(Re-posted from Facebook, original date 6/26/09)
Michael Jackson was very complicated.
English geeks have something called semiotics, a sort of science about meaning, which we take for granted now, because it’s like Newtonian physics: Yeah, so what? (Now.) Anyway, there’s this whole thing about how we need figures upon which we project ourselves, so as to keep from owning our shit.
Our academy peeps have often said that this is a BIG piece–if not the only piece–of racism. If Michael had been white, he would have been viewed very differently.
Think about Stalking Cat. Cool. Bizarre. Psycho. Whatever. The creative Mr. Avner has gone out and DONE IT. Yet, his transformation is simply himself–and doesn’t claim to be otherwise–in fact, it’s a spiritual thing.
It’s a lot more OK for America to deal with a man turning into a cat, than for a black man turning into . . . something else. And we all know the disturbing something else was .. .
How dare he?
I heard once that he started on his path because the boys’ father had abused him horribly, and that every morning he looked in the mirror and saw his perp’s face. If you don’t know how that feels, don’t judge. Because I do, and if I’d had the resources, I’d have tweaked some stuff too.
Of course the man was really fucked up. Abuse. Horrible stress being pimped out nationally as a little boy. Having a terrifying amount of talent. Money money money money. And he wasn’t “authentic,” which is englishgeek for “not black enough.” (How dare he?)
Thing is, lots and lots of people do dumb things with their babies; they just don’t get caught at it. (If I’d been famous the day my two-year-old was spotted walking on the two inch ledge OUTSIDE the balcony bars . . . luckily, he himself has a dancer’s balance.) Thing is, lots of people have an appalling lack of boundaries with kids (to say the very least), and not a single one of those MANY priests scurrying out of the woodwork got the press Michael did. Thing is, yup, he was crazy–but Michael was so so so less crazy than he might have been, given his resources.
I think that perhaps the most disturbing thing about Michael was the talent. How dare he?
Art dies, but that’s the whole sucky phoenix gig. It’s its job.