Saturday, June 27, 2009

Music Is Great, But Uber-Fame Really Sucks by Paul F. Etcheverry

In what will be days or weeks of unending media verbiage regarding recently passed pop icon Michael Jackson, I doubt we will see anything more insightful or unsparing than this article by author Cintra Wilson. Originally written back in 2000, this brutally honest but perceptive piece examines the venal "eats its young" reality of mega-fame, that symbiotic relationship between Michael's showbiz life (including a childhood marked by unrelenting abuse) and the immolating cult of celebrity.

As anyone who has loved a intimate partner who endured an abusive upbringing knows all too well, domestic violence can severely mess with a person well into adult life; the pull for domestic violence victims to either re-enact said abuse upon loved ones, seek vilification from others (recalling the Michael-era hit song by
Annie Lennox and The Eurhythmics) or abuse themselves in 1000 different ways is magnetic and powerful. It's a truly vicious cycle (in some families, a tragedy passed on from generation to generation), and if your loved one succumbs, absolutely nothing can be done: strenuous efforts to "save" them only make things worse and your relationship more co-dependent.

While one can take the brave and difficult steps to leave a co-dependent relationship or proactively deal with health issues, Michael did not have the option, ever, to walk away from celebrity or entirely escape the papparazzi-tabloids-24 hour media or his own p.r. machine - and it takes truly getting away and off the merry-go-round to begin tackling daunting personal problems.

Sadly, there is no choice: it's confront the demons or be consumed by them.

As far as Michael's music goes, here's an excellent (as well as uncharacteristically un-snarky)
piece by the usually swaggeringly vacuous, proudly ignorant and woefully untalented Aidin Viziri that concurs with my preference for the Jackson 5 songs and early solo work; in both his art and life, bigger absolutely, positively did NOT equal better. Personally, I really, really wanted to hear Michael sing Sam Cooke's "You Send Me" simply, sweetly and with feeling - the way he did in his "Frankie Lymon" phase.

Which reminds me of my favorite song he ever recorded:

That said, I believe the response from here is to take a quiet moment of remembrance for The King Of Pop, then get off our asses and actively support living musicians! And I will do just that by attending a live CD recording session by my chanteuse friend Tré Taylor - who never fails to sing simply, sweetly and with tons of feeling - tonight. I'll be there!

Saturday, June 27th 2009
8:00pm – 11:00pm
Tré Taylor And The Dangerous Martini Quartet
707 Marina Vista
Martinez, CA 94553

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