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Most overwrought eulogy in all of human history (MJ, who else?) [View All]

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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 03:13 PM
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Most overwrought eulogy in all of human history (MJ, who else?)
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http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/browbeat/archive/2009/...

The moment I heard he died I watched the Motown appearance on my iPhone. It is thrilling. It belongs to eternity. But it also belongs to something else. It belongs to 1983, an annus mirabilis, in its way, in American life; a year of economic recovery that, in addition to prosperity and the King of Pop, brought us Madonna, Oprah, Jay McInerney, Tom Cruise, Michael Milken, Vanity Fair, and the resurrection of Andy Warhol, downtown impresario behind the Limelight nightclub. Thus Jackson was a central figure in the re-creation of a viable American mainstream, a mainstream dominated by the larger-than-life, if youre being politeor credulous. I prefer the noun form of grotesque.

What Jackson made of himself must form part of any honest eulogy. Defendants wish to be found innocent of the charges. Jackson was no usual suspect. He wanted to be found innocent, through and through. Innocent of guile, of all bodily dross and urge. Innocent of adult experience. Instead he found himself, as he sequestered with the bones of the Elephant Man, merged physiognomy with Diana Ross, and bedded down with little boys, at some weird four corners of his own making, where the innocent and the sinister, the icon and the freak, all come together.

The falsetto speaking voice, the licorice eyes, hair steam ironed and Zambonied until it was straight. The skinwhat? We still dont know. Bleached? Blanched? Poached? The barely suppressed facial hair. Effacement, defacement, refacement, unfacement. What word could do justice to the creation, out of a perfectly normal human countenance, of the dilapidated faerie mask that MJs eventually became? It was as if the slightest concession to the normal human horizon would let in a besieging pain. To substitute for the childhood he never had, he picked, with uncanny accuracy, exactly those things that dont substitute for an actual childhood. Amusement parks and toysthe placatory devices of the bad parent.

A genius; an angry dancer; a grotesque among grotesques. What to make of Jacksonian America, now that the King himself is dead? An immense and spectacular frenzy; an urgent celebration; the affect of triumph; at its center a derangement; beneath that, in all likelihood, nothing.


:eyes:
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