I suppose the death of Barack Obama would generate more Media coverage than Jackson’s but then Obama is both a Media celebrity and the Media’s Man in the White House. The Media Class has so much riding on Obama for he is its gateway to a revolutionary new society and represents the future. Jackson is the past and modern ‘culture’ is not meant to hang around but to constantly provide new experiences for the bored and those with very limited attention spans. Still, Jackson’s death did reveal the Media’s preoccupation both with the trivial and itself. Is anything that interests the Media Class other than trivial? I think not.
I have no hesitation in describing Jackson’s musical career as trivial and his life was even more trivial when the bizarre elements are stripped away. This is not to say that Jackson was talentless. He was certainly a talented dancer when young and he sang his music in tune and with good timing. But dancing is a trivial pursuit and Jackson’s music was intended for children. We tend to overlook the infantile nature of modern popular music because we are swamped with it day and night and it is part of the Media Class propaganda. It is intended to dumb down the population, numb the senses and create a childlike addiction to repetition, novelty and superficiality. Contemporary Pop music is surely a kind of drug for the senses and the brain. When I see people with the earphones in and ignoring the world around them or sitting in a car with the thump of a bass guitar deafening even bystanders, I understand that they are addicts of the mindless Media Class culture. I was tempted to insert the word ‘young’ in front of ‘people’ but the truth is that in cultural terms ‘young’ must include many in their 50’s and older, for immaturity, especially when applied to musical and other cultural activities, is now prevalent. It was not always so! At one time, not so long ago, music, radio, movies and dancing were for grown-ups and for those young people who aspired to become grown-up. When I hear the music played by Talk Radio hosts like Limbaugh, Hannity and Doctor Laura and their references to social activities I realize that the corruption and arrested cultural development of even the brightest has been achieved by the Media Class.
The real deterioration of popular culture became observable in the 1960’s, the period when the Media Class was coalescing as a result of the invasion of TV into every family room, the resulting marriage of TV and Hollywood and the transformation of news into entertainment. This is not to say that popular culture was profound before that time. There were comedians who appealed to people’s childishness and songs that were for kids but everyone knew that that is what they were and there is nothing wrong with adults laying aside their grown-up senses for a while and indulging in childish pursuits. What is important is that such regressions are both temporary and conscious and that adults should be able to return to adult things for the norm.
The 1960’s saw the invasion and promotion of popular culture by the young – not the talented young precociously elbowing into grown-up realms, but the meagerly talented young performing for their peers. By creating a culture for kids, the Media Class ensured that the kids would never become adults. Musically it started in the UK with the advent of the Merseyside ‘groups’ that included the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the toneless Cilla Black. Soon they were followed by equally meagerly talented pimply youths from London such as Cliff Richard and Adam Faith. I suppose in the US the equivalent performers were represented by Buddy Holly. Before any reader puts me down as someone who resented the next generation let me say that the Beatles were my generation and I and most of my friends knew that they were playing music for LITTLE kids and for the musically ignorant. The music that was elbowed aside by the Media’s promotion of infantile pop music was no golden era of popular music but if we peek back into the 1950’s, the music was undeniably performed for adults. From Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Vic Damone at the upper end to Frankie Laine, Kaye Starr, Guy Mitchell and Eddie Fisher at the other, we can hear that the performers were adult and so was their intended audience. The music was tuneful, often complex and included humor, drama, story-telling, romance, sadness and happiness. The accompanists were either orchestras, big bands or clever country and western groups. These were far removed from the three guitars, three chords and drums of the juvenile strummers.
The Media-promoted juveniles pushed out the adults as the 1960’s progressed, and the latter never returned. The three-chord strummers were not replaced by something better but each ‘new’ sound was less musical and more limited in the expression of emotions. Rock, Heavy Metal, Punk, Rap, Garage and all the rest are characterized by the absence of tune and emotional range. Volume, protest, wingeing, unhappiness, and lyrics with neither rhyme nor reason are everywhere ascendant. We are told that this is youth’s culture but the truth is that there is no adult culture. What I have written about popular music equally applies to comedy, movies and most literature. Sure, the technical virtuosity has returned to most cultural activities but there is no soul, no beauty, no humor, no dignity and no joy.
Jackson’s music, no matter how clever the settings and no matter how accomplished the presentation, was devoid of adult human content. Like almost all pop music performers, Jackson was grossly dysfunctional. The substance of his music cannot be compared to a Frank Sinatra recording of a Cole Porter song. No rock, punk or rap recording can be compared to a Charlie Parker or Clifford Brown moment. Even modern jazz has lost its soul and it seems that after the 1950’s all music, indeed all popular culture, increasingly descended into ugly puerile fare only fit for the passive masses who are unwitting victims of the Media Class or for those who worship technical innovation devoid of human feeling. Jackson was put to rest in L.A. as if he were a cultural giant and that tells us all we need to know about our decline under the domination of the Media Class. The Media Class, which owed its ascendancy to its roots in the provision of culture for a wider society, is now only capable of perverting culture in its quest to create a society in its own image.