|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 74, Tuesday, June 30, 2009|
For the bride-to-be
Seafood galore @ Sarina
Lubnan's new outlet
Hatil turns twenty
Contact: Hatil, 1243, East Monipur, Rokeya Sharani, Mirpur. # 9000073, 8019499.
Contact: Arisa Beauty Care & Boutique, House #66/A, Rd #8/A, Dhanmondi # 03791003888; www.arisabd.com
Cruising down Shitolokkha
As we grow older, we lose our innocence; that is a fact of life. The cynicism of the world at large not so much infects us as it becomes a part of our own worldview. But childhood was when things were pure, and could be taken at face value. One such symbol of youth left us on Thursday 25 June.
Before anyone jumps at my throat for labelling the late Michael Jackson as such, especially in the light of all the accusations alleging him to be a corruptor of innocence, I would like to ask them to consider how they felt about the 'King of Pop' growing up, when the world wasn't shrouded in grey, when it was either black or white (pun intended). Truth be told, I am one of the doubters.
When the first wave of accusations was made in the early nineties, I dismissed them because back then, in my pre-teens, the world was either black or white.
However, I was not so charitable when the second wave came around roughly ten years later. Although he was absolved of guilt, I was old enough to know that people aren't perfect, and I thought that if there was so much smoke there had to be a fire somewhere.
The simple truth is that we will never know what really happened. There is a group who say that there must be some truth to the accusations, and there are others who point out that Jackson was an easy target, what with him always inviting children to stay at his huge property, aptly titled 'Neverland', and being as rich as he was. When a person can no longer defend himself against accusations, it is fairest to stick to facts.
Facts: he holds the record for the highest selling album of all time, Thriller. He is also one of the bestselling artists of all time. Being an African American, he was a big factor in the improvement of race relations in America, as videos of his songs coincided with, and indeed aided in, the rise of the revolutionary music channel MTV in the eighties. He had a mainstream following that rivalled that of Elvis Presley.
Perhaps the greatest legacy he will leave behind, apart from his music, is that of a truly global superstar. Even in the early nineties when communication was not what it is today, small boys and girls in Bangladeshi villages knew who he was.
I cannot think of another international celebrity who can equal this. His dance moves were copied around the world, with impersonators showing up everywhere. According to a BBC news reader, they were inundated with emails from all over the world within minutes of the news of his death breaking, such is his global appeal.
His life and death holds a lesson that we must learn. His story is a story in pictures of how the entertainment industry eats up ordinary people and regurgitates distorted human beings. We must take part of the blame. Through his music and dance moves, he gave joy to a generation worldwide, and all he got in return (besides money, one must add) was a world all too ready to judge him.
We expect superstars to be gods, and failing that, they are made out to be devils. Beneath it all, he was an ordinary human being and a father to three children. My friend put it best when he emailed the news to me, “Now our childhood is truly over.”
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