He Was Not The Messiah, He Was a Very Troubled Boy


Not only was he not Divine, Michael Jackson was not the most talented, influential, brilliant, amazing, innovative, fantastic, amazing genius of all time. While an impressive singer, he was no great songwriter, composer, choreographer or a musician of anything but his own voice – and we can all sing and all have our own unique voice.
He wasn’t Stevie Wonder, who is a real musician. He did not ‘get the world dancing’ or ‘provide the soundtrack to the generation’ – much of the British audience preferring to confront the harsh world of the 1980’s through Two-tone and the whole independent music approach rather than surrender to the updated escapist Busby Berkeley antics of Jacko and his capital investment portfolio. It is an insult to the artists of the time that Jackson’s narcissism should be celebrated above more honest, rewarding talent. To many at the time, Jackson was seriously uncool, even with the genius of Quincy Jones (and Rod Temperton) behind him, and Killer had nothing to say about the problems we faced or the world we lived in. Hence the infamous Jarvis Cocker arse-waving incedent. Why has he not been interviewed yet?

Neither were his shows anything new – enormous production values in popular entertainment go back to Nero, where Jackson would have felt at home. he did not invent the circus, sorry, but it’s true.
Neither did he ‘invent’ the music video, as is being claimed. Apparently, MTV wouldn’t exist without Michael Jackson. Which means that MTV in effect owes its existence to Joe Jackson’s childcare methods. And in any case, The Beatles, for one, had come up with the pop video with Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields almost a decade before Jackson’s record company rode the new medium of video to promote their new star. Given this promotional tool, it would have been bizarre if the three Quincy Jones albums had not sold vast amounts. It is tempting to wonder how Miles Davis would have used video to promote ‘Bitches Brew’ if it had been around at the time. The point being that Jackson had nothing to do with the development of the pop video. It was not his idea – as many celebrity numbskulls have been claiming over the weekend.
In fact, it isn’t easy to find many musical or artistic ideas which are attributable to Jackson himself, as opposed to his writers, choreographers, producers, accountants, directors, doctors, life-coaches, plastic surgeons, or chimpanzees.
And after those 3 albums were over, how far did Michael Jackson progress artistically? The truth is that this child star hit puberty, and the company which owned him cashed in on the classic early period of youthful energy when artists are at their most open and exciting, then tossed him and his scary personal problems aside, into the care of the usual queue of ‘doctors’ willing to prescribe ‘painkillers’ to the celebrity ‘patient’. He progressed no further than his teenage persona with its particularly infantile brand of camp-gothic, and yet the mass media hysterics like Pete Waterman are still laying on the hyperbole with a giant chrome trowel.
The first response of any member of the public which I heard was on the morning after the announcement of the death, in a cafe in Sydenham. .
customer:

customer 1:
‘You have to be careful crossing that road, Pat, you don’t want to end up like Jacko.
waitress:
‘Don’t be awful.’
customer 2 (interjecting loudly):
‘Well I never liked him, the nonce. That’s all he was a fucking nonce. And yeah, allright, he was a showman, but I never liked him. You don’t like someone, it doesn’t matter how talented they are.’

All of which is the part of the genuine catastrophe which was Michael Jackson’s life, as it was with Fatty Arbuckle, whose career was also ruined by accusations rather than evidence. And every other fragile soul demanding attention and a shortcut to financial security which bypasses any political thinking or action.
The grieving multitudes may not believe it but indifference bordering on cynicism is the reaction of many people, not the newspaper-selling brew of rose petals mulled in tears. However, the standard for callousness was not set by a south London wideboy with a big mouth, but (not surprisingly perhaps) by Michael Jackson’s dear father, who used the opportunity of his first statement about his son’s untimely death to plug his new record label. He didn’t say how much of the profits he will be tything to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have not issued any statement on their policy towards child brutality and abuse. Joe Jackson obviously feels no responsibility for his son’s fate, but sees it as just another promotional tool. Another idea Michael Jackson didn’t have.
Michael Jackson is merely the latest in a long line of damaged human beings who have been the raw material of the entertainment business, especially since the advent of recording, which entailed vast amounts of capital investment in plant and personnel, and a corresponding amount of artistic compromise to cater to the accountancy department. And with artistic compromise comes a further denial of the already fragile sense of personal identity and worth, and such a mind is the natural environment for a self-destructive viscous circle. Which, if tangible on stage, can make for a very compelling performance, but not for a long or happy life in the performer.
Of course, now that artists don’t have to rely on vast corporations to distribute their work, the age of the celebrity casualty is, in theory, over. As is the age of the STAR, a label which was merely a way of recovering an investment. There is no reason now why artists of all kinds, but especially performers, shouldn’t be perfectly sensible, healthy people who happen to have a talent to entertain, and a story to tell. A career in music no longer demands the traditional showbusiness gamble of an ordinary life on the chance of stardom, fame and fortune. The individual can now do everything which the bankrolled corporations of the past could, and thereby escape the deadening demands of industrialised entertainment. The returns will not buy many Ferraris, but the genuine artist will not care about that.
The neurotic exhibitionists, with their self-obsessed drivellings, are welcome to the wealth and ‘pain-killers’ and bling. Art is not, no matter what Pete Waterman thinks, a matter of money and ‘hugeness’. But the truth is that Waterman knows as much about art as Lady Diana – or Michael Jackson, if his lifetime achievement is viewed objectively, and not as an excuse for middle aged columnists to wallow in their own adolescence for a while. This morbid vice is a harmless enough in moderation, but very unhealthy as a permanent state, as with Michael Jackson, who was so traumatised by his own childhood, or lack of it, that he spent the rest of his life trying to reclaim it, for the amusement (and profit) of others.
Those who once used the entertainment industry as an escape from poverty can take comfort from the fact that their new powers of publishing and distribution will at least keep them fed, if they have any talent. And that if they do not have anything to say, they will not be forced to perform merely in order to repay a bank. And that from now on, their work need cater less for the commercial demands of corporations, and more for their own artistic and personal identity, and the concerns of their audience, however small.
The musical ‘stars’ of the C20th were the product of a time during which two major motivations for success were hunger and the need for affection. The list is very long of local boys and girls who made it to the top at disastrous personal cost. So the pleasure we get from watching and hearing them is partly that of observing suffering and deprivation through the filter of what we called ‘talent’. This isn’t that different from watching gladiators in the arena. Both depend on real suffering to exist. And the corporation contract, with its clause requiring creativity on demand, only served to destabilise already wobbly personalities, and guarantee a continued supply of inner turmoil. Now that artists don’t need the corporations, maybe we can move to forms of performance and production which don’t rely on the worst of motives to exist. And performers can do what they do best, not what they are told to do.
And now Jacko is a god, apparently. The God of Pop. And this time, a lot of people seem to mean it, the family and managers especially. Some of whom are licking their lips at the prospect of the Michael Jackson Memorial Tour, and the Michael Jackson Memorial albums, videos, T-Shirts and dancing singing dolls. The Japanese will naturally supply the range of RoboJackos as soon as they can perfect the robo-moonwalk.
The annual Michael Jackson Memorial Day will repeat the roadshow, with variations to cash in on whatever famine or disaster is happening at the time, giving the whole circus the mask of charity and avoiding vast amounts of tax in the process.
Like most show-business martyrs, Jackson is worth more dead than alive.

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3 Comments

  1. Joe Jackson's mother and step-father were Jehovah's Witnesses, and it were they that were the force behind Joe and his family becoming JWs. In fact, early on, Joseph Jackson was a door-knocker for the WatchTower Cult. But for Joe's insistence, Katherine and the children would not have converted. I find it interesting that 99.9% of reporters and commentators state or imply that Michael Jackson's connection with the WatchTower Cult ended when he was disfellowshipped in the 1980s. In fact, circa 2004-5, a southern California newspaper published photos and an article showing MJ and his children attending their local Kingdom Hall. Does anyone really believe that someone with MJ's ego would not only attend a "meetings" at his Kingdom Hall, but also take his children with him, if he were being shunned as disfellowshipped persons are at a JW Kingdom Hall. I suspect that MJ had been "reinstated" as an active JW sometime prior to 2004. Let's see some reporter dig into that one. Don't expect the WatchTower Society or local JWs admit such without presentation of overwhelming evidence given present citcumstances. The negative influence of the teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses on Michael and his family have been either downplayed or totally ignored for as long as the Jackson Family has received public attention. For those readers who really want to know what life is like to be reared in the WatchTower Cult, nothing beats real world scenarios, and of real world scenarios, nothing beats actual civil and criminal court cases. The following website summarizes 900 court cases and lawsuits involving children of Jehovah's Witness Parents. The summaries demonstrate how JW Families rear their children and live life day-to-day. Also included are nearly 400 CRIMINAL cases — most involving MURDERS: DIVORCE, BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS, AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES http://jwdivorces.bravehost.com

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  2. Interesting. How could anyone think it was a bright idea to hand the children over to the same custodians that produced their father?

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  3. Excerpts from LaToya Jackson's own 1991 biography, LATOTA: GROWING UP IN THE JACKSON FAMILY:" … neither I nor my siblings ever led a normal existence, not even as small children, years before celebrity transformed our lives. We were a not-so-typical but classic dysfunctional family. Yes, there was love and happiness, but it was poisoned by emotional and physical abuse, duplicity, and denial. … The proscriptions of my Jehovah's Witness faith, my mother's seeming love and devotion, and my father's inability to express any emotion but anger kept us all entangled in a web of guilt disguised as love, brutality that was called 'discipline,' and blind obedience that felt like loyalty. … We couldn't identify it, but we all sensed something was wrong in our house. Most of my siblings 'rebelled' by essentially running away from home to teenage marriages. … I was Mother's best friend, and the quietest, shyest, most obedient child of all. I surprised everyone. I also broke the cardinal rule of a dysfunctional family. I stopped living the lie and playing the destructive game. — pages 1-2."Thinking back over all those years, I realized that Mother was the guiding force behind the cruelty and abuse. This lady who pretended to be so gentle on the surface had in fact caused all the turmoil in our lives. We'd always thought that it was Joseph, but it was her, telling him what to do and how to do it. Like I'd said to her before, she was always throwing the rock and hiding her hand, convincing everyone — outsiders and my ownsiblings — that she was sweet, kindhearted, and compassionate. Little did they know that the minute they were out of earshot she talked about them very, very viciously. After seeing it so many times, I finally had to face the fact that this was her true personality. — page 257."Michael and I were very active in the Jehovah's Witness faith. … Five days a week the two of us and Mother studied the Bible at home and attended the Kingdom Hall. … Every morning Michael and I witnessed, knocking on doors around Los Angeles, spreading the word of Jehovah. … As my brother's fame grew, he had to don convincing disguises, like a rubber fat suit he bought years later, — pages 53-4."Mother … frowned on our socializing with white kids, an attitude I found hypocritical coming from a Christian. — page 34."… both my parents harbor racist attitudes, particularly against Jews, … 'Wherever you go, whatever you do in this business, you find a Jew,' Mother used to complain bitterly all the time, 'I can't stand it.' … She'd go on and on. 'They're always on top. Jews are so nosy. They like controlling you. I hate 'em all.' To their faces, however, my mother was as sweet as could be. … Hearing talk like this turned my stomach, especially when it came from my mother's mouth. How could a religious woman be so hateful? … The depth of Mother's loathing was expressed in one of her oft-repeated opinions: 'There's one mistake Hitler made in his life — he didn't kill all those Jews. He left too many dxxx Jews on this earth, and they multiplied,' –pages 132-4.

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