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article imageOp-Ed: The tragic death of Michael Jackson, child and superstar

By Michael Cosgrove     Jul 1, 2009 in Entertainment
The media frenzy after Michael Jackson’s death was understandable, and most of what was written was based on the assumption that his death was unexpected. I do not believe that to be the case. His early death was predictable and pre-ordained.
Michael Jackson’s life was a mirror image of most other lives, and he was destined to die young in both senses, literal and figurative, of the term. His life was that of a man who wanted to be a boy. He didn’t want to grow old. On the contrary. He did everything possible to avoid it, and he finally succeeded.
His spent his earliest years being badly treated and humiliated by his father. At the age of seven however he was already a monumental star, and the life he led from that time on meant that he had to push back any ideas he may have had of a happy childhood until later.
Most people, and most stars, do things in the opposite order. Almost all the household names in the music business spent years working to get known. From Bono to Jagger, Hendrix to Zeppelin, they all had to wait until their early twenties before being celebrated personalities.
Who knew the Beatles before they were in their twenties? Who had ever heard of Neil Young before he was old enough to write mature songs?
He was born within weeks of Madonna and prince, neither of whom became known until they were in their twenties.
All of these people were normal kids before that. School, homework, early to bed, the works.
But Jackson didn’t get the chance to be a normal kid until he was finally rich enough to be able to pay himself the toys and downtime he didn’t have in his early life. Neverland, his penchant for spending time with children, his generosity towards the families of many of them, the lavish spending sprees to give the children presents, all of that was inevitable.
Ha had a zoo built for him and his friends, and he would often dress up as a toy soldier. He also helped many underprivileged youngsters and even considered adopting a boy and a girl.
It was almost as if he was finally playing with children his own age. His life finished where it should have begun. As a child.
His life unfolded backwards, like a film projected in reverse.
Not only that, but his failing career, which was the logical result of his tumultuous life, helped him to realise his childhood dreams.
Michael Jackson’s life was a mirror image of what a life should be. It was all the wrong way round.
His life was a perfect example of slow but inexorable autodestruction and denial.
He spent that life of his trying to get rid of the body that had led him to be called “big nose” by his father, and he unconciously tried to eliminate it as soon as he was able to. His father may have bullied and pushed him into making millions of dollars and becoming a megastar, but he also killed off any childhood that that boy may have wished to experience.
His cultural heritage was sacrificed on the money altar, and he was the first black artist to sell to a white audience in such enormous numbers.
His father was a steel-mill worker and he, his wife and their nine children all lived a cramped and dysfunctional life in a two-bedroomed house on what is now named Jackson Boulevard.
Getting out of the misery of Gary, Indiana was a godsend for his father and the whole family. This too pushed him away from his ‘blackness’ and towards an existence that would finally distance him from his father’s influence.
His non-existent youth was replaced with a gruelling and years-long cycle of studios, TV, concerts, interviews and photoshoots that turned the man-boy’s life into a ticking time-bomb strapped to its own body.
He was living an adult’s life as an adolescent, but that would not last. In fact, the process would soon start to reverse itself.
Once rich enough to do so, he began the long and tragic odysee that would lead him back to his childhood and, ultimately, his death.
He took that chance eagerly as soon as it became available in what was yet another logical development. He left his adult life behind and stepped into his future childhood.
He got rid of his black body, stopped writing songs and touring as often as he had before, and finally began to approach his unconcious goal.
The process of changing his body and plunging willingly into his new-found life as a child took its toll over the years, and his consumption of neuoroleptic drugs and the many other medicines necessary to accompany the many past-effacing surgical interventions he put himself through must surely have estranged him even more from the adult world he was supposed to be living in.
The accusations of his improper behaviour towards children, when put into the context of his life, seem almost inevitable in retrospect. It could well be argued that he was doing no more than what many young boys, and girls too, do, which was experimenting. It may well be that he just didn’t consider what he did as being wrong in the generally accepted way. A pedophile boy?
Maybe he was quite simply finally finding out what his peers had in common with what he was, or should have been, himself.
Maybe he had finally managed to live like the child he had never been.
Michael Jackson spent nearly thirty years trying to go back in time on his own terms, to get rid of the body that represented his sad early life.
He finally managed it, whether he knew he was heading there or not.
The tour he had planned just before his death was more about paying his debts than gaining fame. He was already as famous as it is possible to be and would surely have preferred to have stayed out of the limelight.
They say that legends are made to die young. That was cruelly and literally true in his case.
His most famous dance move, the Moonwalk, is arguably the the most visible reflection of his life. We will never know if he knew the significance of it, or why he chose to hone it to such perfection.
The Moonwalk is a mirror image, but it is the true image of his life, and death.
The Moonwalk is a dance move in which the dancer appears to be moving forward, but is, in reality, moving backwards....
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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