Monday, July 13

Mourning for Michael

Can you sincerely cry over the death of someone you do not personally know? Can emotions really be evoked in you, seemingly out of nowhere, when you learn of a person who unexpectely crossed to the other side? If it was someone who had an imperfect past, was caught in moral crossfires, was famous in different but opposing contexts, who only sang and danced his heart out and did many wonderful things, but has faced eternal public persecution for the things he may have not, would you have the same level of sympathy for him , like you would for a person related to you by blood?

As one who has invariably professed sadness and trepidation over the passing of people she knows and loves, I think my only true emotions of sadness lie in the fact that the sudden demise of a person, regardless of who he was, would affect the people he left behind, in a way that will leave them painfully empty and out of touch from anything real for a while, numb to say the least, until they are able to allow proper emotions to well up in them, and make them come to terms with what had happened.

Much like the millions of others, I was shocked with the news of Michael Jackson’s death. When the memorial for him aired live on CNN, my husband and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. I believe I cried a bucket, going through similar emotions that gripped the millions of people who watched the proceedings that day (or night from my side of the globe). But I cried, also because a lot of things were stoked up in me. It wasn’t until much later that I found myself really thinking about his death, unconsciously rummaging for explanations that baffle my ordinary mind, and what it was that got me involved in this sort of emotional upheaval that had every other man talking about, both in public and in private.

I think it is because I am a mother like Katherine (Jackson), a parent who derives intense pleasure in knowing that my children are safe in my arms and that this shocking loss is something I have not prepared myself for. Also, I am a daughter (like Michael’s children), who do not know what to make of my parent’s passing, at a time when I least expected it, because there was so much promise of tomorrow, of the years that we could share together, of the experiences that would imprint in me emotionally, as I slip into adulthood, but was suddenly cut short because the one person I leaned on to isn’t there anymore.

The death of Michael Jackson has brought out a flood of differing opinions from people of all walks of life--people who feel they are authorities to his life, people who wax philosophical about what he really was and why he was what he was, and people who are quick to dismiss his death with ridicule and contempt, because they say so. Sadly, in life and in death, Michael Jackson had to suffer for his art....

I have no useful opinion of Michael Jackson’s history and life, or the intricacies of it, as I believe I am one of those segment of society who prefer to stay in the periphery of things, whose social mediocrity and lack of strong estimation of who he was is eclipsed only by my simple appreciation of his music, the music which lulled and still lulls my heart and fences it within, every time Childhood plays, the groove
I get into with the infectious beat of Billy Jean, the awe I hold in the majestic simplicity of his moonwalk, and many things else that encompass what I know of him, as an artist---not the distortion of a persona who wore surgical masks and who was believed to sleep in a hyperbaric chamber, or was an extra-terrestrial. He could have been a wasp in another dimension, for all I care.

I won’t even allow myself now to use the word “iconic”, which begs yet another question as to why in spite of many choosing him an icon, someone who is supposed to rise out and above the din of society’s woes and frailties, many others still found pleasure in ripping him apart and depriving him of basic human respect.I am tempted to say, leave him alone, now that he is gone, as his brothers begged---but I think people would not yet relent, not until they probably prove themselves right. Not until they have torn up every shred of his poor soul. At least, not for a while.

Because of his music, I only saw Michael Jackson as a distant star, an idiot like Prince Myshkin in Dostoevsky’s book, who was the quintessence of both humility and greatness. His naive belief that people would appreciate and love him, simply for himself and his music, had instead come down to earth to suffer, without reason, a taste of human bigotry in all its ridiculous proportions, throughout the major part of his creative life. It’s a Michael who wanted to do good and positive things, but was thrown in the pits of derision and isolation, because of the fallacy that surrounded him, fallacies that rose out of prejudice in human eyes, eyes that claimed they knew good from evil.

My heart rains for his soul...
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