The peter-pan juggernaut


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Michael Jackson's memorial service was broadcast live on every major American network television station yesterday on 7 July 2009. It was the largest gathering for a deceased person in world history. In Australia there was a TV special: “Michael Jackson--The King of Pop,” premiered on June 27 at 7.30 p.m. and replayed at 1:30 a.m. on 8 July 2009. I watched the piece for about ten minutes before going to bed. After midnight I usually watch a little TV as a sort of sedative to help me sleep, to turn my brain off after a day of reading and writing, of what I have come to call independent scholarship. Given the immense publicity surrounding Jackson’s death on 25 June two weeks ago, Jackson’s life seemed to warrant a prose-poem from my pen, from this word processor-computer-keyboard, this 65 year old brain. I felt the need, the desire, to write about him on the day after his funeral.

Several critics have observed that Jackson’s songs were crafted from combinations of: funk, disco-pop, soul, soft rock, jazz and pop ballads. Jackson was born when I was in my early teens, the year before I joined the Bahá'í Faith. He sang from his middle childhood, from the 1960s. I was 15 and a student in 1960 and 25 and a teacher in 1970 in Canada.

One writer summed-up Jackson’s vocal style as one which possessed: a grace, an aggression, a growling, a natural boyishness, a falsetto, a smoothness--a combination of elements to marked him as one of this era’s major vocalists. His sale of over 750 million records worldwide made him the world's best-selling male solo pop artist.-Ron Price with thanks to Wikipedia, 8 July 2009.

An unstoppable juggernaut,
instantly identifiable voice,
eye-popping dance moves,
stunning musical versatility,
loads of sheer star power.....

The hottest single phenomenon
since Elvis Presley.......the most
popular artist in show business-
history, part of popular culture..
since my pioneering-life began
on Canada’s homefront and in
Australia-some call him genius
genius and others a man with a
Peter Pan syndrome---a term from
pop-psychology used to describe a
socially immature adult who never
grew of many descriptions
of Jackson I have heard in the last
fourteen days before which I hardly
knew the man at all...sadly, so sadly.

Ron Price
8 July 2009


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Oscar Wilde: A Reflection on Michael Jackson

Some diarists, poets and artists, like Evelyn Waugh and Michael Jackson, among a host of others, have a taste for exaggeration and fantasy. Indeed, exaggeration appears to be a major problem in our celebrity culture and in autobiography generally. Perhaps this is because, as Oscar Wilde once wrote: “Where there is no exaggeration there is no love, and where there is no love there is no understanding. It is only about things that do not interest one--that one can give a really unbiased opinion; and this is no doubt the reason why an unbiased opinion is always valueless.”1 -Ron Price with thanks to Oscar Wilde in the magazine Speaker, July, 1891. I think Wilde is a little over the top here, but his words exhibit a clever turn of phrase containing what is often, it seems to me anyway, an important facet of the truth of a question or issue. --Ron Price with thanks to Oscar Wilde in Robin Markowitz's article "Reconstructing Michael Jackson: Close Readings of Pop-Works," Stranger in a Strange Land: Internet Site, April 2004.