Thursday, 6 August 2009

Fallacious Idolatry: Michael Jackson's Fall from Grace

"Whoever looks into the mirror of the water will see first of all his own face. Whoever goes to himself risks a confrontation with himself. The mirror does not flatter, it faithfully shows whatever looks into it; namely, the face we never show to the world because we cover it with the persona, the mask of the actor. But the mirror lies behind the mask and shows the true face."

-Carl Gustav Jung-

The so called "king of pop" has died. It is difficult to write an eulogy that could satisfy the masses that adored this icon of music and dance so sui generis, that he stood apart from the rest of ordinary mortals. Many think that for this sole reason he should be isolated from any criticism whatsoever.

But let us entertain the fact that such "royal highness" of music suffered a similar demise that of the "king of rock", Elvis Presley. Both men terminated their existences in an abrupt manner by subscribing to artificial lifestyles that maintained their egos in operation. Jackson's mortality was not only proven by his sudden death, but was long before announced by his frail appearances and prolonged erratic behavior. His confusing public displays, just like Presley's, eventually revealed how so called icons fall into confusion and despair in the hands of a numerous array of media savvy producers and a motley stream of fickle followers.

Moreover, the jungian analogy is pressing. There was never something resembling a correlation between Michael's public and private life. And these incongruencies not only affected his private life but also his performances as an artist, and they were cheerfully exploited by a hungry media. Witness today what happened to his remains. The industry cashed in on his rise and his fall.

But whatever the interpretations of his death, one thing is certain. During his heyday, MJ was an outstanding artist who excelled in both music and dance. Nevertheless, his life was full of inconsistencies for anyone who is positioned as a leader to be followed. And even though we can't blame him for being human and committing mistakes, what is terribly wrong is to treat people like him as if their actions are justifiable for the sole cause of being the holders of superstar status.

A victim of fame and popularity he will remain forever an example of the futility and superficiality of popular culture. That which serves us today, will probably not do so tomorrow. But his iconostasis was mainly of his own making. He was unhappy with himself and showed the world how much energy, time and money can be devoted to the tearing away and transformation of ones identity into something barely recognizable. MJ's unexpected farewell is a bitter-sweet experience for the post-modern world. Elvis Presley epitomized the modern, but Michael Jackson represents the unexplained and the incomprehensible.

Arduous work will maggots have in deciphering what to do with a man's physique so unidentifiable, as to deliver a proper response from these gatekeepers and purveyors of the obliged costume so necessary for a peaceful transmigration into the skeletal realm. Michael Jackson's partly plastic and partly greyish corpse will probably remain mummified forever...

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