Zoilus by Carl Wilson

Is Your Life a Painting?

June 29th, 2009

Said the Gramophone’s elegy, “After Michael Jackson Died” (”He understood the liberated/ sing/ of his childhood songs, the worlds concealed in his boyhood choruses, wants he found words for, even then, before he/ knew what such wants could be, before he knew the meaning of “darling!”, back in the days where he still thought he/ would find this, find “darling!”, before he had given up, turned instead to monkeys and children, to dandelion joys.”)
K-Punk (”But before the Thriller phenomenon encased Jackson in the hypercommodity that he was now reduced to being just a little part of - he would soon be only a biotic component going mad in the middle of a vast multimedia megamachine that bore his name - before all that was Billie Jean.”)
The Boston Globe (deeper into Peter Pan)
Oliver Wang’s MJ Deep Cuts Mix
Lynn Crosbie on Ryeberg Video: “Crazy Michael Jackson Fan” (sexiest MJ piece I’ve yet read: “But it was hard to fantasize about Jackson, whose sexuality was, ultimately, part of his mystery; part of the burlesque nature of some of his work. Part of him, the man who was so complex that to have erotic thoughts about him is like making a pin-up of Picasso’s Dora Maar.”)
An appreciation and mini-biography by Jason King (”I’d call him a spectacularist, if that were a legitimate word. He was the thriller he sang about.”)
David Cantwell (”Some of the most soul-sustaining, emotionally-perfect musical moments I know are those times in J5 hits when Michael’s high sweet voice gave way to the voice of one of his brothers’, usually Jermaine’s, who would spell Michael for a line or a verse or a bridge, the older sibling with his musical arm around the shoulder of a kid brother.”)
Sasha Frere Jones (”He was the Jackie Robinson of MTV and, in many ways, the Google of pop dancing.”)
Steven Shaviro (”one could say with equal justice that the sharp edges of mournful or joyous black expression had been ‘mainstreamed,’ or that the very ‘mainstream’ itself had been alluringly or insidiously carried away … allowed to blossom into a new aestheticized state in which pop crassness had itself become a rare, almost Wildean, delicacy.”)
Owen Hatherley (”In terms of lifelong fame, limitless but profoundly unsatisfying power and presumably endless guilt, the only man who probably knows how Michael Jackson felt near the end is Kim Jong-Il.”)
Ernest Hardy (”So many of the tributes being written … think they are bestowing the ultimate praise on him by positioning him alongside conventional, traditional soul men or icons of Negro male cool. Make that unquestionable hetero Negro male cool. But the thing about Michael … was that he resonated so powerfully precisely because he upended and shimmered beyond gender convention. [He] cemented his solo superstar status during the gender-bending / gender-fucking era of the early ‘80s, alongside Boy George, Annie Lennox, Prince, a funkily reinvigorated Grace Jones – though he was a seasoned old pro in comparison to all of them. (It was his second start at a solo career.) Because his gender-tweak shit was subtle relative to those artists, it doesn’t really get commented upon. But Mike evolved from childhood mimicry of the masculinity of soul titans to something more complex and more layered. It was his. And it eventually housed a much more problematic sexuality.”)
ILM message-board Classic: “The Tragedie of Michael Jackson, King of Pop”
The Minutemen weigh in

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  2. Brad Nelson says:

    Thanks for collecting these pieces, Carl. As a guy who merely grew up with the Jackson of the ’80s, the depth and breadth achieved by a lot of these is illuminating.

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