Jew Me: An Article on Michael Jackson’s Alleged Antisemitism

The controversy stirred by Michael Jackson’s use of the words ‘Jew’ and ‘Kike’ in his song They Don’t Care About Us resulted in his being forced by Sony to mask the offending terms. He did this by utilising what was tantamount to a sonic scribbling out; and in the act of making these alterations so very obvious, he managed to explicitly express his distaste at the enforced censorship. Footage emerged shortly afterwards – apparently shot during the sanctioned re-edit – showing a silhouetted Michael Jackson angrily throwing equipment around a recording studio. Ensuing variations of the track – released on later compilations – involved replacing the ‘trashing’ sound with an equally auditory jarring repetition of the lyrically arrhythmic word from the first part of the line – “Kick me, kick me / Don’t you black or white me.” The song is thus forever both scarred and sanctified by this intentional lack of proper rectification. Or – to paraphrase Michael’s adlib at the climax of said track – “it’s there to remind us.”

During the subsequent Diane Sawyer interview, in which was shown the “vainglorious” HIStory promotional video (that borrows heavily from the Nazi propaganda piece, Triumph Of The Will), Michael defended his use of the terms ‘Jew’ and ‘Kike’ with the retort that he was merely utilising the imagery to illustrate the extent to which he himself had become a victim – as in, how the Jewish race were victims when subjugated to the atrocities meted out upon them during the Holocaust. Indeed, the word ‘Kike’ is derived from the hebrew word for ‘circle’ – a derisory term given to Jewish immigrants as a result of their being required to draw a circle instead of a cross in order to mark their identification, upon their arrival in America after escaping the World War II atrocities.

And – certainly – Michael Jackson had also been marked and victimised.

However, he was also the man that wrote the words: “God’s a place for you / Oh, Palestine / I believe in you / Oh, Palestine, I will die for you”. So, as far as being “a victim” is concerned, one cannot ignore Michael’s stance on the criminal violence flaunted by the Jewish nuclear power state of Israel upon the displaced people of Gaza. A situation Michael laments in another HIStory track, Earth Song, with the words: “What about the Holy Land? / Torn apart by creed.”

Michael liked to highlight social injustice – wherever it was, and in whatever form it took. He shone the spotlight on instances of bullying. In fact, almost two decades prior to the furore forged by the deaths and social disharmony resultant of Brazil’s efforts to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Care About Us video (‘Brazil Version’ – in which he performs both the Black Panther salute and the Nazi goose step), had already strived to focus the world’s attention on the injustice of the wealth divide there: a division starkly illustrated in the opening sequence of the video, as the statue of Christ the Redeemer pans into view – omniscient and omnipotent, as it towers majestically over the ramshackle slums that cower in its shadow. A voice plays over the footage, imploring in Portuguese, “Michael, they don’t care about us.” The location of the actual shoot – the Rio de Janeiro favela, Dona Marte – held historical significance with its having once been slave quarters, where slaves had been publicly flogged. By 1996, it had become a drug baron’s dream. Claudia Silva – the press officer for Rio de Janeiro’s tourist board – later exalted Michael’s positive influence on the area by saying, “This process to make Dona Marta better started with Michael Jackson… There are no drug dealers anymore, and there’s a massive social project. But all the attention started with Michael Jackson.”

Later in the Diane Sawyer interview, Michael went on to say “Some of my best friends are Jewish” – listing Steven Spielberg among them, in spite of their recent falling out over a reneged deal concerning the fledgling Dreamworks venture, and despite Spielberg being the driving force behind the imposed alteration of the words ‘Jew’ and ‘Kike’ (claiming Michael had resurrected the latter term from practical extinction and brought it back into common usage). Yet – as true as Michael’s statement regarding Jewish friends may or may not have been – it’s about as cliched a statement as one can make in any defence against accusations of bigotry. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that Michael’s bonafide advocate Elizabeth Taylor was also Jewish, as is the mother of his two eldest children (as well as her employer: primary Dr. Feelgood, Dr. Klein). Also, Michael begins the song They Don’t Care About Us with the words “Skinhead, dead head” – which is a blatant and direct rebuttal of Neo-Nazism. Other lyrics in the song include the unclear reference to being “In the suite / On the news” – words easily misheard as “Innocent / On the noose”. As part of the Chandler settlement agreement, Michael was prevented from using certain words with which he could directly vindicate himself, so this was his method for overcoming any potential legal backlash. (Michael also used this technique in another HIStory track – the Tom Sneddon diatribe D.S.) Another ostensibly surreal lyric in They Don’t Care About Us is “Everybody dog food.” It’s open to interpretation, of course, but ‘dog’ is another particularly derogatory term used against Jewish people.

Michael namechecks both Martin Luther and Roosevelt in They Don’t Care About Us. The only question is: which of the namesakes is he referencing? The other famous Martin Luther – the one prior to the celebrated black luminary – was a notorious antisemite who authored a book entitled ‘On the Jews and Their Lies’. And – whilst one of the two presidents that carried the surname of Roosevelt is revered as a unifier – the other remains under suspicion as being less than sympathetic towards the Jewish plight. However, this ambiguity is seemingly clarified in the ‘Prison Version’ of the They Don’t Care About Us video (where an incarcerated Michael is portayed as the vulnerable human he was, sweating armpits and all) - in which the images used are of the publicly palatable examples of the Martin Luther and Roosevelt namesakes.

Who can truly know what Michael’s perspective was? As ever, he courted controversy and demanded debate. Still. They Don’t Care About Us is track two on Michael Jackson’s HIStory album. This Time Around is track four. On track four, he incorporates a word with just as contentious connotations: ‘Nigger’.

The media response? Not a squeak.

Prophet: An Article on the Fifth Anniversary of the Death of Michael Jackson

The sun takes twelve days to set after its glorious zenith on Vindication Day. Clouds gather, too: though tinged by the touch of the star’s tragic tiring – exacerbating an increasing anxiety that ultimately succumbs to a bleak and black sadness.

Childhood is a period of utopia perpetually repeated for all time, just by differing people. It is a phase of existence content in its inherent disregard of the differences between people, even that of language. This utopia is what people attempt to recreate through the retrograde reach that is the recreational use of opiate drugs. Michael Jackson included. In the lyrics to Place With No Name, Michael sings about finding what he “can fix”, he discovers a “place where no people have pain” in which “kids are playin’… and no-one’s in fear.” It’s a criminal tragedy that Michael Jackson was coerced into such extremes of escapism due to the spiritual pillaging that was done to his home and solace, Neverland. This is why I always refer to the 2005 trial as being what ultimately killed him on June 25th, 2009 – five years ago today.

The news of the Estate being sued for their attempted deceit of fans, gives millions of said fans a distinct opportunity to evolve in the same way that Michael did – from the man obsessed with having the world’s biggest selling record, to the man obsessed with building the world’s biggest children’s hospital; from materialism to spiritualism. Our peaceful protest in defending the legacy and name of Michael Jackson is gathering pace. Our numbers are amassing. Recruits are being educated with the knowledge that a life of the magnitude of Michael Jackson’s cannot be frittered away by those motivated by greed and vacuous consumerism. Michael Jackson’s life is an opportunity for the people of the planet to reflect upon what is actually important for each and every one of us. And I don’t imagine media-driven malice is up there high on that list.

Two years ago, the charity Invisible Children embarked upon their Kony 2012 campaign – in which the Internet was used as a tool to try and uncover and apprehend a child enslaver. It was a false dawn. But it demonstrated the incredible power to create positive change that is lying dormant within postmodern media practices. The sad thing regarding the efforts of Invisible Children and its founder, was that they were unprepared for the bestial vindictiveness that was the backlash from traditional media. Something that Michael fought in the face of, every day.

Michael was the magnetic musician of the people, who defied expectations thrust upon him by this close-minded media. He challenged them, and in doing so, sacrificed his life. We must make the most of the bittersweet fruits borne of a uniquely oppressed childhood and subsequently misunderstood adulthood. We must undo the damage done by the demonic. We must be brave in outing and ousting the bullies. We owe it to Michael. We owe it to his mission. In the developed world, children have been removed from workhouses and relieved of their yokes, and have been granted rights instead. Michael is a catalyst for this achievable ideal to be made the norm across the entire globe. Michael could see that the time and technology was imminent for the mass utilisation of free information and communication for the doing of good. Michael Jackson was a man worth believing in; Michael Jackson was a visionary; Michael Jackson was a prophet.

And the sun may well have set.

But, today – remember: we glow by the moon.

Vindication Day

There are two themes that frequently recur in this blog, and today they are both particularly pertinent. The first theme, is the idea I promote that with regards Michael Jackson, any paedophilic monster construed – given the absolute absence of any evidence to the contrary – can only be one purposefully selected by an observer actively opting to be ignorant of an indisputable fact: a fact forever petrified into history. The fact that nine years ago today – after a gruelling trial that ultimately killed him – Michael Jackson and his personal ideology were completely vindicated: he was entirely absolved of any wrongdoing concerning illegal behaviour involving children. The second theme – bearing in mind, once again, the vast vacancy of any proof whatsoever of anything untoward ever occurring between Michael Jackson and children – is that Michael Jackson created Neverland solely as a haven for the celebration of childhood; as a retreat for an unhindered exploration of the purity and potential of youth; as somewhere he could escape the societal ‘norms’ thrust – unsolicited – upon us all. ‘Norms’ that consistently attempt to corrupt the concept of love, in any of its given forms.

Michael had the financial freedom to revisit the “lost and found” of his childhood on an unprecedented scale: an eccentricity that was seized upon by a cynical society. Yet, most people ‘infantilise’ themselves to a certain extent – and in the same way Michael noted the hypocrisy of the universal acceptance of Caucasian attempts to change their skin colour to fit in with societal aspirations, it should further be noted how the infantilisation of adults is also done on a mass daily basis for similar reasons. Clothes departments of supermarkets, for example, are stocked to the brim with adult nightwear adorned with images of Disney characters: a chance for people to buy into rose-tinted nostalgia, in an attempt to temporarily export themselves back to a time and place where they possessed a kingdom of imagination in which they often sought refuge. The commodification and sexualisation of nostalgia is the cynical prostitution of beautiful efforts borne by the fundamental innocence of humanity. (Nostalgia is big business – just ask the Estate.)

Michael fell victim to his naivety of the perception of his philosophies by the outside world. Michael fingered jealousy as a premium motivational reason for acts of ‘evil’. And – indeed – one may very well argue that the very existence of the mass misunderstanding of Michael’s ideology, is one motivated by a deep-seated envy of his precious capacity for being able to see through the eyes of a child; and of his capability to harness this gift for his art and success. Or perhaps – as demonstrated by those in charge at AEG Live during their ultimately lethal whipping of Michael to perform for This Is It – it is that when a majority are hell-bent on getting what they desire, mass psychopathy ensues – and Lord help anyone standing in their way. The global media opprobrium heaped upon Michael during and since the molestation allegations is further testament to this phenomenon. Bringing Michael Jackson down sold newspapers – and to hell with the effect such treacherous slander might have on such a sensitive soul.

Love is so easily plundered by cynics. There are even certain parts of the USA, where one may openly carry a firearm, yet are denied the option of purchasing a sex toy without possessing a medical prescription – it is the pathologisation and legislation of the simple and most natural act of making love, whilst the promotion of indifference to potential grievous violence continues unchecked. Michael strived to convey a message of anti-violence. He was the Martin Luther King of his generation. He utilised his prominent position on the public pedestal to try and educate against the use of violence, including during acts of protest. After 1993, Michael was placed in, what – for most people – would have been an impossible professional and personal position to return from. Michael responded to this attempted character assassination of him by releasing a song pleading with the people of the Earth to awaken to the damage being done to their planet – a song in which the accompanying short film shows the detonation of an apocalyptic bomb as a little girl runs for her bicycle. This is the evil that Michael wanted to address – by ensuring that all children were given the ironclad right to a childhood free from abuse, and thus in time ending the cycle. It is the next step in the civilisation of humankind, and history will hold Michael Jackson aloft as an evolutionary visionary.

Michael’s stance on the wisdom of children is often lazily dismissed. Perhaps because people find it too vague to understand. In truth, however, it is very specific and very simple. By being ‘like the children’, Michael was suggesting we learn from their innate obliviousness to traits such as race, class or gender: that traits trained into people as they become older, embittered and prejudiced, are non-existent in children. Children simply request that their innate love for everything is reciprocated. This is how Michael was like the children. His physicality embodied the differing traits, whilst his philosophy merely asked that the boundless love he possessed for all the people of the planet be reflected back upon him. And he wanted that for everyone.

Today is Vindication Day. It is perhaps the most significant day in the Michael Jackson calendar. Enjoy!

The Mirror In The Man: An Article On What Michael Jackson Means To You

Following the Brits ‘96 performance of Earth Song, fellow humanitarian Sir Bob Geldof introduced Michael Jackson to the stage, so that he could receive the “one-off: like the man himself” award, Artist of a Generation (“…what generation? At least three have been listening to him already”). He used these words:

“…the most famous person on the planet, God help him… When Michael Jackson sings it is with the voice of angels. And when his feet move, you can see God dancing…”

The ubiquity and intensity of the embarrassingly obvious efforts of the Estate of Michael Jackson to metamorphose him into a throwaway caricature, was recently again on display in the form of the homogenised digital puppet programmed to perform at this year’s Billboard Awards. To create this, they once more utilised a painfully subpar impersonator (someone rather inappropriately named Earnest Valentino). Thus, they flagrantly continue to evidence an audacious arrogance in possessing not one remote qualm about employing the services of an imposter in an attempt to replicate the God-bestowed talent of a bona fide legend. All – naturally – as part of a cynical and superficial quest to achieve optimal financial gain. Sam Phillips – owner of Elvis’ first record label, Sun Records – famously said, “…if I could find a white boy who could sing like a black man I’d make a million dollars.” This appears to be the prevailing mantra of the Estate of Michael Jackson, who are intending to take the hologram – the ‘face’ of which is remarkably reminiscent of the one used in the Immortal artwork – on tour. Screw truth, ethics, morality and principle.

In 2006, Access Hollywood conducted Michael’s last televised interview. It was undertaken in Ireland during the nomadic period enforced as a result of the 2005 trial and the destruction of his home, Neverland. During this interview, Michael demonstrates his typical humility, but also remarks on his fastidious attention to detail regarding his music: how he puts each sound under “the microscope.” There is a YouTube montage which demonstrates Michael’s remarkable capacity for beatboxing: how he could effortlessly synthesise breath and pulse into a sublime musical experience. Michael was a genius. He was not a puppet.There is also a point further on in the Access Hollywood segment, in which the interviewer infers that Justin Timberlake is the contemporaneous popular musical artist most responsible for continuing his legacy. Michael quickly retorts that we shouldn’t forget to include the black artist, Usher, on the list. Michael was an activist. He was not a puppet.

The turbulence and brutality of the world and its media empires that were prejudiced against him, meant Neverland was the place where Michael sought refuge. Though this is not to say that Michael shied away from conflict – he certainly possessed the courage to confront (there is even a version of the song Money in which Michael calls out press emperor Rupert Murdoch). So much so, that due to his being perceived as a threat, they crucified him: something Michael alludes to in the song, Tabloid Junkie. Michael’s dream was to “turn swords into ploughshares” – a concept as old as time, yet perpetually dismissed by greedy and fearful governments across the globe.

In response to the attempt to have his freedom taken from him, Michael chose the recently Communist countries of Eastern Europe as a prominent theme for the HIStory campaign. He opted to promote freedom through the portrayal of his stark individualism – in countries entrenched in the active homogenisation of its people by their governments. With the inherent irony being Michael’s unique physical appearance as an homogenisation of so many cultural differences. Michael implored us to “harmonise all around the world”. His philosophy for a successful society appeared to be one that is celebratory of each person’s individuality, with the goal of each individual being the potentiation of their fellow human being: the acceptance of the unbridled freedom of each individual as a bedrock for the knitting of a society: that, in the mirror of each individual, society finds its reflection. Michael was a revolutionary. He was not a puppet.

What do we want Michael’s fame to become? What is our responsibility as fans? As human beings? Is it to mindlessly promote the current Estate’s trend of him as a money-making vacuity? Or is it to enrich his reputation and memory through the promulgation of him as a politically-conscious, peace-loving leader? One whose mission was prematurely terminated by the very same nefarious ideals motivating the people now making millions off his name? Do we want to see him immortalised as a caricature of twentieth century pop culture and capitalism? Or as a talisman for peace, hope and mutual acceptance? In short: do we want him cartoonified or beatified?

The actions of the Estate of Michael Jackson force the hands of those of us that care for the true legacy of our hero. We must counterbalance with equal might. As much as they cartoonify Michael, our reaction must be to further exalt him: that with their every insistence on insulting, they are merely fortifying his martyrdom. Michael was a totem; a conduit for the divine. He understood sacrifice as aspirational. He willingly sacrificed himself. Not only did he tour the planet a sick man, rescuing his reputation from slanderous smears whilst simultaneously promoting his message of peace; not only did he later die attempting to do the same thing; but throughout his adult life he used the abyss of self left by a pillaged childhood to construct a mirror for humanity.He gave us the opportunity to reflect upon him: he was the mirror in the man.

Now. Who do you see? I see God dancing.

For Nearly Thirty Years: An Article On Michael Jackson’s Closest Confidante (And Why Her Opinion Matters)

He knew her intimately for nearly thirty years. During this time, she was his confidante, his protector, and his advisor. She rubbed cream into the piebald patchwork that was his back and shoulders: a torso that no-one else got to view, unless she had applied concealing make-up beforehand. He was very insecure about his vitiligo. He was very insecure about his overall physique. During times of stress, he would often fast to feel better about himself – often miss meals, try to concentrate instead on making his work as perfect as possible. Fasting and exhaustion landed him in hospital on numerous occasions. Stress exacerbates the effects of vitiligo. She tried to ensure he was fed.

Michael’s face was pocked with acne scars. He believed his nostrils were vast, his chin not clearly defined – that it seemed to get swallowed up by his neck. He was self-conscious about his smile. But he liked his eyes. He would ask her to accentuate them. He had his eyebrows tattooed on. And his lipstick. It saved a lot of time. And meant that when she wasn’t around, they remained there – indelible swooshes of self-esteem reassuring him from the mirror. A lifetime in the public eye had taken its toll. The camera was his nemesis. He would wear a surgical mask, or hide behind strategically straggled curls and a fedora – unless she had primed his confidence first, by combining her artistic skill with a unique, nuanced knowledge of the intricacies of his face, as well as an inimitable understanding how he liked to look – though she also knew that he was capricious in these matters. Such is the nature of insecurity. He was changeable in his choice of hairstyle – sometimes preferring more curls or body in his hair, which gave him a sense of having his face covered, like the mask. She created and fixed his wigs for him. For nearly thirty years.

Still. Since they had been together for nearly a third of a century, she would have normally been able to guess his mood before he had even sat down in the chair. That chair in which they talked. In which they cried, joked, and put the world to rights. Where they laughed together. For nearly thirty years. Some are jealous of the intimacy they shared. After all, their relationship was simultaneously both as open and close as any can be. She knew his secrets, his intentions, his vices, his desires.

He trusted her. Implicitly. She prepared him for his deathbed.

He was Michael Jackson. And she was Karen Faye.

The Mission: An Article on Michael Jackson and Children

Children were simultaneously Michael Jackson’s Achilles’ Heel and his vitality. His single-mindedness in being their advocate was his only vulnerability; a pressure point that was exploited with aplomb. His response to the extortion attempt of 1993 was the HIStory album. The dedication on the record’s reverse is given to all the children of the world, who he claims responsibility for. Michael Jackson loved all children the way any mother loves their own.

Sometimes I sit down in crowded areas and imagine what the world is like from the perspective of a child; ponder how frightening and vulnerable children must sometimes feel when confronted with the bustle of a busy street as they’re surrounded by strangers two or three times their own size, whilst also marvelling at how brave they are for engaging with this alien world, regardless. It is courage generated by the same miraculous naivety that makes a child oblivious to their muddied clothes, in spite of their maddened mother – because dirty linen simply pales in pathetic comparison when compared to the majesty of a mud pie. Michael’s physical embodiment of universality not only traversed the boundaries of race and gender, but also of age.

During I’ll Be There, over decades of performing it live, Michael Jackson was the man that cried nightly tears in front of millions and millions of people – tears pricked, he admitted, as a consequence of being overwhelmed by the plight of suffering children. He was the man who, in an opiate oblivion towards the end of his life, remained adamant in his intention to build a children’s hospital. He was the man who instigated the Heal The Kids initiative, and during a promotional speech at Oxford University for the cause, said the words, “The beginning of human consciousness must be that each and every one of us is an object of love.” He was the man that after seeing starving children on television, wrote Be Not Always, with its lyrics, “Faces – did you see their faces? / Did they touch you? / Have you felt such pain?” Before organising, writing and recording the biggest selling charity single of all time in an effort to fund aid for them. He was the man that dedicated his Bad Tour Yokohama performance of I Just Can’t Stop Loving You to the murdered boy, Yoshiaki Hagiwara.

Michael Jackson’s self-imposed exile in Neverland was due to the sense of incongruity he felt with the cynicism of the adult world. As Michael said, with utmost sincerity, he was “Peter Pan in his heart.” ‘Tarantism’ is the word given to describe the act of banishing melancholy by dancing, and it was the safe-haven of Neverland that provided Michael with the requisite solitude and privacy to “escape the world” and “enjoy that simple dance.” Before its being ransacked in 2005. Whereupon, Michael Jackson’s utopian pocket of eternal youth was irreparably corrupted by the monstrous ugliness of a perverted and retarded outside world.

The riposte that was the HIStory project was an uncharacteristically angry sting from Michael. But along with the sense of catharsis that it must have brought him – like a normally peaceable bee stinging out of terror – it also commenced the process of ripping out his heart. The eventual trial of 2005 tore it out completely.

When Scream, the first single from HIStory was released, critical commentators asked how the ordinary person could relate to the song, considering the uniqueness of the subject matter that had been its inception. The response was that the refrain, “Stop pressurin’ me” could be interpreted and extrapolated by listeners to be made relevant to their general frustrations of everyday life. The same applies to what was the single’s accompanying Double A-side track, Childhood – which can be personally engaged with by anyone that feels the need to implore others to attempt to understand them, by asking them to simply look at the injustices they suffered during their childhood. The Double A-side singles of Scream and Childhood were indeed two sides of the same coin. This theme of people recouping their stolen childhoods was returned to on the Invincible track, The Lost Children.

The ecstasy Michael experiences during the Wembley Bad Tour performance of I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, as the crowd sings those very words to him, is starkly evident. The Bad album was conceived as a stadium record, with the songs intended to be brought to life on stages across the world. And it’s no coincidence that Michael hands over the microphone to the audience for part of the chorus in I Just Can’t Stop Loving You. Michael needed to feel our love. He needs that love now more than ever.

Whilst unconscious under the effects of Propofol, no dreaming occurs. It is a tragic irony that Michael Jackson – a man motivated by the power of dreams and ambition – ultimately became the only human being to have ever gone sixty days without actually dreaming. And, just as a murder of media crows circled our martyred Michael whilst he lay on his deathbed in hospital, so they continue to do so now – perched like vultures around their tabloid junkyard, perpetually alert to the possibility of picking at any scraps thrown from a carcass being ravaged by opportunists like Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck – to whom it has suddenly occurred that the work has dried up and financing the upbringing of their own children is going to be expensive. And now that Michael is dead, after decades of having only praise for the man, they feel no shame in cashing in on their friendship with him, regardless of whatever nefarious means they must employ. Whilst in the process, putting Michael’s children through hell. Each and every one of us.

Perception is a reflection. And in the absence of one shred; one atom; one iota of evidence; in spite of the rape of Neverland; in consideration of the unanimous affirmation of his innocence by a jury – there is not a sole reason to suspect Michael Jackson as being anything other than a naive and lonely man taken advantage of by greed. Unless, that is what you perversely choose to believe. Since Michael’s death, to quote St.Teresa of Avila, “Yours are the eyes with which he looks with compassion on this world”.

Michael Jackson refused to change direction with his belief in the wisdom of children. We must remain just as unwavering in our defence of him. We must remain stoic and steadfast in the fulfilling of his mission.

Conspiracy: An Article On Michael Jackson Conspiracy Theory

Michael Jackson fans often get daubed with the Conspiracy Theorist brush; a fact hardly surprising, considering the infinite permutations of perspective created by the perfect storm that is the victimisation of Michael, the oracular propaganda techniques he employed during his adult career, and the advent during this time of that supreme catalyst for suspicion, paranoia and unfounded hearsay – the Internet.

Michael’s use of ambiguous imagery on the Dangerous and Blood On The Dance Floor album covers offer a wealth of nuances of interpretation. Some fans maintain these choices of artwork are a mere extension of the intentionally enigmatic promotional tactics utilised during the Bad campaign, such as the Elephant Man’s bones and Hyperbaric Chamber affairs; whilst many others insist that Michael was trying to communicate something to us about the danger he was in: that the fairground ride travelling through the Dangerous album cover represents Michael’s journey from Illuminati slave to Illuminati whistleblower, with Michael dancing on the checked floor of the Blood On The Dance Floor cover also signifying his being emancipated from the role of Illuminati pawn.

(With regards the Bad project and its employment of Dileo-peddled curios as a promotional tool, it’s interesting to note that these came about after Michael had written the song Price of Fame, in which he rues the pains of being so famous, singing, ““Just sign your name on the dotted line, you’ll be fine” / That always bothers me”.  This was also around the same time he wrote Cheater, which contains the lyrics, “You know I work too hard for this kind of pay… / You’re telling me that you’re coming to a compromise / You’re smiling at me while you’re stealing right before my eyes”. Michael ensured Cheater was included on 2004’s Ultimate Collection.)

According to Illuminati observers, all the signs are that Michael Jackson became associated with this insidious gang of elites just prior to making the Thriller album. Conspiracy Theorists correlate Michael’s increasing closeness to the Disney Corporation in the very early eighties to the rite of passage that, these days, is the training with The Disney Club that all aspiring Satanists must now undertake. With Miley Cyrus being the latest alumnus. Indeed, according to some Conspiracy Theorists, the song Thriller, which was originally entitled Starlight and themed on love, with lyrics including, “High in the night / This magic’s gonna keep us close together / We’ll start to fly / ‘Cause this is the beginning of your life”, was turned into the occult-revering song Thriller in order to satisfy a bargain with Satan; a deal in which Michael’s fame was eternally guaranteed, by recording and performing the seminal soundtrack to the annual celebration of evil that is Halloween, and therefore being forever and inextricably linked to it.

Elite-terrorised Conspiracy Theorists scour the Internet for evidence of ritualistic acts that are precursors to celebrity sacrifice, ones involving practice-runs, such as the model made of Amy Winehouse before she died, in which she is pictured in a pool of blood, holding a Minnie Mouse mask. They point to the Thriller video itself, in which Michael is killed, as being Michael’s version of this. (Of course, Michael is also then reanimated in the video – this theme of resurrection would become a recurrent theme in his work, occurring as it does in both Moonwalker and the Ghosts short film. But far be it from me to provide the BeLIEvers with any further ammunition). Famously, to appease the Jehovah’s Witness movement, of which Michael was an active member, he was forced to precurse the Thriller video with a disclaimer (written by its director, John Landis) stating that the short film was in no way occultist propaganda. Michael performed Thriller right up to, quite literally, his dying day – strange behaviour from a man that had supposedly cast off his Illuminati shackles. And, whereas the likes of Miley Cyrus et al, embark on world tours promoting precocious sex and violence, Michael Jackson’s act was devoted to the very opposite of that, and to counteracting the very problems that stunted childhoods create.

Awards shows appear to be most popular with Illuminati interpreters. No international award show goes by without its obligatory accompanying YouTube video pointing out the all-seeing-eye subliminally worked into a stage consisting of a suspiciously pyramidal construct. Pyramids, diamonds, and celebrities covering one eye, or using the Baphomet (devil horns) hand sign are like red flags to Conspiracy Theorists. Any celebrity referring to these things is instantly seized upon as evidence of their bit-role in the Elite’s masterplan for the endgame. It is true, however, that these apparently incongruous things are inordinately alluded to in popular culture (Frank Ocean’s Pyramids, Rihanna’s Diamonds and Beyonce’s Superbowl Illuminati gesture, to note three recent examples), although I would imagine that’s a lot more to do with playing up to Internet virality rather than the subservient honouring of an Owl-like deity. Besides, Michael Jackson himself was a prolific user of the Baphomet hand signal. And let’s not forget that the original title for the song Liberian Girl was, in fact, Pyramid Girl.

The financial wealth of the richest eighty-five people on the planet combined, is more than the poorest three-and-a-half-billion people on the planet combined. It is this financial elite of people that are often the focal points for Conspiracy Theories. Even the Queen of England – by no means on the list – warned the late Princess Diana’s butler with the words, “Be careful… No one has been as close to a member of my family as you have. There are forces at work in this country about which we have no knowledge. Do you understand?”  In this world divided between those struggling to make a living and those intent on potentiating their already galactic financial situation, Michael was the shining example of the wealthy philanthropist – giving more than three-hundred-million dollars to charity – with the will currently held by the Estate requesting a (still unsanctioned) bequest of a further twenty percent of his assets to good causes.

The excuse given for not adhering to this particular stipulation of the will, is that the Estate’s first responsibility was taking Michael Jackson out of debt.  Biggest-selling artist (posthumous or otherwise), with the biggest-selling concert film in history and largest-grossing Cirque du Soleil world tour later, the charitable donations remain to be been borne out.  Although an unpaid three-quarter-of-a-billion dollar tax bill – a result of the Estate valuing Michael Jackson’s half of the ATV Catalogue at $0 (I wonder what Sony value their half to be?) – has. Katherine Jackson’s request for an audit was dismissed out of hand.

The ongoing explicit humiliation and degradation of Michael Jackson continues, with the production of an album that follows up one that bore just his first name with the eradication of his name entirely. The album is being teased with a video in which the person dancing is obviously wearing a trilby: an observation that could be dismissed as nit-picking, if it weren’t for the fact that the name Michael Jackson is synonymous with a fedora. His iconic fedora. None of the three albums released posthumously by Sony and the Estate even bear an actual image of Michael Jackson – even the silhouette that adorns This Is It is posed by an impersonator – yet Michael Jackson was the most photographed person that has ever existed. (And people still have the nerve to wonder why Michael Jackson had issues with his self-image).

There are innumerable unsung black artists that wrote merely to feed the success and wealth of racist record companies, who preferred a white face to sell their records and make them money. This is the very same racism that resonates in the hypocrisy manifest in the mockery of Michael’s efforts to coalesce the world into harmony through music; a mockery that is in stark contrast to the vaunted statuses of the output of white counterparts, such as John Lennon (and, incidentally, in their vicious recriminations of Michael’s bare-faced cheek in buying the rights to The Beatles catalogue). Michael Jackson got up on stage in 2002 and called the contemporaneous head of Sony Music, Tommy Motolla, a racist. Sony Music responded to this, not by chastising their so-called washed-up artist, Michael Jackson, but by firing their CEO. It makes you wonder what Michael had over them that nudged them into that decision. I, for one, find it difficult to believe that, upon the departure of Tommy Motolla, everything suddenly became all fluffy and friendly between Michael Jackson and Sony. (Indeed, not to sound like a Conspiracy Theorist or anything: but that’s one heck of a Klansman-resembling crown that’s burning brightly between the feet of the aforementioned crucifixion-posed This Is It silhouette.)

Prince, during his protest against his record label, Warner Bros, walked around with the word ‘Slave’ written on his cheek. Imagine if Prince died tomorrow, and Warner Bros attempted to do what Sony have done to Michael Jackson? The plan wouldn’t leave the ground. Prince’s fans wouldn’t be so disrespected, and Warner Bros wouldn’t dare. In no uncertain terms, Michael was, and continues to be, treated as much of as a slave as Prince was. Moreso. But it has always been different rules for Michael: partly down to the higher echelons of success that he reached (something his father warned him about, again according to the lyrics of Price of Fame); but also as a result of the rife institutional racism inherent within the pop music industry.

This ‘contemporising ’- or, as I have taken to calling it, ‘CONTEMPTorising’ – of our hero, a cultural pioneer, has inspired all kinds of protest, with one campaign advocating the purchase of the Invincible album instead of Xscape. Personally, I’d prefer not to contribute to the Sony coffers at all, but if I had to buy an alternative, it would indeed be Invincible, due to its relevance as the work that Sony sabotaged, before becoming the kindling for Michael going public with his firefight against them.

In the absence of incontrovertible evidence, people form their own truths through interweaving interpretation and belief. However, in the example of the corruption of the Estate of Michael Jackson, and the associated concerns of their not being fit-for-purpose, just such incontrovertible evidence exists – in the form of video footage proving that Michael Jackson could not simultaneously be signing charge of his posthumous assets over to John Branca in both New York and Los Angeles, at the very same minute, at the very same hour, on July 7, 2002.

Interpret, however you like, anything else that fact-indiscriminate Internet forums throws up. But hold onto this as incontrovertible: the conspiracy behind the falsification of Michael Jackson’s will and testament, is, by no-means, a theory.

Here is the video:

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Magic: An Article on the Magic Humanitarian, Michael Jackson

When I was sixteen, I jumped on a coach, upon which I sat for thirty hours, before disembarking in Prague in the Czech Republic. As a painfully shy teenager, I wasn’t confident enough to be forthright enough to make friends on the journey, so the trip was undertaken alone. Besides, I wasn’t travelling to make friends. I was going to see Michael. I hadn’t seen him for four years, since that soul-altering night on the Dangerous Tour. I was nauseous with excitement.

It was so cold. But I was determined to get a position close to the front of the following day’s concert, so, after being stood a short while at the feet of the specially erected Stalinist HIStory statue, staring up at it, both bewildered and awestruck, I left the coach party. After mindlessly navigating the streets of the alien city for a number of hours, I eventually managed to stumble across the stadium, Letna Park; where I joined a throng of similarly single-minded diehards who were also gathering to queue overnight before the concert. But it was so cold.

The concert happened. I had managed to hold my own in the downright dangerous race to the front, once the gates had finally opened. And, devoid of food and sleep, had also, somehow, managed to stay upright all day, in spite of the intermittent tidal surges created by the momentum transfer of the one-hundred-and-thirty-thousand people standing behind me.

As well as when we all jumped and joined along together in singing, “Tom Sneddon is a cold man.”

I filled my pockets with the confetti that had burst from cannons signalling the end of the show, then – very, very slowly – shuffled my way to a merchandise tent. My understanding of the Czech currency was limited at best, and my adrenaline was sky-high: a combination ripe for disaster. The kind of disaster where you find yourself lost and alone, at night, in the middle of a mid-nineties, recently Eastern Bloc capital city (incidentally, a significant choice by Michael, considering the socialist theme of the HIStory project), wearing the three Michael Jackson T-shirts you’ve just spent all your money on, whilst also clutching the Tour programme as close to your torso as possible, in an attempt to achieve that extra microtherm of warmth.

I had a ticket with the name of the hotel I was supposed to be staying in, but I couldn’t pronounce its name, and the odd person that walked past who I summoned the courage to engage and show the ticket to, just shrugged at me and continued walking. After the roar of the concert, everything seemed more silent than was possible.

Penniless on the deserted streets of Prague, I sat down and cried. Then a car pulled up.

A woman wound down the window and garbled something in a foreign language, whilst gesturing for me to approach her. She was my only hope. I showed her the ticket. Again, a shrug and a look of confusion. My heart sank as I was hit with a genuine terror that I wasn’t going to be either home, warm, eating or sleeping any time soon. Then the woman, whose face had empathetically mirrored my own as it fell, suddenly pointed at my T-shirt (the top one, anyway), and simply said, “Michael!”, before directing me to take a seat in the back of the car, and beginning to drive around what came to seem like endless, dark, desolate city streets. Finally, she turned a corner, and I saw something I recognised. Illuminated like a homing beacon, in all its white-light glory, stood the HIStory statue.

And at its feet, my ride home.

***

Michael understood that there is magic in nostalgia; that nostalgia is emotional time-travel; that magic becomes manifest through the mind and its perceptions. As much as Michael enjoyed stage magic (who can forget the introduction to the Superbowl performance – Michael Jackson… in three places at once!), as he expressed in his song, Mind Is The Magic, “Your own thoughts play the game / In the magical wonders they do / The mind in the magic is you”.

And it was this kind of magic, real magic, that Michael wrote about in his book, Dancing The Dream, within which he describes magic as being how the thrill that a toddler experiences when watching a tadpole wriggle in mud, is akin to an adult’s encounter with the majesty of a whale crashing in the ocean.

And it was with this kind of heart, this “quality of wonder” – as author Howard Bloom described it, when reflecting upon Michael’s life – with which he reigned over Neverland: inspiring children to enjoy, as he called it, “the playfulness of life”. Of course, Michael entertained many, many sick and dying children at Neverland, but one child that he became particularly close to, was Ryan White. Ryan lived with HIV/AIDS for seven years after being diagnosed aged just eleven years old. He was instrumental in evolving people’s understanding of the disease, therefore helping to diminish the prejudices associated with it. Ryan died twenty-four years ago today.

Another specific child that Michael helped, was the focus of a recent campaign to flood Twitter to create awareness of Michael’s humanitarian efforts. It was the example of Bela Farkas, a four-year-old Hungarian boy who Michael funded the liver transplant for, and hence saved the life of. The reason for the re-emergence of this story was down to the fact that Farkas had recently become a father himself.

Michael never won the Nobel Peace Prize, although he was twice nominated, in 1998 and 2003. For my money – unsurprisingly – he is, without hesitation, the most worthy human being to have never won it. However, in spite of this particular accolade not having graced the mantelpiece of Neverland, Michael Jackson, nevertheless, did receive some twenty internationally-recognised humanitarian awards; as well as countless other recognitions and tributes; a Guinness Book of World Records entry for the Most Charities Supported By A Pop Star (thirty-nine), and a music industry award that is named after him, which is annually presented to celebrate that year’s most philanthropic musical artist. As well as this, Michael also set up his own charity, the Heal The World Foundation, for which he toured the world to raise funds – donating every penny of the proceeds from it, before having the charity deliver aid by military planes to the innocent people caught up in the war in Sarajevo. All this, without even mentioning his constant striving to use his talent and status to release globally-recognised musical anthems carrying the sole purpose of encouraging human peace and unity.

The magical truth of the human being, Michael Jackson. The truth. Invigorating, isn’t it?

Our Church: An Open Letter To The Estate of Michael Jackson

As I’ve no doubt you are aware, the Michael Jackson fan community is much less divided, as it is obliterated into smithereens; comprised, as it is, of as many factions as to rival the Christian church, with each cohort manipulating the belief system in a way to suit their specific requirements. And within a fanbase as vast as an artist such as Michael Jackson’s is, it is right and inevitable that these variations will exist. Yet, the sincere worldview of some of these people has to be seen to be believed; with one particularly lunatic fringe group adamant in their beliefs of the death of our hero being an elaborate hoax, reading messages, as they do, in the creases of the lips of the images of Michael Jackson that adorn posthumous album covers. The beyond-the-grave (nudge nudge, wink wink) messages vary; depending, of course, upon the native language of the interpreter.

For the remaining ninety-nine-point-nine percent of fans, however, this is by no means the hoax with which we are concerned.

What with his having been the most famous man on the planet, the ripples of Michael’s crash-landing on Earth fifty-five years ago continue to ruffle the leaves and pique the libido of tabloid media editors worldwide, and will long persist in doing so. These perennial returnings to the forefront of the public eye, bring with them a mixed bag of emotions and opinions from the Michael Jackson fan community, and it is during these phases that the divisions become starkly evident.

And one of these ‘returnings’ is imminent. In June, the familiar press frenzy with regards the paedophilia accusations will once again resurface. Wade Robson is due to hear if his trial against Michael will proceed. Whether Mr. Robson’s pursuit of a trial is successful, or not, it is we, the fans, who must daily defend against the apparently compulsory ad hominem attacks undertaken by those happy to be pseudo-educated by sensationalist tabloid headlines and Internet links.

Now. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all get along in the fight against that?

The current cause for infighting concerns the Xscape controversy; yet, when stripped to its bare bones, the conflict appears to boil down to just one point of confusion within the fan community. That’s just one, single point that requires just one, simple clarification from you, the Estate of Michael Jackson:

1) In 2003, Michael Jackson instructed his lawyer David LeGrand to terminate John Branca’s employment contract with him. This was after Michael Jackson discovered that Mr. Branca was representing both him and Sony at the same time. Obviously, this would be a conflict of interest in the best of scenarios, never mind one in which Michael Jackson was actively campaigning against Sony at the time, going so far as to say he would rather burn his music than let Sony have it. So, with this borne in mind, it is, shall we say, a bugbear of the Michael Jackson fan community, that upon the untimely death of our hero, Mr. Branca was named as executor of the Estate of Michael Jackson, executor of a will within which Michael Jackson’s name is incorrect, his children’s names are incorrect, and within which Michael Jackson’s handwritten time-stamped-and-dated signature was scribed in Los Angeles, yet on a time and date that freely available video evidence proves he was three-thousand miles away. In New York. Protesting against Sony. Sony: the company the Estate of Michael Jackson have shamelessly chosen to work in conjunction with in order to bring us the Xscape album. An album promoted with the tagline, “The Best You’ve Never Heard”, in spite of the fact that seventy-five percent of the tracks have been available online for up to eleven years.

Fan conversation often refers to Michael as having superhero qualities. We had just been hitherto unaware that teleportation was one of them. So, if the Estate of Michael Jackson could do us, the fans, the lifelong loyal servants and defenders of Michael Jackson, the simple decency of clarifying how it is possible that on July 7, 2002, Michael Jackson managed to be in two places simultaneously, we could all then perhaps unite in focussing on the superior task in hand: the protection and promotion of our hero’s humanity.

Do not make the mistake of underestimating our love for Michael Jackson. Our church may well be fragmented, but it is, nonetheless, devout.

***

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Just A Cynic

I’m trying hard these days to not descend into cynicism. So hard. Therefore - bearing this in mind – I’m just going to throw a sentence out there:

The Xperia smartphone is being promoted by the Xscape album.

With the tracklist unofficially released, we now know that there are just two songs on the album that haven’t been previously leaked (Loving You and Chicago).

Karen Faye, Michael’s companion and make-up artist for decades, who prepared him for his funeral, who he trusted to see him without make-up, who assisted Michael in his whims of make-up change, as well as in making the best out of the consequences of vitiligo, is a woman who I implicitly trust.

Karen didn’t want to get involved in discussions regarding the new album, saying that she was simply proud that people continued to be excited by new releases. She did observe, though, that the cone circling Michael’s neck in the Xscape artwork was akin to those that are used to restrain animals. In a tweeted comment to her, however, it was noted that the lips on the photoshopped figure adorning the album cover seemed rather large, and that the eyebrows were different to the ones Michael had sported in the Arno Bani shoot. The pictures from which, the artwork appears to have been inspired by.

Pictures that Michael requested be burned.

Karen has also described remembering how Michael cried upon discovering how much longer he had left on his contract with Sony Music; and how he whooped with joy when it finally drew to a close. He had spent an entire decade of his life trying to escape their chains.

Michael was devastated when he learned there were demos included in the Thriller 25 package. A 1999 interview with TV Guide illustrates the level of perfectionism Michael strived for. Remember – this was the man who cried after his Motown 25 performance, due to considering himself a failure for not maintaining a toe-stand for long enough. In conversation about the Thriller album, he confessed:

TV Guide: You also said [Thriller] was a sad time.

Michael Jackson: Yeah. If I don’t get exactly what I’m looking for, I get very depressed.

And let’s not forget the 1998 Black&White interview, in which he explicitly complained about the remixes on Blood On The Dance Floor, stating for the record that he didn’t like other producers tinkering with his work.

All this talk of ‘reimagining’ and ‘contemporising’ tracks on Xscape is mere PR spin. Sony Music, in collaboration with the Estate, are doing something that Michael would have despised. The grievances Michael had with Sony speak for themselves, what with the protests he organised, where he held aloft signs that read, “Sony Kills Music”, “Sony Sucks” and “Sony Is Phony”. Sony was the one and only company that Michael ever explicitly rallied against. Even Pepsi, who burned him then abandoned him in his hour of need, remained unscathed. Which is what made the quote from the Xscape press release, “Michael has long been a treasured member of the larger Sony family” so nauseating.

These people are trying to make money from you in the same way ‘psychic’ mediums do. They are preying on your craving to hear from Michael. They are shameless charlatans. All that glitters ain’t gold, as they say. And the Xscape album certainly fits into that pyrite category.

The caricaturisation of Michael Jackson continues apace. The record-breaking philanthropist and catalytic culture converter is being reduced to a photoshopped graphic of half a face peering out of what appears to be a sparkly condom, luring us to purchase it as if we are all whorish, turncoat magpies. Michael is their golden calf; but to us, he is the rotating ox: he is our homecoming and food. It is materialism versus spiritual nourishment. It is, once again, soul versus sequins. It will take the stamina and stoicism of warriors to remain focussed in our fight for Michael’s legacy.

Perhaps, once pertinent questions with regards the signing of Michael’s will when he was provably at the other end of the country (as well as those queries regarding the mechanics behind the three-quarter-of-a-billion tax ‘error’; the non-fulfilment of the 20% charitable donations pledge; and the attempted utilisation of an imposter to pull the wool over fans’ ears for improper profit), are satisfactorily answered and explained,  we might take some time out to relax.

Until then, it’s unrelentingly tough – I know. The ongoing attempted obliteration of what Michael Jackson stood for hits me hard… So hard.

But, me? I’m just a cynic.

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