Nonsensical and sometimes not-so-nonsensical rants about what may or may not be going through my head. Try to liberalize your canvas of interpretation when reading these posts - you will go far...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

For the love of MJ

"Why not just tell people I'm an alien from Mars? Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They'll believe anything you say, because you're a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say 'I'm an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight,' people would say 'Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He's cracked up. You can't believe a damn word that comes out of his mouth.'"

People are often bewildered, amused almost at my love affair with Michael Jackson. Most of them immediately respond with a, ‘You like that child molester?’ in incredulity and horror. I try to handle such situations with nonchalance and composure but the truth is, I cannot feign indifference and that manifests itself in my terse replies. Contrary to what most people think, I am not blind to Jackson’s many flaws and imperfections. I realize the horrible atrocities which he was said to have performed have besmirched his reputation, but I also appreciate that they may or may not have occurred; few people know the answer to that part of the story. And therefore, to accuse him so authoritatively and with such unfaltering conviction is both unfair and uncalled-for.

More than Jackson’s revolutionary music, his awe-inspiring dance moves or his phenomenal success, what draws me towards him is his incredible life and the aplomb with which he lived it. It is so easy to disparage and sully his reputation, but a deeper and more introspective look yields a glimpse into a deeply troubled individual who not only happened to revolutionize the music and the music video industries but also lived a most extraordinary life. The tragic details of his life are not unknown; he was raised in a tumultuous home, suffered physical and verbal abuse from his father and spent a major part of his life sheltered and lonely for companionship. His circumstances in life caused him to grow up in age, but not in maturity level. He was an adult trapped inside the mind of an adolescent, with a penchant for having a Peter Pan complex. Needless to say, there is more to MJ’s story than meets the eye…

In his last few years, especially the ones following the child molestation allegations, Michael had become a laughingstock. People ridiculed his lifestyle, his appearance, his personality, his mannerisms. He had always been shy and reserved but after the criminal charges were levied on him, he became a recluse. He was ostracized by the media, and hordes of paparazzi hounded him mercilessly. But it is entirely irrelevant what the public perception was and is of this man, and his 'Wacko Jacko' persona. MJ proved his mettle as a singer/performer par excellence; he was an icon who turned the pop industry on its collective ear with his impeccable falsetto and rhythm.

As an entertainer, Jackson was revolutionary. With his trademark single white glove, his sequined red jacket, and his spry agility and lightness of foot, Michael moved with trademark flair, and it was clear that he belonged on the stage, regaling audiences spanning several decades. When MJ would moonwalk across a stage he would send throngs of fans into an unequivocal frenzy. Trying to perfect his elegance caused many a night of unrest for millions, as they endlessly attempted to sashay backwards across their floors, but in vain.  

Somewhere underneath that collision of figures that is his career - twelve No. 1 records, fifty one million copies sold of Thriller, eighty million copies of the others, thirteen Grammy Awards - there's a man, and one whose achievements are far greater than mere numbers. His '80s success opened up white America to black music in a way never seen before. Without Jackson there is no Prince. No Whitney Houston. No Lenny Kravitz. And the world is a lesser place. 

Such is the magic of MJ…