The Chameleon RIP June 26, 2009Posted by Dwight Furrow in Art and Music, Culture, Dwight Furrow's Posts.
Tags: celebrity, identity, Michael Jackson
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.