Celebrity culture is nothing new in the 21st century, but with the exponential rise of mass media and high-tech gadgetry penetrating deeper into our lives celebrity-dom is turning into a Hydra-like monster. To be sure, not much technology is needed to create frenzied mass devotion among a large segments of the population. (Indeed, availability of technology also has a way of deflating the cult of celebrity. In our ultra-connected culture, Big Brother and we are watching Big Brother each other–and everyone else in between. Still, it could be argued that even satire has become less an art than a celebrity in its own right. As evinced by David Letterman’s jokes about Sarah Palin, it’s less about the quality of satire than who says it and how for the purpose of grabbing snarky attention.) Consider how kings, queens, and prophets were adulated, admired, feared, loved, and even worshiped in their own time long before the arrival of advanced technology. Or, consider how the legends of men like Jesus or Muhammad were transformed into grand myths. Rulers in the past had less technological means to glorify themselves, but most people tended to be superstitious, ignorant, and worshipful of the high & mighty. It didn’t take high-tech of the 21st century to create the pervasive cult of Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Che, Gaddaffi, or Kim Il Sung. Among the most obnoxious personality cults in Latin America has been that of Evita Peron.
Compared to some of these lunacies, the brouhaha over Michael Jackson’s funeral may not seem all that crazy. And, it’s probably also true that more people find Michael Jackson ridiculous than regal; many people either don’t care about Michael Jackson or even think he was some kind of a weirdo. But, it’s disturbing all the same because the attention paid to Michael Jackson is so far out of proportion to his actual accomplishment. Also, the media failed to mention the fact that many people tuned in to watch the Jackson funeral out of amusement or laughing derision than respect. I, for one, was in stitches throughout, especially when a black Congresswoman promised to introduce a bill honoring Michael Jackson as a great humanitarian. These days, famous is synonymous with infamous. And, we mustn’t forget that the media are a business and naturally operate with the same herd mentality as the stock market. Notice that even people complaining of the media coverage are only adding fuel to the fire. Pro or con, everyone giving his 2 cents on the media coverage only made the bubble grow bigger and bigger. Of course, everyone in the media will say he or she was discussing the Michael Jackson story because OTHER people were doing so, but OTHER people have the same excuse. Again, just like the stock market. You buy because OTHERS buy, you sell because OTHERS sell. You always explain YOUR behavior in relation to OTHERS, and OTHERS do the same in relation to others, which would include you. Even so, it was wacky because Michael Jackson was, all said and done, just a pop star.
Evita Peron may have been a foolish person, but she was, for a time, the closest person to the most powerful man in Argentina. People may have worshiped her for all the wrong reasons, but she did directly affect the lives of many people. But, what did Michael Jackson ever do to merit such attention? Granted, up to 1985, he was a fabulously talented composer and performer, an international star and icon. But, he was hardly the only great talent in pop music nor the best. Many rock artists–and other musicians–have died in the last decade, and none of them received this kind of attention.
When we see stuff like this, we are inclined to agree with Europeans about the stupidity of American culture and people. Only Americans could be this vulgar, shallow, and trashy, right? But wait a minute. The British went crazy over Princess Diana, a person even more worthless than Michael Jackson(at least since the late 80s). And, let’s not forget the celebrity-saturated culture and politics of Italy. Berlusconi may be a man of the right, but he’s a sleazebag all the same. And, Elvis was even bigger in Germany than in the US. And, let’s not forget that in the 20th century, Europeans worshiped and blindly obeyed mass murderers like Hitler and Stalin. And, was it necessarily healthier for European youths in the 50s & 60s to have deified the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre, Louis Althusser, Foucault, Che Guevara, and Ho Chi Minh? Michael Jackson may have been a fool but he didn’t order the deaths of millions nor did he apologize for regimes that set up death camps or the gulag.
On the other hand, I suppose Europeans could argue that whatever the evil of men like Marx, Lenin, or Hitler, they were serious individuals with serious ideas. Good or evil, they were worthy of serious admiration or contempt. But, what did Michael Jackson ever do in life or art that’s been worthy of serious attention? Sure, his talent for dance music was seriously real, but pop music is, after all, pop music, not music for the ages.
But, if medium is the message, I can’t think of another personality more suited for our mass high-tech media. I can’t imagine textual tomes being written about Michael Jackson down the line–as has been the case with more brainier artists like John Lennon or Bob Dylan–, but everything about Jackson is perfect for the Cool Medium of MTV, youtube, internet blogs, web shrines, myspace pages, and etc. It was all about the glitz, the pizzazz, the slickity-slack.
To an extent, it could well be that our fixation with Michael Jackson’s death has as much to do with his association with the (relatively)older medium than with the newer medium. In our fast changing world, anything pre-digital or pre-internet is old. Analog is analogosaurus, a dinosaur. By that token, Michael Jackson was biggest pop star at the twilight of analog technology and on the eve of digital technology that led to dvd, ipods, and, most importantly, the internet.
Celebrityhood just hasn’t been the same since the rise of the internet. There’s more celebrity news than ever before but, as we all know, familiarity breeds contempt, and today, we are indeed too-close-for-comfort with our stars. In the movie ALL ABOUT EVE, a newcomer had to patiently and deviously cajole herself into the world of famous people to become famous; in today’s world, anyone can become a celebrity(at least in his or her own mind)by gaining attention through a Youtube vlog or Myspace blog. Not only can we access countless photos, info, rumors, etc about our favorite stars and then some, we can even grab much of their products for free through file sharing. There used to be a time when we had to make a pilgrimage to record stores, stand in line, and carry that special album back home to play on our record players or when we had to stand in line to see a movie or at least make a trip to the video store to see if the latest video was available. Today, we can get it instantly off the internet, often for free. Therefore, much of the celebrity mystique had vanished, which may explain why newer stars feel a need to push the envelope in outrage, shock, and stupidity to remain relevant or gain our attention. In a world where TOO MUCH is passe, the entertainment industry must give us TOO MUCH x 2. The other method of gaining or maintaining celebrityhood is to play the anti-celebrity card, like Sacha Cohen did with BORAT or Larry David with CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM; this way, you get a taste of celebrityhood all the while pretending you’re too smart for that crap. Steven Wright probably perfected this before anyone else.
If Michael Jackson or even the Beatles had arrived on the scene today, they would not have enjoyed the kind of success possible in the 60s and 80s. With the internet, EVERYONE has become a celebrity, gaining not only 15 minutes of fame but 24/7 fame, even if limited to a small sub-community or make-believe-community in cyberspace.
Also, celebrities are less special for the simple reason that they are less necessary as conduits through which people feel a sense of community and/or get to know other people. Deadheads didn’t go to Grateful Dead concerts just to hear the music; they wanted to meet others like them, find friends and lovers, and feel a sense of BELONGING. The fan community revolving around a celebrity or shared interest has been an important pre-internet means for people to feel connected, to meet other people, to feel part of a larger community. A lot of diehard fans are probably lonely people, which explains their need to lean on and worship a Great Star and belong within its orbit. It is via the gravitational pull of the Celebrity Star that fans get to know other fans or at least that others like themselves exist out there, somewhere. In the movie MEET JOHN DOE, the social phenomenon isn’t just about sympathizing with or admiring John Doe but using him as the conduit to get to know other people and feel a sense of community. The Church has always played this role, and in this sense, Jesus Christ has been the greatest superstar of all time.
But with the rise of the Internet, the celebrity has become less necessary as a star figure around whom people may develop a sense of community. Today, people can connect with one another through the vlog or blog or this or that internet site or page. Before the internet, a fan needed to cling to a rock star, movie star, or some such celebrity to know that he belonged to a community outside his little isolated humdrum life. Even if fandom didn’t literally bring you close to the star nor lead you to new friends, you at least you were part of a shared community. With the internet, people all over the world can link up, communicate, and relate to other peoples all over the globe.
This explains the decline of professional criticism as an respected artform. Prior to the internet, we had to rely on newspapers and magazines to find the latest news on movies, books, and music. Only a select few experts got to have their writings published. So, a rock community might revolve around top rock critics who became celebrities in their own right. Even if you never met the rock critic or others who read his reviews, you knew that you were ONE OF THE FANS who regularly followed him. Whether one agreed or disagreed with the critic’s views, it was through the magazine or newspaper that ideas and opinions revolved, spinning a imaginary sense of community. If you were lucky, your letter to the editor might even be published on occasion. The same could be said of talk radio. It is popular not so much for the views expressed but the sense of community projected; the radio personality serves as the conduit for all the angry, confused, lonely, crazy, happy, sad, wild, shy, etc people out there.
But, with the onset of the internet, we don’t need rock critics or magazines, for example, to share info and opinions about rock music. We can directly express our own views and read/listen to views of ‘ordinary’ people like us. We no longer need ‘expert’ intermediaries hired and hyped by the media owned and controlled by a few. Who cares about Roger Ebert anymore?
When only the clergy owned sacred texts and could read, most people could come nearer to God and join a spiritual community only through the church and clergyman. But, with universal literacy and Bibles available to everyone, the spiritual ‘expert’ has become less crucial. Anyway, the point is Michael Jackson was one of the last great celebrities in the Age of Analog and pre-internet age when the meet-john-doe effect still operated very much throughout culture.
So, celebrities are no longer regarded as a special breed but simply more successful versions of you or me. In Myspace everyone is a musical artist, on Rotten Tomatoes everyone is a movie critic, and on Youtube everyone is a filmmake or movie star. Celebrity culture had always been aimed at the masses, but it was only relatively recently that it has been democratized to the point where anyone could be an instant celebrity via the internet.
As a result, the sense of royalty-of-celebrityhood has gone out the window. Celebrityhood may be bigger than ever, but it is also more vulnerable and vulgar than ever–because it is so accessible. With a million blogs, vlogs, and indie news on the internet, new celebrities are made faster than ever but also scrutinized and destroyed faster than ever.
Prior to the internet, relatively few media empires dominated all the news. Even with print or tv tabloid news, celebrities were somehow untouchable, larger than life, knowable only through certain media such as People Magazine or glitzy TV shows. But, with millions of internet sites trading billion juicy tidbits, rumors, images, and sounds on a minute-by-minute basis, it’s much more difficult to build up celebrity gods like Elvis, Michael Jackson, or the Beatles.
Michael Jackson’s biggest success, THRILLER, was released at a time when LP album still dominated the market. To own his music, you had to buy the album. You couldn’t just download it off the internet instantly. Too much of anything reduces its magic and appeal. (Suppose everyday was Christmas!) Michael Jackson, along with Bruce Springsteen and Madonna, was among the last of the breed to enjoy the advantages of the LP market and old-school celebrity god status. CDs soon replaced LPs, but it wasn’t long before people could burn cds. Today, even cds are passe with instant downloads on the internet.
Michael Jackson was also special for he was the last of the great black stars before the rise of ugly and detestable Rap music. Jackson, for all his weirdness, had a certain style, class, and beauty as a slick and polished pop star through music and on stage(at least up to the mid 80s.) Since then, pop music has been taken over by stupid retarded rap, ugly grunge, or rather airheaded techno dance music. Of course, there has been plenty of the good music, but the main trend has been negative in spirit and imagination. This isn’t to say that Jackson’s music was particularly uplifting or ennobling. Far from it, but even the sexual nature of his music was (at least up to Thriller) without the raunchiness and pornography of so much that followed. And, though Jackson could be swift and energized, his act wasn’t ugly, thuggish, nor hateful..
So, it could well be that Michael Jackson’s passing has made us suddenly aware of how much our world has changed since the time when he was truly king of pop–change for the worse. Of course, Michael himself changed too, also for the worse. This isn’t to suggest that mid 80s was some golden era or that Michael Jackson was ever a noble character, but it could be some people clung to the myth of Michael Jackson because they didn’t like the socio-cultural changes that took place in the post-Thriller era.
Many black entertainers emphasize how much Jackson had been part of the African-American community, and many white people pontificate that Michael Jackson was a kind of a rainbow bridge of hope, peace, and love between blacks and whites(at least before the sexual scandals broke and after Jackson died–as death of a famous person brings out the mushy eulogy-prone sensibility from within our hearts). But, whom are they kidding?
Though Jackson’s rise had connections to traditional Motown Soul Industry, he was too eccentric and weird to fit the mold. Jackson had something in common with Smokey Robinson and Lionel Richie–two black entertainers of light complexion and feline smoothness with cross-over appeal to white audiences–, but he didn’t merely want to cross over but cross into whiteness or white-like-ness.
This may explain why Jackson was so eager to maintain good ties with the black community. A part of him didn’t want to be black, but a part of him feared of being called a ‘wanna-be’ traitor. So, even as he became more and more white complexioned, he maintained strong ties–financial and personal–with blacks to prove his ‘street cred’. We often see this tendency among ‘progressive’ big time entertainers and entrepreneurs. The more successful they become, the more leftist they become. It’s as if to say, ‘yeah, I gained fame and fortune, but I’m still a starving rebel artist, at least in spirit, blah blah blah.”
Why else would billionaires like David Geffen fund far leftist agendas?
Michael Mania is all the more surprising when we take into consideration Jackson’s inert and irrelevant artistic career since Thriller. BAD was a disappointment, and everything that followed was failed to live up to expectations. As with Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson remained in the news for all the wrong reasons. They both got in sexual trouble, with Tyson serving prison time and Michael Jackson bribing his accuser to the tune of $20 million dollars. As if that wasn’t enough, Jackson was in the news a second time for child molestation. Though he wasn’t found guilty, it confirmed for many his serious sexual problems or lack of good judgment and common sanity if not much else.
What’s interesting is that even though those scandals were negative for Michael’s image and finances, they kept him in the news and spotlight. He never fell out of the radar as a result. There were also various crazy stories about life in Neverland, his whitening skin, strange marriages(Lisa Presley, Debra Rowe),masked children, holding his baby from window ledge, etc. It was this freak show side of Jackson that, I believe, led to the massive interest and outpouring upon his death. Good or bad, Americans want celebrity news, and the King of Tabloid News–rather than of pop music–material has died. What a bummer!
Because he’d always remained in the News, he was still a fresh topic when he died than a long forgotten figure who’d once been famous. Indeed, suppose Jackson had been relatively normal. Suppose he didn’t undergo weird facial surgeries after Thriller. Suppose his skin never turned white and there were no scandals. Suppose he just faded from the pop scene, and that was that. Suppose he’d just lived a quiet life all these yrs. Would there have been this kind of attention and interest in his death? Of course not. Had Jackson been a normal person, his death would have been covered as the end of a faded pop star whose peak had been over 20 yrs ago. There would have been much fanfare, many tributes, and a big enough media coverage, but nothing like what we’ve seen.
Also, though 50 isn’t exactly young, his death was shocking because his public persona was that of someone still in his teens(and mentally still in his childhood). He died prematurely but not as a young man, but it still feels as though he died at the peak of youth!
Though many people were turned off by his oddities, it was the oddities which kept him on the media radar. How ironic that the mostly negative publicity since the late 80s may have been responsible for the lionization of Jackson as a Great Hero, Great Humanitarian, Great Saint, Great Artist, etc. Why should this be so? Perhaps, it’s partly because we are so swept up with celebrity that we want to honor the king of celebrities, and that was Michael Jackson. Even bad publicity is publicity after all. Also, bad publicity has a way of forging a stronger bond between star and his fans. The ever adoring and protective fans feel obligated to defend their hero in distress from all the nay-sayers and ‘witch-hunters’. So, whenever Michael was in trouble, even as many Americans despised him, his fans grew even closer to him and many people just had to follow the news.
Also, keep in mind that we live in the age of victimology. To an extent, the children who accused Michael Jackson were also using the victimological card to reap millions. In his death, it was time for Michael Jackson fans and supporters to play the victimological card. Suddenly, it was Michael who had been the victim of false accusation, innuendo, misunderstanding, mockery, etc. Of course, this is pretty ridiculous, but what are the media to do? Media are mostly owned by liberal Jews who also own much of the popular music industry where black entertainers are important. The liberal Jewish media have a stake in protecting and promoting Michael Jackson and his ilk. Liberal Jews don’t want to offend blacks who comprise some of their biggest stars and audiences. But, even non-Jewish whites have been afraid to say anything lest they be shouted down by the likes of Al Sharpton. And, blacks have a tendency to stick together through thick and thin. Though Michael Jackson turned white-looking in his later career, many blacks still feel possessive of his legacy.
Also, many white people have a certain fondness for Michael because he was a soft-spoken black guy than a threatening black guy. Better Michael Jackson than Mike Tyson. If Mike Tyson fits the stereotype of the beastly black thug, Michael Jackson fit the stereotype of the kindly clean-cut black guy who was safe enough to play with your kids… well, at least until the scandal broke.
If Mike Tyson conjures up images of rape and assault, Michael Jackson stirred up images of innocence and family fun(again, at least until the scandal broke). Tyson was brawny, brick-like, and brutal; Jackson was subtle, supple, and seductive.
Before Jackson got too close for comfort with (mostly)white kids, millions of white parents warmed up to him as cartoon character who couldn’t possibly hurt or shame children. He didn’t fit the fearful stereotype of the tough brutal black male. Michael didn’t talk black but so sensitively.
There was also the symbolic value of Michael Jackson as a racial uniter. In a nation still said to be divided along racial lines, the liberals who rule the media simply couldn’t resist that theme. The liberal hope for racial harmony has been such that Martin Luther King Jr. (real name: Michael King) was forgiven his plagiarism, deceptions, orgies, and assaults against women in order to build a bogus myth around him. Though Martin King was a devious crook and a fraud, we are supposed to worship him as a prophet. The Dream that King spoke about–written by some nebbish leftwing left-wing Jew, by the way–was a fraud from the beginning, but it has gained such potency in our culture and politics that anyone who plays along to this tune is forgiven all his trespasses.
In Christianity, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve sinned in This World–raped, robbed, murdered, etc.– as long as you finally seek Jesus and accept him as the Son of God. Then, you are forgiven all your sins and ascend to heaven. But, no matter how good you’ve been in This World, if you reject Jesus as the Son of God, you eternally burn in Hell.
Well, something similar operates in the liberal moral cosmology. You can be a lowlife piece of turd, but as long you sing pious hosannas to liberal cliches and worship ‘progressive’ holy cows, you are forgiven all your sins. So, it’s no wonder that someone as ridiculous as Michael Jackson could be praised as a great humanitarian just because he donated to some ‘progressive’ charities, showed up at some do-goody events, spoke on the phone with Coretta Scott King–a stupid whore hag who leeched off the false legacy of her loutish husband–, and sang to starving kids in Africa.
Same was true of Princess Diana. Though she was nothing more than a spoiled, indulgent, and bratty twit, the fact that she’d shown public concern for African children and gays afflicted with HIV–spread by filthy gay behavior of fecal penetration–meant she too had been a great humanitarian.
This is how our liberal media work. Whether you’re a celebrity or billionaire, you’re okay or even wonderful as long as you toe the liberal ‘progressive’ line when it comes to politics or social agendas. You could be a total scumbag in real life, but IF you support ‘gay marriage’, you are treated as a saint-hero. Bill Gates was vilified in the 90s, but once he started to give the correct kind of charities, he suddenly became the most wonderful businessman in the world. Though George Soros leeched his billions through crooked financial means, the liberal media–and even the radical left–praise him because he funds ‘progressive’ causes. As long as you put your mouth in the correct place, you can get away with murder. Even George W. Bush earned reprieve from the liberal media when he pledged $50 billion for Africa!! The crooked Illinois governor George Ryan was suddenly an international media hero when he gave amnesty to everyone on death row.
Though Michael Jackson didn’t do much in terms of ‘saving mankind’–as he was too busy living his fantasy life in Neverland–he made all the correct symbolic gestures, and that was sufficient for our superficial and celebrity-smitten liberal media to treat him as a wonderful humanitarian.
What’s appalling about the whole Michael Jackson affair is the amount of deceit, fantasy, delusion, and mendacity rolled into one. We know that most of it’s a lie, but most of us are somehow afraid to come forward and expose the BS for what it is.
Most troubling is that our fixation with the Michael Jackson myth says volumes about our own addiction to lies, deception, and delusions. After all, we are all guilty of collective BS.
This BS actually goes back to the Jackson’s peak years. The so-called Reagan 80s are remembered as a great time by many Americans, especially conservatives. But, look at the decade more closely and what we find are many layers of deceptions. True, Reagan had greatness, but he was not the small government & small town values conservative that many conservatives remember him to be. And, there was a good deal of fraudulence in his mythic rise as well. He sometimes seemed to be clueless as to what was happening in his very administration. Many businessmen around him were crooked. The yuppies who rose to economic prominence in the 80s were crass, superficial, and materialistic–and they would become Clinton supporters in the 90s and rotten parents raising their even shallower kids to become the Obama generation.
Though Reagan spoke of small-town virtues, his Free Trade policies led to rust-belt towns all across America. Reagan often relied more on symbolism than substance. Americans did feel renewed confidence in the 80s, but confidence in what? In superficial patriotism of Rambo movies. The 80s generation was the stupid MTV generation. 80s also gave us Rush Limbaugh, a bloated clown filled with arrogance, contempt, and greed–stereotypical embodiment of the conservative as a fat, lazy, boorish, uncaring know-nothing know-it-all. Also, Reagan’s unbound optimism as America-as-a-City-on-a-Hill led to reckless policies such as amnesty for illegal aliens, which led to current immigrant mess. Also, the simple-minded notion that the Afghani Mujahadeen were noble freedom fighters taking on the Evil Empire(like ragtag muppets vs the Empire in RETURN OF THE JEDI) later came to bite us with 9/11.
Of course, we now speak with the benefit of hindsight, and it would be wrong to blame Reagan for all that went wrong since his presidency, and it’s true enough that Regan was one of the great presidents of the 20th century. Even so, conservatism of the 80s turned out to be superficial and short-lived indeed. The coalition built around numbskull Evangelical Christians, over-zealous neocons, trashy blue-collar Reagan Democrats, and Wall Street big shots would eventually lead to the meltdown presidency of George W. Bush. And, the somewhat anti-intellectual legacy of 80s conservatism–Rambo crazy, yuppie materialistic, Bible Thumping, etc–laid the groundwork for the rise of someone as stupid as George W. Bush or pitifully unqualified as Sarah Palin. I don’t deny that there are qualities about Bush and Palin that may have appealed to many red-white-blue Americans. Bush was supposed to be like a ‘beer drinking buddy’ and Palin was supposed to be like a hockey mom. But, come on, people, US is the richest, most powerful, most complex nation in the world. Its steward cannot be a frat boy who later cynically found religion or a woman who, for all her fine qualities, lacks basic knowledge to run a nation. Folksiness can be a virtue but it can’t be the blueprint for running a nation, anymore than a banjo belongs in a symphony orchestra.
This culture of stupidity goes partly back to Reagan. Reagan was not a stupid man. For a politician, he was rather wise and insightful. But, the false image and hope that surrounded him fooled many conservatives into believing that all a politician needed was ‘family values’, making government smaller(which never happened, by the way), and saying pledging’s one’s allegiance to the Flag.
How often have conservatives belittled Carter for his book smarts and intelligence? While it’s true that intelligence and book knowledge alone aren’t enough for good leadership, they are in and of themselves good things. Unless the GOP embraces the culture of intelligence, it will end up with guys like Dan Quayle, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin. Not that Democrats are any better–indeed they are worse for the knowledgeable among them embrace the wrong kind of knowledge–but, conservatives should be for good knowledge than no knowledge. Al Gore may be a fool to embrace Global Warming, but it would have nice if Dan Quayle knew how to spell ‘potato.’
Americans–indeed people all over the world–have a natural preference for delusions over reality because reality is harsh and depressing. Delusions are fantasies, lies, or at best, half-truths. Though all people have this problem, it may be especially acute among Americans because America is land of excess–land, freedom, promises, opportunities, wealth, violence, poverty, achievement, historical sin, etc–packed together tight in a span of a few centuries. Amnesia is our national past time. America could be called Amnesiarica. We are always so busy grabbing, shopping, praying for, or resting our hopes on something new that we have little sense of our history. Sometimes, we become acutely aware of our hectic and mindless present-ness and futuristic anxiety and so we hanker for the past, and the result is someone like Eisenhower or Reagan. But, even our conservatism is never true conservatism. After all, people rejected Carter not because he was moving too fast into the future but because the nation’s economy and military power seemed stalled under his term. Paradoxically, Americans went with the ‘traditionalist’ Reagan so that America could be charging into the Future again. It’s no wonder that conservatism under Reagan amounted to little more than yuppie libertarianism. Reaganism wasn’t about reconnecting with America’s true past but exploiting the mythic nostalgia to fill people with enough (false)confidence to make believe, for awhile at least, that we were again charging into the future like pioneers of the West during the era of Manifest Destiny.
If some societies are too heavily weighed down by history, tradition, and culture, the problem of America has been we are always charging ahead without a compass or map based on past experiences. For Italian Fascists, Futurism was an ideal, but it is America that perfected it into practice. Much of the change are negative or corrosive, but we keeping moving toward something new even before we’ve digested the meaning of what happened.
If too much thinking leads to paralysis–as evinced by sclerotic Europe–, too little thought leads to paroxysm. America is a hyper nation. Though the 80s are remembered as a conservative decade and though conservatism is supposed to be about roots, amnesia was crucial to the success of Reaganism. We were supposed to forget that much of the 60s and 70s ever took place, as if they’d just been a bad nightmare, an anomaly in American history that would go away if we listened to Reagan’s bedtime stories and nibbled on cookies and sipped warm milk.
Whether they were good or bad, a thoughtful conservative must wrestle with historical events, search for meaning in them, and learn the lessons of history.
As it turned out, most of the people who bothered to look back and analyze the 60s were people of the Left. The Right just ignored or dismissed that history–as with much else. It’s one of the great ironies of modern times that conservatives, who stress the importance of the past, show little interest in it. Indeed, most history majors are liberals or leftist, not conservatives. Modern conservatism has become shallow, a matter of ‘leave me alone to earn my money, hug my gun, and grow a fat ass as I listen to Rush Limbaugh.’ Reagan did invoke the past, but it was a simplified false past, a hagiography of small town America that never quite existed in Capraesque form.
To be fair, we can’t expect politicians to be historically accurate in the manner of historians, but many people really seemed to think the warm and glowing embrace of Reaganism would heal all wounds, redeem all of America’s history, and redeem the future. (In this sense, there is a link between Reaganism and Obamaism. If Obama supporters drank too much Kool Aid, Reagan supporters sipped too much warm milk or ovaltine. This isn’t to say Reagan was a lowlife slimeball punk like Obama. Indeed, he was a good decent man, and many of his policies were patriotic and sound. My point is rather that the MODE of Reaganism required too much faith over reason, a problem of American political culture in both parties.) But, the City-on-the-Hill fantasy didn’t really materialize during or after the Reagan’s presidency. During George H. W. Bush’s presidency, LA riots broke out, and Bush was as flustered as his son would be 10 yrs later with Katrina. During the 80s, the favorite movie genres among youths were the slasher movie and the horny teenager movie. Many Reagan-loving young conservatives were really shallow, trashy, hedonistic, and crass libertarians. None of these were Reagan’s faults, but many conservatives seemed to think that Reaganesque wishful thinking would reverse the tide of the Gay Movement, illegal immigration, crass yuppie materialism, Hollywood fantasy of blood and mayhem, and the sorry decline in conservative thought and culture.
In the 80s, the majority of academics were liberal but there were still an important contingent of conservatives. Today, the left-right imbalance in the media and academia is bigger than ever, and this state of affairs cannot be blamed solely or even mostly on liberals. The fact is conservative culture has not supported, patronized, and shown interest in ideas and culture–except in glibbest of ways.
For a while in the 80s, it was not so much that conservatives politically won as liberals lost. Liberals had gotten too ambitious with their programs and agendas in the 60s and 70s and turned off a lot of people. Disgust with liberalism led to Nixon victory in 68 and Reagan victory in 80, but the people never really embraced conservatism because it was dull-as-hell and mostly unappealing to the most intelligent segments of American society. The intelligent people who were attracted to conservatism were entrepreneurs, but once they made their millions, they felt empty and discovered that ‘man doesn’t live on bread alone’. These people didn’t turn to religion or conservative ‘family values’ because such as defined by conservatives were so Dumb. They were bound to fall under the influence of mendacious but intellectually engaging liberalism and leftism.
So, in this sense, Michael Jackson and Ronald Reagan were icons of the same decade and shared much the same qualities as public figures. Though they were total opposites in terms of sexuality, ideology, and whatnot, their rise had much to do with our penchant for choosing dream over reality. This isn’t to deny their Real talents and virtues, which were many. Reagan was serious about a freer economy, patriotism, and fighting communism; one can say his presidency was largely successful, at least when compared with others in the 20th century. And, for a time, Michael Jackson was indeed the prince or king of pop with real talent and shoes to burn. The problem is they turned into myths, both by themselves and by our longings & delusions. That’s when things got perilous. In time, Jackson really had a hard time discerning reality from fantasy. And, if you listen to conservatives today, you’d think Reagan wasn’t a politician but Moses. Reagan’s decline in his final yrs was truly sad and heart-wrenching, but Alzheimer seemed fitting in a way, for Reagan’s America regained its confidence mainly by forgetting history. And how fitting that Michael Jackson died at the age of 50, the perfect expression of half-ness. Half a century of life for a man who was half this, half that, half everything, half nothing.
Though Reagan was a politician, he had a background in entertainment, and though Jackson was an entertainer, his life took on socio-political significance. Reagan had something in common with Jackson in the way that he embraced an almost fabricated image of his own life. (It’s no wonder that the biographer who’d been personally closest to Reagan gave us DUTCH, a book that mixed fact and fiction.) If Jackson went out of his way to be impossibly abnormal, Reagan went out of his way to be impossibly normal. But, both immersed themselves in false lives. Reagan the social conservative had divorced his first wife. His children were not his own and seemed to care little for ‘family values.’ How could a patriotic conservative raise a daughter like Patti Reagan or the bratty & insipid Ronald Reagan Jr.? Reagan must have been neglectful as a parent, or perhaps those who knew him up close were too aware of his superficiality. Though he tirelessly spoke of individualism and independence, he’d been frontman or spokesman of organizations and companies built and run by other people. There was something of this in Reagan’s presidency. He stood for Big Ideas, but when it came to details Reagan seemed a clueless incompetent–something shared by George W. Bush. This lack of attention to detail led to Iran-Contra scandal, the horrendously miscalculated amnesty for illegal immigrants, the rise of finance capitalism devised and controlled by ‘free market ideologues and geniuses’ who were presumably so intelligent that we need only to put our faith and savings in them, and the Iraq War under George W. Bush, a man who identified himself as the New Reagan.
Reagan didn’t succeed much in Hollywood nor set up a successful business himself. He made himself useful as the handsome face to other men who could build up a business and actually run things. Everything about Reagan was supposed to be normal, straight, and solid, but his ultra-normality was partly an armor or shield from the wounds of life–his alcoholic father, inadequacy as an actor, lack of empathy or imagination when it came to changing times. There was something strait-jacketed about Reagan’s style and demeanor. He could be warm and gentle, but his firmness sometimes primarily masked his rigidness.
Michael Jackson too tried to shield himself from reality. He didn’t want to be associated with his uncouth family, didn’t want to be snub-nosed and nappy-haired, didn’t want to give birth to nappy-headed kids, didn’t want to own up to his probable homosexuality, etc. So, he chose a theme park reality for himself just like so many Americans sought theme-park reality through Reaganism? In Jackson’s theme park ‘reality’, he would never grew old, and so sexuality could forever remain ‘innocent’. An innocent sexuality is neither heterosexual nor homosexual. It was supposed to be pure. His nearest friends became his animal pets and children.
It is in this area where Reagan’s conservatism and Jackson’s convolutism intersected. Reaganism pretended that social and historical complexities didn’t exist if we just cheered for the Gipper, and Jacksonism pretended that one’s life could be a G-rated Disneyland fantasy no matter how perverse one really was. Through Reaganism, conservative Americans could wish away the tortured complexities of American history and society, and through his own fantasy, Jackson–and his fans–could believe that there really is a Never Land of the heart and mind.
No two figures were more different yet more alike than Reagan and Jackson. So, as we ponder the crash-n-burn descent of Jackson’s career since the early 90s, we need to consider the same problems of conservatism.
Fantasy is not reality. The positive reality of Reagan was that he pushed some good economic policies and, in hindsight, did the right things necessary to bring the Cold War to an end. But if we are to be fully honest and truthful, it must also be said that Reagan was very lucky. He benefitted from Carter’s bad luck, and he was fortunate to have a counterpart in Gorbachev, a conscientious communist who genuinely wanted to reform the system. There is a lot of merit to Reagan’s presidency, but we must careful not to turn it into myth. He was a man, not Superman.
As for Jackson, who can deny the power and even beauty of Off The Wall and Thriller? But any honest assessment would have to conclude that Jackson was washed out soon afterward. Paradoxically, hunger is the best nourishment for success, and hunger fueled Jackson to great success. But once he reached the top and became satiated with all he could afford, there was no more hunger in his life. He spent the rest of his days lost in a dream than chasing after a dream. It’s also possible that the mega-success of Thriller burned him out. How can anyone top a success like that?
But, before we go on about the problems of Reagan or Jackson, let’s take a good look at ourselves. How comfortable are we with reality? If we are so sane and well-adjusted, how come so many of us are living under a mass or a personal delusion? How do we account for all the nutty vlogs on youtube or myspace? All the celebrity wanna-be’s, all the messiah wanna-be’s, all the grab-attention-anyway-I-cannabe’s, etc? How do we account for the success of people like Britney Spears, Christina Agorilla, Paris Hilton, and Barack Obama? How do we account for the bogus Oprah and Rick Warren phenomena? How do we explain the craziness of ‘gay marriage’? How can so many Americans believe that ‘hate speech’ is not free speech? How can we be for ‘affirmative action’ in the name of creating a colorless society? How is it so many people can fool themselves that Sarah Palin has the skills to run a country? Or that Obama could be trusted with anything? And, let’s not forget we had 8 yrs of George W. Bush, a complete fool. But, we are not alone as many other nations are even crazier than we are. Iran still has many people supporting the lunatics running its government, and Venezuela is headed by the clownish thug Hugo Chavez. Israelis are still living in a fantasy that they haven’t oppressed Palestinians, but they carry on with their fantasy as long as the US supports it 100%. US is, of course, a nation that believes in the fantasy that Jews are entirely flawless, noble, and wonderful no matter what they did, do, or shall do. So, the great success of the Reagan myth or Jackson’s popularity had as much to do with our own penchant for foolishness as the foolishness on the part of those men.
Michael Jackson was also significant as a 80s icon for it was the last decade in which whites dominated mainstream culture. The big name musical acts of the 80s were mostly white–Springsteen, U2, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Van Halen, Dire Straits, etc. The biggest movie stars were Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Eastwood, Cruise, etc. Interracism in movies or TV was nearly unheard of. Most black actors in movies played secondary or sidekick roles. If black males fell in love, it was almost always with black females. Though Mike Tyson dominated boxing, the favorite boxing champion for many people was Rocky Balboa of the sequels. In Rocky III, Rocky put an uppity black guy in his place. Battered Mr. T. resurfaced as a nice Negro on the A-Team. Eddie Murphy was a big star but as a comedian than an action star or romantic lead. Most black roles were like the ones in Ghostbusters–as a sidekick afterthought. MTV was mostly white. Though the biggest TV show of the 80s was THE COSBY SHOW, it was more like a white family that happened to be black than truly black family. Two of the kids on the show were more white looking than black looking. THE COSBY SHOW was as delusional and fantastic as the Reagan myth or the Michael Jackson fairytale.
During the latter half of the 80s, as the Cold War wound down, some Big Thinkers even entertained the fantasy of End of History. This implied an end to ideological battles all around the world. It was as though a moderate center-rightism would be accepted by nearly all the people sooner than later, and eternal peace would prevail around the globe.
But, then came the movies “Do the Right Thing” and “Jungle Fever”. Though trashy, they did have the useful effect of throwing water or setting fire to the false fantasy of End of History. Then came the Iraq War and all the ensuing problems that finally led to 9/11 and Iraq War. And, there was the catastrophic LA riots. 90s also saw the Oklahoma bombing. There was also the rise of gangsta rap. There was the OJ circus. But, there were also economic growth led by internet boom and cheap imports too, and for awhile in the late 90s, people again pretended that End of History was just around the corner as the new millennium approached. With welfare reform, balanced budget, rising government revenues, tougher anti-crime measures, and low employment, all seemed well. But, much of the wealth created in this period turned out to be inflated paper assets, and history was wobbly ever since until the House of Cards finally came tumbling down with the meltdown of the Iraq War, the burst of the Housing Bubble and the bust of International Finance built on holy instruments of the Church of Free-Markets-Will-Solve-All-Problems.
Anyway, back to the 80s. Michael Jackson was special and acceptable to mainstream America in the 80s when most whites and blacks still preferred virtual segregation in cultural affairs. Whites generally liked white music and blacks stuck to black music. White women mostly stuck with white men. 80s also gave us Larry Bird, an All-American boost to white pride in a sport dominated by blacks. (Celtics at one time even had Bill Walton, Danny Ainge, and Kevin McHale, the dream team of white athletic prowess). In this climate, it was phenomenal that Michael Jackson became a superstar among the white audience. For like Oprah–who also got her start in the 80s–, Michael was an exciting but ‘non-threatening’ black guy. He was fast and slick, but he was well-mannered, shy off stage, and soft-spoken. If much of black social reality was a horror movie for white folks, Michael Jackson’s Thriller offered the groove without the gruesomeness. Though Jackson’s music was inflected with elements of soul, it was closer to white pop-rock in style and sensibility.
Jacksonism is far from dead when we think of success of guys like Will Smith, Tiger Woods, Obama, and John McWhorter who also navigate between blackness and mainstream acceptableness. But, Jacksonism also came to be eclipsed by a raunchier, crazier, and more aggressive kind of blackness in popular culture and sports(two realms which feed upon each other)–and even whites such as Christina Agorilla have come to imitate this negative and hateful model.
One of the reasons for white liberal support for Obama had to do with the fear of the rise of crazy blackness defined by rap music, gangster culture, and demagogues like Al Sharpton and worse. Obama-ism for many white liberals offered the promise that the public image(if not the reality)of blackness would be restored to something closer to Sidney Poitier–black guy with class–, Michael Jackson–well-mannered black guy, or the Cosby Show–middle class blacks. Of course, there’s also a slightly edgy cool cat quality to Obama, which he carefully tweaks as too much will threaten whites while too little will make him bland as Colin Powell–colorless Uncle Tom. Obama, like Oprah, are masters of psycho-politics or cultural psychology. They’ve mapped the white mind and connected the dots of white fear, guilt, hope, despair, anger, fascination, disgust, etc regarding blackness. So, they’ve cashed in economically or politically by offering white people the fantasy of a harmonious utopia where racial problems would vanish IF we kiss Obama’s Presidential toes and kiss Oprah’s celebrity ass. Why are whites, the majority of Americans with most of the wealth, so fearful and apprehensive of a minority with lots of poor people? It’s because whites in the latter half of the 20th century have been on a crusade to cleanse themselves of their sins, especially following the hell of the Holocaust and due to the liberal Jewish domination of institutions controlling what we read, see, and hear. Also, the Cold War pitted The West and The East in a moral struggle to win the hearts and minds of the Third World. In this fight, white America could only win by proving that it had gotten rid of ‘racial prejudice’. By the time the Cold War ended, white Russia had been bled dry and white America, though rich and triumphant, had been made defenseless against the rising tide of blacks and illegal immigrants from Mexico.
Anyway, though most conservatives disdain Michael Jackson, he was very much a Reagan 80s icon. There was something Joe Louis-like about him. Inside the ring, Louis beat up all the whites, but outside the ring, he was a gentle guy–as far as the public could see. Michael Jackson was the feverish king of pop on stage, but offstage, he was such a well-mannered Negro. It’s no wonder that even some conservatives have a soft spot for Jackson’s stardom in the mid 80s since the black culture that took hold of America soon afterward turned out to be so negative, ugly, hideous, and corrosive–not to mention deeply and ruinously damaging to the white community where white males lost much of their pride while white females started to hanker after Jungle Fever.
To white fans in the 80s, Michael Jackson was a fascinating and oddball, almost asexual, character. White guys didn’t want to become like Michael Jackson nor were they threatened by him. And, white girls loved him more as a fairytale prince than as a Negro Stud. He was Peter Pan than Mandingo. But, the rap music that dominated the pop charts after the Jackson era goaded many white males to worship blacks and act like a bunch of ‘whiggers’. Also, white girls were suddenly buying and listening to cds like ‘niggaz for luv’ and having sexual fantasies of being gang-banged by Big black guys. With the rise of rap, American culture became Afro porn-ized. It was raw, raunchy, lewd, and graphic. Sexuality had long been the subject of popular music, but it had generally been suggestive in most of mainstream pop. But, Rap turned pop music into pure porn.
And, even the nature of porno industry changed. I used to work part-time as a video clerk in the 80s, and most of the porn was white. But, by the late 80s, more and more titles featured black males and white females. By the 90s, interracial titles crowded out mono-racial ones, and they were almost entirely black male and white female. What surprised me is that most porn videos preferred by most white women featured black male-white female sex, which means, from my personal observation at least, that a good number of white women were having major sexual fantasies with black males. Oddly enough, a good many white guys also rented out black male/white female videos. I suppose they enjoyed a certain degree of masochism in watching a Real Man f__k the blonde babe who had never felt such pain & pleasure(closely linked in kinky sex). I suppose it’s the same kind of pleasure white guys get by watching Muhammad Ali beat up a white guy or an all-black basketball team win ball games. There was a time when white males resisted the rise of black maledom, but many white males have become so accustomed to and admiring of black male athletic, sexual, and musical prowess that they’ve become kind of ‘pussified’. These metro-sexualized white males want to be like Negroes themselves, but since that isn’t possible, they choose to become like wussy cheerleaders of blackness themselves.
I even struck up conversations with regular customers I’d gotten to know well. White female fans of interracial videos said they got a kick out of watching a well-built well-hung black guy ram his thing into the ‘virginal’ white woman.
Watching such porn, the white woman felt a powerful blend of liberation and oppression, both of which fueled their kinky pleasure. The liberation aspect implied that a repressed white woman who’d long been a sexual property of white men suddenly discovered true sex, fun, pleasure, and ecstacy through sex with a Negro. She was liberated from white patriarchy by animal magnetism of the Black Stud who penetrated deep into her and excited her senses like no white man could. (This theme was expressed pretty effectively in Lars Von Trier’s movie DEAR WENDY, where a white guy relies more and more on rules and regulations in order to maintain his authority vis-a-vis the naturally more powerful and charismatic black guy.) So, a white woman watching interracial sex feels liberated from stuffy white patriarchal society through the thrill of Jungle sex. I’ve often been told by white female friends who had interracial sex that their orgasms with black men were many times more powerful than orgasms with white men. But, part of the excitement is also psychological as there’s long been a spoken and then an unspoken taboo among white folks against interracial sex, especially between black males and white females. So, it’s like Forbidden Fruit in the Feverish Jungle. She feels like a musical instrument(a saxophone perhaps) that had previously been only played by whites males in a subdued, hoity-toity, or lame manner suddenly in the hands and lips of a Negro who found grooves, hooks, and curves unknown in the hands/lips of white musicians. So, just as black musicians pull/squeeze out louder and denser sounds out of a saxophone, they presumably can make white women moan louder and feel more crazy ecstasy.
But, the excitement of interracial sex for white women also has something to do with fantasies of oppression. Though feminist platitudes about equality is everywhere, there is still something within the female psyche that wants to be swept off the feet and carried away by masculine stud who shows her who’s really boss. How many romantic novels are about women being swept off their feet by a sensitive computer geek or Mr. Nice Guy like Phil Donahue? No, the fantasy males are often muscular types, dark and handsome sea pirates who abduct a virginal damsel from the clutches of civilization and ravage her until she’s begging for more, more, more. Though women want social and political equality, in the bedroom they want to be conquered by a Real Man because that’s the nature of the sexual DNA. Precisely because our society has become so politically correct, there is a secret hankering among women to rediscover their primitive whore-self. There was a book called WOMEN WHO RUN WITH WOLVES, but there might as well be a book called WOMEN WHO WANNA BE WHORES SURRENDERING TO NEGRO DOGGS. So, interracial sex with black men promises both liberation and oppression. The white female is both liberated and conquered through sexual contact with the Negro.
Surprisingly enough, even white male fans of interracial videos said they got bigger orgasms from watching black men do white women. It was as if nature meant it to be this way. In the wild, the toughest males beat the weaker males and get the prime females. In sports, blacks dominate sports as the toughest athletes while white girls dominate cheerleading as the most attractive females. We see more and more black athletes and celebs married to blonde ‘Aryan’ women. We see more and more white women wishing to be groupies of black men.
In the 80s, there was still an unspoken social taboo against interracial dating. I recall that in the 80s, some of my friends were asked if they would be interested in dating black guys by someone I knew. My friends immediately said NO. But, I’ll bet if they had grown up in the 90s, they would have readily said YES. It’s the cool thing to do these days. Going with a black guy is seen as preferable by media, schools, and culture than for a white woman to go with a white guy. Indeed, it is like a badge of honor for a white girl to go with a black guy, as if to say “I found a REAL MAN(and proved that I’m not a ‘racist’to boot)while most white women settle for soft flabby white dorks for boyfriends or husbands.” I’ve also noticed that this mentality seems to operate among Asian-American girls, though they mostly prefer whites. (White guys are to Asian girls what Black males are to white girls. A sexual step up.) I asked an Asian girl dating a white guy if she would ever date an Asian guy, and she said NO WAY. Dating a white guy for her meant that she was attractive enough to be accepted by the ‘higher race’. If she dated an Asian guy, it would mean that white society didn’t find her pretty enough and so she had to settle for some scrawny, geeky, short Asian guy with a nasal voice and small penis.
All these details may sound vulgar and off-putting to some people, but I’ve always sought the truth, no matter how ugly, than the lie, no matter how pretty.
Anyway, Reagan and Jackson both fit into this theme of truth and lies because both fooled us in the 80s that America could be a center-right white-dominated society of stability and happy optimism. The conservative domination of the 80s proved to be illusory and short-lived. And, Michael Jackson’s brand of blackness became passe as Gangsta Rap become the hot item in the late 80s.
Pat Buchanan warned that even though the Right won some of the political and economic battles in the 80s, it was losing the more crucial Culture War; as we all know or should know, culture outlasts politics and economics. He was right, but he failed to understand something more important. To win the culture war, you must create culture. To win wars, you must build tanks, planes, and bombs. To win culture wars, you must create books, movies, music, drama, etc, etc. Being artistically, intellectually, and culturally inert and unproductive, the ONLY weapons of the Right in the culture war was the moralistic or reactionary shield. Producing nothing new, compelling, or original that could capture people’s imagination or the hearts of the ‘creative class,’ it just invoked nostalgia & moral values and defended them with the Iron Shield. But, a war cannot be won by defense alone. The Left, the Jews, the gays, and blacks won the culture war because they were creative, inventive, adventurous, and productive–even if much of what they created had a corrosive effect on society. (It should be noted that even in communist nations, most of the intelligent and effective dissent came from the left than from the right.) In both popular culture and high culture, the left has long been many more times engaged than the Right. Also, the Left has shown far greater interest in history, cultural heritage, and artistic treasures of the past. The Right accuses the Left of undermining Western Culture and Civilization, but the sad fact is that your average liberal is more likely to have listened to classical music, read Shakespeare, studied the Bible, etc than your average right-winger whose concept of culture is Ted Nugent, country music, Nascar, collecting guns, and waving Stars and Bars. The Left–especially the Jewish left–may indeed be anti-Western, but at least they show great interest in the culture they are trying to destroy(if indeed that is true). Much of the Right has no interest in what it’s supposed to be defending. For many on the White Right, ‘Western Civilization’ is just a codeword for ‘white power’ and not much else. Look at most cultural journals and art magazines, and almost everyone who cares about that stuff are liberals and leftists, a good many of them Jews. It should also be said that one’s interest in arts and culture shouldn’t be based solely or even mainly one cultural, national, or racial pride. It should be a genuine appreciation of creativity and should be broad enough to admire the creative genius of other cultures.
Michael Jackson oddly fitted within the prevailing racial formula of the 80s defined by integrationist liberalism smoothed out by conservative sentimentality. The decade gave us TV Shows like Diff’rent Strokes and Webster, both of which gave us cute cuddly adorable black kids raised by Nice White People. This too was part of the Reagan era fantasy, a funny and disingenuous blend of old-fashioned stereotypes and liberal pieties. It was old-fashioned in the sense that good many white people embraced the image of the harmless and childlike black. Having been disturbed by the racial enmity of the 60s and 70s, it’s as if both conservative and liberal white America withdrew inside a cocoon fantasy where blacks never grew into problematic adulthood. Consider that both Gary Coleman and the kid on Webster had medical conditions that kept them physically–and perhaps emotionally–childlike or immature.
There was a parallel of this in Michael Jackson. What was striking about Michael Jackson’s persona wasn’t his youthfulness–we all want to remain young–but his childlikeness. Jackson wasn’t trying to18 forever but 8 forever. So, even though Jackson was an abnormal freak, he fit into the Reaganesque fantasies of the 80s where blacks would remain innocent, childlike, and non-threatening to whites.
But, this fit into the liberal paradigm too since liberals had been shocked and appalled–after the initial exhilaration–by social/racial/sexual developments of the 60s and 70s. On the one hand, they saw much that was good and necessary, but they were also dismayed by the upturn in crime and downturn in race relations. Even liberals wanted to embrace the notion of the lovable and harmless black. Even liberals wanted to go back to more innocent days before Negroes became angry mobs screaming for ‘Black Power’ and burning down city blocks. Alf, though about TV show about a puppet, was fit into a similar vein. Another popular show was Gimme A Break, a forerunner to the Oprah phenomenon. Like Diff’rent Strokes and Webster, it pandered to both conservative and liberal sensibilities. It was conservative in presenting the traditional image of black woman as a fat mammy was so kindly and nice to white folks. Indeed, she worked and lived among whites, and her main worth as a human being seemed to be her usefulness to white folks.
But, it was also liberal, at least in the sense of teaching white folks to love and hug the kindly and noble Negress. But, it too was a fantasy ignoring the reality of what was really happening in race relations. Though liberals may blame Reagan conservatism for social dishonesty, the fact is that Hollywood(which gave us those TV fantasies) was fully in control of liberals.
Anyway, it’s no wonder that Spike Lee’s DO THE RIGHT THING had such a major impact when it was released at the end of the decade(just as PLATOON was wildly greeted and over-praised as a necessary antidote to the fantasies of Rambo movies) . DTRT wasn’t a particularly good movie or even a very honest movie, but it focused on themes ignored, suppressed, or neglected by the media and entertainment industry for too long. It was an IMPORTANT movie at least in lifting the veil of cultural correctness. Prior to the 90s, there had been many blacks on the TV and movies, but much of the representation had been idealized, romanticized, wishful thinking, stereotypical, or fantastic. Though DO THE RIGHT THING a dishonest movie, it went to the streets to grapple with realities that Hollywood either ignored or sensationalized through stuff like Death Wish movies.
There was a certain pattern to the most popular black entertainment in the 80s. Success was determined largely by their acceptability to the white community which wanted to acknowledge blackness as something positive and enjoy its colorful & cool qualities BUT didn’t want to feel threatened by it. Diff’rent Strokes and Webster were huge hits because conservative whites wanted to see the black race as a cuddly harmless child and because white liberals wanted to believe in the fiction that blacks were oh-so-lovable(if only we would open our hearts and wallets.) And GIMME A BREAK’s appeal was the based on a black woman’s devotion and attachment to a WHITE family. (BENSON was another show in this vein.) The show not only peddled the liberal fantasy of black woman as the noble earthy salt-or-soul-of-the-earth but also satisfied the conservative notion that All Had Been Forgiven regarding black-white history of slavery, segregation, and discrimination.
If a fat soulful black mama could feel so happy and at home in a white family, what was there to worry about? And, Oprah ran with this idea. Though people praise her as a black this & black that, the real secret of her stardom has been her significance to white people. Had she only appealed to a black audience, she wouldn’t have become the soul-mother of the entire universe. Like the woman in GIMME A BREAK, Oprah implicitly promises white people forgiveness and reconciliation. But, there’s a catch to Oprah’s forgiveness. It’s offered at a steep price. It is a soft moral blackmail. To win and maintain her forgiveness, white people must constantly glorify her, feed millions into her purse, kiss her behind, and wet their panties at the mere sight of her face or mere sound of her voice. She is the BILLIONAIRE MAMMY.
And, Obama’s rise owes to the same well-known secret of racial manipulation–or is it moneypulation? His success owes not to his significance for blacks but for whites. Or rather, Obama’s significance to black people accords to the wishes of white people; he is what white people want a black role model to be for blacks. (Implicit in the rise of Obama-thru-white-support is the notion that blacks are incapable of governing themselves and choosing their own leaders in the best interests of the black community–and in relation to other communities. Just as the Western Imperialists handpicked local ‘leaders’ to ‘rule’ over the dark-skinned populations–since the alternative would be rise of dangerous demagogues fanning the rage and resentment of ignorant and boorish masses–, the powerful liberal Jewish and Wasp forces in this country went with Obama not so much to boost black power but to control and steer it in the direction that they desire.) Obama is both a black guy put atop a pedestal by sheepish white liberals and a black role model imposed on the black community by weasel-ish Jewish liberals.
Many white people–liberals and conservatives–are really afraid and intimidated by blacks, or at least by many criminal, angry, demagogic, bullying, corrupt, and jiveass blacks. Many white people want genuine racial peace and even want to like black people, but there are too many Al Sharptons and thuggish lowlifes. Though more and more white people are embracing raw blackness in popular culture–just look at the shameless white skanks on FLAVOR OF THE MONTH–, many white people are still turned off by blackness and its moral/cultural impact on society.
So, how do you change the nature of black culture and society? Since blacks don’t listen to white people or to ‘uncle toms’, the hope of many whites–mostly liberals but even some conservatives–is that a figure like Obama(and Oprah and Will Smith)will steer most black in the right direction. If we promote Oprah as the template of female blackness, maybe most black women won’t be angry, disgusting, and skanky trash. Maybe if we make Will Smith the number one star in America, black males will be nicer and friendlier. Maybe if we make Obama president, black kids will study harder and be less resentful and enraged. In some ways, the fantasies of the Obama Age are even more fanciful and pernicious than the fantasies of the Reagan era, but both are connected through certain political and cultural themes–and Michael Jackson’s life and persona embodied this link better than anybody else. Of course, there are still black-ish elements in Obama, Smith, and Oprah which may be off-putting and intimidating to white folks, but those elements are tailored matters of style than the core substance of their persona. They are necessary signifiers intended to suggest, “I may be a part of the system but I still be black!” White people see this style as necessary because blacks will not identify with successful blacks who act totally white.
Not all problems nor fantasies are in the same league. No country or man has even been utterly true with itself/himself, and fantasies and falsehoods have been the very stuff of American history. Nevertheless, we seem to be developing a collective mentality where fantasy is replacing than merely interfering with reality. This may explain why many of us were could fool ourselves that our national economy was getting better and better–and we were all getting richer and richer–in the past 12 yrs thanks to rise of stock market bubble, real estate bubble, and/or spending money we don’t have by taking out extravagant bank loans or living on credit. We are not even ashamed of declaring bankruptcy anymore; indeed, those declaring bankruptcy act like innocent victims of evil collection agencies–just like ‘illegal immigrants’ proudly march in the 100,000s as ‘persecuted victims’ of immigration agents and white ‘xenophobia’ and ‘racism’. Americans and illegal aliens are becoming proud and defensive of their VICES. And, blacks cannot tell the difference between thugs and heroes. When psychotic idiots like Tupac Shakur and Biggie Small are glorified as role models by mainstream black community(and by white liberal community), what the hell is going on? And, though HIV epidemic was spread by the crazy behavior of many gay men, the gay community has been acting like they’ve been a victim of something akin to the Holocaust!! And, when rich white liberals adulate Che Guevara–who would have robbed them of their property and freedom–, it gets more surreal still. The Left pretends to be anti-greed, but victimology is the worst kind of greed. It’s the greed of the financially irresponsible, illegal aliens, and criminal elements to demand what they do not deserve in the name of ‘social justice’. It’s as though everyone is ENTITLED to violate borders of another country and break in OR to live like a hog on borrowed money and then whine about how creditors/collectors are trying to take one’s house or car away. Poor baby! Forget moral hazard; we have moron hazard. Even if you’re a victim of your own irresponsibility or stupidity, you can always find politicians or ‘credit solution’ businesses who paint you as a poor victim of Bigger, More Powerful forces. Isn’t it funny that conservative talk radio runs so many ads by ‘settling your debts’? If conservatives are so responsible, why do they need such services? This is clearly not just a liberal, black, or illegal problem.
So, the lies, deceptions, and delusions surrounding the Michael Jackson shouldn’t come as a surprise to a nation bursting at the seams with lies and delusions–and worst of all, self-deception. Today, we can believe or fool ourselves that Jackson–in-the-role-of-father was ‘not strange’, that Al Sharpton is a ‘civil rights leader’, that those two white kids are Jackson’s own kids, that Jackson was a paragon of ‘black pride’, that Jackson was a ‘good Christian’, that he was both ‘the Little Prince’ and ‘the King’, that he was a great humanitarian, that he did SO MUCH for mankind, that he was a central figure in Civil Rights struggle, that his music magically brought all races together in a spirit of peace, that he was the greatest artist that ever was, that he was the Messiah, and blah blah blah. Why not, in a nation infatuated with Barack Obama as the Second Coming of Jesus?
And, there’s something for everyone in the myth of Michael Jackson.
For the Gay Agenda people, Jackson is a hero of sorts for his feminine qualities.
If much of black culture became ultra-macho and viciously anti-gay with the rise of Rap, Jackson was the embodiment of other, lighter side of black music. Also, Michael Jackson had oddball ‘marriages’ and was the ‘father’ of kids who weren’t his own. This is all welcome to homos who push for ‘gay marriage’ and pretend that kids in a gay household are the children of the gay couple–a biological impossibility. Since a gay couple cannot have kids, they must rely on the Great Lie. They settle for the heterosexual procedure to procure the child but then live the fantasy that the child is the product of the homo couple. And, the children in the ‘gay family’ are fed this lie as they grow up, just like the two white kids raised by Michael Jackson were told that they’re the children of Jackson. I wonder who their real parents are and how they feel about their kids being raised in such a freaky world. But, what does it matter? The politically correct gay fantasy ‘reality’ would have us believe real ‘old-fashioned’ parenting is so passe, and we should all embrace the Brave New World. We live in an age when a mainstream publication like Newsweek put out a cover with Melissa Etheridge and her lesbian ‘wife’ with the captions: “They Are Having a Baby”. These are the same liberals who say they’re for science as opposed to false Creationism. Though they laugh at the notion of Earth being 6,000 yrs old(and humans having co-existed with dinosaurs), they fool themselves that a Gay Couple had a child together!
For the interracist pro-miscegenationist people, Jackson was a hero because he supposedly demonstrated that it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white. Indeed, one could argue that Michael Jackson underwent the first Race-Change Operation. Perhaps he would have eventually undergone a sex-change operation as well had he lived. But, no matter how white his complexion became, we were supposed to see him as a bona-fide ‘black’ or ‘African-American’ entertainer.
Just consider the double layer of lies. As if it weren’t BS enough that a black guy turned white, we were supposed to believe that the black-guy-turned-into-white-guy was the same Michael Jackson.
The extent of the deceit–and self-deceit–is almost beyond imagination.
On the one hand, we are told that it doesn’t matter that Michael Jackson was black or white since we should see beyond color and look at the soul and not the skin color of the person. If so, why do blacks insist that, all said and done, he was BLACK and not white? Also, why did Michael Jackson spend so much time and money turning himself into a ‘white-like’ man if it skin color doesn’t matter? Following the logic of color-blindness, why wasn’t Jackson blind to and/or satisfied with his own color? Why did he feel a need to change his color and his facial features-and the texture of his hair? Clearly, color and other racial features mattered a great deal to Michael since he wasn’t content with the DNA he inherited. Indeed, for all the sanctimonious preachment about Jackson’s harmonious unity of male/female, white/black, reality/fantasy, human/animal, and child/man, what really sticks out is not the harmony but the conflict within Michael Jackson’s troubled persona. The more he tried to harmonize and unify the contrasting elements, more they stuck out like a sore thumb, like a freakshow display. Though Jackson may have pursued his fantasies with genuine innocence, they just seemed grosser and more perverse as they neared completion. Indeed, it was the blend of innocence and freakiness that made it all the more perverse. It was rather like Georges Franju’s EYES WITHOUT A FACE where an apparently loving father showers his disfigured daughter with special care by… stealing the faces of other women; the horror derived from the sick marriage of fatherly love and ruthless vanity. At the end, Michael looked like a man and woman, human and mouse, adult and child, black and white, real and cartoon-like. For all the professed harmony, he was living a giant lie. Yet, many people still sympathized with him because, like Holly Golightly of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, he was a ‘real phony’ then a ‘phony phony’. Michael Jackson really seemed to believe in his own fantasies–just as Reagan once convinced himself that he’d actually been there at the Nazi Death Camps.
Though Jackson was an extreme case, many people surely identified or sympathized with him because people want to be what they are not–hardly surprising since every race has drawbacks or disadvantages, most individuals have imperfections of some kind. Some people can sing but are ugly. Some are gorgeous but can’t sing. Some have nice bodies but ugly faces. Some have nice faces but gross bodies. Blacks have great physique but nappy hair and flat noses. Japanese are elegantly built but flat-assed or nasal-voiced. Jews are smart but hook-nosed and (often)funny-looking. Everyone has a secret ‘Aryan-ish’ fantasy which doesn’t necessarily mean blonde-and-blue-eyed. Some blacks and many Asians want to look more white, while more and more whites want to be more black. Of course, people tend to be selective in an eclectic way. In terms of physique, non-blacks may want to be black. In terms of facial structure, non-whites may want to be white(or blonde). In terms of exoticism, white men may seek out Asian females and want their children to possess ‘exotic’ features.
Look at Japanese animation, and many Japanese fantasize about being white, or at least white-like. Look at black hair products and they promise to straighten out nappy hair. In India, looking whiter is all the rage. In China, many women have surgeries to make their eyes look more ‘western’. In the West, many Jews have nose-jobs to unhook their noses.
Though our politically correct culture denounces Nazism, the Cult of Beauty is more powerful than ever. Our Beauty Cult may be more ‘inclusive’ and democratized, but it too comes with an hierarchy. In color and facial features, whiteness is favored. In terms of physique, blackness is favored. In terms of personality, Jewishness is favored, especially for its wit. In terms of style, Latinos are favored. In terms of exoticism, there is the allure of the Oriental.
According to the politically correct miscegenationist crowd, the human race–at least in multi-racial nations like the US–will grow more intelligent, beautiful, and blah blah through racial mixing. The advantages of each race will mix with the advantages of other races, and we’ll all end up with the best qualities of each race combined in every individual. But, what if many people end up with the worst traits of each race? Look at mixed race Brazil. Are its people necessarily smarter, more beautiful, and nobler than mono-racial Swedes or Japanese? Race mixing can lead to superior specimen in some cases if the outcome is a special genetic blend impossible within mono-racialism. Surely, we’ve seen some mixed-race people who are stunning beautiful or remarkably talented. This may even be true of intelligence. One wonders if the high intelligence of Ashkenazi Jews was the product of a special blend of Semitic genes and European genes. It could be that Tiger Wood’s superior golf skills owe something to both black and Asian blood. The black blood could have provided him with the physicality while the Asian blood favored calmness, concentration, and self-control. And, if there is indeed something special about Obama–which I doubt–, it could be the result of white genes and black genes. He could be like the Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar. If whites are too bland and blacks are too wild, perhaps Obama won people’s imagination as a person with black intensity restrained and refined by white self-control.
It’s no wonder that the miscegenationist crowd has been delirious about Obama. He is their prototype of Future America where everyone shall be and should be like him. In this post-racial utopia, there will be no whites, no blacks. We’ll all be Obamas. Michael Jackson was born all black, but he clearly wanted to be something more or other than black. He wanted to keep his black vocal talent and his physical power and dexterity, but he wanted to look whitesque. Since he didn’t have white genes, he could only achieve his goal surgically and chemically. As the yrs passed, it looked as though doctors sucked melanin out of his skin, and maybe that accounts for his declining musicality. Maybe Leonard Jeffries is right. Melanin accounts not only for black skin but black soul. .
Jackson’s ‘parenting’ of white kids also goes to the heart of the inter-racist miscegenationist agenda. Adoption or the kind of artificial insemination conducted by Obama is seen as the Future–not only by interracists but by racists(meaning race + ist, that is someone who believes in racial differences) who believe that the only way to preserve the ‘purity’ of race is through bioengineering, cloning, and other artificial means.
Today, many ‘progressive’ white parents adopts kids from around the world. If Michael Jackson raised white kids as his own, we have Hollywood celebrities and rock stars who adopt African or Cambodian kids. Madonna and Angelina Jolie have been famous as mothers of black adoptees.
At a time when white people aren’t even having enough kids to maintain white populations at replacement level, the rich and famous go around the world to adopt non-white kids. Partly, it is a do-gooder project, as these kids tend to be poor and desperate–in some cases, orphaned–, but partly, it’s part of the miscegenationist agenda to mix all the races together. So, if we can believe that Madonna is the mother of African kids, we can believe that Michael Jackson is the father(or more like mother) of white kids. Of course, Jackson went much further than white people who adopt black kids. He created white kids from scratch with sperm and eggs he got from white people. Then, he convinced himself and others that those white were really his kids through some kind of black magic voodoo genetics. He couldn’t face the fact that his genes might create nappy headed flat-nosed children. He wanted to see himself as a pure prince, like Lohengrin the Swan Knight or something or the other. He had to live the fantasy that his sperm created good looking darling white kids like the ones he saw in Disney movies. Though Jackson grew up in the black community, he found it intimidating, bawdy, aggressive, and crazy. It was too much for a sensitive closet-homo soul such as his. He wanted to be white-like and female-like, but he was too steeped in black culture to openly declare those things. So, even as he turned more white and feminine, he officially remained a member of the black community.
He didn’t see much good in his own family as his father was a beastly bully and his brothers were older and probably bossed him around. He hated the big industrial smoke filled city of Gary. He found solace in the world created by crypto-fascist dreamer Walt Disney. And, he didn’t just want to live in the dream world but pass down this dream through his cream(sperm). In his fantasy ideal, his sperm would not produce nappy headed flat nosed black kids but kids who looked like Peter Pan, Snow White or Alice in Wonderland. Of course, he didn’t use his own sperm, but it didn’t matter as his ability to believe his own fantasies was boundless. After all, Michael Jackson fooled himself that he only had two facial operations and that his skin turned albino due to some disease. Michael Jackson was his own Lolita fantasy, and this fantasy extended to ‘his’ children. Jackson was not alone in developing weird relationships and fathering kids under unusual circumstances, but he sure took the cake. We know that Lennon hooked up with the weird Yoko Ono and had Sean. We now know that Dylan married a black Gospel singer in the late 80s and had a mulatto child or two. But, those merely interracial whereas Jackson’s case was interstellaracial–pure science fiction. It’s for this reason that the final gathering of the ‘family’ on stage at the funeral seemed so jarring. There was the Jackson family which looks very black. Amongst them were the two white kids as part of the Jackson clan, but…. but… but.. Ohhhh Baby! Jackson sang it doesn’t matter whether one is black or white, but the people on stage made it obvious that it does matter. Most people are one thing or another and remain that way whatever their fantasies may be.
Michael’s racial longing, fantasy, tragedy, farce, comedy, poetry, or whatever struck a chord for there has long been a fascination of whites regarding blacks and blacks regarding whites. White men have both feared and envied black men. Feared the black man’s thicker muscles, superior strength, greater intensity, more commanding voice, and bigger sexual organ. This fear can lead to hatred but also produce envy which can lead to fascination which can morph into admiration which can turn into worship. If most white men in the past resisted the rise of black male power, today the majority of white men have turned into sappy white boys eager to bow down before black power and imitate everything black.
If blacks in the past tried to imitate whiteness, today’s whites try to imitate blackness. White men haven’t been too crazy about black women, but many white men do like black female singers and dancers. White women feel even great fascination with both black males and females. More and more white women lust after black men as the Superior Man, as the charismatic stud who can show her pleasures she can’t gain through a white boy. This racial-sexual ideal has spread throughout our culture. Even the majority of white men are increasingly at peace with black men taking white girls. Besides, what are ‘white boy’s going to do about it? If white males complain, they are accused of racial bigotry, jealousy and resentment, or inadequacy by political and media figures. And, if a white guy insults a black guy with a white woman, the black guy will kick his butt and the white girl will be even more excited with her black stud. (Though interracism is justified in the name of equality and anti-racism, the real reason for white women’s desire for black men has everything to do with the white women’s perception of black male’s racial-sexual superiority. So, a white woman going with a black male can have the cake and eat it too. She enjoys, at once, the mantle of racial equality and sexual-thrill-derived-from-the-black-male-superiority.)
Personally, I see more and more black male/white female couples all around where ever I go, and their body language speaks volumes. The black guy struts around with a swagger as if to say, “I got your woman, faggotyass white boy and you aint gonna do shit about it because I’ll kick your punkass if you complain.” And, the white woman has a look on her face as if to say, “I’ve gone black and there’s no going back. I have a REAL MAN unlike most white girls who still have flabby dweeby funny voiced white boys.”
The interracist virus is spreading. ‘Mud sharks’ are now glorified in the media, and they tell all their friends how great it is to be with a Negro stud. Gossip is the #1 past time for females, and in our sexually liberated ‘Vagina Monologue’ age, more and more women openly speak about their sexual fantasies, experiences, and etc. As a result, more and more white girls get all excited hearing about wild sex with black men. The culture and education at large are also encouraging them to ‘Go Black’. This is the Jewish revenge against white ‘Aryans’ for the Holocaust. If Nazis tried to destroy Jewish ‘ugliness’, the liberal and left-wing Jews are trying to destroy European ‘beauty’ through the promotion of race mixing and subversion of white male pride. Just as Jews were deliriously happy when Joe Louis destroyed the ‘Aryan’ Max Schmeling, Jews today are happy to see white men lose their women to black men. These women will give birth to little Obamas–and we all know Obama’s megabucks and favorable media coverage were provided for by the liberal Jewish community(close to 90% of Jews).
If Michael Jackson wanted to raise white kids, many white women today want to raise mixed-race kids, especially half-black kids. Many white women see blacks are nobler, more charismatic, sexier, more spiritual, etc. White women don’t want to give birth to a squishy pale white baby–especially a male–who’s supposed to be the embodiment of all the evil, oppression, and bad vibes in the world. If a white woman has a mixed-race black baby, that means her white DNA and ‘racist’ white vagina have been cleansed by multi-cultural sexual-baptism. According to feminism, white male patriarchs had owned and used the vaginas and wombs of white women to create more and more white males who conquered, oppressed, and exploited all the noble people-of-color around the world.
Just as Western liberals feel that the ONLY way to their sinful and ‘racist’ past is by allowing hordes of people-of-color into their nations, liberal ‘progressive’ white women believe that their whiteness can only be forgiven and redeemed by using their wombs and vaginas for creating non-white babies. Liberal Jews especially love this because they perceive their greatest enemy to be white nationalism–as it periodically led to violence against Jews, culminating in the Holocaust.
Parts of this racial-sexual neurosis are based on historical guilt, political correctness, and Jungle Fever–the most important element. After all, whites horribly mistreated American Indians and Chinese-Americans, but there isn’t much interest among white women for American-Indians or Chinese-Americans. There is some interest among white males for Asian females, but that has to do with exoticism or the supposed ‘demureness’ of Asian women. It’s not because white men find Asian women better looking than white women.
There is another reason why blacks and whites don’t want to dwell too much on Jackson’s obsessions. These obsessions are discomfiting to both sides. For blacks, it’s a reminder that too many of them–despite all their yammering about Black Pride–still prefer certain white-ish features. Notice that black men prefer white-looking black women or white women to Negro-ish black women. Most black men prefer half-white Halle Berry to full black Whoopie Goldberg. And, most black female TV news reporters look more white than black. This is something most blacks prefer not to talk about though it does become a subject of discussion once awhile.
But, Jackson’s obsessions are also embarrassing for whites because the classic liberal explanation for black-kid-prefers-white-doll-syndrome blames the legacy of slavery and race oppression. We’ve all been told that it was white oppression which made blacks hate themselves, loathe themselves, and reject themselves. Malcolm X wrote that his father beat up all the dark skinned kids but never laid a hand on him because he was light-skinned. And, it’s often been reported that blacks have often characterized problematic blacks as ‘black-skinned niggers’. So, Michael Jackson’s obsession to look white and his self-loathing blackness could be seen as the legacy of slavery, i.e.the fault of white historical crime.
There is probably some truth to the black-kid-prefers-white-doll-syndrome explanation, but it’s not true enough. After all, Japan and China were never invaded or enslaved by whites(at least not in the same way), YET the most popular comic books in Asia feature white looking characters. Also, some of the most popular Asian stars have Western-ish looks.
In the case of the Ottoman Empire, though Turks ruled over white Greeks and other Europeans, that didn’t lead to white-kid-prefers-Turk-doll-syndrome or white racial self-loathing in those regions.
But, there is some truth to the liberal charge to the extent that as blacks become more prominent in music, sports, and movies, more whites want to look black, talk black, walk black, and sing/dance black. Some of them even toast their hair into a nappy head of cheetos. And so, the crazy national-racial story goes on.