Michael Jackson is dead. This is officially an end of an era. End of what we have known as true superstars. One of the last of the truly great is gone. Welcome the era of products of market research departments. He was special. He was unbeatable. He was incredibly talented. In so many ways. He was a fantastic singer. He was a dancer like only Fred Astair was. (There are great dancers, but there are God-chosen dancers. Like Shiva - when they move, the world moves with them). He wrote songs that moved us will always move us. He created ground breaking videos which started a new art form. And he had the “it” – the substance, the presence, the aura, the charisma of the chosen person.
But it was the very same talent, and the sensibility that comes with it, that crashed him. When you do things with your heart, because you simply must do them, because you have been chosen to do them, you are a victim of your own destiny. A superstar like Madonna, who has built her fame and her career on hard work and strong will, has that very same rationality to protect her from the burdens of stardom. A star like Michael Jackson, to whom the glory happened because of his talents, because he was “chosen”, has no tools to fight the negative aspects of stardom.
And there are many. People tend to glorify the idea of being a superstar. You have it all: the money, the fame, the power. The stars will tell us it is not that simple, but the envy will not let us understand. Imagine the amount of energy and essence that just one concert in which you give your whole existence to tens of thousands of people will rob. (And then do it for 44 years.) Imagine trying to keep your inner self intact and trying to build a protective shield between you and the people who believe they have the right to own you and know every cell in you. Imagine always staying alert against people who want to steal a piece of your fortune. Imagine the pressure of always being under public eye, of always having to stay on the top, of never making a mistake, never disappointing all those millions of fans. Money and power is good, but you can keep the fame.
And that is exactly the only thing Michael Jackson had left at the end. The worst of the best. Bankrupted, humiliated, and mentally and physically frail, he only had this fame that wouldn’t have abandoned him, no matter what people accused him for and no matter what a freak he had turned into.
Yes, the freakiness. Jacko the Wacko. But the freakiness is just a part of what he was. He wouldn’t have been Michael Jackson, the unbeatable King of Pop, without the freakiness. If you stand on the stage since the age of four, glorified my masses but also mistreated by people who are closest to you; if you never had a childhood, and never had a person that was truly supporting you through all those incredible things happening with your life; and if you could afford it – well, you had to become a freak. Freakiness was his way of helping himself. An illusion of Neverland, his paradise in which he was safe and happy; an illusion of Batman and Superman, who were his best friends; an illusion that he was – and looked like – an ethereal being like Peter Pan. They were his crooks. And we loved him for them.
Yes, we loved the freak in Michael Jackson. Millions of girls of my generation fell in love with him for this childish, Peter Pan-esque flair that turned him into an androgynous and ageless being. When you dreamt of Michael Jackson at the age of 14, it felt safe, because there was nothing sexual about him. He was not a man. He was a boy. An angel, a cartoon hero, a deity. The love for him was not worldly. There was something pure and ethereal in Michael.
Speaking of which… yes, the unavoidable issue of child-molesting allegations. This absolutely does not matter. We know he was different and we know that in this freaky childishness, he must have approached those kids differently than you would expect a normal man of his age. But we also know that people are greedy and we know that those parents let their kids play with a freak. We will never know the truth about what was going on. Maybe it is better that way. Maybe not.
We will miss Michael Jackson. We will miss his energy, his talent, his moves and his movies. We will miss the freak that he was. Because he was the last of the true, God-made freaks. Welcome to the age of plastic stars with mediocre talents and nothing to give. Welcome to the substance-free era.
We better just BEAT IT!