Friday, July 31, 2009

Michael, We Hardly Knew Ye

In the ongoing rush to find meaning in Michael Jackson’s death, it’s easy to forget that his life was worth something. He was a pop powerhouse, a moneymaking machine that overshadowed even the nasty rumors that circulated about him. That was probably his triumph. He transcended his own weirdness. It was a stupendous achievement, given his unproductive proclivity for secrecy and indecipherable erotica. He only produced one really great recording in his adult life: “Thriller,” the killer-diller multimillion-selling album that drew the world’s spotlight to him.

But what did all the hoopla “Thriller” generated amount to in the end? A lot of airplay and enough bucks to build his infantile Xanadu, “Never-never-land,” where the happenings conjured up his own private hoodoo, hanky-pankied by the media into strange doings that were based on precious little evidence … except for his choice of verifiable roommates and his curious appearance.

The surgical carving of his skull … the white tint of his skin … the single white glove. The Peter Pan presence.

Now drugs have come into the picture. Doctors were involved in unsavory ways. Or, so it is being suggested. Like Elvis and Hank Williams and John Lennon and an angelic choir of others, Michael Jackson is now just another statistic in the archive of fabulousness, a king without a crown.

So what?

So his passing was, in a way that is only now fully unfolding, a good career move. As one CBS Records executive said: “Frankly speaking, he was worth more dead than alive.”
Let the selling of sensationalism begin a new chapter. Everybody knew it would come to this eventually.

“History is not my story.
“History is not your story.
“History is
“His story.”

-- Sun Ra (a.k.a. Sonny Blount),
Visionary leader of the Intergalactic Omniverse Jet Arkestra

1 comment:

  1. Spoken like a true a true journalist who never met Sun Ra -- let alone had a real conversation with him.