Epitaph for a King

Michael Jackson was my first idea of cool. Before the inevitable disintegration that follows every shooting star as sure as a tail he provided a generation of youth the idea that you don’t have to shoot the fuck out of people to be cool. You can sing and dance and wear a single glove and a jacket with completely useless zippers and perform moves that seem to defy the rules of physics. I don’t know what sort of effect this had on us. We who emulated this King of Pop with our break dancing and style. I still wear white socks with a black suit because frankly Billy Jean is not my lover.

You remember when MTV played music? That’s what we have to talk about here. A Golden Age of popular song. A time when mass media was just beginning to realize the untapped potential of invading everyone’s eyes and ears. A time when a single man could rise above it all and ride the charts into the hearts of millions world wide. Provide an iconic and powerful hero to inspire a new generation of diversity and integration. Before Michael there was a long and lauded line of black artists who had achieved greatness but not acclaim. Michael took the investment to the bank and cashed it for all to see.

He was the original Smooth Criminal. Not because he made a career with the blood of movie foes. Not because he promoted violence and hate. Not because he used his station to promote himself into fortune, but because he stole the attention of the world.He let us dream that with enough talent and drive that we could achieve anything.

Of course then he started being crazy. Probably he was always crazy. I can’t imagine what sort of life the man led behind the scenes. He had been performing since the age of 5 or so. That’s got to take it’s toll on a person’s well being. Then you add to it piles of cash money and millions of adoring fans willing to do anything for your attention. Sure. That would drive me crazy. I’m crazy enough without any of those things working against me. Who knows if I would handle it as well as MJ? Probably not. Wouldn’t sleep with kids though. That’s a sort of weird that turned most people against him.

Before that it was all easily dismissed weird. He did marry Elvis’ daughter. Saw him kiss her once. Purchased a ranch and called it Neverland. Someone should have probably curbed that. I would have been looking for a better agent. Llamas and monkeys and the bones of John Merrick. Hyperbolic sleeping tents and a never ending carousel ride into lunacy. I think he could have used a friend like me. Someone to call him on these sorts of things, or, at the very least keep the reporters at bay with birdshot and arrows.

Through surgery and genetics Michael changed. Warped. What the hell is happening to Michael? We would worry. The monster depicted in our imaginations came to life as a fair skinned doe-eyed fiend. Some storybook fairy who stole away infants and dangled them from windows. Icarus had nothing on him. The crater Michael has left scattered red leather into space. The media, a hive of rumor and sensationalism, did their level best to destroy the man. I guess in the end they won. The prospect of a come back was too much for the man.

In the end he was stripped of everything. His fortune, credibility, respect, and health. I only hope that he met his end with some semblance of peace. Maybe pills or an aneurysm. For my part I will thank him for inspiring a younger me to reach for the stars… because maybe it would turn me into a giant robot. More than that I thank him for providing us all a cautionary tale that will be told to our posterity for thousands of years. Whatever he was and whatever he became he will always remain, undeniably, a legend. May flights of Angels sing thee to thine rest you unfortunate man.

Comments

Duke said…
Wait…you DON’T have to shoot the fuck out of people to be cool? …I’ve lost my way.
Seems like the 80’s are trying to come back as I walk past store windows. I’m not sure this is such a good idea, because I don’t think we’re done making fun of the 80’s. I don’t think we ever will be. Either way, white socks with a black suit via rebellion…well, it just makes me a little sad.
Oh, sorry, we’re talking about MTV playing music. …they play music?
The parallels between MJ and E are obvious. At least E didn’t sleep with the prepubescent. Uh…the under aged, yes, but not the prepubescent! But we (or people older than me rather) watched both of them descend into an inexplicable downward spiral. But the masses would mourn. Out of admiration, or out of guilt for being the toddlers so excited for the new toy, they dash it to pieces.
I guess the point is…the world needs more giant robots.

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