[Het Parool, The Netherlands]



Le Figaro, France

Jackson: The Tragic 'Genetically Modified' Icon of Globalization


"Fleeing his roots, pushing the negation of self to the limit, he created an entirely ambiguous character for himself that was neither male nor female, adult nor child, Black nor White - half angel, half monster."


Editorial by Sébastien Le Fol



Translated By Alexis Griffiths


June 27, 2009


France - Le Figaro - Original Article (French)

Fans sing, paying their respects to the late Michael Jackson, near the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, June 26.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Fans around the world united in grief over the death of Michael Jackson, 00:00:43, June 27.RealVideo

On Wednesday, for the first time since being appointed, the new Minister for French Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand said, "We all have a Michael Jackson within." Blacks and Whites, young and old, Westerners and Asians, the entire world in effect, has a hit by the "king of pop" ringing in their heads. One statistic is all it takes to reflect the global scale of the Jackson phenomenon: hundreds of millions of his albums have been sold, a hundred million of which were the single Thriller, which was released twenty-five years ago. No other artist on the international stage can compete with him.   



This global appeal doesn't suffice to explain the manifestations of idolatry that have emerged since his death. The story of Michael Jackson went far beyond the musical arena. This child who refused to grow up, a rock version of the Peter Pan syndrome, has risen to the rank of a modern myth - a paradoxical and terrifying myth. The last star of the 20th century - he was a star of the vinyl and CD eras and not the Internet - but also the first icon of 21st century globalization.


Reconciling Black music with White, and African-American soul with international pop, his songs are a cosmopolitan and eclectic soundtrack that great numbers of people easily assimilate. As the first Black singer to appear on music television channel MTV, Jackson understood the global process of cultural standardization before anyone else. His pop videos, which were massive communication tools produced by the biggest names in cinema, propelled him into every home. While in night clubs, meanwhile, his electric beats became the most sensual of all universal languages.

  [The Times, U.K.]


At the same time, he will always remain an American icon, with his Chaplin-style cropped trousers and his property called Neverland - which sounds so similar to Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Wasn’t it also said that this was a "Disneyland for him alone"? Having died in his prime, he joins Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and John Fitzgerald Kennedy in the pantheon of American legends whose lives were cut short.




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It will also be recalled how, in the 1980s, he was the architect of charity concerts for the children of Ethiopia, bringing together artists from across the globe. Media-based philanthropy was born.


But what fascinates us most of all about him is the hybrid, "genetically modified" creature that he eventually came to resemble. Fleeing his roots, pushing the negation of self to the limit, he created an entirely ambiguous character for himself that was neither male nor female, adult nor child, Black nor White - half angel, half monster. He conjured up these living-dead that appeared in his most famous video, Thriller. This truly unreal creature pre-dated the virtual world in which we are evolving into today. The dance move that he invented, the moonwalk, gave the strange impression that he was hovering above the ground. His fans understood him well: they take him for a god.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US June 29, 2:49pm]