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Jul. 3 2010 - 2:37 am | 451 views | 0 recommendations | 15 comments

Michael Jackson: The King of Plot

Yes, against all odds (and all good advice), another Michael Jackson post.

Michael Jackson in 1969, future king of pop

don't stop till you get enough, MJ!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that in all of celebrity culture, there is no-one whose fans are more … uh … proactive? loyal? energetic? defensive? rabid? batshit insane? than Michael Jackson’s. If you doubt me, look here, here, or here. Or here:

People on their way up in the Fame Machine would commit any number of felonies for that kind of attention, although I think we can all agree it must get rather wearying after the first ten years or so. So why don’t all these other hard-working, desperately famewhorish people have fans like that? Why is the fandom of Michael Jackson one of the wonders of the modern world? Is it because these other people don’t sing as well? Is it because they don’t dance as well? Is it because he was prettier than they are? Of course not; Michael Jackson’s level of superstardom and his hold, even after death, on his fans’s hearts, have little or nothing to do with the skills that brought him to our attention in the first place.

Interestingly, a study printed in an old science magazine of mine which is too old to be online indicated that, regardless of fame, the percentage of the population who finds a person attractive/loathesome remains the same; the effect of fame is to increase the numbers of people who are aware of the subject, but not the percentage who find that person attractive. Which is rather reassuring to those of us who toil in obscurity but still have our admirers, and rather heartening when you turn temporarily emo and think everyone in the world has eyes only for Fill In The Blank (Justin Bieber, Jessica Simpson, Rihanna, Bob Barker, whoever).

People become true, capital F Fans of someone not out of admiration for the work, but out of a personal love sparked by some (sometimes trivial) quality of the star. It’s really the same process as face-to-face infatuation, minus the in-person biochemistry, and it’s something we’re becoming increasingly aware of now that so many infatuations among noncelebrities begin online.

It’s Love.

Big “L,” irrational, quit-my-job-and-follow-you-anywhere kind of Love, that’s what it is. Remember Adaptation? The only part of the movie where Donald, the tacky, sellout brother makes any real sense is right at the end, when he’s describing the unrequited love he had for a girl back when they were both young teenagers. Charlie, the intelligent brother chides him, telling him what he’s sure is a shocker: that the girl knew of and mocked this love that was so precious to the young boy. Cheeseball Donald, however, isn’t phased by the information, and replies that the love that he felt and expressed is not dependent on its reception, not dependent, in fact, on anything else, but exists purely as a metaphysical manifestation of Love itself, and thus cannot be diminished by anything as banal as ingratitude, vulgarity, or even unworthiness.

This is the kind of love that his fans have for Michael Jackson.

That he was a flawed human being is something that even the most passionate fan might admit in a quiet moment (if there were no witnesses around) but perfection and imperfection are irrelevant to the inspiration that they gather from him. The inspiration’s source is Jackson’s lifelong struggle to regain a state of childlike innocence that he may never have actually enjoyed in his childhood. Neverland wasn’t an elaborate honey trap; it was his Xanadu, a place where he could let his inner child run free, even if surrounded by laser security devices and attended at all times by a security staff that would be the envy of the Israeli military. It’s akin, in a scrambled, show business way, to the Blakesian concept of Innocence and Experience, the idea that we are born from a state of innocence into a world that vulgarizes and beats us down from the moment we arrive, but that through faith, strength of will, and persistence we can eventually achieve an enlightened form of innocence, once we’ve transcended the mundane and learned to manifest the eternal in our own lives.

As a man who’d endured horrific physical and mental abuse, sexualization, and pressure to “grow up” from the age of four or five, Michael Jackson spent his adulthood trying to return to a state of innocence he had never experienced in the first place. It’s quite likely that he saw even the behavior that others condemned as simply another form of “Love,” and you can ask NAMBLA if he was alone in that. His filter was warped, and his stardom gave him the money and the power to avoid the consequences for most of his life, but it’s not a stretch to claim his motivation was simply a desire to live in a state of pure love.

It is this shared dream that draws his fans to him, even a year after his death, and which will doubtless continue to draw them fifty or a hundred years from now. There is no song a man could write, there is no light fantastic he could trip that could keep him alive in fans’s hearts indefinitely. But a shared dream of pure love? For the millions of people around the world who’ve felt the heavy hand of the world ripping away their own innocence, he is the one who succeeded, or rather, the one who sacrificed his life to the effort and died trying to make the dream a reality.

And you know what that makes him.

Michael Christ

Michael Christ


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  1. collapse expand

    Sometimes I read articles and opinions like
    this and wonder where the writer is truely
    speaking from. Is it from the heart or perhaps
    more a warped intention to raise ire and outrage
    from others? Sometimes I feel almost grateful
    because I get to look again at why I feel
    the way I do about Michael and what he means
    to me and why.

    For me it’s not the search to recapture lost
    innocence or the attempt to attain a state of
    pure love–no, for me, I find myself inspired
    by Michael’s lifelong efforts to make the
    world a better place. Though a simple
    statement, it encompasses concern and
    compassion for those less fortunate, an
    awareness of the shared responsibility we
    have to take care of the planet, a call to
    action–to DO in the service of humanity, and
    to begin with oneself–relected in our own
    mirror.

    Supreme talent was able to gather people in
    on a global level; wonderful music enabled
    a shared experience of joy to happen; messages
    wrapped up and at times, subtly expressed in the music and dance,
    spoke to issues of racism, tolerance, black
    and white experience, anger, prejudice and
    the longing for connection and meaning in life.

    So, I love Michael and am very proud to be
    called a fan, because he spent his life
    giving, perfecting and sharing that God blessed
    talent. And he did it for a purpose far beyond
    the advantages it afforded him. And he died
    trying to do it again.

    There’s a little 3 year old in my life. He
    loves Michael’s music; Heal the World calms
    his active little self when he listens, and, you know, he is learning about
    the love Michael always talked about.

    So, there you go–think and write all you
    want about what you don’t know–and, no, I
    can’t sing a note.

    • collapse expand

      Why do you think I did this to “raise ire?” It’s obviously the opposite of outrageous; in fact, I worried I was being TOO NICE. This post was inspired by a Twitter conversation with a fan who stepped away from the attacking crowd and talked about what Michael meant to them and how that love is the most powerful thing about him, and how leaving it out of the first post was wrong. I just do not know why you’d get defensive about this post.

      “think and write all you want about what you don’t know” but I seem to have known you pretty well, didn’t I? I’m glad the post made you re-examine what he meant to you, but why do you think this was some kind of attack?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    But wait, there’s more:

    @MJ_in_my_Heart

    ok i was nice and kind> you are the total opposite i see >your stories on mj are not positive i am blocking you @raincoaster God help you…

    tabloid internet trash writer right here>> @raincoaster…

    whatever peace an love to this lost soul>>>> @raincoaster

    WhatEVER, darlin’.

    All that out of the blue from exactly the same person whose tweets I posted in the article (and maybe an hour after she’d given me permission to post them). Maybe I’m wrong: maybe he doesn’t have any normal fans at all and they are all wacko-defensive?

  3. collapse expand

    I don’t know what research you are referring to but I think that Michael Jackson fans are affected by one thing, at least in the beginning: His genius. Michael Jackson didn’t “dance up a storm” He took his natural talent and pushed it until his work became, to paraphrase Cezanne about his own work, “something enduring for the museums.” Michael Jackson affected people who are trivially called “fans” because his work is so extraordinary and people feel something universal being expressed when they watch him, as when viewing a Matisse or reading Chekhov! Surely you must realize that if you publish a picture and make snide comments about “Michale Christ” you are going to raise ire among serious people who feel very strongly about Michael Jackson’s, work, his life and the feeling he inspired by his personality as seen in his concerts and taped interviews as well as speeches in print, (for example, his speech at Oxford University). The media chose not to give any attention to his exoneration in the courts and continued to insult and abuse him so those who treasure his work and life are very sensitive to that sort of thing. If you have evidence now that he was indeed a pedophile, well, I don’t know why that evidence wasn’t entered into his trial when the LAPD and the FBI spent over ten years scouring the country and Canada for credible witnesses. However, we can never prove that someone isn’t a pedophile, of course, but perhaps we are all more in danger from our own uncles, fathers and neighbors than we were from Michael Jackson. We can’t prove them innocent either, can we? I might add, in closing, that those of us who have taken the time to watch the videos of his live concerts in Bucharest and elsewhere know well this footage of his fans. But I have to say that if you had cut away from them to see Michael performing Jam, you would perhaps know full well why young girls were fainting in the aisles and everyone was overcome and needing to shed some tears. His performance was extraordinary!People don’t love Michael for no reason or for some trivial aspect of his person. They love him because he was a genius who loved his audience more than any performer ever has loved an audience. And so, when you see a genius that is giving his life force to you, the viewer, well, yes there is a feeling of love in return.

    • collapse expand

      But Matisse never had fans like this. Chekhov never had fans like this. Again I assert: it’s not the quality of his work that brings him this loyalty. It brought him prominence, but it can’t bring this kind of power. You yourself say, “They love him because he was a genius who loved his audience more than any performer ever has loved an audience. And so, when you see a genius that is giving his life force to you, the viewer, well, yes there is a feeling of love in return.” That’s not “he was really talented.” That’s “there was love between us.”

      Which is, like it or not, what I have been saying throughout.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Well it feels good if we agree but I said more than “talent”, I said “genius”. My point is we don’t just love someone who gets on stage and loves his audience. That person on stage has to be an artist who is working on aesthetic, intellectual and emotional layers of the psyche. Then if he loves us we will love him. Some dweeb isn’t going to win our love just because he loves us :) As for painters and writers, I have loved Cezanne and Matisse with the same obsessive passion that I have found myself feeling for Jackson. Cezanne, of course wasn’t accepted by more than a handful of people until his old age. My great grandfather was a famous actor of the Yiddish theater and he got off-the-charts adulation not unlike Jackson has, at least in New York. Performers get more because they are right there when we see their work. If when in a museum gazing in awe at some Cezanne apples, I could see Cezanne, sauntering up in his old painted-up pants and jacket, you can bet I’d be all over him like a cheap suit!

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Well it feels good if we agree but I said more than “talent”, I said “genius”. My point is we don’t just love someone who gets on stage and loves his audience. That person on stage has to be an artist who is working on aesthetic, intellectual and emotional layers of the psyche. Then if he loves us we will love him. Some dweeb isn’t going to win our love just because he loves us : ) As for painters and writers, I have loved Cezanne and Matisse with the same obsessive passion that I have found myself feeling for Jackson. Cezanne, of course wasn’t accepted by more than a handful of people until his old age. My great grandfather was a famous actor of the Yiddish theater and he got similar adulation. Performers get more because they are right there when we see their work. If when in a museum gazing in awe at some Cezanne apples, I could see Cezanne sauntering up in his old painted-up pants and jacket, you can bet I’d be all over him like a cheap suit!

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Those people (fans) are thounsand times more beautiful than you. Are you jealous of them? I can’t stand your ugly, fat, mindless and soulless face. It is the most stupid face I have ever seen in my life (sorry for saying true)

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  4. collapse expand

    Michael’s life and person were caricaturized by
    media/tabloid/press for many years. And today,
    even in death, that same insulting, vile and
    erroneous interpretation continues, albeit a
    tad less than before. Today, the false portrait
    that was painted of Michael is revisited and
    presented as reality.

    So, yes, personally I am very protective of
    Michael, his life’s work and now his legacy.

    Along with the skewering of this good man, the
    people who support him and feel connected to his art and message are frequently trivialized
    and demeaned. And yes, I don’t like that one
    little bit.

    I am teaching my children the value of concern
    for others, finding an individual and unique
    way to contribute and share their particular
    gits and to develop a love for our shared Earth. Michael sang and danced these ideas and
    my kids hear that message. So, yes, I’m
    protective of their love for him and what he
    stood for.

    What I see in your posts is thinly
    disguised disrespect and glee in provoking
    a response of anger and/or this very
    protectiveness. I am choosing to respond to that.

    My suggestion is for you to take some time and
    read what people who knew and worked with Michael have to say about him. Dr. Patrick
    Treacy, fellow artists, directors,choreographers, voice and dance coaches, makeup and wardrobe confidantes, even
    bodyguards. Also, I recommend Charles Thompson, Deborah French, Aphrodite Jones–
    research done regarding the two extortion cases.

    Maybe you have and do not see merit in what
    they have to say. Your choice–

  5. collapse expand

    raincoaster.com

    This is what this person is
    really about.

    Don’t bother.

  6. collapse expand

    Murphy, are you fan of Elvis. I have seen many Elvis fans are jealous of Michael and said badly about him. You perharp are one of them

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