Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Mark Steel: The macabre details of Michael Jackson's death - Mark Steel, Commentators - The Independent

The front page of yesterday's Daily Mirror showed a picture of Michael, declaring that it was taken on the morning he died, and asking in huge letters "So what went wrong?" It certainly is a mystery, how anyone that dies in the evening can have been alive in the morning. Presumably, inside it carried on, "Our investigations have revealed that he may have been living RIGHT UP TO THE MOMENT HE DIED. But still the authorities have provided no explanation.

"One music journalist on Radio 5 Live told us "he was the most influential pop musician ever," and on Radio Four we were told he was "more influential than any other soul artist, including James Brown". And this is where the madness springs from, because they seem to confuse record sales and celebrity status with influence. For example, James Brown's "influence" cannot be measured just in retail units, but from the impact of him yelling to people categorised as officially inferior, "Say it out loud, I'm black and I'm proud." Whereas Jackson's attitude towards his colour was slightly less forthright. Still, he could at least have made an effort and sang, "Say it's apparent, I'm almost transparent."

Michael Jackson aimed solely to make people dance, which is a fine aspiration, and he was himself a fantastic dancer. But while he provided a catchy soundtrack to the early 1980s, truly influential dance music has created more than a hypnotic beat, it has made its audience want to dance to express itself, finding pride in its colour, sexuality or youthfulness that is restricted in other areas of society and transform the world beyond the dancefloor, Jackson, though, was tragically hollow, which may be why his main influence was on combining music with new technology, firstly by transforming videos into mini-feature films, then by becoming the subject of the world's first globally mass-texted useless jokes.
Mark Steel: The macabre details of Michael Jackson's death - Mark Steel, Commentators - The Independent
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