When we look at Michael Jackson, I believe we’re looking at the future of our species. Michael is a creature from a future in which we’ve all become more feminine, more consumerist, more postmodern, more artificial, more self-constructed and self-mediating, more playful, caring and talented than we are today. But it’s hard to use those adjectives, because they’re Either-Or adjectives and he’s from the world of Yet-Also, a world I believe we will all come to live in if we’re lucky, a world where there is no more authenticity-by-default-through-brute-necessity and no more “human nature”. A world of pure synthesis, pure self-creation.
Jackson is what all humans will become if we develop further in the direction of postmodernism and self-mediation. He is what we’ll become if we get both more Wildean and more Nietzschean. He’s what we’ll become only if we’re lucky and avoid a new brutality based on overpopulation and competition for dwindling resources. By attacking Jackson and what he stands for — the effete, the artificial, the ambiguous — we make a certain kind of relatively benign future mapped out for ourselves into a Neverland, something forbidden, discredited, derided. When we should be deriding what passes for our normalcy — war, waste, and the things we do en masse are the things that threaten us — we end up deriding dandyism and deviance. And Jackson is the ultimate dandy and the ultimate deviant. He can fly across our Either-Or binaries, and never land. It’s debateable whether he’s the king of pop, but he’s undoubtedly the king of Yet-Also.
Consider all the extraordinary ways in which Michael Jackson is Yet-Also. He’s black yet also white. He’s adult yet also a child. He’s male yet also female. He’s gay yet also straight. He has children, yet he’s also never fucked their mothers. He’s wearing a mask, yet he’s also showing his real self. He’s walking yet also sliding. He’s guilty yet also innocent. He’s American yet also global. He’s sexual yet also sexless. He’s immensely rich yet also bankrupt. He’s Judy Garland yet also Andy Warhol. He’s real yet also synthetic. He’s crazy yet also sane, human yet also robot, from the present yet also from the future. He declares his songs heavensent, and yet he also constructs them himself. He’s the luckiest man in the world yet the unluckiest. His work is play. He’s bad, yet also good. He’s blessed yet also cursed. He’s alive, but only in theory.
June 29, 2009 at 8:11 pm
Given long enough, we’ll all be like Michael, though not in the way the article means. “He’s alive, but only in theory.” I think there’s a testable hypothesis here.
June 29, 2009 at 10:13 pm
Okay, so maybe you could string it that way.
But I hardly think Michael Jackson fills the image for what I am thinking people will become/are becoming.
Figuratively, I suppose he could be a meagerly adequate device to illustrate the point of the article, but I think the real life execution would be much less sideshow-esque and fractured.
Also, he’s what all people will become? Or the rich and privledged?
I mean, as far as I know, someone still has to work the land to produce basic sustenance resources.
June 29, 2009 at 11:21 pm
This is the worst kind of pomo pap. Michael Jackson isn’t white, a woman, or a child. He was a grown Black man with feminine qualities and a taste for eight year old cock- “allegedly” of course. This article seems to be little more than an excellent example of the failings and shortcomings of pomo idiocy once the world is confronted with REAL FUCKING PROBLEMS.