taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Micahel Jackson is more bizarre than I even thought! And not because he's a freakish child molester, but because he's pathetically human. This is what happens to someone with millions of dollars, abusive parents, bad taste in home furnishings, and teenage acne.

Nothing new was revealed--no, it was really a tabloid rehash of the most shocking moments: the baby and the balcony, the father beating the Jackson 5 with a belt, the paid surrogate mothers, etc. We've heard it all before. That people (e.g., me) are willing to still tune in just shows how totally bereft we are of Wagnerian drama in our own lives.

The Brit documentarian was repulsive--the whole show was more revelatory of his sad voyeurism (and by extension, our own, I suppose) than it was of some insight into Michael Jackson. And Michael Jackson's inability to do anything but weep or look away meaningfully proved how shallow this whole exercise was.

I have this very clear memory of being in my grandmother's house with my cousin. We were both about eight or nine, and we taped pictures of Michael Jackson all over the walls. We did Michael Jackson dances while listening to Thriller, and pretended to kiss Michael Jackson by using pillows as stand-ins. Later on, like at age fifteen, I was really embarassed by this behavior and vowed never to think of it again. But now I think maybe that proves that Michael Jackson is actually childlike and unthreatening (not, of course, that I'd let my kid spend the night at Neverland). I mean, he grew up so publicly, I seriously doubt he has a fully developed, private adult self.

I think he really believes his behavior is okay. And with crazy people, you can't really convince them otherwise.

Anyway, there are dramas and there are dramas. I bet more people watched the Michael documentary than read the news about Iraq. Which is more pressing? I'm not sure. I think war is very far away, in space and time, and I think Michael is much closer. That's not a symptom of cultural degeneracy, but of mass empathy.

Then again, I tend to be credulous.


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