MICHAEL BEATS IT

Demons drove him hence.  He was a beautiful young man who somehow got the notion that he was meant to look like Lena Horne.  He paid doctors to hack away at his face until it bore a grotesque resemblance to his dream.  It was reported that in recent years the surgery had caused his nose to collapse, requiring the use of a prosthetic device to hide the horror of it.  Poe alone could have dealt with the American Gothic tragedy of Michael Jackson's life — the life of a man who made and wore his own death mask.

The root of it was probably all too simple — the usual dad thing.  It's been related that Michael's dad, when Michael was a kid about to go on stage, used to tell him there were men with guns in the audience who would shoot him if he didn't dance fast enough.  He's been dancing fast ever since.  From childhood he was surround by crowds of people who couldn't say no to him — all of which was nothing as against a father who couldn't say yes.

He really was the King Of Pop, though — even if that was a title he first bestowed on himself.  Great pop music can unite generations and classes and races in its infectious magic.  As the tributes pile up on the cable news shows, Michael's music plays them in and out.  Almost all of it makes you want to dance — and makes you sad that Michael was dancing to a different beat in his head when he made it . . . the beat of a death march that has finally reached the burying ground.

All that wonderful music we heard in its place was perhaps another illustration of The Nazareth Principle.

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