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A local star has died

A piece of our collective imagination has been sliced away – Michael Jackson is no longer with us. MJ is a modern star, the true superstar of the media age. I'm in my mid forties and like everyone else in the western world I grew up with Michael Jackson. He is from this generation and of the others who came after. In that sense there's something truly unique about his status.

 Millions of people across North America, Europe, South America and elsewhere have danced to his grooves. An excellent performer and a demanding artist, he excelled and surprised us. He became super-famous and, with this unprecedented fame in history, so the myth became larger. The irony of it all is how much one has a feeling of his own sense of loneliness and isolation. No longer feeding the radio waves with funky grooves, the TV antenna picked up instead on allegations of abuse and his own Jacko Wacko behaviour. 

He never really struck me as a child abuser, rather more like an innocent, naïve character detached from the world we all live in with its paranoias, social codes and bills to pay. If MJ wasn't going to provide the world with his music, it’s a sure thing he could provide gossip news across the globe – money could still be made entertaining audiences with that ghastly trait of our times: celebrity news, scandal and gossip. This is one price of unprecedented fame ; in the absence of musical production, he was thrown together with the contemporary bunch of non-achieving  and manufactured celebrity types (as if he was one of the Big Brother house mates) to feed regular rations to an audience of starving TV-pigeons. 




The O2 concerts seemed a bit too much as a frail MJ appeared on a press conference in London. Fifty of them just sounded rather ambitious. No wonder the man, the star and the myth were getting anxious. The man was addicted, the star was fragile and the myth struggled to overcome itself. It makes one wonder for whose interest were the 50 concerts scheduled? MJ himself did not need that many to get the notes rolling in through media exposure, merchandising and record sales. 

Now the man has gone - eclipsed from our lives as if a slice has been cut away from our collective self. From the moment it became news, it pushed everything else off the news desk. Even the historical movement of dissent in Iran has been disbanded from the news. However, I have no doubt that, in houses across Tehran as well, people are paying tribute to the pop icon. The man is gone but the legend has only just started and that will live forever.

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