Sabtu, 27 Juni 2009

Michael Jackson death

Michael Jackson death, IN MODERN culture, the death of a major celebrity is the occasion for an accelerated frenzy of retrospection, speculation and outpourings of often mawkish sentimentality. Since the death of Michael Jackson a little over a day ago, the internet and social networking sites have been creaking under the strain of the massive response, which reflects the fact that Jackson was the biggest entertainment star of his era, as well as one of the most ambiguous and troubling.

Despite the self-aggrandising title of “King of Pop”, Jackson was indeed the most successful musical performer of his generation. The spectacular talent evident from his pre-teen years with the Jackson 5 came to full fruition in his early 20s, when he produced some of the most brilliant pop music of the late 20th century, delivered in astonishingly kinetic performances, both live and in the then relatively new medium of video.

Fusing the black music traditions of soul and disco with the dynamic creativity of choreographers such as Gene Kelly, he created a persona which mixed Motown with Hollywood. Thriller, the 1982 record which was to become the best-selling album of all time, broke down many of the barriers which had existed between white and black music in the US. But the self-inflicted metamorphosis which followed, from healthy-looking young African-American into chalk-white spectral presence, made him an ambiguous figure in the black community. And the retreat into a Peter Pan-like fantasy world of pet zoos and playgrounds only emphasised what an increasingly strange, remote and unknowable figure he was becoming.

A generation on from Thriller, Jackson’s life and career are inevitably seen through the prism of the tawdry and disturbing allegations of child sexual abuse which dogged him for the last 15 years, and of the increasingly bizarre public behaviour which saw him dangling his baby son from a hotel balcony in front of horrified fans.

Some may see this as a morality tale for our celebrity-driven times. Self-indulgent infantilism becomes alleged paedophilia, saccharine sweetness turns sickly and rotten, and the elaborately mutilated mask can no longer hide the corruptions of time. Others may prefer to remember the early brilliance, precision and energy of that perfectly attuned voice and those unparalleled dances. All of this, and more, forms part of the strange story of Michael Jackson, the childlike superstar who never had a childhood.

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