Dead Popstars — Altered Images

Michael Jackson has moon-walked out of the building!
Like many other cynical mofo critical critics out there, I’ve got my share of mixed feelings about perhaps our strangest (but no denying talented and entertaining) American icon dying from an apparent longtime addiction to painkillers.  Yes, MJ has to be the strangest.  You want proof?  Try being the proud owner of the following:  Elephant-Man’s bones, hyperbolic oxygen chamber, life-sized androids, exotic jungle animals and children’s amusement-park rides.  Why would a man of 50 have these things in his collection?  The latter items (robots, creatures and kids’ rides) because the guy who most of the world placed on a God-like pedestal was an incredibly lonely, insecure man-child who just wanted to be loved.  He lived in a place called Neverland Ranch where he could fancy himself Peter Pan.  The former items because, let’s face it, he was a freak.
When Michael was a mere large-afro’ed, groovy-clothed lad in the Jackson 5, he knocked our sox off working his adult James Brown dance moves and emotionally charged voice.  But by now we’re all aware that the group’s controlling, angry prick of a father brutally beat–and probably molested–a few of his own children, so Michael definitely never had what you’d call an “ideal” childhood.  Fucked-up, at best, from that kind of abuse.  The boy was damaged goods and that’s painfully sad when you really think about it.  His own mother just let this shit happen and will forever live in denial that anything was wrong in her (f’ed up!) “loving, perfect family.”  It’s no wonder why Michael wanted to distance himself from his parents; wouldn’t you?!
If the troubled young man had someone looking out for him (Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, etc.) who sought out serious therapy for him, the screwed-up pop idol might not have written or performed so powerfully.  Instead, he took comfort in Demerol and Oxycontin to try to kill the horrors of his life.  But, without those emotional demons–deep anger and sorrow–would his onstage performances and recordings be that intense?  The drugs only temporarily squashed them, but he held on to those demons and used them to fuel the fire in everything upon a stage or studio.
I wasn’t a fan of “Thriller” and his disco-era material, but nobody can deny the talent he displayed throughout all his catalog.  I dug the Jackson 5, and a young Michael’s solo recording about a killer rat named “Ben.”  The song was written for the soundtrack of a B-horror movie by the same name.  The heart & soul that the teenaged Jackson sank into this tune dedicated to vermin is beautiful–and poignant enough to’ve made the cut for my wife’s and my wedding CD.  (And check out Crispin Hellion Glover’s video version of the song used to promote the rat-infested remake of “Willard,” the prequel to “Ben.”  It’s definitely not as cool as Jackson’s, but it’s worth your attention).
A friend of mine recently posted some of Michael’s mid-1990’s lyrics to a song that speaks volumes–yep, it’s called “Morphine”:

He got flat baby
Kick in the back baby
A heart attack baby
I need your body

A hot kiss honey
He's just a bitch baby
You make me sick baby
So unrelying ...

A hot buzz baby
He's one of us baby
Another drug baby
You so desire

Trust in me Trust in me
Put all your trust in me
Your're doin' morphine


They got place baby
Kicked in the face baby
You hate your race baby
You're just a liar ...

Always to please daddy
Right up and leave daddy
You´re throwing shame daddy
So undesirable

Trust in me Just in me
Put all your trust in me
You're doin' morphine

Go'on babe

This won´t hurt you
Before I put it in
Close your eyes and count to 10
Don't cry
I won't convert you
There´s no need to dismay
Close your eyes and drift away

Oh god he's taking Demerol
Oh god he's taking Demerol

He's tried
Hard to convince her
To be over what he had
Today he wants twice as bad
Don't cry
I won't resent you
Yesterday you had his trust
Today he's taking twice as much

Oh god he's taking Demerol
Oh god he's taking Demerol

OH!!!!! ...

Hoooo! ...

I'm going down baby
You're takin' Morphine

Go'on baby!
Do it!
He's takin' morphine

I know … damn, right?  That’s pretty raw.

After the news hit, I found out, much to my surprise, that one of my wife’s ex-boyfriends (who runs his own private-jet company) flew MJ to certain destinations.  On hearing of Jackson’s death, he didn’t have flattering words:  “Knew him. Flew him. Scumbag, pedophile, drug addict, alcoholic, freak. Good fucking riddance.  When he shows up way down south, I only hope Lucifer says, ‘Where the fuck is yer nose/wp-content/photos I paid for that!!!!’  Rot in Hell, “Thriller”.”
The troubled (was anyone in that family NOT?!) Jackson–like father, like son–was probably laying his hands on small boys and that’s not cool.  Actors Corey Feldman and Macauley Culkin should’ve “beat it” as fast as their little legs could run when Michael took a liking to their cute, boyish looks.  MJ was quoted to say he really loved Culkin’s bee-sting lips–and soon got his own done to resemble the “Home Alone” tyke.  But, no matter what accusations were made involving his “spotted penis,” the millions of adoring fans loved that crazy dude.

What will be the backlash of MJ’s death?  There have been at least a few fathers of small children that I know exclaim, “It’s a very good day.  With Michael Jackson dead, all the children of the world are safe!”  Despite those out there who are pleased that one more (alleged) pedophile is gone, there are a zillion more fans who are cleaning out the Michael Jackson CD sections across the nation, and the globe.  And, sometimes, those people are one and the same: my wife’s ex quickly followed his scathing personal comments about MJ with, “On the other hand, I enjoyed much of his music.”

Musicians like Alien Ant Farm (with their remake of “Smooth Criminal”) and Weird Al Yankovic (with his numerous parodies) will gain another 15 minutes of fame from Jackson’s death.  But is that a bad or good thing?

The bottom line is this: Michael Jackson touched a lot of people’s hearts … and a few people’s parts.    


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