So, apparently, as of today, Michael Jackson has been “beating it” for 50 years. Happy Birthday Jacko! My how the times have changed! You’ve gone from actually knowing what it’s like to be on top of the world, to knowing what it’s like to be a pedophilic priest. You’ve know what it is to be a black man and you’ve known what it is to be a freakish looking white man. You’ve grabbed your crotch for us while screaming, you’ve literally had your hair on fire, you’ve moon-walked and break danced, you’ve created a zoo and a ranch called Neverland, but unlike your idol, Peter Pan, you’ve gone and done it and growed all up for us.
And now you’re fifty years old.
It’s hard to believe, especially since because of all the surgery you’ve undergone to freakify yourself, you’ve kind of been an ageless monsterish-looking guy for the past couple decades anyway, but those of us who are young enough to remember, mostly encapsulate you back in a day when you were still black, when draining the oil from your hair could have solved the problem of foreign oil dependency, when you inspired Eddie Murphy to wear a red leather jacket, when you made wearing one glove cool and made Vincent Price relevant again for a little while.
I’m speaking, of course, of 1983. You were 25 back then. I was 8. My sister was 6 and had a pair of earrings with your picture on them that she counted among her prized possessions (along with her Cyndi Lauper wig). The world was your oyster, as the great one used to say. So, I hope you won’t mind me asking…dude, what the fuck?
To be fair, you still have thousands upon thousands of loyal, devoted and unabashed fans who will travel to the ends of the earth to see you sing and spin and molest yourself on stage, but I just don’t get it. You have this once in a lifetime, amazing kind of success with the Thriller album (kids, back in those days we had these wax things called records that we played on record players—we also had tapes for our walkmans which are a distant, retarded forefather of the iPod, but when an artist had new songs to “drop” they dropped them onto a record, not a CD or an internet site) and then follow it up with Bad, which wasn’t at all coincidentally and then BAM!
Welcome to Freakville, Population: You.
Success brought fame and money. Fame and money brought a ranch called Neverland where you slept under the same covers as the underage underprivileged kids you carted out there. You decided that black was whack and systematically whitened yourself more efficiently than those Crest strips and finally, you had the doctors cut your nose off, leaving just two little reptilian nostrils and millions of people thinking, “huh?”
I toil away here, my talents are vastly overlooked and certainly not profitable, so I don’t know what it’s like to hit it big on the basis of your own artistic genius, but I’d like to think I could manage it without undergoing a color change, a nose loss and gaining a penchant for sword fighting with little kiddies.
Yet it happens over and over again. Look no further than Britney Spears to see the latest incarnation of this phenomenon and give it a few months before you can watch it all unfold with Miley Cyrus---tick, tick, tick, tick…
I suppose getting what you want isn’t always the best thing for you huh? I guess the dream of being successful and the actual success aren’t always what they are cracked up to be. It’s odd really, because the paycheck to paycheck people of the world cannot fathom how life could possibly be so hard with so much money, with so much fame, with everyone wanting to be you.
So, maybe I shouldn’t be sitting here in judgment and I suppose if you’d stopped at self-mutilation and bleaching yourself I could manage to refrain—it’s the kiddie thing that invites my scorn. And it’s why, in my mind, you’ve now gone from icon, to eccentric, to freak, to pervy freak and now to older pervy freak—the big Five-Oh!
What a crazy quarter century it’s been. So, Happy Birthday Michael, wherever you are, may your presents all be of legal age, may someone figure out how to reattach your nose, may you realize that being a black guy isn’t such a bad thing, and may you live to see another 50 years—unless you touch another little kid of course, in which case may a mutant zombie eat your brains while the ghost of Vincent Price narrates.