Posted by: Khepera | Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Notes on Michael Jackson…

First of all, while I grew up in Detroit, watching his, and his family’s meteoric rise, I had the advantage of many of my contemporaries of being able to view his genius against a backdrop of a broad spectrum of genius. These days, we too easily throw out the “______ Greatest of All Time” label, without due consideration to those who came before(Muhammad Ali is the only person I can think of who can unquestionably hold that title). King of Pop, yes, without question, and his genius will be sorely missed. However, when you try to say the “greatest entertainer of all time,” I have to pause. Entertainer includes: dancing, singing, acting, writing, etc., etc., etc. As far as I know, MJ never acted in anything other than his Moonwalker video. When you put him beside Sammy Davis, Jr., Ben Vereen, etc., it’s not even close. Now, for those who dearly want to claim him as the “best dancer of all time,” I suggest you go to YouTube and watch some vintage videos — mid-70’s & earlier — of James Brown. Even Michael had the sense to yield to JB’s excellence, so why should we do otherwise?

Secondly, there is this:

“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.”

James Baldwin from his 1985 essay, “There be Dragons”, from his book, The Price of the Ticket…

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