Michael Jackson has ascended to the throne of the Gods. He has become what Americans needed him to be, something he grasped he had to be . . . infinitely maleable, all things to all people. The formless matter suitable for any person to fashion into whatever idol was needed.
No surprise that Jackson worked so hard to refashion himself. He was American culture's Frankenstein monster, simultaneously a masterpiece and a horror.
Now he has done what Elvis did before him, and so too the lesser god John Lennon . . . . He's made a good career move. Now he can be fully commodified. Utterly vilified by that petty moronic bigot, Congressman Peter King. Canonized by that self-serving greasy opportunist, Reverend Al Sharpton.
Elvis departed to the realm of Graceland, Lennon to Strawberry Fields, Jackson to Neverland. The manufactured realm of the unreal.
So I have a response to the response to his death. I do not understand the popular reaction. I did not understand Michael Jackson. I rarely thought of him in any connection. Nevertheless, on hearing of his death, I called my ex with a sense that something that marked our youth had passed. So be it.
I am more interested in the contempt thinly veiled in the remarks of some in the media and elsewhere, a contempt expressed unambiguously by Peter King. King himself can be tossed aside. Anyone who's had the misfortune to hear two syllables uttered by him knows him to be one of the stupidest idiots in a Congress of Idiots.
What was so clear in the reactions of some, like Brooke Shields, was genuine compassion. And in truth, I feel great pity for Michael Jackson. Who knows what was really going on for him. But the sight of his daughter breaking down on the stage of that mass market fare-thee-well must move any person (but not Peter King).
He was indeed destined. Destiny is the application of force by a higher power. For him, the higher power was his father. His Son had to die for somebody's sins. Might as well be the father's.
So, deprived of any childhood, he spent his life trying to invent one, recover one, discover one — the search for lost time.
And let's be perfectly honest. Let us suppose that Michael Jackson really was the person that Peter King claimed. In the scheme of things, the also recently departed Robert McNamara was vastly worse. McNamara, a true war criminal, was treated with the greatest respect by many of the same media hacks marvelling at the send-off for Jackson. But Jackson, even under the worst possible light, did nothing remotely as reprehensible as McNamara.
In time, other gods of the powerful will kick off — Henry Kissinger, Ariel Sharon, Dick Cheney, George W . . . take your pick. Every one of them will be treated with near-reverence by the likes of The New York Times or CNN or NPR. Yet every single one of those icons of power is guilty of vastly greater crimes — crimes against humanity — than Michael Jackson.
No prominent figure in government or the media will dare speak ill of any of those war criminals when the time comes. Obama, President of the United States, won't dare speak ill of them now.
So a word to all those who sneer at the hullabaloo over Michael Jackson. If you are capable of lionizing some of the worst Americans ever to crawl across the Earth, what does that make you?