There’s a funny but poignant editorial cartoon this week which shows the King of Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley, meeting up with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, in heaven. (I assume it’s heaven, there are clouds.)
The caption is …”Deja vu, all over again.”
Both music icons died suddenly, tragically and way too young. They were both eccentric and enigmatic. Dynamic and driven. They lived large and in passing left the world of entertainment (and world at large) a lasting legacy.
Jackson left three children when he died June 25, at age 50, and pop pundits are having a field day trying to outpredict each other as to what will become of them.
My guess is that they will grow into adulthood something Jackson’s critics say eluded him. No surprise, in the past few days there has been massive media attention television, radio, web, talk shows and news spots paying tribute to Jackson.
Jackson’s famous Thriller, Beat It and Billie Jean music videos were played and replayed countless times. Numerous video clips showing his more bizarre behaviour was all day and night fodder Michael cavorting with his pet chimpanzee, Bubbles. Michael dangling his infant son off a balcony. Michael in Pied Piper mode at Neverland Ranch, doting kids all around him.
We were saturated with images of Michael Jackson’s on-stage antics, his crotch-grabbing, headline-hogging, “bad”-boy moves.
There were curious interviews with people said to be friends who talked about the more infamous stuff. The dark side of Michael Jackson. Things most of us would rather forget about the mystery man who gave us magical music and the moon walk.
Footage of court appearances on (never proven) child molestation charges, scenes from his odd and very brief marriage to Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. His ever-altering facial appearance which over the years morphed into paler skin, smaller nose, thinner lips and chiselled chin. And there was something about his eyes…nothing to do with plastic surgery. They were sadder.
Most commentators opined that Jackson was not at all crazy or criminal, just a naive and deeply troubled man with a hurt inner child. Jackson carried a heavy burden on his slight frame and carried secrets to the grave. His biography talks about abuse suffered as a child and maybe that’s why he wanted to go back and do it over again. And again. In one of his (prize-winning) editorials, my editor once called that kind of inner turmoil, “a tortured soul” and I think that comes close to describing what drove Jackson.
It is interesting that Jackson and Elvis each had their own inner demons. They had flaws, just like the rest of us.
That’s of little comfort to Michael Jackson fans this week except to remind them that the King of Pop in the cartoon is not just another star in the constellation, he’s the man walking’ on the moon.