I’ve given it a few days but I’m fairly certain that I’m not finished with what I have to say about Michael Jackson. Watching all the documentaries and interviews since Thursday the thing that struck me most is how lonely a man he was. Where were all these people who are now crawling out of the woodwork and going on about how Michael was a dear, dear friend when he needed them? His life seemed very painful because through it all, he never seemed to get the understanding he craved. Even in death, MJ the cash cow is more important to some than MJ the human being.
Another observation I’ve made is about the viciousness with which humans treat others, particularly those in the public eye. Why do some people take so much pleasure in building others up and then tearing them down? People like David Beckham and Susan Boyle have been on the receiving end of this ugly behaviour. I’ve mentioned before that I did not enjoy watching the mockery of MJ while he was alive and unfortunately, it does not appear to be coming to an end even now. The obsession of some with presenting him as a freak is disgusting to witness and reveals a complete lack of empathy for the man or his family.
Sure, there is a lot about his life that is unclear but we have a ton of information on other aspects of it. Yet people insist on fitting his story into their narrow, pre-defined narratives without trying to gain a bit of understanding about what he might actually have been going through. I think I might do a silent scream if I hear one more person say how he hated his race and was trying to make himself a white woman. It is well-documented that he suffered from a skin disease that causes de-pigmentation of the skin. I’ve heard very little exploring the mental toll of living through your body losing its colour and not being able to do a thing to stop it. This would be hard on anyone but I can’t even imagine how devastating it would be for a person who grew up under the harsh gaze of the world in an industry where image is everything. It’s not like he could just disappear from view and so he covered up himself as best as he could. If he had appeared in public with the patchiness caused by the disease, he would still have been mocked.
It would be a great part of MJ’s legacy if his experience would cause people to reflect on how we treat our public figures. Somehow, I’m not very optimistic about this happening. What I think will happen is that after all the tears and tributes we will return to the same old, same old only to go through the whole process again in a few years.
Speaking of tributes, BET’s was mostly FAIL! The song at the end was good as were some of the older acts (BBD got me dancing and the O’Jays were great) but there wasn’t much more that made a lot of sense. A good rendition of Ave Maria can raise the hairs on the back of your neck but Beyonce’s version did not even come close. You know something is seriously wrong when music produced decades ago by people that could be your grand-parents is more credible and enjoyable than that of the most popular modern ‘artists’. With all our technology our music seems to be getting worse instead of better.