Thursday, June 25, 2009
Michael Jackson Remembered
UPDATED: It is perhaps Stephen Metcalf who expresses my sentiments the best:
The falsetto speaking voice, the licorice eyes, hair steam ironed and Zambonied until it was straight. The skin—what? We still don’t know. Bleached? Blanched? Poached? The barely suppressed facial hair. Effacement, defacement, refacement, unfacement. What word could do justice to the creation, out of a perfectly normal human countenance, of the dilapidated faerie mask that MJ’s eventually became? It was as if the slightest concession to the normal human horizon would let in a besieging pain. To substitute for the childhood he never had, he picked, with uncanny accuracy, exactly those things that don’t substitute for an actual childhood. Amusement parks and toys—the placatory devices of the bad parent.
A genius; an angry dancer; a grotesque among grotesques. What to make of Jacksonian America, now that the King himself is dead? An immense and spectacular frenzy; an urgent celebration; the affect of triumph; at its center a derangement; beneath that, in all likelihood, nothing.