Saturday, 27 June 2009

The rubbishy cult of Michael Jackson

WHEN the story of Jackson’s death broke on Thursday evening (UK time), the response of the mainstream media was depressingly predictable … being mainly hype.

“The King of Pop is dead! Quick, somebody get Paul Gambaccini to crap on and on about it. Yeah, and what about that eccentric fork-bender, Uri Geller, wasn’t he a mate of Wacko? Let’s have him gushing incoherently.”

Then there’s Madonna; she can’t stop crying. Oh, Purrr-lease!!

Even those rent-a-quote political pygmies, Gordon Brown and 'Dave' Cameron, felt the need to lob in their twopenn'orth.

And so it went on. The once reliable BBC Radio 4 Today programme provided sickeningly reverential coverage. Jacko's 'genius' was compared to that of Mozart and Beethoven. How stupid!

Sky News' superficial 'Click' website-oriented news show was desperate to whip up reaction during an interview with a singularly inarticulate paparazzi picture agency boss.

But at least the pap guy touched on reality by indicating that Jacko wasn't really a hot a figure any more, not even by the crude standards of celebrity reportage.

Oh dear, that wasn't at all what the excitable Sky News wanted to hear.

The satellite channel was still endlessly recycling stale speculatation about the pop star by Sunday morning. It sent a tired and washed-out looking Kay Burley to LA do the usual reading of floral tributes and interviews with showbiz nonentities. Zzzzzzzzz.

And the fluffy news bunnies presenting BBC News 24 didn’t fare any better. They seemed to be in a mild panic about the death, having to roll with a showbiz story; how very vulgar!

The BBC News 24 autocue-readers are clearly uncomfortable when they can’t do their usual stuff of introducing safe package reports about Westminster village politics, poverty overseas, how horrid war is, feminism, racial harmony projects etc., plus all those toffee-nosed discussions about the real news gathered by genuine journalists who, of course, work for newspapers!

Let me tell the media wallies a basic truth. Not everybody on the planet was a Michael Jackson fan. Most people, including myself, didn’t care much at all for his music.

Apart from one very good early solo album, ‘Off the Wall’, produced by Quincy Jones and including the brilliant song ‘Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough’, much of Jackson’s musical output was mediocre or worse.

Now, I don’t want to speak ill of the man so soon after his death. Indeed, I will be saying some prayers that his soul will now find the repose that eluded him during his troubled life.

But Jackson’s music was aimed at his not-terribly-intelligent and rather na├»ve fans, so it was understandably ropey; lyrically at any rate.

And I remember being appalled by his performance at the 1996 Brit Awards of his overblown dirge, ‘Earth Song’.

Dressed in Christ-like robes and surrounded by worshippers, Jacko warbled thus:

“What about nature’s worth (Ooo,ooo) / It’s our planet’s womb (What about us) / What about animals (What about it) /We’ve turned kingdoms to dust (What about us) /What about elephants (What about us) /Have we lost their trust (What about us)”…etc etc.

The song is total b***ocks!

But the one immensely pleasing thing to come out of that appearance was a successful protest at Jackson’s pretentiousness by Jarvis Cocker, frontman of the British indie band Pulp, who climbed on stage and, literally, showed his arse!

There are lots of criticisms to be levelled against Jackson, as a man and as a parent, but I don’t want to go into those just now.

The singer clearly wasn't comfortable with himself or his appearance; and maybe not even with his racial identity. All of that must have been hard for him to bear.

Was it self-loathing that made him try to turn himself into a white man, or perhaps, more accurately, a disturbing parody of a white woman?

He certainly looked a lot like Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? during his final years.

Jackson had a talent for showmanship, without a doubt, though it was at the coarser end of the performance art spectrum.

All that crotch-grabbing during the dance routines, urgh!

Wacko wasn’t the first and won’t be the last person to be ruined by the grotesque pressures of show business.

And towards the end of his life, he was a sort of zombie, such as those portrayed in his ‘Thriller’ video.

May he rest in the peace that he never found in life.