The Thriller Is Gone


Michael Jackson, Who’d
Be 59 Moonwalks Today

When he used to pop and flare up his dance moves and magnetism, no one could touch him. And when he crashed and burned, his ashes spread out quickly, and took with them the legend of a tainted Peter Pan. Still his talents remain unmatched.
He shot to fame during what now looks like tamed times, but just as he ascended, he was taking the unwitting steps that brought him down, like a defective Icarus. Musically, his legacy may have been all but relegated to obsolescence.
As he stretched that Motown sound that could be no longer, the deconstruction of rap was prescribing his irrelevance. But only a spiritual black son of Fred Astaire, breakthrough brother of Prince, and perennial stardust pixie, could reach such heights of divine entertainment.
Today we won’t remember the grotesque caricature he crafted, which ultimately consumed his gifts. Nor his despicable tabloid reign, or the misguided dream of racial reengineering. We’ll believe, for a moment, in that elusive delusion of eternal youth he pursued with abandon.
That he failed is the personal tragedy which he ultimately shared with the humanity that he fought so hard to be free of. He had already passed and gone way before the June, 2009, headlines that finally confirmed. At that point, he just switched coffins.
The moment in time he’s seized so brilliantly, though, has no expiration date. That’s why once, we all wanted to be Michael Jackson, the boy wonder who, despite captive to a nightmare, still managed to create a fairy tale out of pure dreams and sheer magic.

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Spellbound

Hitchcock, the Man Who
Knew Too Much (to Tell)

When the British film director Alfred Hitchcock died in Bel Air, 32 years ago today, he was in effect ending the second, and most rewarding, phase of his career. He’d already achieved a level of proficiency and acknowledgment while still in England, as some recently restored silent features show. But it was in America that he mastered his superb skills at building and sustaining suspense.
The box office success of some of his arguably most arresting masterpieces, Psycho, The Birds and North by Northwest, to name only three, tend to obscure their rigorous inner structure, plot development, timing and incomparable sense of style. But not everyone recognized such qualities. The Academy Awards, for one, never gave him an Oscar for Best Director.
In fact, actors and collaborators, such as the also successful author Raymond Chandler, are said to have hated his methods while they were working on the screenplay of Strangers on a Train, and wound up Continue reading