"...There is so much more to say. Michael Jackson was layer upon layer of metaphor and walking commentary/cautionary tale. But I want to close by saying that the bifurcated coverage of his death leaves both sides with an incomplete picture. The sensationalists ignore the power and beauty of his work while wallowing in the sordid. Michael tapped into something universal and transcendent that reached from Gary, Indiana to Selma, Alabama to Moscow to Paris to Hong Kong. His soulful, heartfelt music and poetic athleticism were otherworldly; they resonated with all kinds of people. They soothed and inspired. At the same time, though, this is a man who had an obsession with childhood and an idealized notion of its trappings of innocence and playfulness, extending all the way to his hosting sleepovers with young boys that were, at a minimum, creepy as hell. He was damaged. He was thwarted in some crucial ways. It seems to me that the same impulses that manifested in his divine art also manifested as questionable (to put it mildly) predilections for companionship. (He’s in esteemed company in that regard.) It should all be put on the table at once. That’s the only way to get a truly complete picture of the man and glean something of both the sublime and the darker elements of his life and work, and to make sense of the fact that a wealthy, immeasurably influential, unfathomably talented global icon was seemingly so unhappy, so pained, and so unable to combat it."
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And the one that hit home the most: this passage that my mother sent me, written by James Baldwin in 1985 (in his essay Here Be Dragons).
"The Michael Jackson cacophony is fascinating in that it is not about Jackson at all. I hope he has the good sense to know it and the good fortune to snatch his life out of the jaws of a carnivorous success. He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables, for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael.
All that noise is about America, as the dishonest custodian of black life and wealth; the blacks, especially males, in America; and the burning, buried American guilt; and sex and sexual roles and sexual panic; money, success and despair--to all of which may now be added the bitter need to find a head on which to place the crown of Miss America.
Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated--in the main, abominably--because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires."
*yes yes, I know the actual lyric is "Dance you into day (sunlight)"
Posted by jsmooth995 at July 13, 2009 4:25 PM
ill Doctrine is a video blog hosted by Jay Smooth, host of New York's longest running hip-hop radio show, WBAI's Underground Railroad.