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Never land. - click opera
February 2010
 
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Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 12:56 am
Never land.

(First published on Click Opera March 13th, 2005.)

One of the reasons the Michael Jackson trial is so unfortunate is that the world of Either-Or will pass judgment on a creature of Yet-Also. The world of clear, unambiguous categories will pass judgment on someone who flies Peter-Pan-like over the binaries that confine and define the rest of us.



When we look at Michael Jackson, I believe we're looking at the future of our species. Michael is a creature from a future in which we've all become more feminine, more consumerist, more postmodern, more artificial, more self-constructed and self-mediating, more playful, caring and talented than we are today. But it's hard to use those adjectives, because they're Either-Or adjectives and he's from the world of Yet-Also, a world I believe we will all come to live in if we're lucky, a world where there is no more authenticity-by-default-through-brute-necessity and no more "human nature". A world of pure synthesis, pure self-creation.

Jackson is what all humans will become if we develop further in the direction of postmodernism and self-mediation. He is what we'll become if we get both more Wildean and more Nietzschean. He's what we'll become only if we're lucky and avoid a new brutality based on overpopulation and competition for dwindling resources. By attacking Jackson and what he stands for -- the effete, the artificial, the ambiguous -- we make a certain kind of relatively benign future mapped out for ourselves into a Neverland, something forbidden, discredited, derided. When we should be deriding what passes for our normalcy -- war, waste, and the things we do en masse are the things that threaten us -- we end up deriding dandyism and deviance. And Jackson is the ultimate dandy and the ultimate deviant. He can fly across our Either-Or binaries, and never land. It's debateable whether he's the king of pop, but he's undoubtedly the king of Yet-Also.

Consider all the extraordinary ways in which Michael Jackson is Yet-Also. He's black yet also white. He's adult yet also a child. He's male yet also female. He's gay yet also straight. He has children, yet he's also never fucked their mothers. He's wearing a mask, yet he's also showing his real self. He's walking yet also sliding. He's guilty yet also innocent. He's American yet also global. He's sexual yet also sexless. He's immensely rich yet also bankrupt. He's Judy Garland yet also Andy Warhol. He's real yet also synthetic. He's crazy yet also sane, human yet also robot, from the present yet also from the future. He declares his songs heavensent, and yet he also constructs them himself. He's the luckiest man in the world yet the unluckiest. His work is play. He's bad, yet also good. He's blessed yet also cursed. He's alive, but only in theory.

There's one way in which Michael Jackson is not Yet-Also though. He's not famous yet also ordinary. Almost all the other stars in the world, the stars of Either-Or world, anyway, make an exception to Either-Or's categorical thinking in this one instance: given the choice between being either famous or ordinary, they all insist they're both. It's the one instance in which hardline Either-Ors will accept a Yet-Also answer. It's an answer they like because it fills the positions of talent with the representatives of the untalented. It affirms them as they currently are rather than challenging them to become something else. They want affirmation, not aspiration. They don't want their artists and celebrities to embody the values of worlds they don't understand. Ambiguous worlds, future worlds. They want to walk, not moonwalk, and they want their stars to walk too.

And so our creature of Never-Land will be judged by the creatures of Never-Fly. They will almost certainly throw him into jail. Their desire to see him as grounded, categorised and unfree as they themselves are is overwhelming. The grounded, situated, unfree creatures of Either-Or are baying for the clipping of fairy wings. Knives, hatchets and scissors glint in Neverland. There's an assembly of torch-bearing witchfinders. Peter Pan must be ushered back from fiction to reality, from the air to the ground. Back into a race, back into a gender, back into a confined clarity. Assuming he doesn't commit suicide, as he threatens in Martin Bashir's documentary, by jumping from a balcony, Jackson will be ushered away from the fuzzy subtle flicker states of our future, back to the solid states of our past and present. Either-Or will have its triumph over Yet-Also. Yet it will also, unknowingly, "triumph" over its own better future.

Also possibly relevant: The Tragedie of Michael Jackson, King of Pop (2002)

62CommentReplyShare


(Anonymous)
Thu, Jun. 25th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)

Let the rush to be first in the bandwagon tributes commence.


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viceanglais
viceanglais
Thu, Jun. 25th, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)

1. Self-squandering and lazy
2. Soulless and unable to forget himself
3. Drowned in crass obsessions - magic, money, childhood, humdrum self-mythology
4. Hired 50 producers and hundreds of musicians to hide the fact that he couldn't write a song
5. Influenced Five Star - bypassed almost all the interesting musical advances of his age

Oh why go on.. the blokes from Blancmange had as much claim to be 'icons' IMHO


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jun. 25th, 2009 11:26 pm (UTC)

As soon as I sleepily heard his death; I came to Click Oprea...


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Jun. 25th, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC)

Act IV, Scene ii - A Graveyard
Enter some GRAVEDIGGAZ, with shovels, led by the RZA.

RZA: (Picking up skull)
Alas, poor Michael! I knew him, Shabazz!
A fellow of infinite jest, most dangerous crotch
The brain counselor, track fertilizer, the murdalizer
I never heard a wiser, I rue the day
For he once had the body of a Lexus Coupe!

SHABAZZ:
I musta looked upon his poster a thousand times
Musta sung his songs and rhymed his rhymes
And now how abhorred in my imagination it is!
My gorge rims at it! What kind of sick shit is
That? Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how oft -- but nobody call me faggot
I'm as normal as my man Ned Raggett
'To be or not to be?' Fuck it
Death comes to all, can't no man duck it

GRYM REAPER:
You was the Grymmest -- where be your gibes now?
Your gambols? your songs? your thrillers and gore
That were wont to set the MTV awards on a roar?
Not one now, to mock your own grinning?
Where be your boys, your monkeys and women?
You fucked up chicken, now you just got fried
It was self-inflicted regicide

MASTA ASE:
Lost was the king in his golden cage
But there was no way out of the death race
The skull we kiss was once a face
Hear the eulogy of Masta Ase!

PRINCE RAKEEM / RYZARECTOR:
Yeah, more graves to dig. Goodbye
There's no need to cry...
... cause we all die

(Exeunt)

CURTAIN

Just as the audience is rising to leave, a small pile of dust at the front of the stage starts spinning as if animated by a tiny twister, elongates itself, and turns into a headless figure in a skeleton body stocking. THE FIGURE delves behind the curtain and returns with the discarded skull. In a slow, ghoulish mime, THE FIGURE places the skull atop its shoulders, straightens it like a mask and, to rapt attention and pindrop silence, starts snapping its skeletal fingers.
A flashbomb explodes and a huge bassline erupts from concealed speakers. THE FIGURE clutches its thrusting pelvic girdle, releases a bloodcurdling whoop then, powered by a tiny jetpack, shoots up to the Royal Circle box, grabs Iman from a thunderstruck David Bowie, and, dragging her behind him, soars towards a small open skylight in the roof of the theatre. The two fleeing silhouettes, visible for some minutes against a huge full moon, resemble nothing so much as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC)
brilliant

I love this! Is this one of yours?


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eptified
eptified
H. Duck
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)

In the future, we will all be brutalized by our parents into a ceaseless downward spiral of fear-driven complex behavior, culminating in an early death.

In the future, we will all do our best work before we hit puberty, and spend our lives hating our genitals for ruining us.


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autokrater
autokrater
Metallic Lampshade
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)

This is kind of what I was thinking when I read this post. Nicely put.


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kulicuu
kulicUU
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
no.

The future is looking increasingly like one in which 99% of the population is programmed (physiologically and psychologically) into whatever the Pentagon/Winga-DingCult members want it to be. In that sense, Jackson is definitely a sign of the future, and it is not pretty. It's pretty like a Chihuahua. A little yap dog for young Elizabeth Taylors. We are all going to be (in the future) little robotic Chihuahuas with EMF directives given by AI controllers, doomed to perpetually (until the system breaks down at the Big-Crunch) to repeat hideous and revolting sitcom tropes ) Actually, in terms of the future I make no definite predictions. I would prefer to elucidate the field of possible outcomes, one of which seems to include a profusion of heavily programmed, heavily handicapped personalities like Jackson. Momus, do you know this guy's history? The abuse? The experimentation? He is(was) a walking talking Satanic party joke. (I've nothing moral against Satanists(as manifested in their middle-AngoAmero cutouts), but their esthetic prerogatives tend to the garish, hideous. I no like it. I'm not scatophilic like them.


Momus, I disagree with your take on Jackson, in sheerly esthetic terms that I might have to think for awhile about before attempting a proper expression of. On the other hand, I'm glad to have the chance to read this take of yours; as usual, incredibly insightful, original, and provocative. But no. Jackson is a hideous necrophalous something or other. Like a Pizza-Hut burning down in a small brutal Sasketchwan town on a grimy hazy day, all those tumescent exotic toxic fumes in air.. it could be pretty I suppose if you are in a mood for kitch and decadence and were smoking lots of crack.


Your appropriation of all of these wonderful concepts Yet-Also, hybrid-race, hybrid-sexuality, and then making Jackson the posterboy for them seems to me a disservice to the good concepts and not much help to Jackson himself. It's a glorification of pain and disease and abuse and the hideous labyrinths of crap congealed and conglomerated outside of Hollywood. Bad bad!!! Not good.

Fucking jeeezus.

I may need to alter edit or add to this comment later. I hope you all can make some sense of it. I tried.


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kulicuu
kulicUU
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 01:55 am (UTC)
*footnote

*The "Satanic" referred to is just the flipside of the JudeoChristian priest-as-psychiatric nurse (in the modern this could just be pure psychiatric technocrat). The satire, the compulsion to induce and foster bad-conscience that the priest has but keeps relatively hidden comes out full force in the so-called satanic manifestations. It's exactly the same thing. In love with pain, in love with disfigurement and disease. And in love with rigid hierarchical relationships and transcendent operations....
That's all extremely un-precice but maybe something of the idea... I actually never use the term or really have much interest in these cults but have been reading recently a lot of CoIntelpro history and whatnot, and this kind of cult life is actually really big in AmeroAnglo society. So FritoLay on the surface, so tacky & kinky underneath.


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kulicuu
kulicUU
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Re: *footnote//qualifier



For reasons of brevity, I had to leave things radically overgeneralized. In some cases, instead of trying to wind out a formally expository paragraph I went for the allusive epigram instead. Again, in the interests of abreviation.
My actual opinions of large, highly differentiated collections like the 'JudeoChristian' et al are much more nuanced. ('Both of those and all of those things can be rendered affinate with all different kinds of force tendencies depending on the practitioner'...something like that) bleh. I hate generalisations.
But abreviate or sink in the muck.


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w_e_quimby
w_e_quimby
hobbes
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)

momus this is why we love you


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qscrisp
qscrisp
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
In the future when all's ambiguous

Have to agree with this. The article certain bears re-reading.

I wonder about this, though:

Assuming he doesn't commit suicide, as he threatens in Martin Bashir's documentary, by jumping from a balcony, Jackson will be ushered away from the fuzzy subtle flicker states of our future, back to the solid states of our past and present. Either-Or will have its triumph over Yet-Also. Yet it will also, unknowingly, "triumph" over its own better future.

I'm not sure what's actually happened in the end is quite so clear cut or susceptible to easy interpretation.


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mercyorbemoaned
mercyorbemoaned
mercy or bemoaned
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)

He had sex with children, yet served no time!


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 07:16 am (UTC)

this is one of those moments in our lifetimes when we should reflect on who we really are, why we're here on earth and wether or not we are loving each other enough.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 07:33 am (UTC)

Oh, for fuck's sake!


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 07:41 am (UTC)

seriously. god has died.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 09:28 am (UTC)


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krskrft
krskrft
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 09:32 am (UTC)

I think what the cynics forget is the fact that he sold 47 million copies of a single album. This alone does not a legend make, but the fact that the majority of those albums were sold outside the US says a great deal about Jackson's widespread international appeal. I mean, for God's sake, he was the soccer of music. Probably the most recognizable celebrity name if you did a worldwide poll. Yet the cynics will maintain, at least until the end of this news cycle, that the general interest surrounding Michael Jackson in the wake of his death is overblown and undeserved.

You don't have to like him at all in order to appreciate the fact that he was a very influential figure, and that he, at one point, made pop music actually pretty damned exciting. It's so easy to act jaded and to conveniently forget just how much he energized pop music.

Obviously, it's not enough to just be "iconic," but I think Michael Jackson was obviously more than that.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 09:36 am (UTC)


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 09:54 am (UTC)

The Enver Hoxha of pop.


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rinusvanalebeek
rinusvanalebeek
rinusvanalebeek
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 11:27 am (UTC)
experimenting medium

your woman with the hair on fire came to my mind,
you were almost visionary on the night before...

greetings from flughafenstrasse,
rinus
ps care for a joemus 'revenge' on july 8th?
(in a very peculiar setting...;)


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 11:46 am (UTC)
Re: experimenting medium

Hi Rinus, I'm actually doing an art residency (as part of Contemporary Art Norwich 09) at that time.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
cool.

Half my friends are bummed, half are making jokes and calling him a molester. Interesting to see who falls on what side. Also very interesting timing with this. I agree about the future/judgement. Just want to know what happens.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)

Momus, that Graveyard Chamber thingy was amazing.
And even more amazing that you know Gravediggaz!

You should do a post on the Wu-Tang Clan, or at least the wondrous talent of the RZA.
That would send heads spinning.


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faeuboulanger
faeuboulanger
moxie milquetoast
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)

If that is the future, count me out.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
harm K ...mommymus

http://stagevu.com/video/dailnifomzqo
i feel some of the monologue pieces harmony wrote for michael jackson, seem almost true to his life and the way he felt during his last few years of his life, battling with the faith of his career, his financial burdens and himself.


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luolian
luolian
L
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)

Isn't Micheal Jackson a the perfect example of why 100% Yet-Also doesn't work?

I personally aim for Yet-Also yet also Either-Or.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)

either / or is precisely the highmodernist binary-thinking that pomo people want to get beyond. momus is on the right track, although MJ is a rather ghoulish example---he's an all too good example.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand

(Anonymous)
Sat, Jun. 27th, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
No Future, No Future, no future for you...

"When we look at Michael Jackson, I believe we're looking at the future of our species."
Drop the bomb then.


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metaphorge
metaphorge
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Mon, Jun. 29th, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)

I know this wasn't originally intended as an epitaph, but it is the finest one I've read. Cheers to you, and R.I.P. Michael.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Jun. 29th, 2009 08:53 am (UTC)
Orating Joseph

http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s1i55266


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