Friday, June 26, 2009

Farrah Fawcett, R.I.P....Oh, Yes & Michael Jackson, Too


Mes plus sincères excuses for the title, but it seems a shame that the end of Farrah Fawcett's long (and highly publicized) struggle with cancer was completely overshadowed by the sudden death of the self-crown King of Pop.

Not that there is anything inherently wrong with publicizing that you have cancer. These days, there is nothing inherently wrong with publicity of any kind, as Heidi and Spencer Pratt are busily proving. (For my British readers, was there ever an appropriate last name?)

Fawcett started as a sex kitten, but proved herself an highly talented, versatile actress. This writer still remembers her performance as the homicidal mother in "Small Sacrifices" (1989). She made a name for herself on both the small screen and the stage. Her "Dateline NBC" portrait of living with terminal cancer was done with a dignity rarely seen in today's "show everything" culture.

Is there anything to be written here about Michael Jackson that hasn't already been written? The media is having a collective regret-orgasm (and we know how long those last) now that the nearly-forgotten celebrity died suddenly. His videos and music are blaring out of every radio, television and car window. Suddenly, a man who spent the last half of his life being villified as a pedophile and lunatic is the Most Talented Man Of Our Generation. The label King of Pop had become a joke. Suddenly it is his title.

One commentator said (with a straight face) that Jackson's death was "the death of pop." Has anyone told Miley Cyrus about this? Does she even know who he is?

This is not to say that Jackson was not a truly amazing talent in his day, a brilliant singer/dancer who crossed the color line in music television (until he changed his own color). Seeing him in "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" saddens moi. His original face is boyish, handsome, and open. Why did he feel a need to change it, to leave his identity behind? His later song, "Black Or White," seems oddly disturbing, since Jackson's skin is almost as pale as Anne Hathaway's.

(This is a photo from 1972, when a very young Jackson recorded "Ben," a touching song about a young man's love for his rat.)

Thank goodness "Weird Al" Yankovic learned how to parody other musicians, or he would be the person your faithful correspondent would truly feel sorry for.

This evening, I overhead an African-American woman say to her friend, "Poor Michael. He didn't want to be black, and he didn't want to be a man."

Condolences to all of the survivors of these two icons.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

1 comment:

WendyB said...

The death of pop? I think not!