We’ve looked at Angelina Jolie, Woody Allen and the Dixie Chicks. The fourth of the five part series is on Michael Jackson.
There’s no question that Michael Jackson had a rough life, but he was simultaneously granted incomparable blessings. He grew up poor, one of ten children in a 3 bedroom house. He became part of the successful Motown group the “Jackson 5” in the 60’s. His Father ran things and was a vicious disciplinarian. Michael was physically, verbally and emotionally abused during incessant rehearsals and throughout his childhood. His father belittled him saying things like he had a fat nose. He would cry from loneliness and vomit on the sight of his father. His father would sit there at Jackson 5 rehearsals with a belt and would beat you to know end if you did it wrong. They were made to feel as if animals in a circus and that they were no good. Michael Jackson’s deep dissatisfaction with his appearance, his nightmares and chronic sleep problems, his tendency to remain hyper-compliant especially with his father, and to remain child-like throughout his adult life are in many ways consistent with the effects of this chronic maltreatment he endured as a young child. His obsessive compulsive ways such as indefinite plastic surgery to his face were all symptoms derived from his childhood.
Being made to feel unworthy and hideous Michael obsessively attempted to alter his face the way a body builder keeps lifting when he’s already beyond proportionate.
In front of the camera was another story, the Jackson 5, propelled Michael Jackson to legendary status by the time he was a teenager. Rolling Stone magazine described the young Michael as “a prodigy” with “overwhelming musical gifts,” writing that he “quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer.” The group set a record when the first four singles they released all hit #1. They were a nationwide sensation!
However, in the early 70’s their sales and success began to decline, but they set out on their own continuing to tour and write new music. Michael started to work on side projects outside of the Jackson group. One of them was starring in “the Wiz” with Diana Ross. He ran into issues when he broke his nose during a rigorous dance routine on the film. The surgery was less than successful as he complained of breathing problems that would plague him his adult life and also call upon more nose work.
He came into contact with legendary producer, Quincy Jones on The Wiz and he worked with him to bring his first solo record to the public, Off the Wall. The album was released in 1979 and was a big success garnering Michael all sorts of accolades and awards. The album saw many top 10 worldwide hits such as “Rock With You”, “Don’t’ Stop Til You Get Enough”, “Off the Wall” and “She’s Out Of My Life”. Despite the album’s success, Michael still felt it could’ve been better, so he went back into the studio
When he re-emerged in 1982, it was with what quickly became the most successful album of all time, Thriller. He won countless dozens of awards for the album. He released seven top ten singles – both of which had not happened before in music history. He was officially a superstar. He also had the highest royalty rate of any artist. He was raking in millions!
Time Magazine described Jackson’s influence at that point as “Star of records, radio, rock video. A one-man rescue team for the music business. A songwriter who sets the beat for a decade. A dancer with the fanciest feet on the street. A singer who cuts across all boundaries of taste and style and color too”. The New York Times wrote that, “in the world of pop music, there is Michael Jackson and there is everybody else”.
He became an icon and phenomenon. Kids would wear his signature white shiny glove on school playgrounds, dressing and emulating him. Millions of people were captivated by his artistry. The birth of MTV also came about giving Michael Jackson a platform that had artists create mini-movies to their songs. (Now artists resort to half-assed music videos containing quick jump cuts, hyper active lighting and model shots thus diminishing the once true visual art form with music.)
There’s no question that Michael Jackson was one of the very few artists that defined the 80’s. He was the King of the music industry. He was doing Pepsi Commercials that were TV events, donating to major charities for burn victims, drug/alcohol abusers and kids alike. Then he co-wrote “We are the World” to aid famine relief. This also became an 80’s event as well receiving all sorts of awards attention. He bid $47 million on the Beatles catalog too.
By the mid-80’s Michael Jackson’s appearance seemed to be changing, his skin color had went from a medium brown to a lighter color sparking speculation and debate from the public. Michael was diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus; the vitiligo partially lightened his skin, and the lupus was in remission; both illnesses made him sensitive to sunlight.
He was slowly becoming the subject of increasingly sensational reports. In 1986, the tabloids ran a story claiming that Jackson slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to slow the aging process; he was pictured lying down in a glass box. Although the claim was untrue and completely fabricated, people still believed it and still do today.
When Jackson bought a chimpanzee called Bubbles from a laboratory, he was reported to be increasingly detached from reality. It was reported thatJacksonhad offered to buy the bones of Joseph Merrick (the “elephant man”) and although untrue, he saw these stories as opportunities for publicity, he eventually stopped leaking untruths to the press as they became more sensational. Consequently the media began making up their own stories about him and as dumb as the lower end of mankind is, they ate up and believed every word. This would only be the beginning simmer of what would we would eventually see the rise of the angry mob mentality.
Michael Jackson once criticized back, “Why not just tell people I’m an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They’ll believe anything you say, because you’re a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, “I’m an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight,” people would say, “Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He’s cracked up. You can’t believe a single word that comes out of his mouth.”
He ignored the media and continued to work and create more music. He worked with veteran Director Francis Ford Coppola to make a 3D music film called Captain EO that would be featured in all Disney Parks with great success.
He released his follow up album to Thriller in the late 80’s called “Bad”. Although it would be impossible for him or anyone for that matter to match the success of Thriller, still Bad became a huge success! The album saw 7 single releases, 5 of them which hit #1 breaking even more records. He ended up creating more pop culture iconic moments with the music videos attributed to this album. He went on tour selling out stadiums and performing to more than half a million people in London alone.
In the early 90’s Michael Jackson renewed his Sony contract at a record breaking $65 million. He recorded his next album “Dangerous” and started a new charity for underprivileged children called “Heal the World”. The Dangerous album was another success proving Michael still has it, giving us more award winning singles like “Black or White”, “Remember the Time”, “Heal the World” and “Will You Be There?”
Unfortunately the early 90’s would be the peak of the Michael Jackson fascination as the public turned into an angry ostracizing mob in one of the worst out of line public lynching’s in pop and media culture.
Michael Jackson received his first of many child sexual allegations. All of which were and are untrue and unproven. However, the media never fully reported the end results in these cases. They only shamelessly flaunted him as a child pervert. This making the behavior that people had towards him all the more disgusting. If he had done it then yeah he deserved all the attacks he got, but because he didn’t it made this one of the worst displays of human behavior on record.
In the summer of 1993, Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse by a 13-year-old boy named Jordan Chandler and his father, Dr. Evan Chandler, a dentist. The Chandler family demanded payment from Jackson, and the singer initially refused. Jordan Chandler eventually told the police that Jackson had sexually abused him. Dr. Chandler was tape-recorded discussing his intention to pursue charges, saying, “If I go through with this, I win big-time. There’s no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever … Michael’s career will be over”. Jordan’s mother was, however, adamant that there had been no wrong doing on Jackson’s part. Jackson later used the recording to argue that he was the victim of a jealous father whose only goal was to extort money from the singer. This was obvious to everyone but the dumber parts of society who continued to brand him a child pervert.
Later that year, on December 20, Jackson’s home was raided by the police, and Jackson submitted to a 25-minute strip search. Jordan Chandler had reportedly given police a description of Jackson’s intimate parts, notably claiming that his bleach-damaged penis was circumcised; the strip search revealed, to the contrary, that Jackson was actually uncircumcised, a fact also confirmed in his autopsy.
His friends said he never recovered from the humiliation of the strip search. The investigation was inconclusive and no charges were ever filed. Jackson described the search in an emotional public statement, and proclaimed his innocence, but much of the dumber part of the public didn’t listen. They were set on continuing to attack and vilify him while ignoring the fact that the charges were unfounded and erroneous, but that’s too much information for idiots. It’s the same mob mentality that perpetuates bullying. They see Michael Jackson’s appearance as looking unusual. He’s got more money than anybody, lives in huge estates in seclusion and he appears eccentric, not to mention all the outrageous lies the media has shoved down people’s throats, it’s easy for someone who doesn’t have much of a brain to next assume – oh he’s a pedophile too.
On January 1, 1994, Jackson’s insurance carrier settled with the Chandlers out of court for $22 million. A Santa Barbara County grand jury and a Los Angeles County grand jury disbanded on May 2, 1994 without indicting Jackson. After which time the Chandlers stopped co-operating with the criminal investigation around July 6, 1994. Ah-ha! They got their money and that’s all they wanted. The out-of-court settlement’s documentation specifically stated Jackson admitted no wrong doing and no liability; the Chandlers and their family lawyer Larry Feldman signed it without contest. The Chandlers’ lawyer Mr. Feldman also explicitly stated “nobody bought anybody’s silence”.
Michael Jackson released a double disc greatest hits disk, HIStory, which became the biggest double disc selling album of all time and then followed it with Blood on the Dance Floor which also became the biggest remix selling album of all time.
Into the 2000’s, Michael Jackson released another album called Invincible that received only moderate success. Most of that was due to his legal battle with his record label. He pulled out of his contract as the album was being released and Sony refused to market, advertise or promote it so no one knew about it. Also, the music industry and business was in transition of a major shift into the digital age.
More child molestation allegations flew at Michael Jackson once again by the state. This went on for another 5 months, but like clock work they were unable to prove that Jackson molested a child. It was never proven in the end. Naturally the media avoided alerting the public because it wouldn’t stir up a lynch mob and we all know the media is designed to get people on edge and in an attacking position. Did I ever once suspect that Michael Jackson molested a child? Never. It didn’t once cross my mind. INNOCENT, until proven guilty of an illegal crime is my motto.
The remainder of Jackson’s life saw him running low on money and spending too much. He had to close his Neverland Ranch. He hadn’t been raking in the money that he once made and it was time to go on a world tour again. He announced in March 2009 at a press conference he would be doing one final world tour, his final curtain call.
He went into grueling rehearsals on what would prove to be his most best world tour yet, however three weeks before the tour was set to commence, Michael Jackson died suffering a cardiac arrest. This was in June 2009.
The news spread quickly online, causing websites to slow down and crash from user overload. Both TMZ and the Los Angeles Times suffered outages. Twitter, AOL and Wikipedia crashed. Twitter was getting 5,000 posts a minute on Jackson’s death. The world was talking and remembering.
Although the occasional fool emphasizing how glad they were that the pedophile was dead, most everyone else were mournful and in tears over the loss. 31 million people tuned into the live telecast of his funeral that shut down most of the city of Los Angeles. The people found love and appreciation for this gifted artist once again.
After his death, he became the best selling artist of all time as his albums newly remastered were flying off shelves! A movie showcasing the rehearsal and Michael Jackson in top form was released called, “This is It”.
Michael Jackson will forever be the music industry’s most greatest talents of all time.
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