Thursday, June 25, 2009

Do You Remember the Time When You Fell in Love with a Michael Jackson Song?

Man, I was trying to process the death of Farrah Fawcett, and there I was sitting at Halo with friends, and the news of Michael Jackson appears. Now I am the first one to tell folks that I was not a big MJ devotee, like many. Yet, I fully recognize the power of his position within the context of pop music. He was (I cannot believe I am writing this so soon) the "King of Pop"; there is no dispute.

"Off the Wall" and "Thriller" were the albums that spoke to me the most. Though I love other artists, I am the first to concede that those albums were fucking off the charts. Man! His videos were iconographic, and he always had a presence, always. "Remember the Time" was my song though. The video seems to evoke an African beauty, and a spot on pop sensibility.

A friend of mine wrote that she felt that our childhood was over. From the Jackson 5 cartoon, to the rise of MTV, to the crowning of MJ as "King of Pop," Michael Jackson belonged to Generation X, all of us. I don't care if you were a fan of the hair metal bands, new wave, hip hop or contemporary country, Michael Jackson was a part of the Generation X world. Whether you loved him or not, you acknowledged him.

The king is dead; long live the king. And may he rest in peace, finally.


Scott said...

Have you ever listened to the music of Oscar Peterson? His technique on the piano was legendary, but the thing that made him amazing to me was that he was able to do things any other pianist would need 3 hands to do--and he made it look easy. Flowing, effortless. Like he never broke a sweat.

I can't say that Michael Jackson was much a part of my musical childhood, he was pretty much retired by the time I started listening to music seriously, and I moved pretty quickly from pop and rock to jazz as my favorite. But I've been watching some of Jackson's videos and I have to say that as a dancer, he had what Oscar Peterson had as a pianist. The moves were amazing, but those moves simply flowed from him as if he was the music itself.

I think Michael Jackson's dancing was what is meant by the phrase, "poetry in motion."

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't a reflection on his life include his enormous flaws? He mutilated his body beyond recognition, he was a self-described addict, and he most likely molested children. He sang some catchy songs, but we shouldn’t ignore who he really was because society is enamored with celebrities.

hscfree said...

@Anonymous: I think that the coverage that we have seen has indeed covered all ground with regard to Michael Jackson.

@Scott: I have not knowingly listened to Oscar Peterson, but I am familiar with his name. Are you familiar with sax player Joshua Redman?

Anonymous said...

We have seen coverage in the press about those aspects of his life, but I was interested in YOUR thoughts on those issues.

For instance, as gay black man, do you think Jackson was gay? What do you think he was doing with those children in his bed? There is a long line of literature in the gay community that describes an older gay man "initiating" a younger man. Do you think that was what Jackson was trying to do?

I find all of the celebration over the top. A lot of the media is just cashing in for ratings—I saw the Today show do an interview with the zookeeper who has Bubbles the chimp. The correspondent actually asked the zookeeper if he thinks that Bubbles knows that Jackson is gone. But I am particularly interested in the black community's willingness to skip over all of the negative aspects of his life. This willful blindness to truth seems to be a recurring theme (OJ Simpson comes to mind).

hscfree said...

@Anon 2: I've wondered if MJ was gay, but I'm not sure. And regarding pederasty, I think you might want to look past the gay community on that one; that is an issue as old as man (Greek man definitely). And, it's rather retrograde to think that gays "initiate" folks. That would have to be based on the false presumption that gays are made and not born, and that in order to become "gay" one has to be initiated. Was R. Kelly "initiating" that girl into heterosexuality? Minus that "initiation," is it possible that she could have become a heterosexual on her own?

And I assume that you surveyed all of the black people in the country to conculde that the black community has a "willingness to skip over all of the negative aspects of his life...?" And, I am confident that there is a varied opinion on OJ as well. Most people I know, myself included, believe that he did it. Meanwhile, that jury, for whatever reason, decided otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Is it your view that 100% of people engaged in homosexual sex are born gay? Just curious.

I didn't survey all the black folks in America—I was thinking of those I saw in the press commenting on his life. But you give a great example of the tendency I describe in your own post on Marion Barry.

hscfree said...

@Anon 3: Come on now. Of course there are people who can engage in same-sex sexual activity and not be born gay. Just I as I am physically capable of engaging in heterosexual sex. I have no idea of your sexual orientation, but I am confident that you are comfortable with it, came to the realization of it, and acted on it. Ultimately, I did the exact same thing. So, your question does nothing to counter the fact that people are born gay. So, you asked that question to convey what point?

Regarding Barry, I have to let you know that his ward is not 100% black, and last I checked, in his re-election for mayor, he had non-black support.

When I post, I try my best (though may not always be successful) not to use brush strokes that are too broad when I talk about the right, or conservatives. I really try to temper my comments by using a word like "some," or with a phrase like "there are those on the right." I recommend that you attempt the same. No group is monolithic, and I try as I might not to treat any as such.

Anonymous said...

I guess the point is that the underlying premise for gay rights is that people are born gay. If some people are acting gay but are not born gay, do they also deserve special rights?

Nutty white folks may have supported Barry as well but the overwhelming amount of his support came from the black population.

I used the word "seems" but your right; I should have added another qualifier.