Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson... enough already!

We've had a heat wave going on here for the past 5 days so naturally I was parked in front of the TV more than any other time.

It's been wall-to-wall Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson's death, MJ's kids, MJ's will, MJ's personal habits, MJ's childhood, MJ's trial, MJ's father, MJ's siblings ... you name it! It's been morning until night since Thursday when he reportedly died.

The whole media circus is beyond cloying. The guy was a singer. He was not a diplomat. He wasn't a revolutionary. He didn't create a social movement that brought about world peace. He wasn't Nelson Mandela or Barack Obama.

He might have been a nice guy. I don't know. At the very minimum, from what little I know, his life was a troubled one.

But he was a singer! He played and sang music!

To the best of my knowledge, he didn't create social change with his music. "Billie Jean" is not a song of social significance. Neither are the rather vacuous "Ebony and Ivory" or "Man In The Mirror". They were just pop songs. They were bouncy and fun, made for good dance music. That was it!

He was talented. Granted. But he's not an idol. He was a talented musician who went the way of many talented musicians from Jim Morrison to Janis Joplin. It was a result of self-indulgence for all of them. I'm too old to believe in "tortured artists". They had too much money, too many sycophants and no particular foundation for living.

When I was a kid, it was all about the Beatles. Young girls my age went to concerts or movies where they'd scream their lungs out. It was mass hysteria. Some of them even passed out. My parents allowed me to go to the concert at the Cow Palace in 1965. It involved an entire weekend trip. I was 13 years old. "All the other kids" in the neighborhood were going which was usually a fairly compelling argument to my parents. So they packed me up with my friend Davida and we went. Neither of us, budding hippies that we were, were impressed. I remember the crowding, the smell of pot and an evening of rather mediocre music. I also remember the screaming which seemed rather odd, given the price of the tickets. No one was listening to the music.

Even at that age, I thought the whole thing was goofy. I was a fan of Joan Baez, Barry McGuire and Peter, Paul and Mary. Their concerts were wonderful but the mania over any musician never caught me.

Maybe that's why I am not understanding what's going on now.

Michael Jackson is dead. Let the man rest in peace.



heartinsanfrancisco said...

I think that the widespread need to worship celebrities is like the pre-World War II Japanese who sincerely believed that their Emperor was a god. We make gods of our movie stars, supermodels and especially pop musicians, who are rarely seen as the mere mortals they are with foibles and insecurities like the rest of us.

And when they die, we often paint them as embodiments of all good personal qualities, even though many famous people notably lack them.

MJ was an extremely talented artist who was unable to find true happiness, from all accounts. Like Morrison. Joplin and so many others, his life was relatively short. His innovative dancing style was exciting in its time, but nobody is meant to stay in the limelight forever. He had far more than his allotted 15 minutes, and I hope his fans will now allow him to RIP.

Anonymous said...

whenever i get impatient with the hero worship of musicians, i try to remember that i might feel this way if an author i admire passed.

flutter said...

you're right, I mean I am MUCH more upset about Billy Mays :P

meno said...


(I know you don't like cursing, so i censored. :))

Angela said...

I know what you mean, Chani. I'm terribly sad for the life that Michael Jackson ended up leading, but the worship is kind of disturbing. Mass diversion.

justme said...

I completely agree! he was an idol....not a hero. yes, he revolutionalized the music as we knew it. but he didn't perform miracles, and quite obviously led a life that was full of strife due to his fame.

Cecilieaux said...

You know that MJ's death is connected to Farrah Fawcett's? Yes, it's like this:

Farrah Fawcett received the last rites in the hospital and was accompanied by a priest as she died, so she went straight to heaven, where she was granted one wish for the world she had left.

She wished that all children in the world would be safe.

So God zapped Michael Jackson.


secret agent woman said...

I've seen very little about Michael Jackson, except in the blogworld. Maybe I don't watch enough TV? :)

Olivia said...

I agree with everything you wrote, Chani. I don't understand celebrity worship, which is what this is. It always has seemed odd to me, bizarre.

The media desperately wants to deliver news that people want and this is what so many do want, I think!

Peace and coolness,


Border Explorer said...

Love this post. I'm just as fed up as you are, Chani. At first, I paid attention to the hype thinking that I had missed something in Michael Jackson's life and work. But, I didn't see anything that important there either.

Leann said...

I completely agree with you. My hope for MJ is that he is finally at peace.

Woman in a Window said...

Michael Jackson died?
Really. I haven't been watching tv or listening to news but my sister did mention it a few days ago.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

And it's still going on. Enough already.

Carla said...

From what you're saying, I'm glad I don't have a TV. What a time sucker. Like you said, he made music, but accomplished nothing particularly worthy of shrine worship. I wish his family well, but feel no interest in obsessing about them or Michael.

Kathryn Knoll said...

Go to my latest blog post and then maybe you will understand the greater purpose of all of it. Hugs, K

Anonymous said...

I so totally agree with your words and have blogged to the same effect.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change