The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, March 03, 2005

O.J. and Michael Jackson -part 4

So, then, on to Michael.  Remember, the Mind Reading technique, which you are going to use to understand your characters, yourself, and the people in your life, is an intuitive tool, not one that will give you a long list of specific, unerringly accurate descriptions.  However, if you trust it, and trust your own instincts, the results are remarkable.
We have to look at three areas: career, relationship history, and physical health/fitness.
Career?  Well, Jackson is a singularity, a man with so much money he could out-bid Paul McCartney for the Beatles catalog (!).  That's entertainment.  He was ground-breaking (MTV wasn't showing videos with black performers before Jackson!  Remember back then?) in multiple ways, and seemed poised to conquer every arena of entertainment.  His dancing was nearly perfect.  He created excitement like few performers, ever. 
Relationship history.  Well, now we get into some very strange territory.  His marriage to Presley seems to have been real on one level, but on another arranged to bolster his public image.  His "family"--children who clearly have no genetic link to him (people seem to forget what he looked like before all the surgery) born to mothers paid to keep their mouths shut.  There was never a time when, to me at least, he was convincingly courting/dating a woman.
I only saw Jackson up-close one time.  It was in the 70's and i was working as a tour guide at CBS television city in Hollywood.  The Jackson Five were guesting on, I think, the Sonny and Cher show.  The other brothers were tearing around CBS having a great time.  Michael was sitting alone in the cafeteria, eating, silent.  He seemed sad and lonely to me.  I debated walking over to him and saying hi, maybe sitting down. I decied not to.  That's it.
Now let's take a look at his physicality.  Despite being one of the great dancers in music history, he is very, very frail.  One might suspect that he has no healthy connection to his body--it is an instrument to perform.  A lot of ballet dancers seem to have this pattern.  More importantly, obviously, look at the man.  There is only one explanation for all of the plastic surgery, the hair, the skin color.  It is so obvious that it has rarely been stated straight out: Michael tried to become white.  I see no signs that he tried to become feminine.  I think he wanted to be a long-haired white rocker, and spent millions coming as close to that as he could.
Why?  Here's my theory.  When he was a child, people told him over and over again (in effect):  "you're the most talented child performer I've ever seen.  You're going to be huge.  But as soon as you become a mature black male adult, the world will reject your sexuality--you'll never be the biggest."  He wanted to be Elvis, and he had no way of getting there.  His Negro-ness would stop him.  so he began to change.  First the nose, then the lips. The hair.  Then the skin color.  All along  the way, he lied his ass off about what he was doing, and what it meant.  And people believed him.  In part they believed that it was a disease because the implications of this incredibly talented kid being so damaged by his desire to be what he could not be implied some things about America that people don't want to admit.
God, we loved Michael.  We just adored him.  And when he surrounded himself with children, we convinced ourselves it was "cute."  When it came out that he slept with them, we gave him a pass. When the kids began to claim he touched them inappropriately, and it seemed like their parents were pimping them out to Jackson, we defended him.  And all the time, we wouldn't have given that level of "understanding" to a member of our own family.  We loved him that much.  And he needed our love just that much.
I remember a male reporter telling me that Jackson had come on to him.  I found it interesting.  I remember hearing that children who moved in the circle of a certain Science Fiction writer suspected of child molestation also moved in Jackson's circle.  Interesting.
When I see human energy operating at a fierce level, I assume sexuality.  I assume that the sexual chakra is active.  Sure, Newton claimed to have been celibate his whole life.  I find that less likely than the possibility of homosexuality, which would have created the same symptoms (no apparent relationships, an eye-brow raising explanation) but be more believable.  So where was Michael's sexuality?  According to Lisa Marie, in the early days of their marriage he was quite functional.  so the sex drive was there...but during long years where there were no apparent relationships, when he was traveling with those boys...where was it?
So those are the three arenas: career--phenomenal.  Relationship history: badly distorted.  Body image: one of the most sadly distorted in human history.  Next time, we'll talk about what all this adds up to, and what we can guess about his past, and his inwardness.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

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