Margaret Mead, by Wikipedia’s description, was a popularizer of the insights of anthropology into modern American and Western culture. The other day, she was quoted as having said:
” I must admit that I personally measure
success in terms of the contributions
an individual makes to her or his
fellow human beings.”
I really wonder, in the wake of Michael Jackson’s passing, what she would have thought of his contribution. Would she have thought he contributed? Certainly, he was a top entertainer. But how does that contribute to fellow human beings? Inspiration? Were we inspired to do something? I loved his work, but was I “inspired”? Perhaps. Perhaps in the sense of witnessing someone do the very best they can. Perhaps the contribution was the enjoyment in watching the performance.
So what about shock-jock Madonna? I like her work, but she’s not at her very best – her performance is mediocre, relatively speaking, and her voice isn’t all that good. She is ambitious enough to do anything (gross or not) to keep fans gaggling for her.
So what would Margaret Mead have said?