Versus Text

Text is inclusive. It cannot be without a reader. This separates books from movies and forms of music to which we unceasingly listen. Movies and music are two of my favorite things, by the way.

But books and text altogether contain truer art, in the way I think of the thing right now. Also, paintings and other static visual art forms (architecture, photography, etc.) share with text the beauty of the participant.

I live by pressing “play.” Well…In reality, I don’t even press “play” anymore; I only must turn the players “on.” I turn my truck on, and the stereo starts playing music. I turn my television on, and a movie or show plays onscreen. And my attention wanes. It wavers. I look at other cars or the road while the music is ignored. I look at my phone or I write on the computer while this movie gets played. In its presentation, I (the listener; the viewer) am given the power to ignore, to absent the art.

Books disallow this. A reader must be active; if he isn’t, the text doesn’t exist. Sure, you can listlessly leaf through a book and find yourself at the end, even with a sense of accomplishment. But that text didn’t speak to you if you didn’t engage.

Reading makes you engage. It makes you attentive. (And you don’t have to look too far down the postings to see what the word “attend” means to me.)

You cannot open a book and halfway pay attention or let it lay open while you receive some here and there. Books don’t play. With audiobooks, this is now somewhat possible. But text is text, and it isn’t made to miss.


Who’s Bad.

MJAbout ten or twelve years ago, right in the middle of the most progressive developmental period in my life, I remember being home one day. Be it a Saturday or the summer, I had absolutely nothing to do with my time. Lucky for me, I was given one of my fondest childhood memories. Once I saw what was on the television, I locked myself in my room, forayed into my closet for anything that could resemble what he was wearing, turned up the volume and tried to sing and move like him. Somehow, I found some tight, black pants, a makeshift white glove, a white t-shirt, a fedora and the closest thing I could find to those moon-walking Penny Loafers.
VH1 decided to bless me with an all-day event. A marathon of Michael. I was in that room for hours, mirroring every move I could. Having to go to the bathroom and getting out of breath were the only things that slowed me down. The whole day was concert footage and videos and movies that placed me in wonderful view of the most magnetizing entertainer “modern times” has yielded.
During a random concert, the screen showed Michael dancing, then cutting to Asian girls going crazy in the audience. I can remember it so colorfully, I can see them crying at the sight of him. The epitome of a superstar, right there on the screen. Some people were carried out on stretchers, after fainting at the sight of the KING.
Gladly, there are no pictures (or worse, videos) of my day with Michael. As I’m able to recreate it in my head, and can remove the most embarrassing parts for this account. Of course, everything mentioned here is pretty shameful, but I can blame my youth.

I was born in 1987, needless to say: Michael Jackson was as big a part of my childhood, in regards to media, culture and entertainment, as anyone. He was the biggest thing in the world in the mid-to-late eighties and early nineties. The best and most prominent performer the world knew. I can easily point some of my love for music to him. How could you not? Through MJ, we saw just how powerful music could be. This is something I’ve missed through the years. It was all so normal to me, because it had always been around me. He had always been around me. Without him, I doubt music would have been so identifiably transcendent over any racial, social or communicative barrier. The whole world loved Jackson, at a time.
He preached peace, and truly desired it for all, even though it was apparent he never achieved it in himself. The spotlight his whole life. The disease that spawned the glove, the surgeries and the criticism. He was the most recognizable and impactful superstar of my lifetime, as well as the most tragic.
“One of a kind” is an understatement, and I’m supremely thankful that his art of music can live on. What I fear is that the captivation he demanded while performing will be forgotten as the reason he was so great. The music was brilliant, but the performance was legendary.

Though they may continue to cloud your legacy in controversy and the proceedings may make an attempt at stripping you of a dignity that all men deserve, no one can take away this memory of a feeling, a happiness that you supplied.