Most often these two themes do not correlate. For a while I have been wanting to note on this; the recent death of Michael Jackson sealed the deal.
We rarely note significant authors or architects or politicians that Do make the world a better place. And ironically there will rarely to never be mention of some of the greatest minds, mentors or mothers walking the planet.
To our own discredit, we have reached a point in society where we elevate numbers of people least deserving; they become famous mearly by name or one special circumstance, i.e Paris Hilton or the couple Jon and Kate or Perez Hilton. What sets Paris’s character apart? Are these child-bearers really great parents? Why is Perez’s opinon of pop-culture so honored? These are the more important reflections. Or just having non at all will suffice.
The problem is this: the same way we learn information in grade school (flashcards, anyone?) is the same way our consumerism is marketed. (also, fear-based news for manipulation) Simple repetition, same flash images…herd mentality. All of the sudden someone is on a cover of a magazine and BOOM! they are IT. This makes no sense to me. Media and our cultural demand and provoke this. The actual person(s) being consumed become equally manipulated by the attention and vindicated by the narcissism it builds, loosing themselves in the process (i.e Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan) Identity becomes skewed. Society wants the image or ideal, and when this varies by any degree (someone gains some weight! what, they are normal? thats not right) the demolition begins.
We should all be forever blessed by what Michael Jackson gifted society. His music, style and overall talent trumped all race, age and creed. He was this generational pocket’s Elvis Presley. Unfortunately the same destructiveness befell him. We built him up and tore him down. In his defense, the man began building into his name as early as 5. He was never granted a childhood, certainly not by a demanding abusive father and a quick ascension to stardom then independent fame. So it makes perfect sense that as the years passed, disorders would ensue. Its equally obvious why he would pick a Peter Pan image, the boy who never aged as his own symbol, and a spectacle such as Neverland. This was his way of reproducing a life he had gone without.
There is a rabbi named Schmuley Boteach that was once a very close spiritual advisor to M.J, then later a friend and confidant. (the dog Schmuley’s children have was given by Jackson) It was always apparent that M. had a very giving heart and wanted so much to help children. His first attempts were through families and charity, but as the headlines soon acknowledged, Jackson spent too much intimate time with the children directly. Here again, I find the pop-culture society partially to blame. Parents themselves perpetuated his attention onto their children, for name-dropping sake at the least. I do not think the situation was appropriate on his part, but in hindsight a chicken-egg scenario applies again.
This bares reflection on what or whom IS really important. Michael Jackson will forever live in history. He was not only famous, but he was really great because he had something very few people, stars or music performers do. I have always heard that the good die young. Well cliche’s are cliche’s, because they are true. So I have to wonder if a society contributes to it’s own demise by tearing down what we build up? We would leave behind a more significant culture if we worked on being individually great and contributing in our unique ways. Authenticity is distinguishing, so it cant be demolished. Just being famous or recognized is inevitably fleeting and caricaturing (the cliche’ “15 minutes of fame”), thus open to ridicule and personal pain.
Let me share a direct quote out of one of Michael’s songs “…starting with the man in the mirror…if you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.”
God Bless him.