Monday, August 10, 2009

Lord Byron and Michael Jackson

Just finished reading a short, pithy biography of Lord George Gordon Byron written by Edna O'Brien. To be honest, I'd never paid much attention to Byron's work and didn't know much about his life. We all recognize the beauty of his work through familiar quotes like: "She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; . . ."
Being a fan of biographies, I was intrigued enough by a review in the Washington Post to buy the book. While reading it, the late, great Michael Jackson came to mind seemingly out of nowhere. They had much in common. Both: - were exceedingly generous with their friends; - loved to shop and accumulate things, often requiring loans from loyal though wary friends; - needed to be surrounded by fawning sycophants who, in the end, drained them dry; - were attracted to women and men; - were passionate about their work and burdened by the fame it brought them; - enjoyed dressing in outlandish, elaborate outfits, often with a military twist; - died premature deaths at the hands of inept medical professionals. I found two big though superficial differences between these two icons of their times. - Lord Byron had a clubfoot that hampered his mobility and caused him angst because of it's ugliness. In every other way, he was quite pleased with his appearance as were his many admirers. - M.J. was, of course, a brilliant dancer and moved with grace, but hated his appearance. He willingly suffered horrible pains trying to change it even though everyone else found him handsome. Two brilliant, extraordinarily talented men, born decades apart. Might they have been friends had they lived during the same era? Maybe. But then again, Byron created his own regiment of soldiers to help the Greeks fight for independence from Turkey. M.J. would never have done anything like that! Thoughts anyone?

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