Nation building in Afghanistan is not our job— it is theirs.
By Eugene Robinson
Friday, June 25, 2010
The good news? Nobody has to pretend anymore that Gen. Stanley McChrystal knew how to fix Afghanistan within a year. The bad news? No
President Obama was absolutely right to sack the preening McChrystal, whose inner circle, as portrayed in Rolling Stone magazine, had all the seriousness and decorum of a frat house keg party. And it was a brilliant political move to turn to Petraeus, who is made of purest Teflon. Critics who might have been tempted to blast the president for changing horses in midstream can hardly object when he has given the reins to the man who averted a humiliating U.S. defeat in Iraq.
Note that I didn’t credit Petraeus with “winning” in Iraq. He didn’t. What he managed to do was redeem the situation to the point where the United States could begin bringing home its combat troops. If the Obama administration’s aims in Afghanistan are recalibrated to accommodate objective reality, then Petraeus can succeed there, too. But this means that the general’s assignment should be a narrow one: Lay the groundwork for a U.S. withdrawal to begin next summer, as Obama has pledged.
After relieving McChrystal of his command Wednesday, Obama called in his national security team and read the riot act. No more bickering, sniping, backbiting or name-calling, the president ordered. Play nice.
But all the comity in the world doesn’t resolve the essential tension between those who believe our goal in Afghanistan should be defined as “victory” and those who believe it should be defined as “finding the exit.” Two thousand years of history are on the side of the “exit” camp, and the fact is that at some point we’re going to leave. The question is how much time will pass — and how many more young Americans will be killed or wounded — before that inevitable day comes.
McChrystal, who designed the counterinsurgency strategy being attempted in Afghanistan, didn’t disguise his opposition to administration officials such as Vice President Biden, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and special envoy Richard Holbrooke, who questioned whether the strategy could work. Petraeus is far too good a politician to fall into that trap. He won’t allow any daylight between himself and the civilian leadership.
But ultimately, there’s going to be no way to avoid the central question: What kind of Afghanistan will we leave behind?
One answer would be that we have to leave in place a durable, functional central government that has full legitimacy and control within the nation’s borders. This would provide the United States with a reliable ally in a dangerous region and also ensure that Afghanistan would never again be used as a launching pad for attacks by al-Qaeda. But to get the country to that point, given where it is now, could take a decade or more of sustained, concentrated attention. It would mean not just defeating the Taliban but molding the regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai into a reasonably honest, effective government. This would be a tall order even if Karzai were a stable, consistent, loyal partner. Does anybody believe that he is?
A better answer would be that it’s enough to leave behind an Afghanistan that no longer poses a serious threat to the United States or its vital interests. Nation-building would be the Afghans’ problem, not ours.
Petraeus was successful in Iraq because he realized that he couldn’t create an Athenian democracy in Baghdad. But the highly imperfect Iraqi government is light-years beyond what the general is likely to be able to achieve in Kabul. Even after the war, Iraq was left with modern infrastructure, a highly educated and sophisticated population, and a sizable percentage of the world’s proven oil reserves. Afghanistan has none of these advantages. The political culture is stubbornly medieval; the populace is poor, uneducated and wary of foreign influences. Afghanistan does have great mineral wealth, apparently, but no mining industry to dig it out and no railroads to get it to the marketplace.
In recent testimony before Congress, Petraeus was less than definitive when asked about Obama’s July 2011 deadline. Because he has such credibility and standing in Washington, his view on when we can begin to leave Afghanistan will be more important than McChrystal’s ever was. I hope that by putting Petraeus in charge of the war, President Obama hasn’t consigned us to a longer stay. His comments Thursday seem to indicate the possibility.
Oh– and I can bet you that Petraeus told the President that he would accept this position with a few conditions– Like ‘Hey I am a Battle Field General.. And I want to WIN, [ like there is such a thing as win] not mandy-pandy around. I am going to make a few changes to your rules of combat– LIKE allow the men to shoot!!!!!” “ Oh and by the way, Rolling Stone Mag, set up McChrystal!”
6 weeks in thousands of seconds! way cool
Many folks have remarked that they think this is all Muslim backed… how about 1] At least our President can read 2] he is reading a book openly not appearing to hide it. God forbid!
so… in your opinion whats the big deal?
It is high time for the nut cuttin’.
Many people who visit here don’t really know how to take the place. Supposedly a redneck from the south who is anti-corporate, anti-Republican (and anti-Democrat, for that matter) and who cannot idly accept what the minions in government tell us, when it is obvious that their purpose is money and protecting those that give it to them.
I have had links (on the side over there ——->) for various places that are truly Progressive (“Progressive” Does NOT Equal Democratic party, btw) and also linked to some Conservative blogs (“Conservative” Does NOT equal Republican party).
I also have linked and appreciate as much or more than any others, blogs that are written by Black folk, Latinos, Europeans, Canadians, Afghanis, Iraqis, and even by an American in Seoul. The reason for this (other than appreciating their work) is that it is my opinion that these “fringe” groups (as some would describe) are being played against each other and against the white establishment (which the establishment wants me and other rednecks to think we are a part of).
Fat, rich white people against the rest of humanity, to a certain degree and they don’t care what color you are.
Any sane, thinking redneck must understand that we aren’t any part of that elitist group. It is simply the divide and conquer game that the richest of the rich use to control us: keeping us attacking, even killing each other over bullshit that means so little in perspective of the truth, that it astonishes me that we still fall for it.
My buddy (and contributer here), kelso’s nuts, says often that it will be the Black Power activists, the Socialist Parties, and the Southern Christian libertarians and Town Hallers that will make change happen. Rednecks, black folk and other minorities must be able to connect, make amends, and devise a way forward that will eliminate the Corporate Control of the majority of politicians. It is truly these few groups that recognize that American Exceptionalism is BS. It will be the people that are raising the most hell about Obama’s lies and deceit that will eventually hold him (them) accountable.
I like this that Kelso commented once:
There are but two sides: those who favor peace and freedom and those who don’t. The serious White Southern monetarists are very committed. The militant Black Power movement is really committed. The (real) socialist activist left is really committed. The world Green Parties are really committed.
It is this dance of the Republicrats and their blind hate and fear and perversion of Christianity and patriotism and the wealthy, indifferent, Big Government Liberals who are in lock-step to oppress.
It will NOT be those at the Huff Po, C&L, Daily Kos, etc. They are too invested in the system and Obama’s Ass (as in tonguing his ass). Too much clout, too much ability to rub elbows with power, and monetary gain from the very ones who perpetuate the shackling of us “peons”.
Nor will it be the Tea-baggers and the ravenous right-wing freaks whom only consider defeat of the “other party” as the goal. They are playing into and are likely a part of the mind games played on an American public who is scared to death about the future of this country and for their families.
I already know places that I want to highlight and you should get to know these folks, for truth is rampant at their blogs:
One of my newer Favs. 2truthy’s blog that addresses my favorite topics and is damned funny, as well. They, “are dedicated to drop-kicking truth and justice, laughers and screamers, strange and terribly real stories about living out the death of American civility and the hubris soaked perps who profit from it.”
Bruce Gagnon’s blog that addresses America’s Empire and organizing against it. Powerful stuff from a dedicated Patriot.
Jay is a young black man who has his shit all together regarding the financial crisis we are in. His knowledge is impressive. Also note that if you are a redneck (like me), this may be a good place to begin to learn about Hip Hop (whether you like it or not isn’t the point). Understanding a culture that you have been brainwashed to fear is paramount to making this work. As an example, Hip Hop sells more to white folk than black folk.
Powerful writer and radio host that focuses much time on the Empire and many other like-minded subjects.
Excellent assembly of writers (where I first read Kelso’s writing). The site is definitely NSFW (not suitable for work) and for some who have an aversion to porn, you may want to avoid it. However, the information presented here is well reported by quality, professional writers.
This man is a freaking genius. He posts about math (which goes over my head, at times), but posts even more about politics and the empire that reigns. Marijuana legalization is one of his key interests and is about to embark on a Sabbatical to help Marc emory’s case in Canada. One of my favorite sites on the entire web.
Torrance is absolutely brilliant. Depending on the particular post, he speaks in different voices (he can speak with a redneck, a politician, black folk or a king). He is one of the most insightful Professors, Authors, THINKERS that I have encountered. Well worth the visit.
Davis Fleetwood’s Social Networking Site for progressives. It is “in-your-face” and REAL.
Glen Ford, Margaret Kimberly and Bruce Dixon (among others, I believe) lay out the truth about African American politics, thought and action. A must read for any American.
One of the most impressive interviews I have seen lately was a Real News interview with Glen Ford:
I have featured Nick’s work here several times. Well worth the visit and RSS feed.
Manila Ryce’s blog of unadulterated gob-smacking of the idiocy we call American politics (not as active as usual, lately).
Arthur Silber’s Blog. One of the better writers I have encountered on the web. Whether or not you agree with his point of view (I do, by and large), his posts are extremely well prepared, organized and informative.
Tengrain’s blog who is slowly coming around to my way of thinking (wink). Funny, smart and a great writer.
Last, but not least featured today is a blog that has been very informative for me on a variety of topics, especially the financial mess. But all things “Imperialization” are addressed in a brilliant and well thought out manner. Great Blog!
This is just a small sampling of truly progressive sites that see the overall picture, much like I do (I link and visit many others, but they are not necessarily political in nature, so I haven’t featured them in this post… like one of my favorite women bloggers that addresses blogging in general, Roschelle at Inconsequential Logic). There are many others that you should visit, like, “After Downing Street; “A Tiny Revolution“; Sam Smith’s UnderNews (the blog for the Progressive Review); Glen Greenwald’s Blog (just a few among several you can click on over on the right panel). I have not formally set up Blog link exchanges with these, but they are a part of my daily read.
So here is what I am looking for. I want to expand on this by having you suggest similar sites, especially those that focus on the southern white portion that I have been discussing (I have a hard time finding them). I want to find sites that I can link to and share their ideas here that will help make this connection that is needed NOW, especially from that southern, white perspective.
It boils down to this: We MUST come together and fix this shit. We will never be whole until we take back the control. We will never be able to do that unless we work things out between us, without the diversions and horseshit divisional tactics that have worked for so very long.
And don’t be fooled by the name of a blog (like the “Pine Belt Progressive”, as an example). There is nothing “Progressive” about a site dedicated to ass-kissing the status quo and continuing the fake two-party divide.
And please don’t blow smoke up my ass. I can do that on my own:
h/t Vital Signs and their article called, “20 Scary Old School Surgical Tools“
I don’t know if it can even be done, but understanding the game is the main way to achieve it.
I have said countless times that Americans are brainwashed into the fake “right” vs “left”, Dem vs Rep, Conservative vs Liberal paradigm. And, even though I get so damned angry at the people who decide that their fight must be about “socialized healthcare” even when it goes against their own needs (due to that brainwashing) and the fact that the Single payer is NOT socialized medicine, I still understand the fact that you are brainwashed.
Personally, I cannot fathom listening to Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, nor do I understand the attraction to such a mindset (especially in Christians, who are supposed to be peace loving and care for people). It is as if you read the Bible and totally destroy the red letter parts (or ignore them, anyway). It would seem to me that the red letters would be the most important part to you and I cannot understand why you would pay more credence to the OT, than to Jesus’ own words. but, that is part of my point… that you are brainwashed.
Don’t get me started on the so-called “Progressives” who would not know “progress” if it slapped the shit out of you. All you have been capable of doing is bowing to your new Savior, no matter what lies and misdirection he has pulled (just like a great magician). You are just as brainwashed as the “Right” ever was (maybe worse).
TarHeel has a great post up at The Heroes of America which gets into the mindset and explains how the Corporately controlled MSM keeps your brain all screwed up and irrational.
The Heroes of America has nothing but total sympathy for the people protesting in the tea parties and healthcare town halls. Your anger (you are losing your jobs, your homes, you can’t afford to live) is absolutely understandable, and you should be protesting. It is all together honorable and just that you do so! Standing up to INJUSTICE and TYRANNY is part of what America is all about! It is why we fought the American Revolution, and why we came into being in the first place! But if you carefully read the articles we have been posting the last few weeks – the point is, that you are being manipulated, used, misled and misinformed by reactionary right-wing pundits like Beck and Limbaugh into protesting against yourselves and your very own needs.
It is not because you are stupid, you are not, you have a sense of Justice. Nor are the Obama supporters right while you are wrong - the Obama supporters are just as misled as you are!!! You are all being misled and misinformed! It is not your fault, you are bombarded by endless propaganda from the corporate big media! Whether that corporate big media are the so-called radio right-wing talk show hosts like Limbaugh, or so-called “liberal” programming like CNN’s Anderson Cooper or CBS’s Katie Couric (or, as the joke went on South Park: 5 pounds of shit = 1 Couric), it is all propaganda designed to give you FALSE OPPOSITES and blind you to the reality of “Corporate Control”. IT IS THE MATRIX! A matrix for your mind, designed by Corporate America to make you a slave.
Yes, the anger against the government is right on the mark – the Obama administration is NOT helping the people. The American people should be angry and enraged! But here’s the trick, and this is what the article is all about. Its not that the government & Obama is “socialist” (Obama is no socialist, in fact, he is not even a Liberal. Obama is actually a right-of-center, corporate-friendly “New Democrat”, like Bill Clinton); the problem is that Government is in collusion with corporate power, the big corporations. The Government is the lackey, it is the puppet of corporate robber barons and Wall Street criminals! That’s why even the Wall Streeters call it “THE GOVERNMENT OF SACHS” (after the godfather of Wall Street crime syndicates, Goldman Sachs).
The question is not “the government is bad”. That observation, while true, doesn’t mean anything by itself. The real question is:“Why is it bad?”
Now, the “Obamabots” that you rail against, remember, than are being misled and lied to just like you. Limbaugh & Co. tell you that Clinton and Obama and their ilk are “Liberals & Socialists”. That is a total lie. They, just like Republicans, are mostly Wall Street corporate lackeys! At the same time Limbaugh and others on the Right make these claims, CNN & the “Drive-bys” turn around and tell you how “progressive” Obama is with his policies, and these “Drive-bys” also paint Obama as being liberal or progressive. That too is a big lie! Except this time the lie is from the “so-called” opposite angle of the “Liberal Media”. But the angle, the corporate media provider, whether claiming to be on “the Right” or on “the Left”, is all the same.
These “Liberal Media” outlets (CNN, CBS, NBC, etc.) are not liberal at all – they are big corporations who put out phony propaganda to make it appear that Democrats like Obama and Republicans are opposites, when the reality is that they are both lackeys to their corporate masters.
IT’S THE BIG FAKE WRESTLING MATCH! It’s just a phony spectacle to get you all riled and worked up to oppose something that is nothing but a phony show. It gets you riled up so won’t see what’s really going on. Its like “The Matrix”. “You’re living in a dream world”, to control your mind and make you into a battery to power the corporate control of this country. The big corporations are like the machines in “The Matrix.”
If we could get the Government away from Corporate control, get it to actually work for the people’s needs, then it might be able to do some real good. It doesn’t do good for the people, not because it is completely bad in itself, it doesn’t do good because it is controlled by corporate power through corporate lobbying interests and their money.
Corporate America is the puppet master – that’s the part Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, etc., will never tell you. Because they are a part of it!
Kabuki Dance is a Japanese dance style, but is used to describe “an activity or drama carried out in real life in a predictable or stylized fashion“. Many people use this description to say that something is staged and acted out when the outcome is already known. This is exactly what has happened in the healthcare “debate”, which has only been a show for the Gullible Sheople to entertain themselves by and for the Elitists to confuse those Sheople by.
They have been trying to sway the most gullible American Sheople (the Progressives) with the “Public Option” and at the same time, flirting with the Big Insurance and Big Meds folks to keep their campaign money flowing and profits skyrocketing. The right has demonized the entire process and have lost all sensible argument with “Death Panels” and “Socialized Medicine”, etc. This has caused even more confusion among the masses of both sides and has tainted the overall view of any reform.
THAT is the dance.
But reality tells us a different thing all together. reality would mean that the right-wing idiots clamoring over themselves to shout someone down would have to shut up long enough to learn the truth. Progressives will have to stop sucking off Mr Obama and believing that he gives a fuck about them or anyone else except his coffers.
It is time that Americans turn their back on the dance and start their own play… their own controlled dance of helath and human prosperity… not the health and corporate prosperity. TarHeel88 breaks it down like this in the article called, “The WORST of Both Worlds. “Corporate Obama” & The Reactionary Right.”:
THIS IS really what the health care debate is about. By using racism and scapegoating to reframe the discussion, the right hopes to avoid a genuine discussion about real health care reform in the U.S. Central to this effort are the so-called Blue Dog–or more aptly, Blue Cross–Democrats, a caucus of conservatives in the party. This group is incredibly hostile even to Obama’s watered-down health care reform, because they are bitterly opposed to the notion that health care should be a right and not a privilege.
The irony is that Obama has already bowed to business interests on health care, just as he has on other issues. While the Obama administration was willing to give the banks that created the economic catastrophe tens of billions of dollars and demand little or nothing in return, Obama forced auto manufacturers into bankruptcy while demanding that their unions give up long-held and hard-fought gains in health care, retirement and wages as well as agree to massive job loss.
Moreover, where Obama the presidential candidate vowed to fight for Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would make joining a union easier, President Obama abandoned the legislation early on and has rarely even mentioned the bill’s name.
Today, states across the country are facing bankruptcy, and budget cuts threaten thousands of state-funded social programs. Yet Obama stands by watching, effectively saying–as President Gerald Ford did more than 30 years ago when New York City was on the cusp of financial collapse–”Drop dead.”
The pattern could not be clearer. Corporations and bank profits come first; ordinary people, last. This was not the “change” people were looking for when they voted for Obama. As the economy crashed last autumn, Obama rallied millions of Americans with the hope and expectation that his administration would represent a break with the status quo and would fight for real change in Washington. Today, though, the Obama health care initiative stands as only the latest example of how far Obama’s policies have moved from his promises.
Back when he was an Illinois state senator, Obama favored a single-payer, Medicare-type health care plan like that of Canada and Western European countries. Presidential candidate Obama backed off his support for single-payer, but still supported some kind of publicly funded health insurance option that would guarantee that everyone–including the poor, the unemployed and the under-insured–received coverage. Ending the war in Iraq and taxing the rich–whose taxes had been precipitously cut by the George W. Bush administration–would pay for the plan.
Instead, when the corporations and insurance companies put up a fight–as one could only expect they would–the Obama administration continues to cave into their demands. Thus, the public option has been all but taken off the table. Yet if there’s no public health care option in the midst of a recession, which will likely followed by a jobless recovery that will cause millions more to lose their health care–what exactly is the extent of the reform?
The Real Dance should be Single Payer, Not-For-Profit Insurance for everyone. Medicare for all. Dennis Kucinich explains in 90.3 WCPN ideastream®: Click to listen: Kucinich Predicts Retreat On Health Care Reform (h/t AfterDowningStreet) that the goal in legislation has been to prop up the Health Insurance Companies profits and disallow a public system that would “compete” (read as keep honest) with the for profit systems.
The fact is that the leadership doesn’t want everyone covered. They don’t want competition to show us how greedy and thieving the Health Insurance Companies are.
“One out of every three dollar goes to the activities of the for-profit system. They cream it right off the top for corporate profits, stock options, executive salaries, advertising, the cost of paperwork. If you took that 800 billion dollars a year, which is what that represents, and put it into care for people you’d have enough to cover everyone, doctor of choice, vision care, dental health, mental health care, long term care, prescription drugs – we’d all be covered.”
And just in case you wonder about how Brits feel when the fool hardy right-wing nutcases demagogue their healthcare in the UK. They might respond like this (from Organizing Notes):
I sat thru a presentation yesterday in which the PMI and state of manufacturing in the USA was shown us. It was at a 48.9 level (50 is breaking even) after a long sustained period of in the 30′s.
This is interesting in a number of ways, but one is that many people use this data to plan for future (as does the company I was visiting). Now, it is apparent that there has been some strides in the economy, but it is more in finance and banking. Manufacturing is still down and still contracting, but not as slowly. But we are hearing “The recession Is Over!”… well, tell that to my next door neighbor who was just laid off his job after 8 years.
There is some pent up demand to buy equipment and that is what I do, sell that equipment. But, people are still saving and cutting back on employees, instead of buying the equipment they need.
As usual, methinks some folks are playing games with the numbers, when the feet (my feet) on the street are telling me a whole different story.
George Washington puts it nicely:
In the real economy, bank loan loss rates will be higher than the Depression.
In the real economy, government revenue is at its lowest level since the Depression, and most states are on the verge of bankruptcy.
But in the make-believe world of the government and the financial giants, the recession is over.
How do they do it?
Well, as I noted a couple of days ago, the boys use:
Bear raids, naked short selling, and credit default swap holders driving companies into bankruptcy
Read the rest at his blog.
There are people behind the curtain who manipulate and lie. I hope that we can come back, in spite of the sleight of hand.
Let me quote a bit from Tarheel88′s piece at The Heroes of America:
The “Four Horsemen”: Obama, Summers, Geithner, and Greenspan, ride into battle against the American people.
Well, it was a big weekend media blitz for “The Government of Sachs”.
With unemployment figures due out today (or soon thereafter), our evil Wall Street and Mega Bank overlords once again prepared to do battle. They sent forth their “Four Horsemen” onto the corporate airwaves: President Obama, presidential economic adviser Larry Summers, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, to prepare for the final assault against the American people – the laying waste to the last vestiges of the New Deal and Great Society; Social Security and Medicare.
Relying on a report from the Commerce Dept. showing that the GDP “only” fell 1% in the second quarter, instead of the predicted 1.5%, the corporate media rag Newsweek shouted from its front page, “The Recession is Over!” (tell that to the 16.5% unemployed). Of course, any moron understands that negative numbers are NOT a recovery, just that the corpses weren’t piling up quite as rapidly as in January. In other words, “we are dying, just not quite as fast”, means “recovery” to these assholes.
Please visit the site to read the rest of the article which addresses the latest media blitz pulled of by the Obama Administration and why…
I have been lax in saying much about Mr Jackson. I have only highlighted a few performers here (generally my music preference or some local group or friends who play/sing/whatever and the occasional redneck crazy shit). At my root, I am a white redneck man who liked pop music as a very young lad, but grew out of it in my last year or two in high school. So, the past 30 years or more, I have not been a fan of his.
However, one way I worked my way through high school and college was as a DJ and I was doing this when Thriller came out. Believe me, hearing it a thousand times is enough to make it grow very old, very fast. Having it requested four hundred times in a night (and playing it because they would get pissed if I refused) is not my idea of enjoying music. So, not only was it not my favorite kind of music, I had to hear it over and over and over and over… until I was sick of it. I welcomed Kool Herc, Melle Mel and Run DMC over the sickening pop and worse, Disco (if I was forced out of my love, R&R). BTW, I hate today’s country music with a passion.
But, then again, remember my roots. I love Rock and Roll, especially southern Rock and Roll. Sue me.
Zep, Floyd, Aerosmith, Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special, etc were what I ended up listening to and relating to the most.
Back to Michael: as a kid (he was just a few years older than I), I liked the Jackson 5 very much. I remember their cool clothes and their ability to sing and dance together. And Michael was a phenom, that cannot be doubted. But look what it did to him: what his life caused him to do to himself and how damned weird he got. Maybe it is to be expected when you are worshipped as if you are Jesus Christ Mohammed (Michael changed his religion from Christianity/Scientology to Islam), as I understand it.
He had a lifelong pursuit of changes to his body that caused me to first question his sanity. The nose thing, not so bad (until it went too far), then cheeks, chins, bleaching his skin then lying about it. He started become much more effeminate, making me wonder if he was transgender (or considering it).
All I am saying is that a little multi-talented kid seemed to be changing himself on purpose and I never understood why. It is one of things that turned me off from him and his music, even though I still consider him immensely talented and gracious. In so many words, he became a freak and I wonder if it was him trying to please the audience and fans, moreso than trying to be himself (at least, so it seems to me). And don’t get me started on having kids in bed with him (pedophile or not, that shit is wrong).
I have a good friend (RawDawgBuffalo) who wrote from a perspective that I do not have and another new friend at The Heroes of America that takes a totally different perspective, which is really the purpose of this post. I want to examine the extremes of this man and how it influenced people into taking such radically different views of Michael.
Michael Jackson was not just the average entertainer, he was the case for exception for he was an indescribable talent that was encompassed in the form of the great singer and showman and dancer – without a doubt he was the best. For people such as me, it is impractical to accept his death and describe the loss of such a creative genius for I was born under his influence. It was first through the blue labeled Motown record 45′s that I would play on my component set as a kid, and later through television, where I remember the first time I saw him and his brothers outside the covers of Ebony and Jet Magazines on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1969. I can still lucidly see that purple Brim he wore while moving fluidly to the music while he and his brothers sang “One More Chance”.
His adventures were well documented for it seemed as if main stream media had a problem with not being able to predict or explain his actions or behavior. But such has been the tradition of a mainly Eurocentric press when dealing with successful and well know black men. Jackson knew this and felt it every day regardless of such attention being justified or not. From his personal friendships with Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Ross to his first failed marriage with Lisa Marie Pressely, to his admiration for a Chimpanzee named Bubbles that he dressed like himself, he only attracted questionable press from the main stream media.
Once while attending the Grammies, he took two dates: Brook Shields and the child star Emmanuel Lewis. Some speculate that this was what brought the extreme scrutiny to Jackson and his fondness of young male children. Anything Jackson said or did was ground for a feeding frenzy for the press. He was taunted for his self comparison to Peter Pan, the multiple corrective and cosmetic surgeries he had performed on his face with respect to his nose and skin and his attempt to purchase the bones of the famous Elephant Man in 1987. It is strange that these tend to be what is spoken about mostly, and how people forget the fire that burned him doing the filming of a commercial for Pepsi, or how his first surgery was conducted to repair a broken nose after he fail from the stage in 1979.
The persecution was so extreme that Jackson left the Jehovah’s Witness and reportedly joined the Nation of Islam under the leadership of Minister Farrakhan. Maybe it was all the attention. The civil suits and criminal allegations of child molestation that led to what may have increased the stress on his heart. I will not go into his supposed dependency and addiction to prescription pain killers for the main stream media has ridden that wave to the shore and beyond.
I think it is apparent (you should read the entire thing, btw) that Torrance loved and respected this man. I can understand how this would be true for him.
Personally, I have never been able to “love” a performer… to be able to connect with them on such a level. Maybe I am just a hard ass, I dunno. But I do understand, somewhat, RawDawg’s feelings and how they developed.
So, when I read another viewpoint, I am torn, because I did not love Michael in the same nostalgic way and see more of a tormented soul than anything else.
From The Heroes of America:
A couple days ago, all the major networks were airing the funeral of Michael Jackson. This funeral, the funeral of a rock star – and not that of a great world leader, a Nobel prize winning scientist, or world famous writer – is considered of such paramount importance as to warrant interruption of all other broadcasting. Obviously, the funeral of John F. Kennedy in 1963 would be considered of such importance – but the funeral of a rock star? It almost appears insane to anyone who thinks journalists should focus on important matters effecting society. Why this crazy orgy over the death of a man (or transgendered person) whose music represented dish-watery pop culture? Because Jackson was more than just the “King of Pop”, he was also the “King of Identity Politics”.
Michael Jackson’s life and death unfolded almost entirely on the public stage, and it was a stage of tragedy. A sensitive, introverted child, he was brutally mistreated by his father and constantly thrust into the glare of the public spotlight. Jackson never had a chance at developing beyond that childhood. He truly lived the life of Peter Pan, a perpetual childhood until his death.
One thinks of the tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of dollars of his great wealth that Jackson could have given to major universities, performing arts centers he could have funded for talented yet needy children – not unlike the Michael Jackson who grew up in Gary, Indiana. Instead, all the money was wasted on choo-choo trains and multi-million dollar pieces of furniture. His mind was unable to search beyond the world of the playground and see the rest of society that lay outside.
Therein lies the real tragedy. For the perpetual little boy also desperately wanted to be the “image” of society. He became part-white, part-black, a boy, a girl, transgendered, gay and straight all rolled into one. Society is all about “Identity Politics”, and he would be the great child king of “Identity”. He would try to be it all, to literally be everyone, even if it killed him in the end…
I am torn. I am torn because a huge talent and a loving heart was transformed into something he truly was not at his heart (at least, imo). The “freak” was only a freak in perception of those (like me) who do not understand how and why someone could do this to themselves. But when one has a remembrance like Dawg’s and the understanding of what Michael went through as a black child star- turned mega Star, it causes one like me to truly wonder who the man was. Was he what he appeared to be?
I doubt it.
I bet he was the same guy I remember with the ‘fro and could sing like no one else. Not the weirdo who bleached his skin and changed himself into another totally different person.
Rest in peace, Michael. The real Michael.