Author Topic: MICHAEL JACKSON by Nelson George  (Read 4227 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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MICHAEL JACKSON by Nelson George
« on: June 26, 2009, 07:26:06 am »
Orson Wells' rich, brilliant & ultimately doomed character Charles Foster Kane died, alone and unloved, in his California mansion. At the time of his passing he was a deformed, corrupt and far removed from the genius displayed in creating his mass media empire. In the aftermath of Michael Jackson's I couldn't help but think of 'Kane..' Michael's Zanadu had been stripped from him a few years back, leaving him wandering from rental to rental home, such as the one he died in in Los Angeles yesterday.

Michael was prepping to try to recapture his once elevated status with 50 sold out shows at London's massive O2 arena. But that was not to be. In fact I believe that the stress of preparing for that show, after his long performing layoff, played a role in his demise. With the music, videos and event tour that supported 'Thriller' Michael re-invented the art of the blockbuster album, creating an international stardom that endures. And, sadly, for the last twenty five years of his life Michael was in a losing battle with himself, trying to match that magical year even as the culture changed, the record industry imploded, and his personal demons ruined his reputation.

At several points in his life Michael revolutionized pop culture. He lead the first black teen group to cross racial lines. With Quincy Jones, he produced a trio of albums (Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad) that reinvented the rules for black artists musically and in terms of international appeal. The videos, grandiose, elaborate and full of wonderful dancing are still the gold standard for the merging of music & image. Along with Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, and so many other media legends, Michael made the '80s a golden age for black pop culture.

I, like so many of you, grew up with Michael Jackson. With my mother, sister and family friends I attended the Jackson Five's first Madison Square Garden show. Over the years I attended eight Jacksons/Michael Jackson shows and spend countless hours over the last forty years thinking about and, often writing about that man. In fact a book I did about him, The Michael Jackson Story, in 1984 jump started my career. It was first book and first exposure to the media machine that both celebrated, reported about and, ultimately, ripped him apart.

Its hilarious how one sided much of the immediate commentary about the man has been. Sinner or saint? More apt is artist and sinner. People want to simplify a truly complex life. We have to be sophisticated enough to acknowledge that greatness and a touch of evil dwelled in the man. I've always believed that transcendent art emanates from the purest, most evolved parts of our soul. But that highly spiritual achievement doesn't absolve us of our daily misdeeds. To simply brand him a smooth criminal, as some have, or to overlook his tragic nature, as have others, is to deny his humanity. The meaning of Michael Jackson's life -- as a black man, a sexual being, a abused and abusing adult -- will be interpreted to fit the prejudices of the speaker. His music -- it speaks volumes.

Offline Battle

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Re: MICHAEL JACKSON by Nelson George
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2009, 10:27:01 am »
I wonder if Micheal Jackson was secretly competing with Elvis' fame?

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

If it was to top Elvis's popularity as greatest entertainer of all time,

Yes, Micheal earned it.

-but-

Personally, I don't ever want Elvis level of fame if it comes at the cost,  Live Fast Die Young tragedy.  I want to live my own life.

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: MICHAEL JACKSON by Nelson George
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2009, 08:27:34 pm »
I don't want objectivity, nuance or complexity when it comes to an analysis of Michael Jackson at this point.

What I want and what the man deserves at this hour is pure, unadulterated praise.

We've had 15 years of ridicule, derision, lies and innuendo as the standard for reporting on Jackson. His artistry, vision and impact have taken a backseat for long enough now.

I never hear examinations of other luminaries not only prefaced but dominated by the negative.

The circus is a guaranteed phenomenon when it comes to Jackson. We will have paternity suits, conspiracy theories, family feuds and everything inbetween.

At this point I would hope that some would have the decency to call intermission on the sideshow until he is buried.

Offline Battle

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Re: MICHAEL JACKSON by Nelson George
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2009, 06:54:53 am »
I don't want objectivity, nuance or complexity when it comes to an analysis of Michael Jackson at this point.

What I want and what the man deserves at this hour is pure, unadulterated praise.

We've had 15 years of ridicule, derision, lies and innuendo as the standard for reporting on Jackson. His artistry, vision and impact have taken a backseat for long enough now.

I never hear examinations of other luminaries not only prefaced but dominated by the negative.

The circus is a guaranteed phenomenon when it comes to Jackson. We will have paternity suits, conspiracy theories, family feuds and everything inbetween.


I concur.

However, Micheal was a nuanced and complex person so people are going to want to dissect and analyze what made him what he was.

I also think there should be a comprehensive timeline of the events that  lead up to his death to bring relief to those anguished by his passing 'cause personally, I suspect foul-play.


Seriously.

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: MICHAEL JACKSON by Nelson George
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2009, 08:42:11 am »
Foul Play, really?

I don't even want to think it.

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: MICHAEL JACKSON by Nelson George
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2009, 01:35:54 pm »
I just saw a link to something involving the boy that recieved the million dollar settlement after makimg molestation allegations.

It better not be real.

Offline Open palm

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Re: MICHAEL JACKSON by Nelson George
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2009, 08:16:09 pm »
It's sad to read how the mighty have fallen. Critics haven't yet questioned what part we had played in Michael Jackson's life and demise. So many celebrities found their lives crushed by the pressure of their fame and success. I feel we were so easy to destroy him and praise him whenever it suited our whims. We easily forget that all these stars are just people instead of gods.

I honor Michael Jackson for his talent. That's why he's the King of Pop. My new favorite song his Brazilian version of "They Don't Care About Us". Awesome beat!
« Last Edit: June 29, 2009, 03:47:55 am by Open palm »
Do you prefer a hero who will confirm your deepest fears? Or a hero who will inspire faith in humanity and goodness?