Thursday, July 16, 2009

World Still Turning

mpassioned letter in the current (July 15-21) Village Voice criticizing its contribution to the off-the-wall Michael Jackson media circus. Proving great minds indeed think alike, Adam Laten Wilson specifically took aim at the Voice's eulogizing scribes -- the shameless, almost textbook case of revisionist history by '60s anachronism Greg Tate, and singer Jean Grae's delusional gibberish about MJ's magic. (In the same issue, Jessica Hopper did some good-old-fashioned reporting: going back to Gary, Indiana, to trace Jackson's roots and influence in that downtrodden community.)

Let's check the actual letter first, followed by some more "regurgitation and synthesizing of the news" and in all likelihood "snarky commentary," whether faux or otherwise.

"The Man in Our Mirror" by Greg Tate might pass for a pseudo-neo-Hegelian-post-Soul tractatus on God-knows-what. Nonetheless, it has nothing to do with Michael Jackson and is atrociously self-indulgent.

The claim that Jackson is (despite his entire career of continual transmutation) nothing more than the latest installment of "The Real Soul Man" is an absurd form of conceptual masturbation that disrespects Jackson's true brilliance.

And "In Defense of Magic: A Solo Bed-Stuy Dance Party" is not only an example of horrendous journalism, but also a pretty meaningless diary entry that ought to have been burned immediately after writing.

What your writers don't seem to understand is that Jackson was not simply a genius, but also a failure and freak. Mr. Tate almost touches on this point when he compares him to Icarus. Unfortunately, he then wonders if it's not a blessing that we are now freely permitted to forget he ever fell.

I find it telling that in '82, the populace applauded Jackson for pretending to be a zombie, but when he actually became one . . .

Since he appears to have died more than 15 years ago, last week's memorial feature seems woefully behind the times.

Back on July 8, if you missed it the first time, Warden's World, ahead of the pack as usual, harshly but rightly singled out Grae's column as perhaps the most notably ludicrous example of Michael Jackson canonization:
Speaking of psychobabble, if there were an award for Most Cringe-Inducing Commentary on Michael Jackson's death, rap "artist" Jean "I need that Grammy" Grae would definitely be a contender, given her gushing, near-hysterical column in last week's Village Voice:
"I'm lucky and blessed to have been one of the millions who received Michael's magical, awesome, immortal presents/presence ... I'm not going to speculate on any of the controversy, the darkness--we all have, all of us. I can't judge anyone, and I won't ... No, I never met Michael Jackson. No, never even got close. But if he wasn't the most brilliant sliver of magic alive, I don't what is or ever will be."
Wilson took Tate's rambling, overwrought column to task as well, no doubt bothered as I was by
all the glorifying gibberish, such as the following representative non-gems:
The absolute irony of all the jokes and speculation about Michael trying to turn into a European woman is that after James Brown, his music (and his dancing) represent the epitome—one of the mightiest peaks—of what we call Black Music. Fortunately for us, that suspect skin-lightening disease, bleaching away his Black-nuss via physical or psychological means, had no effect on the field-holler screams palpable in his voice, or the electromagnetism fueling his elegant and preternatural sense of rhythm, flexibility, and fluid motion. With just his vocal gifts and his body alone as vehicles, Michael came to rank as one of the great storytellers and soothsayers of the last 100 years ...

His orgies of rhino- and other plasty's were no more than an attempt to stay ahead of a fickle public's fickleness ...

Critical sidebar: I have always wanted to believe that Michael Jackson was actually one of the most secretly angry Black race-men on the planet.
Put down the fucking bong, Greg... or at least pass it along. As we used to say back in the day when confronted with such fantasies: AND THEN YOU WOKE UP! Well, the Tate article is chock-full of similar nonsense -- thereby a worthy exemplar of the insufferable oversaturation, overanalyzing and overrating of all things Mike Jackson. Hopefully we're done with all that now, until the suckfest of the inevitable American Idol Michael Jackson tribute. Bank on it, because the flock of sheeple will undoubtedly demand it.

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