[Marxism] Michael Jackson

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 26 13:06:40 MST 2003

LA Weekly, NOV. 28 - DEC. 4

The Perp of Pop
One more time, with feeling
by David Ehrenstein

“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce,” a puckish 
German wit once quipped. But were Karl Marx alive today, he would 
doubtless find both tragedy and comedy in the pedophile scandals of that 
most egregious piece of late-20th-century detritus, Michael Jackson. War 
in Iraq, turmoil in Turkey, continued unrest in Israel, mass 
demonstrations against George W. Bush in London — and in the U.S. every 
news camera was focused on a celebrity freak. Was it only 10 years ago 
that the singer-songwriter-skin-lightener-enthusiast was being 
investigated by the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office for 
molesting a preteen boy? Now here we are once more with the same D.A. 
charging an older but obviously none-the-wiser Michael Jackson for 
allegedly molesting another preteen boy. And now here I am as well, 
contemplating the self-proclaimed “King of Pop,” his mass-media crown 
ever askew. So, is it déjà vu all over again? Not quite.


“Michael Jackson,” Jean Baudrillard writes in The Transparency of Evil, 
“is a solitary mutant, a precursor of a hybridization that is perfect 
because it is universal — the race to end all races . . . Michael 
Jackson has had his face lifted, his hair straightened, his skin 
lightened — in short, he has been reconstructed with the greatest 
attention to detail. This is what makes him such an innocent and pure 
child — the artificial hermaphrodite of the fable, better even than 
Christ to reign over the world and reconcile its contradictions; better 
that a child-god because he is a child-prosthesis, and embryo of all 
those dreamt-of mutations that will deliver us from race and from sex.”

But what Michael Jackson’s life has actually shown is that there’s no 
deliverance from either. And while the spectacle he provides may be 
welcomed by the administration as a “Weapon of Mass Distraction” from 
its multifarious misdeeds, it shouldn’t be overlooked that, unlike 
Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden or George W. Bush, Michael Jackson is 
now under arrest.

full: http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/01/news-ehrenreich.php


Is Michael Jackson guilty of more than dysfunction?
Those Lips, Those Lies
by Michael Musto
Village Voice, November 26 - December 2, 2003

Rude comments about the state of Michael Jackson's face don't exactly 
raise the level of discourse, but come on, when that mug shot hit the 
news, you had to stop and shriek a little. Had Jacko spent the entire 
flight to Santa Barbara playing around with his M.A.C products? (Or 
maybe the eyeliner and lip color are permanently tattooed—yeah, in fact, 
I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere.) Did he—desperate to avoid a Nick 
Nolte—end up uncannily echoing the pleading eyes and near grimacing 
mouth of that other alleged child abuser, Joan Crawford? And how 'bout 
that nose, huh?

But wait a Neverland minute! We need to separate the blusher from the 
bullshit. I'm terrified that we may be turning into a tabloid version of 
Brandon Teena's lynchers, making merciless fun of any celebrity's gender 
nonconformity or fashion extremism. I of all people shouldn't be casting 
stones, having spent my entire adult life celebrating drag queens, 
freaks, and kooks (though most of them are openly gay and the worst 
thing any of them has ever done to a kid is scream, "Sit down!" at a 
birthday party). Are we all just afraid to accept a female-bloused Cat 
in the Hat who simply provides a playland of wonderment and life lessons 
to needy little ones? Maybe we need to decide if Jackson's giving drag 
queens a bad name or people are giving him a bad name because he's a 
drag queen.

But—end of compassionate sidebar—back to the lip jokes, all right? It's 
way more fun to ick-ify Jacko, and besides, it's not too hard to argue 
that his cosmetics (and cosmetic surgery) are less self-expression than 
cover-up. Our collective "eew" can be justified—after all, this guy 
hasn't been straight with us! Any remaining fans I knew lost faith when 
Jacko bought off his last accuser in '94 because he didn't want to 
bother with a trial. ("Extortion!" he cried, then promptly paid up.) 
Since then, even when coming off completely out of it, Jacko's often 
reeked of sheer calculation, from getting various women to farm out 
babies for him to dangle, to bizarrely thanking Britney Spears for the 
Artist of the Millennium award on the VMAs when all she'd offered was a 
piece of birthday cake. Jacko marches so loudly to his own 
arrested-development drum that no one was surprised when he turned up as 
an ick-tegral part of Liza and David's wedding party last year. (These 
people all shill for each other's dysfunctions. They're—this feels so 
good—freeeaks!) Worst of all, he loves children—but mainly if they're 
drop-dead gorgeous, and in some cases even ready to drop dead.

Yes, Jackson's aggressively weird, and inspiringly enough, this has 
united a nation in political disarray! His excesses bond us against a 
collective enemy—he's much more popular to attack than Iraq—while 
fueling our desperate desire for the charges to be true. No, we're not 
rooting for anyone to have been molested, but we want Jackson to be the 
repository of all our fears so we can agree on something, send him away, 
and bring on the sunshine. We couldn't get Rosie or Martha to melt—and 
we can't even find bin Laden or Hussein—but if Jacko would just agree to 
be a pedophile, we could have our kook and eat him too.

full: http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0348/musto2.php


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