Monday, April 1, 2019

Blogger: Don't Meet Your Idols

So the documentary on Michael Jackson just came out and I just lost it.

I believe that the problem with media today is no longer to make us think, but to make us say those thoughts out loud and then judge us for it.

I have the ability to differentiate between an artist and their art, there. Judge me.

The reason I felt the need to write about this is that I feel like people cannot win. First of all, look at Michael Jackson. This guy had surgery to change the color of his skin! If that didn't send off alarms in your head, then you were just deep in denial. This person had major issues, and frankly, most artists do. If you search for any paparazzi photos on how he dressed his children outside of the house, that was also a major warning to his mental stability! To come out and be surprised by the fact that artists are tortured people makes you an idiot.

I in no way condone his actions, but I am also fed up with being judged if I, for example, listen to his song. Yes, people should be educated from now on about what happened, to be able to make that decision on their own. But you cannot go back into my past and erase every memory I have connected to a Jackson song. You just cannot. 

I remember when I read the article about Ace of Base, stating that the song writers had Nazi ties, and there were messages about their political views embedded in the songs. I felt sick to my stomach, at the thought of singing those, if indeed they meant something other than my interpretation of it. Since then front member of the band Ulf Ekberg has come out and in an interview with E! stated: "I'm truly deeply sorry for any hurt and disappointment this has caused for our fans, and I really hope that we clearly have stated that Ace of Base never shared any of these opinions and strongly oppose all extremist opinions on both the right and left wing," he says. "My past is my own, and only I can own up to it" ("Ace of Base's Ulf Ekberg Speaks Out About Alleged Past Nazi Ties").

I know that I felt better after reading this, but I also know, that unconsciously, I have listened to their songs in the meantime, and not once did I think of them or the supposed agenda behind it. And as far as I can see the songs Jackson wrote do not really reflect his alleged pedophilia. (Correct me if I am wrong!)

And if you are caught singing one his songs, you shouldn't be judged for it either.

Two of my favorite Youtubers, the Game Grumps, (Sonic Adventure 2 Battle: Jichael Mackson - PART 8) discussed in one of their episodes how a song, once it is out there, is no longer the artists. Sure, they might own copyright to it, but to me they are always like poetry: it is my interpretation and feeling of it that will live on. I cannot go back and cancel Michael Jackson songs from movie soundtracks, or from my memories or from those remote radio stations that his music reached, while the controversy around him might not go that far.

I know singers who are Catholic, scientologists, fascists, homophobes. I am unlikely to listen to their music, but I still come across it - and the reason for that is that I am not responsible for the playlist of any store or café in the world. And I might end up liking that song and only later find out things about the artist. Am I held accountable? I don't think I should be. I get to decide what their songs mean to me, and not the other way around. There is a Hungarian singer who is very much a misogynist in the asshole of the dictator-ish prime minister of my country right now, but guess what, he is also a talented song-writer. He has wonderful and meaningful songs too, but I have been made fun of for listening to him. I will not call him my favorite, because he is not, but I also don't feel like I should keep apologizing for liking a f*cking song.

I for one blame Hungarian education: every time we read poems or short stories from great writers we always had to know who they are and the inspiration behind each story. I was conditioned all my life to NOT be able to differentiate between the artist and their art. 

There is, however, a double-standard. Today, especially in Hollywood, there is no clear line between what counts as an offense for life, and what is something we can get over. We also expect everyone to apologize, and well, to be fair here, you can't have a dead person apologize for his actions... That is the main reason I find that this whole documentary to be stupid. It doesn't matter if it is true or not, the accused cannot literally defend himself, so why are we allowed to pass judgment?

The #metoo movement also died out when it turned to people that we want to like. Artist just clear out said that it doesn't matter if the allegation is true or not, we do not have a clear rule for how we condone these acts (read the article here). James Gunn was rehired to direct for Disney/Marvel, to me his apology was enough, clearly for the producers too, and I don't really see Johnny Depp suffering for the claims about him and yet I feel terrible about seeing him in movies now. I feel like it works the same way it does with politicians: if the disappear for a while, they can come back and we will have forgotten by then, which is both scary and very sad.

I do not wish to know about the personal life of these people.

My biggest problem with social media too is that we are soooo close to celebrities and I do not think we should be. Just a year ago somebody looked down on me for listening to songs from Madonna, because in a debate between her and Lady Gaga, for them she was the bitch. I do not want to apologize for dancing like a lunatic every time 'Like a Virgin' comes on! I want to be left alone and enjoy what I want to enjoy, specifically because all of these issues are based on personal preferences. I am at a point where I am scared to see interviews with people...

Some might disagree with me, and I am mostly just scared as to why they would disagree, because that is the reason we do not have a simple understanding, and we should: you are bad? Learn from your mistakes. You regret your actions? Better. Should I know about it? Not really. Are you an influential person? If yes, let us take your influence away. There shouldn't be a debate about these things to begin with! But the double-standard is there. I want to go back to the time when I could adore the poster of an actor/singer and not have to worry about whether or not they are a secretly part of the KKK or worship inequality.

In Hungary our most famous and beloved writers had relationships with married women, committed suicide, never finished school, were addicts and tortured souls. Not only do we glorify them, but we even teach our students in detail about their private lives as a justification for understanding their poems better. There. 

Now go wonder why we like to worship falls Gods. (Sarcasm.)

I am left asking myself, going back to the source that made me share my thoughts in the first place, what was the point of Leaving Neverland?

Did somebody just see a paycheck? Did somebody really feel like we should stop worshiping Michael Jackson? Is it about the disgust of how we overlook the actions of people with money? Is it supposed to point out that we shouldn't worship celebrities? That there is an impossible standard we put people to? Is it a story of how easy we judge if the other party cannot defend themselves? Are we too close to the people we look up to? Is there a necessity for distance? Are we all just human? Was it revenge? How does the Jackson family feel about it? WHAT WAS IT? Am I just seeing too much into it and pointed out how there was probably no actually moral lesson to it, but I think there should be, if it is going to be released with the intent of causing turmoil? GIVE ME ANSWERS.

And if there are no answers, at least, let's stop judging those who can differentiate between the artist and their art. It does not define if you are a good or a bad person, trust me.

I can only imagine what some will think of me after this entry, but I would like to end with a quote, as it reflects my views on how I feel about all of those celebrities who were brave enough to speak out in this matter, and the matter itself:

"What you did was very spiteful, but it was also very brave and very honest and I respect you for doing that. But the content of what you said has made me hate you. So there's a layer of respect, admittedly, for your truthfulness, but it's peppered with hate. Hateful respect."
- Get Him To The Greek (2010)

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