Sunday, 28 June 2009

King Michael-Every Inch a Fake

Ah yes, Death: the ultimate come back act. And what a ghastly bit of danse macabre His Majesty is kicking up for the guy whose greatest hit was a "spectreacular" of graveside humor! Ironic that at the time of his demise the erstwhile heartthrob of pre-ads and post-menos, the eternal child bent on cheating old age, had come to look like one of the original "Thriller" ghouls, although they could probably dance better. The way the Yanks are mushing hankies over Jackson's death, you'd think the so-called King of Pop had been a real life monarch and the fans, just about everyone right at the moment, his actual subjects. Fox TV reportedly likened it to Kennedy's passing, whether in earnest or jest I cannot say. For Fox's sake I hope it was jest.
Can this nation sink any lower? In the same breath it is demonizing Iran it tries to apotheosize a second rater like Jackson, a man who's been the butt of talk show comedians and the whipping boy of piss pious journalism for twenty years. Suddenly he's a genius, "Thriller" is a great work of art and, as Baloney Ciccone, AKA Madonna, put it, "his music will live for ever."
Forever? Like dogs, American "gods" age differently than we do, so we have to adjust for the material girl's somewhat skewed frame of reference. Being on the shady side of fifty herself, she can be forgiven for making a vicarious grab for immortality via the brief candle that Jackson represents. "Forever" in America equals about a decade in human time. Just as "genius" in the States factors in as "nicely talented" in the real world.
Ciccone can pump Jackson because both she and Jackson were cut from the same see-through fabric. Coming in the wake of the last universal entertainers, they and many like them tried to make up in sales what they could never garner in respect. By universal, I mean those whose names and work were known universally, by young and old, black and white, cool and uncool, in America and world wide. This means Sinatra, Presley, Beatles and ...??? Exclusive the list definitely is. Isn't that what genius means in the rest of the world? Many, many people, maybe a good majority couldn't name a Michael Jackson song except "Thriller" if their life depended on it. Just as Ciccone tried to pass herself off as an avatar of the blonde bombshells of the forties and fifites, Jackson tried for the flaming mantle of Elvis and the other Adonises of that age. But no soldier, you can bet, ever put Ciccone's dull centrefold on his barracks wall. And as for Elvis' mantle, Jackson got the sequins but Elvis kept the flame.
I myself may have heard around five or six of Jackson's hits: "Beat It" and "Thriller" are just about the only ones that come to mind, both more for the visuals they connote than the notes themselves. The first has our frail freak rhythmically banging on his bony crotch - typically to the ecstasy of eleven year old girls in tow with their approving mommas- while the latter comes via the elaborate staging of a movie short. The eyes have it but the ear goes hungry."Billy Jean" appears to be the hit that his present beatifiers like best. Rolling Stone spent a lot of ink praising its bass line. Jackson, alas, couldn't play bass, or any instrument as far as I know. Nor did he write the music. Maybe Rolling Stone should hold off on beatification till the bass player dies.
As for the absurd claim that he opened up the music industry to black performers, let him try selling that to the ghosts of Ray Charles and dozens of other famous blacks right back to Scott Joplin. They'll tell him to beat it.
Jackson will be remembered more for his dancing and sartorial grandiloquence than for his singing. His voice was as skinny feminine as his frame - one of the reasons he couldn't hold the young males in his contemporary audience who typically looked upon him with bewilderment or hostility- and none of his hits ever rivaled in either tonal or emotional range those of the three universals listed above. Compare him to Elvis, who could, in his prime, span two octaves and a bit more, and whose baritone notes could be as smoky as his tenors were fiery, and you'll see Jackson for the clown prince he really was. Will there be Jackson impersonators thirty years from now? Only in freak shows.
Great singers don't grab their crotch, they grab us, body and soul. May Jackson's own rest in peace.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The Art of War


Aesthetically speaking, it is perhaps the most beautiful emblem in all vexillology. Form and figure appear unified in an almost divine simplicity of perception. And then there's the color: sky blue, nature's own ensign of peace. It's a triumph of art and a manifesto of faith. It uses basic geometry to suggest a kaleidoscope of kinesis. It charms the eye of a child while it evokes the most ancient of histories. It's the state flag of Israel and it's a thing of a beauty.
Between the picture and the practice, alas, falls the shadow. Recent history has dimmed the Zionist's pristine perspective. Painful associations cloud its clean design.
The azure bars that may have been meant for the spans of sea and sky have come to stand for walls instead. Everything looks boxed in, hopeless and closed. The triangles are cells, interlocking and bafflingly contrived. They imprison the eyes. Each of the six starry points now bristle like lance heads stabbing at Israel's six borders, at Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf of Aqaba (and across to Saudi Arabia), and of course the Mediterranean to the West and on into the very heart of America seven thousand miles away. Some now see barbed wire in its serrations, others a terrorist's spiked wheel. The star might better typify Goliath's armor than David's heroic stone. And then there's the color. We look at the blue but the blue turns red, nature's own brutal primer.
Now comes the final tergiversation. The "disassembling" star, to use a famous Bushism,
comes apart, turns black and reconnects as the most feared and hated motif in history, a swastika, the Nazi ensign of terror, now the great spider of Zion.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Black Ops and the Velvet Tarbaby

If anything should convince us that the US is in for a long term economic decline, despite the "green shoots" that are sprouting up in the fantasy sections of business mags, it is the avidity with which many Americans are calling for intervention in Iran. Just when the green stuff is becoming notoriously scarce, these fools can think of nothing else but throwing what little of it they have left on the so-called "green revolution" playing itself out in Tehran. I know the Yanks pride themselves on their eternal innocence, much like the wizened old whore who still dresses like a rural ingenue, but this refusal to ever learn anything from past errors is getting downright obscene. Have they no shame? Can the span of thirty years be enough to erase the memory of that great comeuppance of the "Great Satan?" Have they forgotten the humiliation, the impotence, the utter prostrating paralysis of that time? Or is the case exactly the opposite? They do remember, all too well!
After Jimmy Carter left to assume the role of wandering Jew in search of second term redemption, Reagan came on like the Kool Ade kid with a fix for anyone with a monkey -or a Mullah- on his back. Nothing like a huge twenty year draft of LSD, liberty soaked delirium, to make them forget it ever happened.
But the party's over, as they say, and now the bitter memories are seeping back in to collective consciousness. It's time for revenge and vindication. Bring on the black ops and the green puppets! The velvet convolution is at hand! America's favorite tar baby just got a new look, the preferred shade of innocence, envy and old whores. Take your pick, America.
In every big Western city you run into the Iranian, or as they might prefer to call themselves, Persian, expatriates and their offspring. By and large these are the Pahlavi crowd that lost out to the Mullahs in 79. Pahlavi's royal son, in fact, has become the most prominent mouthpiece for the so-called velvet revolution now putatively underway in Iran. And by and large they are decent human beings. Nonetheless, their political lineage leaves much to be desired. While Savak disappeared their fellow Iranians, they looked the other way. While the CIA wooed and cajoled them, they went along for the ride. While the Ayatollah thundered from Paris, they laughed and let the good times roll. But when the heads started rolling they ran like rabbits to Europe, Australia and North America, where their swollen wallets and devotion to Western icons like the holy Profit bought them easy entry. Now you find them, or rather their grown children, on summer weekends holding rallies and demonstrations, as they do on the steps of Vancouver's old CourtHouse, for the cause, for fatherland and for "freedom." But just try engaging them in a constructive dialogue about the Shah's shameless legacy and you'll discover how deep their devotion to Western freedom really goes: about as deep as the green silk wrapped around their sun tanned necks. After all, if you really are determined to alter the course of your nation's destiny, running away to the safe haven of the affluent West should not be your first option. If these million odd "refugees" had stayed in Iran, who knows but that their steadfast if muted opposition would not have long since made a big difference in that country's evolving polity. Their votes in the recent election might have been enough to oust Ahmadinejad - legitimately, I mean, rather than in the hypothetical victory claimed by the protesters. Not that that means very much in itself: the president is merely the Mullah's mouthpiece, as we should all know by now. Nevertheless, at the very least, the expats' swelling numbers and love of the green stuff could have filled out the CIA's black ops destabilization plan started in 07 to real effect. Now that's what I'd call real loyalty!