Saturday, June 27

Supernova

Definition*: Supernova (plural: supernovae): The death explosion of a massive star, resulting in a sharp increase in brightness followed by a gradual fading. At peak light output, supernova explosions can outshine a galaxy. The outer layers of the exploding star are blasted out in a radioactive cloud. This expanding cloud, visible long after the initial explosion fades from view, forms a supernova remnant.
I'm starting with the man in the mirror I'm asking him to change his way And no message could've been any clearer If you wanna make the world A better place Take a look at yourself And then make that change (Man In the Mirror; Bad, 1987)
Yesterday, one of the brightest stars in entertainment passed away. And no words can describe this great loss as aptly as supernova. Michael Jackson, age 50, did not literally explode. But his death caused a ripple of tiny explosions, echoing throughout the face of the Earth. I was browsing glancing through my favorite blogs before going to work yesterday morning when I read "RIP, Michael Jackson". I read the post, and spent the next five minutes reading other reliable sources. Of course I was initially skeptical about the news. There had been nothing going on about Michael Jackson's health deteriorating. He was planning a comeback concert, even. Man, such unexpected news really hits you hard. One of my earliest memories of Michael Jackson is the video clip Billy Jean. Not for the lyrics; I could only mumble the few words I picked up listening to it. Back then the lyrics meant nothing to me. I wasn't even in school yet, I think. Plus, there was nothing about prom, or a girl, or a kid featured in that clip. What was I to think? The song was released in 1983, when I was 2 years old. But I must be remembering the clip being played a few years after that. What I do remember is the tiles lighting up as he stepped on the pavements. I have to admit, even now, at the age of 28, I still expect some of the large square tiles in shopping malls to light up where I step on them. Would that be cool. Come to think of it, my sister did too. Our early shopping excursions, when our mom was busy looking for clothes (for her, for us, it didn't matter), consisted of various silly games. Among them was stepping on particular tiles, imagining they would light up under our feet.
There are people dying If you care enough for the living Make a better place For you and for me (Heal the World; Dangerous, 1991)
I love Thriller video clip. Partly because I was scared off my pants because of it. Back then, the video was considered ahead of its time in terms of special effects. Everyone, including Michael Jackson, turning into zombies? That gave this kid, who has overactive imagination, nightmares for months. And that is one of the things that set him apart from his peers. All his video clips were ahead of their time. Black and White with the morphing faces, Earth Song with the world turning upside down, then reversed back to life, Scream with its space-themed black and white clip, and countless other songs that a lot of us grew up with. I guess that's why the news of his death came as a shock to me. I grew up listening to his songs. I didn't care about the grotesque change in his physical features. I didn't care about the tabloids. His songs are brilliant. He wasn't stuck in music limbo, like many other veteran singers. Michael Jackson evolved. And the music world, especially pop genre, evolved with him, because of him. How many people can claim that? And loving his songs throughout the years, I looked at him as a constant. As someone who would always be there, coming up with new songs, never growing old. And all of the sudden, dying of cardiac arrest at 50? That made him human, a concept I couldn't grasp all that well. Because it reminds me of mortality. Not of my own (sometimes I think dying is a quick fix for all my woes), but of the people around me. People I love. People who I look at as a constant too.

Beat me, hate me You can never break me Will me, thrill me You can never kill me Jew me, sue me Everybody do me Kick me, kike me Don't you black and white me All I wanna say is that They don't really care about us (They Don't Care About Us, HIStory, 1995)
Nevertheless, being human does not make him less a legend. Yesterday every radio station played his songs throughout the day, either back to back or alternated with songs from other artists. I even sang along, and danced (more like stepping front, back and sideways, and moving all the joints on my body in an inarticulate, haphazard manner) while operating. I was cleaning up and scraping off drainwater-smelling pus from a comatose guy's head. I needed the distraction. Save your high-and-mighty judgment on someone else. In recent years, he fluctuated from being ridiculed for his oddities, to disappearing from the radar. Not much good news. Only "Wacko Jacko" in bold letters occasionally splattered in tabloid newspapers. All the court cases, all the news about his supposed pedophile tendencies, and even the bit about his dangling his baby precariously on the balcony. And there were always news about his ever-deteriorating face. There's also a saying: "America, where a black man can turn into a white woman." Any lesser person would disappear from the face of the earth. Or have a mental breakdown, shaving her head bald and -- that's a different story. But Michael Jackson persevered. He would grow silent for a bit, and then would come up with a brand new song that's just. Fucking. Brilliant. Well, there will be no more of that from now on. And that sucks.
But they told me A man should be faithful And walk when not able And fight till the end But I'm only human (Will You Be There; Dangerous, 1991)
In dying, Michael no longer became Wacko Jacko. Everyone claims to be his friend. Everyone claims to have grown up inspired by him. Everyone claims to be devestated by the news of his death. Everyone stakes their claim to be a part of his legacy. Typical human behavior. If Michael were looking down from wherever he is right now, he'd be having another heart attack from laughing. At least everyone is only talking about the good stuff. That says a lot about a departed person. But, looking at the bigger picture, his death connects the whole world. Everyone mourns the loss of this brightest star, this legend. Billions of candles were lit for him. His songs are aired on almost every radio station in the world, regardless the language of the usual broadcast. His music, his life, his legacy, is celebrated.
We are the world, we are the children We are the ones who make a brighter day So let's start giving There's a choice we're making We are saving our own lives It's true we'll make a brighter day Just you and me (We Are The World; USA for Africa, 1985)
He is the brightest star among countless others in the clear, encompassing sky. He is a legend. His songs are an inspiration. His music is a bridge that links the world together. His legacy is planted deep within the hearts of millions. His death is a supernova. An explosion of a dying star, lighting the universe in its brilliance, leaving in its wake a dazzling cloud visible long after it has disappeared. Michael Jackson, regardless whether you had converted into Islam or not, Godbless. May your rest be peaceful. May your moonwalking footsteps live on throughout the ages. Thank you for the music. video *Source: http://space.about.com/od/glossaries/g/supernova.htm