Thursday, March 03, 2005

Who’s Bad?

Your Butt Is Mine
Gonna Take You Right
Just Show Your Face
In Broad Daylight

And so the Michael Jackson muck-spreading media circus kicks off in a way unseen since those intoxicating days of white Broncos, bloody gloves and Johnny Cochran “playing the race card” in the O.J. Simpson debacle a decade ago. Ah, the memories!

This decade will give us a whole new batch of trial totems in the form of “Jesus Juice”, the UK’s very own grumpy, spud-faced Martin Bashir and who knows what else at this early stage of the proceedings.

I'm Giving You
On Count Of Three
To Show Your Stuff
Or Let It Be . . .

I will say this, though. People already seem to be talking about the massively prejudicial, heavily edited piece of tabloid filmmaking in reverent tones. The “Bashir film” shouldn’t be our generation’s “Zapruder film”. If it is, that is a horrific indictment on what we now consider to be an important historical document. From the King of Camelot to the King of Pop in one, swift downward move.

I'm Telling You
Just Watch Your Mouth
I Know Your Game
What You're About

Personally, I feel that regardless of the outcome of this trial, I don’t believe we will ever really know whether Michael Jackson is a paedophile or not. Too much conflicting evidence, too many wafer-thin arguments, too many sensational details flying around the media. Guilty or innocent, I think The Truth will remain slippery, elusive and buried deep behind the vulgar, plastic fantastic walls of Neverland.

The Word Is Out
You're Doin' Wrong
Gonna Lock You Up
Before Too Long

But that’s not (all) that I’m most interested in at the moment. I want to talk about The Double Standard. Take R. Kelly. (Please God, will someone take that New Jack Doofus and put him down like a rabid dog?) R. Kelly (allegedly) believes that there ain’t nothing wrong with a little bump ‘n’ grind. With underage girls.

And he hasn’t been met with anywhere near as much vitriol as Michael Jackson. Successful albums, singles, tours, with his kiddie-fiddling shenanigans nothing more than a minor speed bump in his career.

Your Lyin' Eyes
Gonna Take You Right
So Listen Up
Don't Make A Fight

And another thing. Shouldn’t we be able to separate the art from the artist? Assuming the charges against the Smooth Criminal are true, does that change what he has accomplished? Two unassailable masterpieces (Off the Wall and Thriller), one near-classic (Bad), the most amazing music video of all time (Thriller again), and a handful of other albums from pretty good (Dangerous, HIStory) to average (Invincible) to downright dreadful (Blood on the Dancefloor). And none of the recent events tarnish some indelible memories of the man and his music. I still vividly remember the rush I got watching Motown 25. I was 11 years old, sitting in my grandparent’s living room in Harlesden. The Jacksons had just left the stage, leaving Michael on his own. “Yeah, I like those old songs. I like the new ones too.” And Billie Jean began. And then the moonwalk. And it was phenomenal. And nothing that has been reported recently changes that.

And the first, late night screening of the full-length Thriller video on Channel 4. “I’m not like other guys”. I shat myself. Still one of the most scary things I’ve ever seen. And funky, too.

And nothing that has been reported recently changes that.

But They Say The Sky's
The Limit
And To Me That's Really True
And My Friends You Have
Seen Nothin'
Just Wait 'Til I Get Through . .

Does the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger is now the Governor of California and alleged serial groper of numerous females impair my enjoyment of The Terminator? No. It doesn’t. So whether or not Jackson has a predilection for unlawful P.Y.T.s should be kept separate from arguments about his career. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking, right?

And The Whole World Has To
Answer Right Now
Just To Tell You Once Again,
Who's Bad . . .


got to B there said...

Historically, one can argue that artistic talent and sexual perversion often go hand in hand (no pun intended). Hell, if you scratch the surface, Rennaissance Italy makes Neverland look like B&Q.

I doubt fans of "Everyone's Gone To The Moon" or "Another Rock'n'Roll Christmas" ever came up with such a balanced and cogent antidote to tabloid hysteria. Well put, that man!

AKA said...

Shucks. 'Tweren't nuthin'