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So Long, Peter Pan


“The price of fame is infamy. The price of immortality is death.”

Xenocrates

The King of pop is dead

Michael Jackson is gone. Finally. The only people who will truly mourn his death are the obnoxious mothers who kept sending him their sons as a ploy to extract money. The rest of us will celebrate his life with music. Now that his life has ended, we can immortalize him for what good is left of his great name.

Jackson, en route via moon walkI grew up as a Michael Jackson fan. As a 6 year old boy, there was nothing in the world more awesome than Michael Jackson. The very sound of his name evoked a sense of god-like awe and wonderment. In fact, my bed time prayers included his well being as one of my petitions. Yeah. It’s like that.

Michael Jackson was so awesome that he was practically a myth. His music was fantastic. His dance moves were electrifying. Everybody wanted to moon walk. My cousins and I all got in on the act. Whether it was grabbing crotch, mounting the toes, or getting the dance right, we did it all.

We’re all grown men now, either married or getting married. But MJ still held a very special place in our hearts. In the 1980’s, the only other awesome things out there in the same range as Michael Jackson was a video game system called Nintendo, and The Transformers.

We were mind boggled by Michael Jackson’s sheer awesomeness. He is probably one of the few phenomenons in world history whose arrival had a cultural impact that was so profound that it literally ushered in a new age of consciousness. He is probably right up there with Star Wars, sliced bread, canned beer, the internet and the wheel. I mean, take a look at this:

However, such profundity had to come at a cost. So we had a lot of rhetorical questions, like: How could one man be so ridiculously incredible? How could he write such amazing music? Why’s he sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber? What’s happening to his face? How did a black boy become a white woman?

…and why are all them white boys sleeping over at his house? 😕

The Price of Fame

This mugshot was more damning than the accusation.

This mugshot was more damning than the accusation.

The answer to all of those questions is a very simple one. There’s no such thing as a famous person who isn’t even slightly eccentric. You don’t get to be famous by being like everyone else. So the inescapable requirement of fame is eccentricity. However, the price of fame is also the cause of infamy.

Have you ever wondered why it’s mostly celebrities who do the most outlandish things that end up in the news? Do you think the Paparazzi follow celebrities around because they’re famous? No. It’s because famous people, sooner or later, are going to do something worthy of a $60,000 photo for TMZ.

Michael Jackson was no different. His entire life was a circus of epic proportions. Even when I was a toddler, before there was an internet, I remember reading extensively about all the weird things that he allegedly did. Pepsi loved this eccentricity up. They bought him out for a whole decade.

The most Michael Jackson I got while a kid were those incessant Pepsi advertisements, each being grander and more epic in scale, bordering on movie proportions, some of which ran for as long as two minutes. Yeah. Michael was that frickin’ awesome. His weirdness didn’t seem to bother anyone back then.

In fact, consider this: Set his hair on fire? No biggie. Slept in a hyperbaric chamber? No problem. Started to turn from black to white? No worries. Have an obsession with Peter Pan? That’s cool. Bought a place called “Neverland“? So what? He’s rich. Fill the place with 13 year old white boys? Still no red flag.

Accused of touching a young boy? WHAT?!?! BURN HIM AT THE STAKE!  … 🙄

White America is so strange at times. I mean, at what point do the mothers of these children decide that something isn’t right? It’s one of the most conspicuous forms of racial hypocrisy I’ve ever seen. Even though he looked white, people only remembered that Michael Jackson was black when accused.

I don’t know about you guys, but I sure as hell wouldn’t let any son of mine sleep over at some single, 40+ year old guy’s house. I don’t care how famous he is. That aside, the sheer undulated eccentricity of this super star is what simultaneously made him as famous as he is infamous.

The Price of Immortality

michael-prime

Michael Jackson, in the prime of his career

There are some people in the world who no matter how much you wound them, they can never die. The trouble is, their continued existence seems to do them more harm than good. The longer they remain alive, the weirder their stories got, thus detracting from their legendary status.

After the devastating events of 1993, Michael has tried many times to repackage, reinvent and re-launch himself – but the glory was mostly gone. If he had died tragically in 1992 however, his iconic status would have been even more indisputable. As great as he is now, his star is nowhere near as bright as it was then.

One way or another, I’m actually glad that Michael Jackson is dead. While I refuse to regurgitate the “burn in hell, pedophile” meme that seems to be making the rounds on the internet, that’s not why I’m glad he’s gone. I’m glad that he’s finally dead, because he was becoming the death of the very star he spent his entire life setting ablaze.

Black people seem to have a remarkable talent for using their own fame to crucify themselves. From sports personalities to musical geniuses, they all seem to have a profound habit of using their fame to commit career suicide. I’d just hate to see Michael Jackson evolve to become another O.J. Simpson.

It’s better that he go out in a blaze of glory, while his star was still mostly lit. It is better to die while on a new rise to fame, than to go down in flames like that fool who got away with murder. If I were OJ Simpson, once that ‘not guilty‘ verdict was read, I’d have booked the first flight to Jamaica and disappeared.

I guess we can’t all be smart…

By 1993, Michael Jackson’s eccentricity had served its purpose. It had made him famous and immortalized him as the King of pop. However, few kings are ever dethroned – and even fewer still by their own doing. His foray into the world of the weird had ruined that childhood memory for me. He needed to die.

Human beings are inextricably mortal. We only attain immortality in the memories of others. How strange is it then, that the one man whose immortality was never in doubt, was identified himself with an immortal being? His death outside of the Neverland ranch seems strangely poetic somehow.

Summa Cogitum

The price of fame is infamy. The price of immortality is death. The profound symmetry in such a thought rarely occurs upon those who have been cursed with both. Fame and death are the keys to immortality. Unfortunately those of us who are famous are rarely interested in death. Thus, the pattern persists.

I am not ungrateful for the life of Michael Jackson. I would be a hypocrite. After all, he sacrificed his childhood to be the thriller of mine. He was truly the greatest, and there probably will never be another anywhere near as great. Ever. He will be perpetually copied, but never bested. One more for the road:

Rest in peace, Peter Pan.

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  1. LoStranger
    September 22, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Michael Jackson was great

  2. Richard
    July 1, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Humans are truely hypocritical. I remember after his trial and all that jazz, his songs stopped being played on radio AND his music videos halted too.
    I’m glad to finally start hearing his music back on radio – his music is truely great.

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