Michael Jackson: Hurt By The World, By Adrienne Papp
Michelangelo.We all know how extraordinary, legendary and almost supernatural Michael Jackson was with dance moves, a style that nobody else could mimic, much less reinvent. Jackson was not trained in dance or singing, yet has changed pop culture forever. That is God sent. That is the expression of a man who wanted to transcend death by attaching his personality to his art, which will then live forever. He said in his last interview: “… to escape death I attempt to bind my soul to my work. ” As a true icon and legend he has forever engraved his legacy in the history books as the greatest performer ever.
But, what we did not know about Michael Jackson or care to understand, was that he was deeply hurt by the world. He lived a very isolated and lonely life despite outside appearances. His soul struggled daily to overcome the pain that was constant throughout his life in one form or another. First, as a child with no childhood at all, then as a grown up attacked by the public and media equally, calling him “Wacko Jacko” and many other derogatory adjectives.
As was later proved, he was irrevocably broken by the false child molestation accusations, his spirit and mental state ruined forever. There seemed to have been no understanding that he only meant to do good and support those who were just as unfortunate as he was when a child. He not only deeply identified with the need for love in these children, but also wanted to “repair” the missing elements in his own soul by giving. A beautiful way to support the world and those in need. Yet, he was grossly misunderstood and obviously taken advantage of. Jackson ended up paying huge amounts of money just to rid himself of yet another painful incident, which these lawsuits exploited. The events in his life should shed a light on the less evolved side of human nature: greed, speculation and underhandedness from those who attach themselves to successful and unsuspecting kindred spirits only to advance themselves by twisting the truth any which way their interest dictates.
Jackson is not the only victim to such behavior in polite society by those with a lesser God. This is a phenomenon that happens not only in Hollywood but most everywhere successful people try to lend a helping hand. And, then comes the media with its sensationalism. The combination of the two is enough to break the toughest of spirits.
I myself was skeptical at first about the allegations against Jackson due to the media coverage, but soon the truth became clear: He was not guilty Folks! But, because of Jackson’s inherent eagerness to create love and peace, settling was more congruent with his beliefs than getting into long drawn public arguments where ignorance dictates all judgments shadowing any attempt to understanding the human spirit, or even the obvious truth.
Genius is often accompanied by an elusive and quirky nature. That combined with the shyness and sensitivity Jackson had made him an enigma that the average mind had a hard time understanding.
Topping all this was the endless speculation about Jackson changing his appearance frequently, as if it was anybody’s business but his own. Constant dissatisfaction is a trait of a perfectionist and a habit of an artist ever wanting to express himself. The constant reinvention of himself and his perfectionist tendencies are the very same traits that made him the single most creative artist of our time. His mere presence on stage defined a new era in entertainment and influenced the entire world. Ironically, just as his fans made him successful by their support, the very same outside world devastated him to the degree that he was close to a nervous breakdown more often than not, becoming a fragile man with a broken spirit and frequently lonely existence.
Even Michael Jackson’s legendary wealth was in sharp decline. There was speculation that he only decided to do the 50-concert comeback in order to save himself from bankruptcy and due to the pressure from his own people. He found himself in a huge financial hole which only was getting bigger and bigger, but was able to maintain some financial stability based on his half ownership of the copyrights to The Beatles catalogue. That joint venture with record company Sony technically kept him from bankruptcy.
A source close to Jackson says that he predicted his own death just a week before he died: “I am better off dead. I do not have anywhere left to turn. I am done.” The source also added, “He said he was worried that he was going to end up like Elvis. He was always comparing himself to Elvis, but there was something in his tone that made me think that he wanted to die, he was tired of life. He gave up. His voice and dance moves weren’t there any more. I think maybe he wanted to die rather than embarrass himself on stage. The most obvious comparison between the King of Pop and the King of Rock ’n’ Roll was their prescription drug habits, which in Jackson’s case had significantly intensified in his final months.”
Jackson’s tragic death made me compassionate and angry at the same time. Two questions are definitely raised by his sudden passing and the way he was forced to live. First, when will the medical community realize that the solution does not lie in prescription drugs? Hanging around celebrities for recognition and giving them drugs in order to get into their good graces is not helping their heath but rather hastening their death.
Secondly, when will the media finally back off ? Why is it necessary to delve into the very private lives of celebrities and not only dig until they hit the kidneys, but cover a story (whether true or not) until the audience gets sick of it? Then, move onto yet another one, again, until we all get sick of it? In the meantime, the world is falling apart and there is more than enough to talk about besides gossip and one celebrity or another without a break. I sometimes wonder how one topic can be talked about for days or weeks from so many angles yet with one meaning.
Michael Jackson was undoubtedly the most talented performer of his generation and will be remembered forever. But his music and talent may be overshadowed by the grotesque caricature of him that was perpetuated in the media.
Now that he is gone, it is time to appreciate him and his talents for what they really are, and not what a fashionable and sensational interpretation describes them to be.
Source Quote: Ian Halperin
Image via MySpace.com/MichaelJackson