.

In his prime, he was a good dancer. NOT the same type (or even caliber) as Astaire or Kelly, but he (and/or his choreographer) stimulated a change in movement which has had an effect on dance since then.

There was much in his personal life that I found either repulsive or weird or unacceptable. The never ending plastic surgery. The pedophilia. The fiscal irreponsibility, including not paying his staff while he continued to indulge himself to the tune of millions of dollars. One of the weirdest things? Sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber.

But I still liked some of his music. I also like some of Sinatra's music and I don't like some of what he did or stood for either.

Edited at 2009-06-28 02:55 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 03:12 pm (UTC)
I so don't want him to become a saint of popular culture- alongside Elvis and Garland and Monroe- but I can see the process is already underway.

Resistance is futile.
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[User Picture]From: brttvns
2009-06-28 03:02 pm (UTC)
Well, you have just gained a friend in me for saying what you have. Could not agree more. Thanks for some reality amid the over-sentimental misted hype. I'm pouring a large one to you.
Cheers
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 03:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

I needed that. :)
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2009-06-28 03:20 pm (UTC)
I find it shocking that people make excuses for Jackson that they wouldn't dream of making for other middle-aged men who like to share their beds with children.

This aspect of the whole carnival surrounding Jackson's death is the most fascinating. We as a society forgive our celebrities all manner of sins - but something like domestic violence/child molestation? That's a hard one to wrap my head around, particularly since this isn't merely focusing on the so-called positives (i.e. the work) of the man, but excusing the negatives.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 03:37 pm (UTC)
Our society hates paedophiles- and yet Jackson- who was clearly a paedophile (whether or not he expressed this physically) gets a free pass. It seems to be a case of one morality for ordinary folks and another for the rich and famous.
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[User Picture]From: jourdannex
2009-06-28 03:23 pm (UTC)
I don't find this repulsive, I find most of it (to me anyway) sadly true. I have never in my life seen anyone's life benefit from celebrity alone. If the person is productive and well adjusted ...it can be survived and even thrive. But this level of celebrity, and just that alone, coupled with a creative personality and eccentricity or just being different or shy, this level of fishbowl life coupled with child abuse or self conscious fear to the point of altering your face to remove what you think is so offensive is disastrous. I am trying to stay away from the child molesting offenses because he was never convicted, but I think we all wonder if he was truly a Peter Pan like person or if more was at the centre of it.

Living in a world where I see a lot of people in the business of entertainment, some who deserve it and some who do not....no one is ever prepared for even the smallest levels of it...and I would not wish it on anyone. And his was a level that few will thankfully ever have to endure. Constant trailing, flashing, people in your face and outside your home just wanting a shot to sell every moment of the day. In some people it creates a "you can't touch me" god complex. Others lose themselves completely. He was lost, there is no denying that. And in the end, it's a sad person who went to great lengths to alter his appearance and sadly you are right in saying people would not have been so understanding if he was not who he was. Put him in any town down any street and people would have moved away and locked up their children. I will never say he did not contribute and change music. He did. We listened. Some loved. But I think we all looked at him in the past decade and just thought...this is sad, he's a lost person.

But would any of these people who are jumping on the bandwagon about him want their child spending a weekend alone with him? I wonder.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 03:47 pm (UTC)
I drew a little media attention once- very little, nothing to speak of really- but I could feel the pressure to adopt a settled persona and conform to it, to say things things people expected instead of what I really felt- and it unnerved me. I saw how quickly I might slide into inauthenticity- and turned sharply away.

I've little doubt that Jackson was a paedophile- in the sense that he was sexually attracted to children. Whether he ever acted on those feelings is another matter. I don't suppose we'll ever know for sure.
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[User Picture]From: wolfshift
2009-06-28 03:42 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you said here.

I don't care at all for his "music" or his public image(s) or his behaviour. Everything he gave to the world was vapid, shallow, and crassly, wastefully materialistic. It's utterly pathetic that he should be an "icon of the 20th century" or whatever they're calling him. If he's an icon of anything, it's of what's wrong with the world.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 03:50 pm (UTC)
I see him as an icon- perhaps the ultimate icon- of Celebrity culture. I hate it that he's going to be enthroned up there in Celebrity Heaven alongside Elvis and Monroe and Garland.
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[User Picture]From: litchick
2009-06-28 04:09 pm (UTC)
Bravo.

I like reading your journal, and this is why.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 05:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2009-06-28 04:17 pm (UTC)
heh - when I read your statement that "I'm keeping my mouth buttoned about Michael Jackson" I knew as sure as day follows night that a post like this would follow.

re the paedophilia, I am a believer in "separate the artist from his work" except perhaps if you are a mass murderer or tyrant - thankfully Hitler was a crap artist so that POV is not tested in his case!

I'm interested to know which celebrities have kept an authentic sense of self - a lot of people seemed to think Kate Winslet did, but then when she dumped the nice well-intentioned loser for the ambitious American director and started losing weight, people accused her of selling out. I'm wondering if it's possible, to be honest.
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[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2009-06-28 04:24 pm (UTC)
Bruce Springsteen maybe?
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From: sunfell
2009-06-28 04:23 pm (UTC)
Your opinion is relevant. And grounded.

Jackson was a good pop-artist. "Off the Wall" fueled my studies in tech school.

But the man was a product of an unfortunate collision of rare probabilities that had stems of propogation which were both highly positive and highly negative- his incredible talent being the positive stem, and his early separation from grounded reality being the negative stem.

In the end, they simply cancelled each other out, destroying him in the process. In my book, he'll be listed under 'don't be this guy'.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 06:04 pm (UTC)
I'm too old to have any emotional attachment to Jackson's music. I remember taking my kids to see Moonwalker and being amazed at its puerility.

"he'll be listed under 'don't be this guy'" That's an excellentway of putting it.

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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2009-06-28 04:36 pm (UTC)
When you are very rich, or very powerful, people stop saying "no" to you. I think that's where it goes wrong.

And Ginger Rogers said she did everything Astaire did, but backwards, and in high heels. So much for moonwalking.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 06:07 pm (UTC)
I don't know what the remedy is- except not to seek that kind of fame in the first place, because it's a killer.

I'd trade the whole Jackson oeuvre- gladly, happily- for a single sequence of Rogers and Astaire.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2009-06-28 04:39 pm (UTC)
But how old was Astaire when he said that? Perhaps he was just lamenting his own lost agility and ability. It was an elderly dancer's opinion. Who knows?

The Jackson I keep in mind is the 13 year old very talented boy/adolescent of my high school years. The Jackson 5 were very much an explosion for the times. After that, he just got weirder and weirder...there were flashes of inspiration but he was much as you say.

I do enjoy your opinions and takes on many things, Tony. Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 06:11 pm (UTC)
Astaire would have had to have been an old man. I don't suppose he was on oath. :)

I never grooved to the Jackson 5, but I'll admit the young Michael had talent.

Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: suemars
2009-06-28 04:49 pm (UTC)
i absolutely won't unfriend you, all this has gotten crazy, some of the things that are being said. comparing him to christ???? just some poor lost man/child. i don't think he knew what was happening. as far as the music, i agree with your previous post. lots better.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-28 06:14 pm (UTC)
Exactly. Did Christ have a lifestyle that cost him $30,000,000 a year?
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