Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson's Ultimate Career Move

His passing is yet another reminder of how pop culture consumes its icons. At 50, Michael Jackson outlived Elvis by almost a decade, but neither was destined for the old age that Sinatra and Bing Crosby reached in an earlier era.

When Presley died in 1974, he was a grotesque caricature of himself, obese and drug-damaged, planning a comeback tour, but a cynic called his sudden death on a bathroom floor "a great career move" for an entertainer who was barely able to stand up while slurring his way through abbreviated concerts.

Now, amid all the outpouring of grief over a figure who meant so much to millions, there is the reality that Michael Jackson, emaciated and worn out, was dreading a comeback tour of his own and reportedly told fans after a recent rehearsal, "I don’t know how I’m going to do 50 shows...I need to put some weight on. I’m really angry with them booking me up to do 50 shows. I only wanted to do ten."

Now, celebrity vultures like Jesse Jackson and Deepak Chopra are stirring the publicity pot for new autopsies and investigations of doctors who were prescribing the multiple pills that Michael Jackson, like Elvis, was using to try to sustain a life that had spun out of control.

Those who remember the joy he brought into their lives will not be consoled by the search for someone to blame for losing him. The cynic may have been right after all. When the book closes on such lives, the careers remain, complete and intact.

1 comment:

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

"I’m really angry with them booking me up to do 50 shows. I only wanted to do ten."

One of his brothers once told me he was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was younger …

If true about a diagnosis of schizophrenia, or even there were an underlying mood or anxiety disorder, it would explain the blunted affect or disaffectation often observed in his public presentation of himself.

All this is a subject of conjecture and a moot point. The source article is probably on target about the role of his handlers and the “grave” disservice they rendered to him. Celebrity handlers are notorious for their callous disregard about the well being of their clients. For them, a talented celebrity is little more than a cash cow or a money tree. If the celebrity has an emotional impairment and is ill equipped to defend himself, the combination can be lethal. Under the circumstances, perhaps this was Michael Jackson’s only resolution.