Friday, July 3, 2009
by John Butler of the John Butler Trio
Does the world need another blogger sinking the slipper into the unevenly decomposing corpse of Michael Jackson?
Probably not, but then the world probably never needed another Michael Jackson album after Thriller or, in my opinion, Off the Wall.
To my mind, it was all downhill after the early classics like Don't Stop Til You Get Enough.
Watching that video - lest we forget - it's obvious that Michael Jackson really was a star. No pop star before or since could stand in front of a camera and captivate you in the same way. Dressed in a tuxedo, singing in falsetto, it's amazing how masculine he looks. It's an interesting phenomenon that the more he tried to be macho - telling us how bad he was, dressing like a gangster or zombie, grabbing his crotch to remind us he had one - the less of a genuine threat he seemed to any female of breeding age.
Likewise, as his skin lightened, the music seemed to get whiter and less interesting. Eventually it all collapsed into a saccharine bombastic ball of goo. Jackson produced three or four classic pop songs in his early years, but I would sooner gnaw my arm off at the elbow than listen to a whole "best of" album.
But the thing that pisses me off about Michael Jackson is the same old thing that pisses me off about the vast majority of celebrities.
To become a top pop star or performer must require a certain amount of ego and self obsession that most of us don't have. Unfortunately, this is so often incompatible with the selflessness and normal values you require to be a good parent. But steady on, I hear you say, what do you know about Michael Jackson's parenting skills?
What I know is that good parents don't put themselves in a position to die young. I also know that good parents allow their kids the chance to have a mother. Good parents give you proper names, and they give you a chance to be normal and to be yourself
Maybe he was a kiddie-fiddler - I can't profess to know. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt.
But fundamental to my dislike for Michael Jackson is his plain old hypocrisy - the huge gulf between his professed care for children and his inability to be a good parent.
Then, inevitably, there are the excuses about his upbringing and inability to have a normal childhood. Millions of people have overcome much greater hurdles in their lives. Millions of people of Jackson's age grew up in a generation where they were treated roughly or off-handedly by their parents.
But every day, millions of people from this generation show their love for their children by just getting on with life: by dragging themselves out of bed and going to work each day, by giving their kids reasonable names they can call their own, by not getting zonked out on prescription drugs, by making sure to still be around to attend their wedding. They have problems, they get over them.
This was the kind of commitment that was always way beyond that spaced-out goofball, Michael Jackson - all of which may have been okay had he not set himself up as some great children's advocate.
Michael Jackson's death is the end for a great pop musician. But hopefully it also represents the end of a whole mountain-full of bullshit.
Posted by Margo's Maid at 11:33 AM