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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 9, 2009 / 17 Tamuz 5769

Who was Michael Jackson?

By Victor Davis Hanson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When Michael Jackson tragically died two weeks ago, millions were shocked. The wonder, though, is not that the troubled pop-music megastar died at the relatively young age of 50 under regrettable circumstances, but that he was able to live as long as he did.


Yet even as headlines continue to dominate the news about his complicated estate, a gargantuan-memorial service in Los Angeles and custody of his kids — and that's no doubt just a fraction of the fallout from his demise — it's clear that even in death the contradictions that fueled his life will become his legacy, as well.


In the days since his passing, friends, biographers and hangers-on have gossiped that beneath the image of a perpetually youthful superstar that Jackson tried so hard to cultivate was in reality a tired, anorexic middle-aged man who'd spent years struggling with prescription drugs.


In truth, almost everything about the Jackson persona proved to be fantasy — an Oz-like projection on the screen powered by a strange fellow behind the curtain desperately struggling with gears and levers.


The kindly and soft-spoken Jackson may have given millions to children's charities and built a child's dream theme park at his Santa Barbara "Neverland" ranch. He even talked in near-childlike fashion. And yet on two occasions, the children's advocate was accused of sexual molestation of boys. He settled out of court in one instance and was acquitted in a court trial on the second, but Jackson strangely said he saw nothing wrong in sharing his bed with minors.


Jackson always wanted to be seen as a Peter-Pan-like innocent. Yet again, his performance videos were sexually charged, as he often grabbed his crotch or strutted about in other lascivious dance moves before legions of underage fans.


He talked much of the importance of family, truth and innocence. But he sadly grew up in a dysfunctional family with an abusive father. Now, questions in turn have been raised of the true parentage of Jackson's own three children.


Jackson was heralded as a path-breaker by the black community. At last week's annual BET awards show, the host, actor and singer Jamie Foxx, exclaimed, "He belongs to us, and we shared him with everybody else." Yet Jackson underwent serial plastic surgeries and pigment-changing procedures to transform his appearance to that of a white person. As Quincy Jones, who produced the legendary "Thriller" album confessed, "He obviously didn't want to be black."


He earned well over a billion dollars during his lifetime, and at one point may have had assets worth a half-billion dollars. But he died owing more than he was worth, with almost no cash on hand. Jackson finally signed on to a marathon 50-show concert stint in London, likely in part to solve his deepening financial woes. But it was an impossible gambit, given his worsening physical condition.


Yet in tragic irony, Jackson's death led to soaring record sales and new merchandising that may make those in his will rich in a way they would never have been were the bankrupt and fading former superstar still alive.


How then will posterity assess Michael Jackson? "Thriller" remains the best-selling record of all time, and a number of others were nearly as successful. His stage magnetism rivaled that of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. And yet few of Jackson's hits are memorable in a way that dozens of songs of the Beatles or Bob Dylan timelessly continue to reverberate through popular culture.


Jackson had meteoric early success, but, unlike the ageless Rolling Stones, was not able to maintain his earlier pace, or adapt to new tastes and genres. The moonwalking Jackson clearly had the natural dancing ability and brilliant creativity of a Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, but his pelvic thrusting, crotch-holding gyrations lacked the dignity of both earlier icons and often turned repellant.


In the end, Jackson will be known mostly as a path-breaking marketing genius. His extravagant stage shows and music videos — replete with fireworks, celebrity cameos, animation and special effects — finally overshadowed the music itself. And largely for that reason, he captivated millions of audience-goers in an electronic and video age.


Jackson's quasi-military uniforms, gloved hand, pet chimp and weird habits added to the Hollywood hype. His legacy are the similar though lesser careers of Britney Spears and Madonna — mega-superstars who put on spectacular, sexually charged performances, with elaborate outfits and props, but who cannot compose, sing or act in any memorable fashion.


In the end, Michael Jackson taught other superstars that in today's America, they too could continue to remain famous — for being famous.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


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