Well, I was driving to Sea Isle City last night after work & the lady DJ on one of the radio stations was sobbing uncontrollably on the air while breaking the news about Michael Jackson's death.
It's weird how people can be so affected by someone they never met or even seen in person... but especially with today's media, making a personal connection to a popular figure is just human nature.
Michael Jackson's Thriller was the very first album my parent's ever bought for me when I was about 5 years old & I listened to it all the time. As I also just posted recently, the Thriller music video scared my ass off as a kid in a way I'll never forget. Hearing all his songs being played the radio again is a reminder of what a legend he has been in the world of music and entertainment.
As one of the most iconic people in the world, and as someone with such a 'unique' personality & life it was unavoidable that he became a caricature in alot of respects. Not only was he eccentric and creative in his own right, but he inspired (for better or worse) other artists to comment on his phenomenal existance.
For example, when I first saw the sculpture pictured above, I simply thought of Jeff Koons' "Michael Jackson and Bubbles" as a humorously ridiculous piece. However, I have come to recognize it as an image of sublime beauty and deep meaning about the illusion of appearances and the mysteries of nature, fame, mortality, and the idea of a " True Self". Besides, the very concept of a porcelain & gold statue of Michael Jackson with Bubbles the chimp is absolute craziness that ascends to the level of genius. Wacky art & monkeys are two things I can truly appreciate.
On the other end of the spectrum is the completely awesomely disturbing episode of South Park titled "The Jeffersons," in which Jacko tries to disguise himself & his children while in South Park- to both hilarious and horrifying effect. The most insane part of the episode is where his face starts falling off & he chases the kids like a Thriller zombie. Watching it the first time I don't even think I could laugh because it was so over-the-top. Michael's appearance must have been the most torturous part of a life in which his image predominately defined the public's perception of him. It is impossible to comprehend the triumphs and the troubles he faced during his time, but it is definitely fascinating.
This is one of those areas where art & the creative fields can inform the intellectual efforts of scientists and engineers.
By pre-conceptualizing the possible forms of things like interstellar transportation, these design ideas can be applied to emerging technology- like this brilliant concept that this guy totally stole from me:
When it comes to truly frightening childhood TV-related memories, there were exactly three that I can remember instantly...
1) Watching Michael Jackson's new video, "Thriller" when I was 5 years old. When the zombies came creepin out, I was really frightened. When Michael's eyes turn into wolf eyes, I almost ran out of my friend's house.
2) "The Empire Strikes Back" for the first time on the TV at my grandmother's & the scene where the Wampa ambushes Luke scared the living crap out of me.
3) Finally, the one scene that completely freaked me out was from the series "V"...
The premise of the show was that human-looking aliens come to Earth with promises of peace & progress. However, the "V"isitors are actually malevolent Reptilian bastards out to steal our resources, while eating our apparently delicious flesh.
I was about 6 and my Mom was working at night, so my Dad was letting me & my younger siblings watch this wacked-out show about evil lizard people. When this scene came on, I went ballistic & started screaming for my Dad to turn the TV off. I wasn't crying, but I refused to look at the TV until a different channel was on. As a result, I never even saw the unbelievably awesome second baby being born...
Looking at it now, it's obvious the special effects are borderline ridiculous. I even remember my Dad laughing & saying it wasn't even scary, but as soon as the first baby's tongue flicked out, that was it for me.
It's really strange to think that the first creatures to travel off-planet (that we know of) were actually monkeys that we strapped down into rockets.
Maybe I'm too empathetic, but all I think about when I see these photos is how they must feel like 'alien abductee' experiences. There are these scary beings, placing an innocent creature into machines that it doesn't understand- and forcing it into terror of the unknown.
Like a complex visual & mental puzzle, trying to understand the myriad meanings behind any alchemical works can be an almost absurd task. Even for someone well-versed in art history and symbolism, trying to figure out the story behind the symbols can be mind-boggling.
A while back I got the book Alchemy & Mysticism, The Hermetic Museum that is filled with esoteric art. Although I often browse through the strange imagery with a basic idea of what is behind some of it, it's still a very obscure system of thinking.
I saw this article on Reality Sandwich and it has several excellent observations:
"Contemplating an indescribable divine mystery, according to Jung, "the alchemists did not really know what they were writing about," certainly not with their conceptual mind. Not knowing what they were trying to articulate, the unconscious itself was simultaneously living through the alchemists as it revealed itself to them.
This explains the alchemists' oftentimes confusing, contradictory, and inscrutable description of their art.