Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Michael Jackson -- The ARTIST, or the MAN?

Michael Jackson’s HUGE memorial service is today. A few of my friends are there. They managed to get tickets. I find it appropriate and fitting that two of them are there – I think they would be crying for a month if they weren’t.

I am curious though – what or who specifically are they/we all mourning today? The list of A-List participants at the memorial is pretty impressive. Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Usher, Kobe Bryant, Brook Shields to name a few. But are they there for The ARTIST, or the MAN? Are they there for who he was a very long time ago? Who he became? Can they possibly be there for both; possessing the infinite capacity of compassion necessary to embrace ALL of it? – Is it even possible to be there for both in this particular circumstance or is an astronomically vast fog of denial the collective need here? Can a proper memorial service celebrate the life of someone like Michael Jackson without mentioning the MAN, independent of the ARTIST?

Okay that was annoying. Yeah, I know – that’s a lot of questions, but seriously. My mind is churning here.

According to the relatively simplistic definition of Wiktionary, ARTIST is defined as follows:

A person who creates art.
A person who creates art as an occupation.
A person who is skilled at some activity.

Well, by that definition, Michael Jackson was certainly all that.

It defines MAN as follows:

A MAN is a male human. The term man (irregular plural: men) is used for an adult human male, while the term boy is the usual term for a human male child or adolescent human male. . . Sometimes it is also used to identify a male human, regardless of age.

The term "manhood" is used to refer variously to the condition of being male, male sexuality, or the actual reproductive organs.

Okay, by that definition as well, he was a MAN in that he had the requisite organs, he was an adult male, (though reportedly an adolescent human male in arrested development due to early childhood trauma.)

Like Howard Hughes -- the genius aviator and brilliant visionary; on one hand an undeniable talent and artist in his field and on the other, crazier than a shit-house rat – Michael Jackson was a dichotomy.

Back to my friends who are attending the memorial. One is a singer, one is a dancer. I am pretty sure that neither of them would be the type of performer they are today without the influence of the incredible artistic talent that was Michael Jackson. I am relatively certain that the mentally ill, self-hating-skin-bleaching-plastic-surgery-addicted-child-molesting recluse that slept with young boys and a chimpanzee had no influence whatsoever on the hundreds of thousands of people who grew to love Michael Jackson for his music, dancing and all around fashion forwardness. I am pretty sure that most people would like to forget all about that part.

I am also pretty sure that there are those that will never forget that part. There are those who would not be who they are today without the influence of THAT part of the equation and that is not really a great or even a good thing. I would not want their therapy bills, nor their nightmares. Nor still would I want to live for even five minutes in the head of any of the parents that pimped out their children to him so he could have unsupervised overnight child guests at Neverland Ranch and they could make a little cash. I would not want to be the staff that worked for him. I think Michael Jackson, the MAN, was a sick individual that needed to be locked up and not allowed custody of his soon-to-be-very-fucked-up children. I think he should have had himself cryogenically preserved after the Thriller Album – okay Off the Wall -- and ceased being at that place – it seems to be the place the rest of us stopped at with respect to our worship of him as an ARTIST. Our collective willingness to overlook each and every progressive action during the course of his mental decline, regardless how lawless or morally repugnant, is evidenced by the stadium-sized memorial going on as I write this (while simultaneously checking in on FaceBook to get the photo updates from my friend in VIP seating.)

Wiktionary also defines MAN as: Humanity as a whole. I interpret this to mean our collective ability to be compassionate -- to forgive. We are celebrating and mourning the life and death of Pop Culture itself today. The complete awesomeness that Pop Culture is, along with the twisted, sick and pathetic state Pop Culture can become.

I admit to feeling rather confused, numb, sad, angry and all of the feelings that go with being rather confused, numb, sad, angry. Not really knowing HOW to feel about something so large is an entirely undefinable thing that requires a new word that has not yet been invented.


Blogger Tom Harper said...

I hope Michael Jackson will be remembered for his phenomenal music, and I hope that's the reason so many people attended his funeral.

He's been mostly a punchline for the past 10 or 15 years, but I think that'll slip through the cracks and his music will live on.

08 July, 2009 14:50  

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