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Life After Death

Life After Death

by Pia Presha / 17.09.2009

OMG! Let’s just say your relationship status is complicated. You’re young and you think you’re a player. You’ve been getting away with getting your freak on with, say, five different guys. Your Facebook page has albums that include photos of you doing beer bongs and acting lipstick lesbian. Then one night, you pop your hi-tops. Game over. WTF? You are so busted. But you’re dead. Now you’re getting tagged in-memoriam all over the place. Pictures of you doing all kinds of crazy shit yo’ Mamma told you not to. What about your boyfriends? They finally get to meet on Facebook and have a lot to share that you’re not around to explain.

Have you considered that your digital profile will come back to haunt you? That your death will be a mini media event? Your Facebook page will become the shrine that friends and foes visit long after you’ve left the building? In this digital era one thing is certain: you’ll be getting tagged long after you’ve beat it.

What if you were a real super star?
When Michael Jackson, whose “death by media” we had witnessed for years in slo’ mo died in June 2009, it turned into one of the biggest worldwide media events in history: almost topping Obama’s inauguration. The man who re-invented the art of the music video as a marketing tool to promote his albums, also got to re-invent our future “after-lives”. Just like his life, MJ’s death was a mass experience. His live memorial broadcast shattered records for the biggest single live stream ever, just the way that Thriller shattered the record as the best selling record of all time. He gave the funeral parlor a Hollywood makeover and now, more than ever, he’s starting something: there is a whole fresh wave of teenagers born in the 90s, now doing the 80s, who can’t get enough of this MJ stuff.

On the East Coast, he’s biggest in Brooklyn. On August 21st, which has been declared Michael Jackson Day by the Borough’s Mayor, Spike Lee threw a Brooklyn block party for what would have been Jackson’s 51st birthday. Thousands turned up on a rainy day to sing Happy Birthday and karaoke style “Mama-se, mama-sa, ma-ma-coo-sa”. Also in Brooklyn, at the site where Scorsese directed the music video for “Bad”, locals unofficially re-named the subway station it was shot at in his honor. But tipping the scale for over-the-top King of Pop devotion is the new religious cult that has surfaced on Facebook and in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: The Cult of Michael Jackson. Based on the belief that “we are the world”, and “thou shalt boogie”, Jacksonites, without a hint of irony, believe that it’s time to “heal the world” and work it out on the dance floor. At The Cult of Michael Jackson temple, which officially launched on September 11, fans of the gloved one can buy MJ art, edible, flammable, washable or hang-able. My personal favorite MJ effigies, and the most poignant, are the mini wax MJ’s, oddly life like, with fragile waxy melted faces.

Life After Death 2

On August 29, when Michael’s actual body, on ice for 10 weeks, was finally laid to rest in California, the icon was buried in full make-up, wearing a white glove, sunglasses, pearls and a gold belt. Just in time for Halloween on October 31st. In the USA, Halloween is huge. It’s America’s second largest holiday after Christmas, so expect a mass resurrection: millions of Michael Jackson’s and “Thriller” zombies. To quote the song: “When Darkness falls across the land, The midnight hour is close at hand, Creatures crawl in search of blood, To terrorize yawls neighborhood, And whosoever shall be found, without the soul for getting down, Must stand and face the hounds of hell…Your body starts to shiver, For no mere mortal can resist, The evil of the thriller”.

As I write, millions of American’s are at home, unemployed, ordering a single sequined glove online and practicing the moonwalk. No matter if they are black or white. Forever, amen, the gloved ghost will loiter in our culture. The Michael Jackson cult, in its various mutations, will continue to grow, and Hollywood celebrity deaths will be getting funeral directors making final arrangements with more imagination than those on set.

Life After Death 3

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  1. MJ FAN says:


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  2. Julz Rulz from Amsterdam says:

    Kif! Every well-chosen word of this article resonates and makes one realise the depth of influence of MJ on Western culture: aesthetics, language, fashion, dance, music and spirituality. R.I.P. and Remember the time!

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  3. Dubious says:

    MJ Fan, doubt you’d see MJ in Heaven. I don’t think kiddy fiddlers are allowed.

    Maybe we should consult the manual to make sure, or ask a local rep like Ray.

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  4. Timmithomas. says:

    Too true, Ms Presha. I hadn’t thought about one’s digital hereafter. Nice.

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  5. Graeme Feltham says:

    So … ah, Pia … not to say i haven’t had my fair share of three-somes but ah … and this is just a thought, hey … as a father of an 11-year-old girl … hmmmm … am I supposed to now prepare myself for the day that she regurgitates Media issues that should never have been? Or what you skiem?

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  6. Pia Presha says:

    MJ Fan, I am right with you. The nightclub in the sky is sounding better and better + I am hyped to get there myself. See you on the dancefloor. Thanks Jules Rules for the big up, sister. Thanks also to Mr Tim. As for Dubious, that scandal was faked up and everyone knows it. I saw the best possible kiddies t-shirt at the time which read “I fucked Michael Jackson” — classic.
    And Graeme, next three-some, set the rules: no cameras or cellphones allowed.

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  7. djf says:

    It’s not that MJ may well have been a paedophile that I have problems with his “legacy”, nor the tasteless crotch-antics that crept into his dance routine halfway through his career.

    Above all, I despise hypocrites. Michael Jackson spent millions and millions on throwing lavish parties for the rich & famous. He spent even more millions on surrounding himself with ridiculous levels of superficial luxury and indulged in shameless vanity – with such poor foresight and consideratioin that he ended up in substantial debt by the time of his death. Many fortunate people live this way, but very few of them then pontificate in public on the woes of the world as this inconsiderate clown did – “Heal The World”, “They Don’t Really Care About Us” etc etc.

    Excuse me while I reach for the nearest bucket.

    And as Jackson systematically distanced himself from humanity, so his music became all the more hollow and pointless. It all started going horribly wrong after “Off The Wall” and ended up with wretched product that even the most talented of spin doctors struggled to market.

    Why are we so quick to lionise this sorry excuse for a human being? Do we think that by collectively viewing the lives of such people through rose-tinted glasses we’re somehow going easier on and being more forgiving towards humanity as a whole? Would our energy not be better spent on supporting those who gave more towards the consistent pursuit of excellence and principled living throughout their entire lives?

    What will future generations make of our misguided worship of this lost soul? Will they look upon us as kindly as we now look upon the lagacy of Michael Jackson?

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  8. Ninjalyn says:

    And so the saying “pop will eat itself….”
    and encourage our future generations to think for themselves, form their own opinions, participate and communicate!

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  9. What Was Done says:

    Here is a kind of life after death you can be sure of…

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  10. go dog says:

    Hey P – by “faked up” do you mean distorted by the media? In my view, nobody gives away
    $25 000 000 as hush money unless they guilty. If you can hire the best defense team bar none and they advise you to pay and not kick up any fuss and you do, what does that say? To me it says they got you by your balls – that what they have on you is enough to put you away fro a very long time. Otherwise he’d a said ‘voetsek!’

    Your man on the ground in Cape Town

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  11. go dog says:

    Oh sorry – you really are a master wordsmith among your many other talents. I observe and stand agog. Which is better than agast. Or agape.

    I hail you as a luminary – a bright star in the firmament of all who know you. You lift, inform, broaden and educate. Thank goodness for you and all your incarnations.

    Big Kiss!


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  12. Vohnltbb says:

    I’d like a phonecard, please http://rosydodyjy.de.tl Asian economic model she is one sexy girl with a sexy ass and hot pussy enjoying that nice cock pounding it in to her, I would love that to feeling that cock pound me

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