Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 26, 2009
POP CULTURE: Wacko Jacko Not Coming Backo

I'd always expected Michael Jackson to go by slipping into the Cracks of Doom while clutching his Precious....Seriously, I never had any sympathy for him, given that he was a pedophile or something very like it (leave for another day the people who thought it was a good idea to send their children over to his house), but Jackson was a figure deserving mainly of pity. His family, especially his father, wrecked him, and he spent most of his life mutilating himself and indulging his increasingly bizarre fixations, and seeking the company of children, old women, animals, basically anyone but adults who could have dealt with him as a peer. I have to wonder if his death was more or less intentional, especially given some of the financial problems the Wall Street Journal had been reporting he'd been having lately.

Musically, Jackson wasn't my cup of tea - I loathed him when he was big in 1983, and other than some of the pure Motown-ish Jackson 5 stuff, once the craze was gone the only one of his songs I liked (which is on my iPod) was "Beat It," his collaboration with Eddie Van Halen, which really does rock after all these years. But I came to appreciate the fact that he was a great musical talent and, in his day, a great entertainer. But his personal wierdness did that in as well - an entertainer needs some sort of connection with the audience, and after Thriller, Jackson was just too bizarre for anybody to identify with or connect with him at all. Smeagol was long gone by then.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Pop Culture | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Makes me think back to the Chris Rock line, "Remember when we were kids and argue about who was better, Michael Jackson or Prince? Guess we know the answer to that now."

Yeah, big time. I liked him back in the day but other than the camp factor of listening to some of his older stuff (especially from Off The Wall) I had no connection with him. There's some sort of low level Shakespearian tragedy aspect to his life as you mention. While his undoing was his own it was not as if he did not have enablers of many hues along the way.

Posted by: jim at June 26, 2009 10:32 AM

I think absolute fame has an effect pretty similar to absolute power, as the experiences of Jackson, Elvis Presley, and even the less popular and less talented Britney Spears have shown. And Jackson (like Britney, seemingly) came to his fame already damaged in ways that made him especially ill-suited to that level of indulgence. He was an adult, and responsible for the bad things he did or may have done, but it's hard not to find him pitiable as well.

Musically, I also was never a real fan of the kind of music he made, but he had an undeniable talent for making and performing it.

Posted by: Jerry at June 26, 2009 2:07 PM

Millions still adore MJ to this day, in spite of Crank's claim that he was basically "too weird" after Thriller. It's curious to me that Crank's one sided attack on MJ's pedophilia and general character hasn't prevented him from being a member of the Catholic Church, which hasn't exactly been a standard bearer against those particular evils. Whatever happened to "judge not"? Oh yeah, its dusted out for Sanford defenses but tucked away for the likes of Clinton, or in this case MJ.

Posted by: robert at June 26, 2009 3:36 PM

Wow, failure of logical reasoning there, robert. Jackson was a member of the human race, which contains pedophiles. Does that make you opposed to the human race? Or are you pro-pedophile?

It's amazing how anti-Catholic bigots manage to boil down the entire 2,000-year history of the millions of members of the Church into that one stale talking point. And without ever considering the proportion of pedophiles in similar religious or secular institutions as a control group.

Posted by: Crank at June 26, 2009 3:52 PM

How in the world does this post get turned into a political debate???

And secondly, robert, that is one of the worst liberal arguments I've seen here. Basically, you are saying because he is a member of a church in which some have been pedophiles (a situation he has never defended), he can't criticize other suspected pedophiles. How exactly does that make sense to you? And doesn't a man who sleeps in the same bed with unrelated children qualify for suspicion?? It's beyond question the guy was bizarre.

Posted by: MVH at June 26, 2009 4:06 PM

You know, every once in a while, I'll read one of Crank's posts and think, wow, a principled liberal is really going to take issue with that and make a number of good counterarguments that are at least worthy of consideration. And then I look at some of the comments that actually -are- posted by liberals, and they are completely indefensible.

I'm not saying that there aren't some good posts by liberals on here, but they've been the exception rather than the rule.

Posted by: MVH at June 26, 2009 4:41 PM

MVH,

While I think robert's post is weird there are far more conservative posts on this site and therefore far more bad and indefensible conservative posts including by the host himself.

Posted by: jim at June 26, 2009 5:43 PM

The investigation into the Catholic Church pedophile priests showed that there was something around 50 thousand substantiated cases over a 50 year period.

In our public school system every year there are over 300k complaints against teachers for pedophilia, rape, inappropriate touching etc--so lets put things in context.

Posted by: dch at June 26, 2009 7:02 PM

When Jackson was "big" in 1983, I was 1 year old, so I can hardly identify with those who idolized him then and now. Because I was never had any strong opinion of him, I never thought as much of his fall from grace as anyone else. (Also, I think people my age are accustomed to celebrities going off the deep end.)

Other than that, I think the first two comments summed up what I would say. Jackson's life never seemed to belong to him, so if anything, I pity him.

Posted by: 94by50 at June 26, 2009 8:29 PM

One thing I can credit Jackson with is collaborating with EVH on "Beat it", a guitar solo that was so amazing (can anyone name a song with a better solo?) that it made me set aside the top 40 radio stations that I'd been listening to and search out that hard rock band that had the guitar player's name as its brand.

I'd have gotten there eventually, but that song DID end up leading me to garnering the entire Van Halen discography (including bootlegs), the entire Sammy Hagar discography (including the "long road to Cabo" DVD) and now, the new Chickenfoot release to go along with two (already!) bootlegs of their concerts, along with the discographies of many arena-guitar-rock bands, whose music I've come to love.

I'll give the pre'90 devil his due, he was indeed a talent. Could write, sing and could dance like nothing we'd ever seen (not named Sammy Davis, Jr.). But, once the freakshow started, everything went downhill. Dunno if it was his upbringing, life as a mega-star or that he was just a nutcase, but....sorry, while I can appreciate his accomplishments, his biography - to me - will always have the words "Jesus Juice" in bold and underlined. Some things can't be overlooked or pushed aside.

Posted by: RW at June 26, 2009 9:31 PM

Seriously, Crank? We're just supposed to forget that the Church put themselves above their "flock"? In this case, by moving pedophile priests from one diocese to another where they molested more children? (Oh, if only the children were fetuses).
Then you want us to think this is the aberration?
Like we're supposed to forget their embrace of Nazis over the Jews during the 40s. Or the Spanish inquisition?
Let's face it, the Catholic Church has NO MORAL STANDING, and anyone who defends it, shows themselves to be a tool of the Vatican.

Posted by: Berto at June 27, 2009 6:08 AM

BTW, "Off the Wall"is one of the greatest---if not "the" greatest album of my lifetime.

Posted by: Berto at June 27, 2009 6:13 AM

I think Jackson is most interesting as a showcase of the decline of pop culture. Jackson didn't have much of a voice, didn't play an instrument or write his material, yet he was produced, by Quincy Jones and the like, into super-stardom.

And things have only gotten worse since Michael's heyday.

Posted by: John Salmon at June 27, 2009 1:07 PM

As a true Gen X'er (born 1967), Farrah's death affected me more.

I didn't have Michael's poster on my wall, you know what I'm saying?

Posted by: Mike at June 27, 2009 11:25 PM

jim-

Makes me think back to the Chris Rock line, "Remember when we were kids and argue about who was better, Michael Jackson or Prince? Guess we know the answer to that now."

Never really a fan of either, (and maybe it's cuz I'm 45) but...

I grew up with MJ. I actually remember him on Ed Sullivan (Damn... I'm getting old.).

"Off the Wall" must be considered in the "top 10 all-time albums" list. ("Thriller" sucked...)

MJ is "still" the 'King of Pop"(despite my never owning an album he issued)- Prince is simply "the artist formerly known as"...

Posted by: Fletch at June 29, 2009 11:41 PM

Michael Jackson was definitely one of the greats and he truly will be missed regardless of the negative that u people are talking about its really a time 2 celebrate his life and the good that he has done, im only 27 and i can remember back in the days dancin to "wanna be startin somethin" lol, he suffered way too much here, crucified by the media, God wanted him home RIP!!!!!!!!

Posted by: matt little at July 7, 2009 6:51 AM
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