Celebrityhood and Michael Jackson

michaelIt’s said it takes a village to raise, educate, give meaning to a child; it also takes a village to do the same thing to raise, educate, give meaning to an idiot.  The village idiot was Michael Jackson.  I remember the young man when he was a part of the Jackson 5 and even went to see his act when it came to my local concert venue back in the late 60s.  It was good music at the time, but it was just that, music, without the Michael Jackson persona and I could take it or leave it.

Somewhere along the time continuum that changed so that it became all about Michael Jackson, “it” being entertainment and music, and he took on a god-like dimension he didn’t deserve, was not prepared for and which doomed him to this inevitable conclusion.  Along the way, from that late 60’s concert to 40 years later, the public imbued Jackson with powers and qualities he didn’t possess, so like most every one else who preceded him, he did  what was necessary to live up to the standards of an idolizing public, even if that sealed his doom.  Why we wanted him to come to this conclusion in order to satisfy our desire  for celebrity worship is beyond me, but it was our attitude that killed him just as much as the alleged pain killers he took to perform in order to meet our expectations.

It is the sign of the times that the public is much more interested in celebrity than in substance.  In the case of music, groups are destroyed by solo careers  where a stand out member of a famous group decides to leave it and go solo for reasons of personal gratification and  material enrichment.  The result is that person becomes the focal point of our idolatry and thrives or dies by it according to how well grounded they may be.  Michael wasn’t well grounded.  Weren’t the signs there very early on?  Changing his physical appearance so drastically, behavior that was suspect at best, predatory or criminal at worse?  Yet we still have people eulogizing him today as their soul mate and dearest companion.

A day or two before Jackson’s death, Farrah Fawcett died with the same adulation from a sycophantic nation and swooning press, suffering from a disease whose cause and treatment deserve far more attention than what Farrah got.  The public’s obsession with personality is what drives those personalities to superhuman acts of inhuman imperfection.  Jackson couldn’t look any better than he was created, but in his attempts to perfect himself he became hideous and subhuman.  Still we cheered.  Why?  The record moguls knew what was wrong with Jackson and yet he was promoted as a pop “icon” and still we cheered.  And now he’s dead.

Quite frankly the solution is this: when aberrant behavior is clearly demonstrated it should not be the cause for overwhelming adulation on the part of an informed public.  We should demand more from people who govern, entertain and inform us; if we don’t we get wars of aggression, disinformation or lies  and people who die a premature death because we both cheered and looked the other way.  They are our village idiots and we deserve one another.

Drudge, the Republican Party and race baiting

I get really frustrated with Matt Drudge and the stuff he posts on his website. Once I fired off a profanity laced letter to his blog during the initial stages of the Gulf War and then realized it was pointless.  Nevertheless I visit his blog every day to see what headlines he’s placed there…..don’t worry folks it’s one of over 20 news/blog pages I visit each day, most of them through RSS subscription although Drudge is not one of those, and I’ve even second sourced some of his headlines to write about here.

But this latest headline he has about Oprah Winfrey really takes the cake.  It’s clear the Republican Party, for whom Drudge is a mouthpiece and that’s ok by me, is the party of divisiveness at the moment. (Democrats have been there done that too, but that’s for another day) Why would Oprah Winfrey be an issue whether Sarah Palin can be on her show when McCain’s campaign has said Sarah won’t be on ANY show for the moment!! The campaign has said on several occasions that Palin won’t be available for interviews with anyone, printed media , electronic media, ANYONE! You can read about that here, and here and here, and….. Of course, bloggers are all over this story, while corporate dumb down main stream media is focusing on Winfrey and the phony Drudge story. With the characters who they are it’s sure to come down to “race” at some point and it does.  Just read some of the comments found here at ABC News’ race baiting headlined blog. Lowest common denominator media at its best; it can’t get any better.  Of course no one will say that Drudge and ABC News are working hand in hand, but the effect is the same.  You can bet too that ABC News even if given the chance to interview Palin would throw her the same softball type questions Republican “regulars” get from FoxNews or worse, questions that deal with celebrity hood and entertainment and nothing at all about politics and issues of the preservation of the rights and responsibilities of this great Republic!    If you want to fall into the trap set by corporate media and the drudgonians be my guest, but I for one call it demagoguery and no one does it better than main stream media’s Matt Drudge.