June 25, 2010

Michael doesn't live here anymore

The thing about time is that it always seems so long before it’s over and ends up looking conspicuously short once it’s done. In his death Michael Jackson has become a bigger legend that he could ever be when he was moonwalking. It’s a year since the gloved one moved on but strangely it seems like yesterday when the world was shocked by the death of one of the brightest stars. The thing about MJ is that only he could outdo himself and boy did he outdid himself.

Jackson’s life has been the stuff that fables were made of- a child prodigy who bore the brunt of an over-zealous father, a performer who grew bigger than the stage that unleashed him to the world, an artist who could get just about everyone in the music industry to croon to save lives, an enigma who never really understood himself- so was it surprisingly that his death was larger than imagination?

One of the biggest selling recording artists ever, death perhaps has been a blessing in disguise for Jackson. No single artist has been loved and loathed with equal might as much as Michael Jackson. The entire world believed of him as the embodiment of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan, the man boy who lived his childhood through the little children he befriended and treated endlessly in his home, which was not surprisingly christened Neverland Ranch. But that was way before Macaulay Culkin grew up or the first child molestation case was slapped on Jackson.

Suddenly the man in the mirror bore a different reflection. Did Jackson’s successful out of court settlement make people slot the man to whom black or white didn’t matter in a permanent shade of gray? Life is made up such incidents and things would never be the same for the King of Pop. The world around him changed faster any of his steps and his sales dwindled. Additionally his bizarre antics of sleeping in oxygen chambers, endless plastic surgeries and procreating children who weren’t really biologically his didn’t really help the cause.

Michael Jackson was a genius who loved to paint a sorry figure of himself. He reveled in the thought that everyone took pity on him; not that he indulged in such tricks to sell records for lord knows there was never a dearth in the demand of Thriller or Bad or even Dangerous. Just when things couldn’t get any worse Jackson pushed the envelope- he dangled his new born son from a rooftop in Germany and gave journalist Martin Bashir an interview where he pretty much owed up to the things that people feared the most. He told Bashir and the world that he slept with little children and thought nothing of it.

No other public figure has fueled the collective imagination of the people as much as Michael Jackson. A second molestation case, deteriorating fortunes and bad health saw Jackson pretty much hit the very rock bottom. Rumors were afloat that he was on the deathbed in 2007 but he recovered only to find himself bankrupt. Some rich Sheikh from Bahrain gave him enough money and with Neverland slipping away he decided shift to the Middle East. He even converted to Islam and was looking at paying some of his debts with a series of concerts aptly called ‘This is It.’

It had been a long time since Jackson did what he was good at. So long that Messiah of Moonwalk forgot the way he glided but before he could shine under the spotlight once again Jackson passed away.

In true Michael Jackson style he became a bigger legend in his death than he could ever be in his life. His death become a pop cultural phenomenon and on the eve of his first death anniversary Whacko Jacko has sold more than 400,000 albums and saw the world download 2.3 billion of his songs! His estate has earned close to a billion dollars this last year compared to the $19 million he made the year prior to his death and let’s not forget the $500 million debt that he was struggling with.

Death has wiped the slate clean for one of the most convoluted artist of our times. A wise man once said that the bad we do stays back long after we are gone but trust Michael Jackson to do it different. Truth be told apart from the dying thing, Michael Jackson is having a pretty darned good year!

This article was written for Buzz in Town.

Do check out a previous post on Michael Jackson.

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