Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On Retracting Thoughts and Feelings


Much to my own surprise, I haven't been able to stop thinking about Michael Jackson.  For the last many years, I've been in the anti camp.  Fodder for off-colour jokes above all else, I wrote him off as an egomaniacal sociopath who obviously did inappropriate things to children.  He'd become a mockery of himself and, as a friend succinctly put it, I too started mourning the death of MJ when Macaulay left the ranch.

But with all the retrospectives, cover stories, and rubber necking since, I've shifted.  I hear his songs differently, really noticing his immeasurable talent.  I'm overwhelmed by the memories of his lavish music videos and incredible live performances.  I am, after all, a product of the 90s when morphing faces and duets with Janet were a total BFD.  

I re-watched the now-classic Oprah interview from 1993 and the infamous Martin Bashir debacle that followed a decade later.  In the former, he reads as a charming and stunted man-child, loveable and fragile.  When Oprah asks him to sing her a little something he does, and brilliantly, and then crumples into shyness - and it's genuine.  In the latter he has become something altogether different, a jittery and erratic lunatic, what with Jesus Juice, baby-dangling and obvious drug dependencies.  But instead of seeming "wacko", it's just deeply sad.  He was a man who had very clear psychological and developmental issues, one who epitomized the child star.  And it would appear no one in his real life cared enough to take care of him.  

He was a person thrown to the wolves at every turn.  From childhood backstage beatings to tabloid culture run amok.  He didn't really stand a chance, did he?  

6 comments:

  1. I've never felt sympathetic toward M.J. Until reading your post. Well written. You helped me to take Michael Jackson out of that untouchable celebrity status and to realize that he was a person, a sad person, with no chance.

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  2. post script: Due to the deeply felt depression, after having read your post, I will need to partake in an extra glass or two of scotch during happy hour(s).

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  3. I think you hit the nail on the head here. He was obviously talented to the highest degree, but his personal life was in shambles. Such a dual personality has to make for hard times.

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  4. I have always loved MJ and have always defended him. I think he was a broken soul who was taken advantage of his whole life. Starting with one of the people in life who should always protect you, your Dad. One of the most talented people in history. He was such a large part of my and so many others childhood and teens. A childhood he seems to have given up to entertain all of us.

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  5. Many have called him "talented", but has any one of you ever completely devoted himself with the same fervor to the songwriting craft, the fastidious attention to the effects of his chosen lyrics (Man In the Mirror) to flow effortlessly with a memorable, easy-to-sing melody? Or what about the hours and hours spent rehearsing and perfecting his dance routines to bring us viewing pleasure for years to come? The term "talented" doesn't even come close to his focused passion to persuade through his love of music. I deeply mourn the loss of such ability, the likes of which I haven't seen since.

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  6. It's all so sad, I think. He was almost doomed right from the start. Regardless of what you think of his (admittedly, VERY) questionable behaviour, you can't argue that he revolutionized music and dance. I think he was a very, very, troubled and lost soul, especially towards the end of his life. How weird to think that future generations won't know a world with MJ alive.

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