Michael Jackson was the boy who never grew up, and even to say he was the perverted Peter Pan of show business is quite something considering the motley multitudes that inhabit Tinseltown. But as I pondered this death by show business I couldn’t shake the thought that our fascination with him was symptomatic of something deeper, something profoundly unsettling in our national psyche; in so many ways Michael Jackson was the epitome of America, a miniature version of the USA!
Step outside the boundaries of this country to gain a little perspective and the similarities are striking–a naive country mired in a state of adolescence, given to excesses even in the face of economic disaster, obsessed with its image, blessed with immeasurable natural resources yet trapped in a downward spiral of self-destruction; loved, hated, and a source of endless ridicule, admiration, and fascination; replete with talent beyond description, the sire of a million imitators, desperately attempting to escape from its parents in search of its own destiny, unsure of its racial identity, needing to be loved…
The sight of the cherubic Michael hopping across a stage is heartbreaking when we see how it all ended. We created him, embraced and canonized him, mocked him and mourned him as a brother. He started life with so much promise and came a cropper on the shores of excess; we as a nation followed a similar path, beginning with so much and drowning in our self-indulgences.
In the weeks following MJ’s death the news-wires are still buzzing with all sorts of postmortem frenzies; I just wonder if all this isn’t part of an ongoing bizarre pre-mortem portent of the death of a nation!