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And the Michael Jackson/Iran Mash Up Was Born

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It's obvious that a pop icon died. What isn't obvious is the impact that Michael's death had on the world.


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We cannot begin to understand the impact of an individual, the power that a person has over others until we see how the media blows that individual's death up and begins to pick it apart. And, after saturating the airwaves and Internet with Michael, it is obvious that not only did many pockets of the American population stop to pay tribute to Michael today but so did those in the Middle East ---and in particular, the nation many have been focusing their attention on, Iran.


Reza Aslan, who was born in Iran and who writes for The Daily Beast and recently published the book How to Win a Cosmic War, appeared on Morning Joe. He came on to discuss Iran but oddly, he began his talk by discussing how Iranians were pausing for a moment in the middle of what many in the West now consider to be a revolution to pay tribute to Michael.

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Iranians were tweeting messages for a dead pop icon that was pushing the plight of the Iranian people which the news organizations had been trying to follow as close as possible to the side.


An Iranian even put together a video called, "BEAT IT YOU FANATICS!!! GET OUT OF MY LAND!!!" The Iranian whose handle is mydorood created a a mash-up of Michael Jackson's music and images of the Iranian uprising that had been taking place for the past couple of weeks.  


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The video may not accurately present the situation at hand. This Iranian obviously believes the election was stolen by Ahmadinejad and at this point, I do not know. There are sources suggesting it was stolen and there are sources suggesting it wasn't and I do not know what the most accurate and official account of the election is.


However, for those upset with the fact that so many Americans on Internet news sites dropped their political interests and commented extensively on the death of Michael Jackson, instead, this is proof of how our ultimately destructive pop culture is used by others as a force for good and inspiration.


The entertainment American artists create is highly influential to the societies that experience suppression and repression and what this video shows is that a person with the capability and technology to put this video together found it important to juxtapose the two instances so that one moment in time could be preserved together. That moment is the intertwining of the crisis in Iran and the death of Michael Jackson.



Then, there's this video by a YouTube member whose handle is pedramiri. The video, "All I wanna say is that...They don't really care," takes Michael Jackson's song, "They Don't Care About Us," one of Michael Jackson's most controversial songs and one which was about social ills.


Because of its lyrics, the song was very controversial to U.S. radio stations and  it only made it to #30 on the Billboard charts. In Europe, it was a success and was in the top five for more than twenty weeks in Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Sweden.


This song was the first song in Michael's career that he produced two music videos. One seems to be almost celebratory of the people who live in poverty and who are ignored. Michael Jackson filmed the first version of this song in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (not without controversy).



The other video shows Michael in a prison with cell mates. Intercut are the images and video of police attacking African Americans, the Ku Klux Klan, war, genocide, starving children, assassination, execution, and other infamous human rights abuses by governments. It is a powerful protest to repression and suppression of human rights and dignity around the world.


To the Iranians, it really must seem like they don't really care about us---they being the U.S. and Iranian regimes.


The Iranians are caught in the middle between a U.S. under Obama which most likely has agents and outside organizations working the situation and an Iranian regime ruled by Ahmadinejad which is fighting off the uprisings by ushering in martial law and further militarizing the government with utter disdain for the human rights of the people it governs.


They are left with technology and new media at their fingertips as the only way that they can keep the population of the world conscious and tuned in to what's happening each and every day that the regime cracks down harder on its people.


So, with these videos as examples, are we seeing something that will be tried again? Will celebrities or icons that die and saturate the news for days because of their tragic death be used to bring attention to human rights abuses and violations and injustices around the world by people in the far reaches of the globe that Americans rarely are ever concerned with?


Or is this just a happening as rare as winning the lottery, some big jackpot at a casino, or a solar eclipse?


Are these creations which posthumously allow Michael Jackson to give voice to an oppressed and repressed Iranian people who are unfortunately sitting on top of a pool of oil that has been the center of power struggles for nearly a century something akin to the planets aligning and something phenomenal that will never happen again?


Maybe in Iran what we are seeing is indeed a revolution that will take place over a long period of time. Or, maybe instead we are witnessing thousands of people who have been infected by Western media and have grown a Peter Pan complex that is similar to the type of complex Michael Jackson seemed to have. Maybe these are people who are trying to change a human reality that they will never ever be able to change.


Whatever the case may be, the King of Pop understood how fluid identity was in a globalized world, how common the humanity in us all was (and still is), and how hurt and pain can tear us away from the part of us which clings on and desires to remain connected to our childhoods.


It's our infantile emotions which cry out, "They don't really care about us." And to a certain extent, we and Michael couldn't be more closer to the truth especially when approaching the current calamity between the governments of Iran and America.  



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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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