Thursday, June 25, 2009

That boy, as they say, could sure eat some beets

Either Michael Jackson or Michael Jordan just died. Me? I find them virtually indistinguishable, although I believe I hold more of a grudge against MJ for all the things he did to my boys Patrick Ewing, Johnny Starks and the rest of that era's K-Whoppers.

That bit of pettiness aside, let's assume it was Jackson. Actually, let's not assume. That's who it actually was. I spent a portion of the evening watching MTV (not something I would otherwise do) play nothing but MJ videos. The irony of this functions palpably on any number of levels, by the way.
You watching videos on MTV is ironic?
No. MTV playing MJ videos is ironic.
How so?
How long do you have? It's complicated.
The general idea being the spectacle of watching the fetid spectre of what MTV formerly was pay homage to the very thing that made it what it was in the beginning, before it knelt before the alter of money, mouth agape?
Yeah, that's generally it.
And this is your idea of an obituary?
Moving on, my personal favorite video, for the record, is "Give Into Me" featuring, of all people, Slash. Licensing stuff being what it is, they won't let me imbed it. But you can see it on u-tube by going to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-CcqOe9WWU

One man's opinion? This video offers a macabre foretelling of Mr. Jackson's death and had to be what was going through his mind during the last five minutes and twenty-eight seconds of his life. I love the inexorability of it; the freight train locomotion of it; and Slash's second guitar solo, which starts at about the 3:30 mark and lasts, winding in and out, til about 4:15, is amazing. But where's his hat?

Anyway, you know what it reminds me of? The concluding scenes of that Miami Vice episode where Rico's making love to his girlfriend (Pam Grier--woof!), down from NYC to rescue her junkie younger sister from the bad guys, while, elsewhere, those same bad guys are holding little sis down and injecting her with enough heroin to kill every fish in the Pepacton Reservoir. Foreigner is, of course, playing. Jump cuts ensue. Check out Sonny's cell-phone at about the 2:20 mark.



This, by the way, dear reader, is everything you ever wanted to know about Miami Vice--the greatest television cop show in the history of the world. Take it or leave it.

But back to Michael Jackson. I was never that big a fan--he came on big after my primary window closed--but he could certainly dance. In fact, in the end, he was just some twisted kid with a "West Side Story" obsession who somehow made it big.

Witness the "Beat It" video (go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uqxo1SKB0z8), with the role of Natalie Wood played by MJ. The real fireworks occur at the 3:56 mark and more or less continue through the rest of the thing.

Even more so is "Bad" (go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG5NhkxQJQc) -- a deep channeling of the "Cool" number in the West Side Story movie shot, I'm guessing, in the middle level of the West 4th Street train station back when it still smelled like pee in the summer.
You call this an obituary?
All I'm saying is that somewhere, Jerome Robbins is wondering where his royalty check is.

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