Friday, July 3, 2009

Michael Jackson as an Argument for Anarchism

We've all been either making jokes or trying to make it matter, so we can feel like somebody so "important" was actually a part of our lives and it wasn't all fantasy, but it's been a week since Michael Jackson died and people are still talking about it.
Why not me? It might get this bastard some actual visitors, if I talk about something cheap and topical. Maybe that's low, but his own family has sunk lower, promoting Joe Jackson's new record label, so - not only do I not give a shit, in the first place - I've got obtuse justification for not giving a shit.

Like I said, we've all been making jokes or playing sad. Nobody I've noticed, however, has been saying what I think should be more inevitable than it's proven itself to be; "There goes one possible Anti-Christ."

I know - I know, I said the stigmatic A-C-word & forever metal-branded my forehead with a big, red Bible-thumper scar. But, really, I'm not one to get riled up about the end of times. If I had a stopwatch, set to zero hour, things might be different . . . but I don't. Nor do I want one. I don't want the world to end, but I don't want it to just keep going. I care about the end of the world, but I don't give a damn if it happens in my lifetime or not. I don't care how it happens. I don't care if I'm raptured, or if I wake up with a suit of armor on, one day, and one of those sweet Desert Eagles that say "Sword" on the side, like in Romeo and Juliet.
I really don't care about how the book of Revelations bears fruit and I don't care when. But I do know that I can ditch the playful (but entirely logical) idea that Jacko might be The Jackal.

I don't think, across cultures, nations and peoples, there has been a single human being as loved, in my lifetime, as Michael Jackson. The man had power beyond Machiavelli's wettest of dreams, and he never had to be feared. Even in the face of diametric accusation of child molestation (one of the highest crimes, in the popular hierarchy of evil) the man was loved beyond love. People cried, in his presence. They wept. To see this man, people lost control of their bodies and their souls and they fucking wept. The only other footage I've seen of that kind of reaction was to The Beatles. And, then, even John Lennon - who was/is suspected of having sold his soul to the Lord of the Flies, himself - admitted, then, that The Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ. And why not? We're not talking about freshly menstrual girls turning into teary, pink and turquoise blurs of sexual frustration, waving the current issue of Tiger Beat. We're talking about men, women and children of all ages responding to the presence of The King of Pop with a messianic overwhelming that would lead any onlooking seraph to expect the sonofabitch to pull a sword out of his mouth and open a bunch of scrolls.
He wasn't just an idol. Idols are unwitting chunks of inanimate material that are hewn into worshipped objects against their will and understanding.
Michael Jackson was a false god. And I'm not even talking about the Sunday school interpretation of a role model. I'm talking about somebody who was aware they were worshipped and used it. That laser-eyed monstrosity, in Las Vegas is an idol. Michael Jackson was C-3P0 among Ewoks (that's right, I used one of the worst parts of Return of the Jedi analogously. Live with it.)

Now, keep in mind, I'm not trying to posthumously vilify the once human wax museum we knew as King, but I'd like to take the next few paragraphs to actually itemize a little of what I'm talking about:

I'll leave out all of the stuff about him trying to put his penis inside of children, because the way it was handled by all parties and the public make it impossible to ever know the facts.
I think the most interesting thing about that time in his life was the fact that he was still so well loved. You could argue that all of his television interviews did so well, out of a morbid, public curiosity. But, then, why did his album climb back into the top ten? We were watching, because we loved him and we would tune into any image of his face we could find.
And, perhaps, our adoration is what he needed to bolster his kingly confidence back to its designated pinnacle. At the height of his lawsuit, he married a princess. She looked a bit too much like her dad, but that didn't matter. Who cares about looks, when you're using a human being to make a fashion statement? "I'm the goddamn King of Pop and I'm marrying me the goddamn daughter of the goddamn King of Rock & Roll!"
That poor, drunk-looking girl has spent her whole life getting passed around, like the mouthpiece of a fucking hookah, for who she is. I'd feel bad for her, but she wears that cowboy hat all the time, so I guess that means she's tough enough to take it.

That all was 1993 and 1994.

Enter 1995: Michael Jackson puts out HIStory: Volumes I & II. Although the name's a little goofy and slightly smacks of Mel Brooks, it's also a bit creepy and hints at a sort-of G_d complex. That, however, is beside the issue and treads a little too closely to Coast to Coast's territory for me to believe I'd actually be credible, if I went there. What's really interesting is the fact that we still loved this man - the whole world (with a few Afghani exceptions) loved this man - so much that we ate up whatever he could dish out. It wasn't just forgiving him for what he may have done. It was our outright refusal to be over-saturated. We just kept soaking him in. He was almost all that was on television for two years. He was the O.J. Simpson trial, before the O.J. Simpson trial. He was inescapable, but we still bought his double disc album, right away, and made it debut at #1, worldwide. It was the best selling multiple disc album of all time, and it wasn't even all original material. Half of it was a fucking greatest hits album! On top of that, he was scolding us for paying too much attention to him and we still had to hear it.
It was under the banner of that album that he also claimed to speak for all people of all beliefs and cultures, of all colors, in all the nations. Shortly before HIStory's release, The New York times cited "They Don't Care About Us" as being antisemitic. Rightfully so:
"Beat me, hate me
You can never break me
Will me, thrill me
You can never kill me
Jew me, sue me
Everybody do me
Kick me, kike me
Don't you black or white me"

When confronted on the topic, he had this to say; "The idea that these lyrics could be deemed objectionable is extremely hurtful to me, and misleading. The song in fact is about the pain of prejudice and hate and is a way to draw attention to social and political problems. I am the voice of the accused and the attacked. I am the voice of everyone. I am the skinhead, I am the Jew, I am the black man, I am the white man. I am not the one who was attacking. It is about the injustices to young people and how the system can wrongfully accuse them. I am angry and outraged that I could be so misinterpreted."

Subsequent apologies were made, but all-in-all, he continued to sell albums and continued to be stood-up for.

His tour that year played for 82 dates, in 58 cities. 4.5 million people attended the shows and made his tour the most successful he'd ever had.
The more people came up against him, the more others rallied to him.
He was the leader of the free world.
He was unaccountable. Maybe not untouchable, but the man was accountable to nobody.
The woman he hastily married, that year, gave him full custody of the children they had, together, without a fight. How many rich men does that happen to?

In 1997, he put out a remix album of songs from HISstory, which sold 6 million copies. It was a remix album of songs that came out two years before that. It was a remix album.

It was a remix album.

From here, I could go on. It's all recent enough, however, to be served pretty well by memory. Otherwise, look it up.

When you get down to it, though, it's just the story of a man with a cathedral-sized ego and the public adoration to match. That kind of thing scares the shit out of me.
Power is power. It doesn't have to be political. It can be anything.
The bottom line is, if people cry, when they see you, you know you're their god and, unless you're really G_d, that power is probably going to deeply corrupt you.

Watch interviews with this guy. He justifies everything. Nothing he does is wrong. He made mistakes and miscalculations, but the man really believed himself to be sinless. He didn't think he was accountable to anybody. He lashed-out, whenever his power was threatened, and maintained the reputation of a gentle spirit.

If anybody is/was a "living" argument for Anarchism, it was Michael Jackson.

I didn't hate the man, but I'm glad he's dead.