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We destroy that which we worship

Today, the internet is full of commentary on the life and death of Michael Jackson. Most of what I've seen so far stops around 1994ish or so, before things started getting so weird that the word "freak" was used more often than not.

I read a comment in a discussion about the cautionary tale that was his life: "There is no such thing as being as famous as Michael Jackson."

I can't think of anyone, with the possible exception of Elvis, before or since, who was.

At any rate, I don't have much to add to the discussion, other than reposting the 25th Anniversary of Motown celebration. I remember seeing this live. My parents especially tuned in for it. Another description was "supernatural talent". I tend to agree on that.

It seems to me that the life and death of Michael Jackson (and the South Park Episode "Britney's New Look" reflects this perfectly) is a reflection of American culture. We tend to destroy our celebrity young and then feast on their flesh.

ETA: I read another blog post that had an interesting perspective.
Growing up a Buffalo Bills fan, one of my boyhood idols was OJ Simpson. Talk about jarring. Even as a adult, I had a hard time comprehending that one. But that feeling of sad resignation sinks in and eventually overwhelms the distant pleasure of the childhood memories. I’ve learned, though, to separate the person from their gifts. Jackson was a one-of-a-kind performer. I may have stopped listening to his music many years ago. I’m sure I called him a freak. But I still appreciate what he was as an artist. OJ Simpson remains one of the best running backs I’ve ever seen.


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Jun. 26th, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC)
there have been many, many pop stars in the last 20 or 30 or 40 years, but none come to mind that influenced so much...fashion (hyper-zippered leather jackets, dance (moonwalk? revolutionary), and music's ability to reach out and help others. We are the World came way before Live Aid.

MJ is peter pan gone horribly rich and misguided. and yet, the 80's would not have such resonance nowadays without him.
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