Michael Jackson and the Rise and Fall of American Idols – by Christina Cedeno

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(Ed. note: Please welcome our newest contributor, Christina Cedeno from Yes to Democracy.  She’s not in the system yet, hence the erroneous “Author” listing.)

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It can be said that since the dawn of days- when dogmatic theories about our motives here on

earth were in development, deities to wash the feet of were bore-or when man began to worship at their knees-the “idol” was created.  We have chiseled out pedestals to place said idols on and bow down to.  Kings, Pharaohs, Emperors, Presidents, and in modern culture, celebrities.

It can also be said that there came revolutions to overthrow societal conventions, wars to overthrow tyrannical powers, and hipsters to overthrow the culturally-ignorant mindset of America’s mindless consumer (or possibly to give it credence.) In other words, we see something, we worship it, and then we find something we want to worship more.

What tickles me is that, in our ethos, idols are used as a barometer for perfection (or nearness to it), until they are not. Then, they are used as puppets to keep us distracted from important revelations and happenings in our world, i.e. shows like “Extra” or the TV channel “E!”.  Or how about CNN constantly covering the death of a legendary musician?

We are all told to “look this way,” while the magician sets up for his next trick, and dammit if we’re not looking. Finding the best singer in America is entertaining. Starlets dying tug at our tiny heart-strings. C-listed celebutantes dancing is mesmerizing, and anything set in a lawyer or Doctor’s office is bound to keep us chained to our televisions.

How we give birth to our idols? Media. How we destroy our idols?  Media.  A la Jon & Kate plus 8. A la Michael Jackson.

This isn’t some sudden clinching of intuitive perception. This isn’t epiphanizing. It ain’t Chomsky. This is known.

So what is ironic to me is how many media outlets use their mothership – the “mainstream” media- as a platform to blast their own socio-created monster.

It is understandable to me why America would mourn the loss of an icon they created and left hanging on a ledge, half-dead, cast into the shadows of his dreamworld by our crazy need to destroy.

What is not understandable to me is why in his death he is suddenly cherished as if we never subjected him to the aforementioned.  What is also not understandable to me is why, in all of this cacophony of honor and memory nobody is asking the real question, why do we create idols only to demonize them? And furthermore, why do we demonize idols only to canonize them in their death? Can it be argued that our culture’s obsession with idols is much to blame for our idols constantly falling?

It’s a notion worth pondering.

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2 Comments

  1. What is also not understandable to me is why, in all of this cacophony of honor and memory nobody is asking the real question, why do we create idols only to demonize them?

    IMO, is not that we create idols as much as believing that people we admire for some reason are above humanity and the being disappointed when we realize that they are not.

  2. […] Jackson…From John Ziegler I know we’ve already had Michael Jackson stories from Christina and Alex, and my own modest effort, but as my able colleagues pointed out, this is the model of […]


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