[Courrier International, France]



Folha, Brazil

Neverland Was Never Forever


"If Michael Jackson had read Peter Pan carefully, he would have known that even in 'Neverland,' although children never grow old, they die."


By Joćo Pereira Coutinho*



Translated By Brandi Miller


June 30, 2009


Brazil - Folha - Original Article (Portuguese)

Lisbon: Poor Michael Jackson. The man dies as we all die. Only more radically. With his heart prosaically saying goodbye to his body. The world, crying and in a trance, doesn't believe it. A myth doesn't die like this. Because this is how we, anonymous and mortal, die - plunged into our own misery. Myths die only by accident or through the jealous conspiracies of third parties who can't bear the incandescent brilliance of the star.


John Kennedy wasn't shot down by the failed Lee Oswald on a disastrous morning in Dallas. Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA, the Cubans, the Soviets, the mafia, eventually by extraterrestrials.


The same goes for "People's Princess" Diana Spencer. A victim of a drunk driver on an irresponsible night in Paris? No, a thousand times no. Diana was a victim of the English royal family, who intolerably despised her. To further embellish the episode, there are those who assert that Diana was pregnant. The autopsy failed to confirm this. But who pays attention to details? For my part, I'll bet they were twins.


And now we have Michael Jackson: he didn't die due to various excesses and evident manias. It was the doctor; it was the maid; it was Mickey Mouse who finished off the singer. 




Le Figaro, France: Michael Jackson: A Man Who Lived His Life in Reverse
Le Figaro, France: Jackson: The Tragic 'Genetically Modified' Icon of Globalization
Novosti, Russia: Russian Fans of Michael Jackson Still Devastated
El Universal, Mexico: Hugo Chavez Scolds CNN for Coverage of Jackson's Death

Let's leave the conspiracy theories to conspiratorial minds. In the midst of the vulgar and almost religious sentimentality with which the world mourns Jackson's death, the only vaguely rational statement was expressed by the American president. And what did Obama tell us?


To begin with, that Jackson was a talented musician. That's difficult to disagree with, although the Jackson I appreciated died the day that the Jackson much of the world loves was born, in other words, in 1979 with Off the Wall. The prodigious single that the Jackson Five released ten years before, I Want You Back [video below], is incomparably better than any subsequent work. That's a personal opinion. From the solo Michael Jackson, I admire only the dancer. Am I joking? No, I'm not. In the 1980s, Fred Astaire (photo, above left) didn't joke when he said that Jackson had been born too late. If he had lived in the 30s or 40s he would have worked with Busby Berkeley and Vincente Minnelli. Anyone that appreciates musicals knows what I mean.




But Obama didn't only praise the talent. Obama was courageous for deeply regretting the profoundly tragic figure of Michael Jackson. In the coming years, we'll learn more about this tragedy. But I bet that its origin lies in the man that, using the words of one French celebrity, nurtured a "nausea within himself" throughout his life: a nausea over his own Blackness and, perhaps more importantly, a nausea over his own humanity, by definition a changeable and perishable commodity. Obama didn’t admire that year after year, Jackson tried to strike out at his own humanity, pursuing an aesthetic ideal that was, in the eyes of the world, an infantile caricature - but in the eyes of Jackson, eternal and post-human.



I said earlier, citing Fred Astaire, that Michael Jackson didn't live in the 1930s and 40s to inscribe his name in the tradition of great musicals. But one can go back even further and lament the fact that Jackson wasn't born and didn't live at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries - and that he didn't meet a soul mate like J.M. Barrie (photo, right), the writer for whom childhood was both the best of worlds and the worst of the worlds. The best, through the everlasting enchantment we read of in Peter Pan or in the unjustly forgotten The Little White Bird. But also the worst of worlds, because one can anticipate future corruption: of maturity, aging and the loss of innocence.


[El Espectador, Colombia]


I don't know if Jackson read Barrie. Probably. But I know he stole the name for his ranch from him - "Neverland" - where children never grow up. If Michael Jackson had read Peter Pan carefully, he would have known that even in "Neverland," although children never grow old, they die.


Joćo Pereira Coutinho, 32, is a columnist at Folha. He has compiled his articles about Brazil into the book Avenida Paulista (Ed. Quasi), published in Portugal, where he lives. He writes every two weeks, on Mondays, for Folha Online.





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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US July 2, 2:45pm]


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