MICHAEL JACKSON: THE MAGIC AND THE MADNESS
The slideshow of the life and times of pop star Michael Jackson is still playing, even as friends, fans and family members continue to pay glowing tributes to the man who provided the redefinition of modern pop music.
It is expected that the late singer’s body will go on public view in a matter of days ahead of a funeral reportedly slated for next week.
Jackson, who died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Thursday June 25, was the most iconic pop star since Elvis Presley, and his rare talent and career achievements – in spite of myriad personal troubles and an eccentric public-private life- have stamped his name in the hearts of millions of fans around the world.
Just like James Brown, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and Fela Kuti, Jackson had remarkable personal failings, amazing contradictions and a huge potential to self-destruct. With a blessing of the gift, and the burden of a curse, it was inevitable that he’ll live a life dominated by magic on one hand; and absolute madness on the other.
So, he broke chart records, sold millions of albums, got ladies weak in the knees, recruited fans all over planet earth, dined with presidents, married Elvis Presley’s daughter, and won awards like they were going out of fashion. But, for every fine move, there were-unfortunately- a bundle of mishaps, waiting to rear their ugly heads.
The mishaps of many ramifications, and a media desperate to feed the public with endless jackson-mania –expectedly- connived to steal attention from Jackson’s art; making sure that when we pictured Michael, the man we saw was not a successful singer-songwriter-performer. What we saw, instead, was a weirdo, a freak, a paedophile, a liar. What we saw, was the image of an addict, a spendaholic, and a man-trying-to-be-a-boy.
If the media conspired against Michael, it could be said that he himself was part of the conspiracy. He fed lies to the press, pulled poorly-thought-out PR stunts that eventually backfired, and lived a very very bizzarre private life; one whose content is staple food for the tabloids. He got a nose job. Talked of buying the bones of ‘Elephant Man’. Cooked up the story of the oxygen chamber, saying he was going to ‘‘live forever’’, like ‘Peter pan’. He even got sperm donors and surrogate mothers when he wanted to have kids…
With increasing damaging coverage and post-surgery repercussions, Michael became a sad story and a sorry sight. And many wished he would just die, before his demystification reached full cycle.
And death- that’s what it took to remind us all; including the media, of how much we still adored the boy-man. It took Michael dying for us to celebrate him again. He may have failed to make the much anticipated comeback, he may have been on the bottom calibration on the barometer of media opinion, and he may have stopped being the ‘king of pop’ long before even he realised it.
But, when Michael’s heart stopped pumping blood last Thursday, no one could have predicted the outpour of love and emotion that followed – even from the media!
Did we really love Michael that much?
MICHAEL VS ELVIS?
Michael’s death, last week, has brought up a plethora of interesting debates. Among them: who was greater in life and in death? Michael Joseph Jackson? Or the equally legendary Elvis Aaron Presley who died at 42 in 1977?
I’d like to know what you think!