In this month’s Prospect podcast, Nigel Warburton considers Michael Jackson’s death in the light of Sartre’s observation that in death we become ‘prey to the other’. (Download the podcast here, or click on the box on the right of the page).
Which of the many Michael Jacksons should we remember? And should a performer’s personal life be allowed to overshadow their work after their death? In Michael’s case of course, the personal eccentricities developed in public alongside his musical triumphs. For some public figures however, there is a much greater contrast between private and public personas. When it was revealed that George Orwell had denounced other writers as communist sympathisers to MI5, there was a sense of shock among many on the left. Andrew Motion’s biography of Philip Larkin revealed Larkin to be (in his personal life) distressingly bigoted and reactionary.
Do these kind of posthumous revelations ever matter? Or are they always a slightly squalid excuse for us to indulge our interest in an artist after they have gone? Let us know your (public, but not bigoted) views below-