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The Chameleon RIP June 26, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Art and Music, Culture, Dwight Furrow's Posts.
Tags: , ,

Michael Jackson’s Thriller album (and associated music videos) my be the finest pop album of all time. He certainly deserves the title “King of Pop”.

His music combined the rhythmic complexity of jazz, the urbane, hip sophistication of soul, and the urgency and sonic innovation of rock.

This ability to occupy multiple, musical identities made his music great; but his ability to disrupt the binary oppositions that constitute our social identities riveted our attention to him long after the musical inspiration waned.

He was male and female, black and white, man and child, celebrity and recluse. Who was he “really”. I suppose people who knew him might be able to answer that question, but I doubt that it really has an answer.

It can’t be said that he moved among these identities effortlessly. Perhaps his life was a train wreck because a good life requires commitment and purpose and such an abused and damaged soul was not up to finding purpose within the crosscurrents of such complexity.

I think celebrities (if they are thoughtful) have a terrible burden. They must inevitably ask questions like “am I really who people think I am?” and “do I deserve my acclaim?” A yes or no answer to either question might destroy the personality.

At any rate, we are poorer for his loss.




1. Paul Moloney - June 27, 2009

While watching the news about Michael Jackson, Tamar made comment about how much Jackson had accomplished in his life in comparison with her, she being in the general age range as Jackson. I had to think the same of myself, being about six years older than Jackson. If I have any accomplishments at all, they are in the notebooks, which contain what I take to be philosophy, sitting around the apartment in various places. In other words, I do not have the public achievements made by Michael, and I am not known by people all around the world because of them.

One would have to be very irrational, for want of a better word, to deny the reality of Michael’s accomplishments, but this is what some people do. Some people try to undermine the greatness of his achievements by morally judging him. I think much of the criticism of Michael is based on envy. If one judges according to envy, and if envy is immoral, how can one possibly give a moral judgment based on envy? Their judgment is necessarily immoral.

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