A genius and iconoclast dies; my thoughts on Michael Jackson

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Everyone knew within hours that The King of Pop died. The man who defined musical talent in the 80s passed away, it appears from a heart attack. Michael Jackson, a man who it now seems to me, was blessed with such an immense musical ability that he was eventually swallowed by it.

Looking at Jackson in recent years, I realized that his own genius had in some way alienated him from reality. It was easy to see that he was different, as if some extra-planar being who’d come to visit this world from his own place, which consisted of musical harmonies, and electric dances. I may be waxing melodramatic here, and I realize that our post-modern world is defined by its cynicism, but let’s put that away just for a moment.

In interviews with Jackson, it was plain that Jackson was not comfortable in his own skin. And yet when he gained the stage, he forgot himself with the skill of a Zen master. He didn’t care what people thought of him when he performed, and somehow that supreme confidence forced people to be amazed. The glove. The slithering, snapping dance moves. The voice that sounded effeminate and drew–from the beginning–questions about Jackson’s sexuality.

To ask a master of any art to rid himself of eccentricity seems to me, inhumane. It is the master’s differences, not his sameness, that draws us to him.

And yet, Michael Jackson was doomed by his differences.

It has been said that no man who thinks or writes well is happy. This probably applies to any art. Jackson tore apart his visage with needless plastic surgeries, as if trying to claw away parts of himself that he hated.

Eventually his life spiraled into a whirlpool of lies, and questionable activity. Teenage boys sleeping in his bed. Stacks of pornographic magazines left for the nubiles to find, and perhaps to pique an interest in the forbidden. Rumors of peepholes in closet doors so a spy could watch someone using the toilet. Stuff that would have made Hitchcock proud.

We wanted to believe none of it.  “Love covereth a multitude of sins.” ~1 Peter 4:8. We loved Michael Jackson, in all his strangeness, with all his differences, for all that he made us feel in his music. We’ll never really know what the truth was.

In analyzing the evidence, I find this case compelling, confusing, and disgusting. As a former police officer, student of human psychology and current intelligence analyst, things like this draw me in. My belief is that Jackson probably did do some of the things he was accused of. His drug addiction and addiction to pornography are indicators to me that he was not in control of himself. His eccentricity and fame led him into a world of seclusion, pomp and arrogance. His evident self-hatred shredded his internal bulwarks, and eventually he gave in to the unthinkable.

Pure speculation on my part, of course; both sides had reasons to lie. No crime, no eerie  allegation can remove the power of his performances. To many Michael Jackson will always be a pop god, scaling musical Olympus. To others, he was a freak and child rapist. To me, Jackson was a haunted, tortured individual whose pain leaked out of him, displaying itself in powerful art, as well as scandalous deeds.

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One thought on “A genius and iconoclast dies; my thoughts on Michael Jackson

    Daniel Griffin said:
    July 1, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Thanks.
    Found this elsewhere, thought you might find it interesting: http://shazebqadir.com/2009/06/27/michael-jackson-peace-at-last-by-hamza-yusuf/

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