On June 25th, American Eastern time in the afternoon, I felt strangely ill at ease, so I read some materials about mysticism. When the news of Michael Jackson’s death came out, the meaning of the title of the news report from the Associated Press was profound: He Is Not Only the King of Pop. One fan in Los Angeles described what he felt at the moment: “I am crying while driving. It is as if I see his soul going to heaven outside the window.”
These average people once bought 750 million Michael Jackson albums. They also called him “Wacko Jacko” and played the role of extras for his music video “Cry.” That music video has remained in my consciousness for a long time because it was filmed in the area, overlooking the earth from Europe to Africa, and vividly expressed the notion: “the Earth is Round.”
Over one night, the number of online visits to his famous music videos has exceeded millions. I was eager to find the music video that shocked me during my college years. I didn’t remember the name of the song but I could remember that in it he is dancing with weird steps in an empty space in a city. White mist is rising in the background, while Michael Jackson dances with an attractive girl. He has flexible joints all over his body and I feel as though his musical rhythm will shatter my skull. I had been looking for the song for a long time and I found it. It is “The Way You Make Me Feel.”
In 1983, when he showed everyone his moonwalk for the first time, Americans quickly learned it: kids went to school with jerky steps and housewives slipped into kitchens to practice. For a while, schools were advocating to feed hungry children in Africa; we even rehearsed “We Are the World.” In 1997, during a graduate English class, my teacher asked: who do you consider to be the most well-known American? I shouted out “Michael Jackson,” without thinking too much. Maybe the teacher wanted us to say Lincoln or Martin Luther King.
For the Chinese, Michael Jackson was the first well-known star from a foreign country. After that came the Beatles and Madonna. European and American pop music influence on Chinese did not follow the order in which those stars appeared in Europe and America. For the Chinese, the discovery of Elvis Presley was like the unearthing of historical relics. Michael Jackson by himself brought a number of new words to Chinese people who lacked information in the '80s and '90s. These terms included: "rock n’ roll," "moonwalk," "skin whitening" (actually vitiligo), "cosmetic surgery," "pedophilia" (still only an allegation; some people said that he felt comfortable when he was with children and his psychological age was only 12).
He was a lover of uniforms, and his flashy clothes often appeared on media entertainment cover pages. Of course, people stared more at his nose, which melted like an iceberg day by day. His appearance looked more like the nonhuman Edward Scissorhands: pale, utterly plastic, not showing happiness or sadness; with a deeply hidden inner world. When the new century came, people on earth gradually forgot his music; they paid more attention to his nose, accusations of pedophilia and his financial crisis. For a while, he was almost forgotten. Then, in 2009, the media said that he was going to come back and have a farewell concert in London. Afterwards, his shocking death disappointed the world.
An engineer told me that he saw Michael Jackson live in Tokyo. He was aware that Michael Jackson’s crew had looked into how to use musical rhythms, and the effects of sound and light and principles resembling human engineering to stimulate excitement in human brains. Therefore, whoever the listener may be, he cannot control the mobilization of his excitable brain cells.
Chinese people have had no chance to see Michael Jackson’s live shows, so they have to satisfy themselves by watching music videos. He mixed all kinds of mystical elements into his music videos: zombies, Cleopatra, vampires, ghosts, mafia and the golden empire. They are filled with mystical elements. He is the king of all his music videos.
Michael Jackson possessed the attention of vast regions of earth. He spent a lot of time and money attempting to quell the resentment of poor people, yet he often reviled the world. He was enamored with mysticism and believed that he would die on his 40th birthday, as he told a rabbi and parapsychics consultant. The consultant, Rabbi Shmuley, told CNN: “I worry that Michael will die early because of health issues… In addition, he is a very lonely man unless he is with his children.”
He was a weirdo, afraid of itchiness. From childhood on, he liked to put spiders into his second sister’s bed. He liked mice. “Ben,” a song from “The Jacksons,” was inspired by a pet mouse. After becoming successful, he donated to Disneyland construction. His favorite Disneyland attraction was “Pirates of the Caribbean.” He also liked to draw Mickey Mouse while eating M&M’s brand candies. He spent half a century to try out the limits of being an organism, using himself as the guinea pig. He finally gave up this experiment and returned to his own planet. This lonely E.T. who refused to grow up finally managed to avoid becoming an old man.
To end this article, I want to use his own words: “''I broke Elvis Presley's record, I broke the Beatles' record - once I started doing that, overnight, they called me a freak, a homosexual, a child molester. They said I bleached my skin. They did everything they could to turn the public against me. It's a conspiracy. I know my race. I look in the mirror, and I know that I'm black.''
[Editor’s note: some quotes may be worded based on translated material].