June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson, RIP

Here's something I wrote about Michael Jackson in 2005:

We're the same age, and his troubles reminded me than when we were eleven and I was still in my he-man-girl-hating phase (I invited girls to my 6th and 7th birthday parties, but for the next four or five years after that couldn't recall what madness had ever made me like girls), I felt sorry for him because his family wasn't letting him enjoy his "latency period" (as the Freudians called it). I figured, even then, that forcing him to sing love songs to girls at that age would lead to trouble. (In contrast, I highly approved of his hit "Ben," from the movie "Willard," which was a much more age-appropriate love song to a pet rat )

Jacob Weisberg, the editor of Slate, feels the same way today (not about girls, I mean, but about Jackson's upbringing). In "Arrested Development," he writes:

People tend to throw up hands at Michael Jackson's multifarious bizarreness. But is it really so strange? The boy was forced to work by a cruel and physically abusive father starting at the age of 7. (If he'd been sent into a factory or coal mine, instead of onstage, we'd have more compassion for him.) As a boy, he was denied what even most abused and underprivileged children have: school, friends, and play.

Instead, Michael was made into a performing sexualized freak, a boy whose soprano voice kindled passion in grown women. He was made to witness adult sexuality at an age when it can only have been terrifying and incomprehensible to him. By 10, he was performing in strip clubs and hiding under the covers in hotel rooms while his older brothers got it on with groupies. At 11—the age at which his psyche seems frozen—he was a superstar. "My childhood was completely taken away from me," he has said. Almost everything that seems freakish about him can be explained by his poignant, doomed effort to get his stolen childhood back.

P.S., Dennis Dale at Untethered on Michael Jackson.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

75 comments:

Bruno said...

I can see how this explains his weird attempts to be a kid again (inviting young kids over to his house for 'sleepovers', building an amusement park in his house, etc.).

But what explains his 'transethnocism' with the skin bleaching and moderating overtly black features through plastic surgery?

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, good point.

The General Theory of Michael Jackson's Weirdness still awaits its Einstein.

Lucius Vorenus said...

I caught a brief segment of an older Jackson brother at a news conference this afternoon, and he was praising Allah.

Islam + Child Molestation + Nose Job + Bleached Skin + Weird Zoo Creatures + Childless Marriage with Lisa Marie + Bankruptcy

Now there's a winning combination for ya.

How could it have gone so wrong?

Modernity is Death.

PS: Will Hussein Obama attend the funeral?

Or are the child molestation charges still too radioactive?

Dennis Dale said...

Thanks for the link, Steve, but I feel horribly chastened by your (and Weisberg's) more sympathetic appraisal.
As for "Ben", it brings to mind for me the scene in Stripes where Bill Murray asks how many of the recruits cried when Old Yeller died. I cried my eyes out, man.

Anonymous said...

(Cliff Arroyo)

"But what explains his 'transethnocism' with the skin bleaching and moderating overtly black features through plastic surgery?"

Trying to disown his family and the insanity therein?

People will do extreme things to distance themselves from crazy/abusive families.

Anonymous said...

"But what explains his 'transethnocism' with the skin bleaching and moderating overtly black features through plastic surgery?"

He broke his nose in a dance routine early on and had reconstructive surgery to aid breathing problems. Of course, the plastic surgery craze and doctors' Michelangelo sculpture complex did not help.

The skin bleaching I believe was a reaction to his vitiligo as an attempt to get it to maintain some semblance of consistency.

Anonymous said...

Also, the "transethnocism" was brought out by that, his father's brutality, and his legion of fans that broke the color barrier. First black artist with a video on MTV...etc.

And, who doesn't love the silky smooth white flesh?

Revolutionary Guard said...

New conspiracy theory: Iran did it to tie up the Western media.

green mamba said...

I think his 'transethnocism' can be explained by the fact that he became famous at a time when blacks were not nearly as accepted into mainstream American culture as they are now and he (and/or his handlers) wanted the kind of mass success that would appeal to everyone and threaten no one. It worked.

It was a grotesque attempt at self-abnegating assimilation by a member of America's most historically oppressed and problematic minority. Note that his sisters Janet and LaToya followed in his face-altering footsteps.

Anonymous said...

I have represented several of the Jacksons, including Michael, and they really are fairly normal. I won't say that I know them well -- our dealings were limited and strictly professional -- but to be honest they seem/ed fairly well-adjusted by celebrity standards.

The Jacksons have quite a few genuine friends, as opposed to hangers-on, and are generally decent people. I have represented quite a few celebrities, and I have to admit that I liked the Jacksons, they were among the friendliest and easiest to deal with. For example, they promptly returned calls, something most celebrities never do. A lot of my clients return maybe one in ten of my calls. This drives me crazy -- I am calling for a good reason -- but I just live with it. They weren't just polite to me, they treated everyone that way.

Even some of the members of Micheal's entourage were all right. A few of his advisors really did seem to have his best interests at heart.

I hardly knew Michael, but I am sorry to see him go. My limited dealings with the family did convince me that their tabloid image wasn't at all justified. Michael seemed like a quality person, or at least a person with many fine qualities, and his passing is a sad thing.

Anonymous said...

"But what explains his 'transethnocism' with the skin bleaching and moderating overtly black features through plastic surgery?"

I've read that during Jackson's abbreviated childhood his father gave him a hard time about his wide nose.

Apparently Jackson had skin cancer at his death. A result of skin bleaching?

fbj said...

A blast from the past...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCQYDKq9Uck

Anonymous said...

Truly he was le roi do pop.

OneSTDV said...

I've been listening to the radio this morning and last night. I have yet to hear any mention of his molestation trials.

Is everyone just ignoring them? I think there's considerable evidence that Michael did molest 2 young boys (on the first charge, he paid the kid 20 million dollars). If he was indeed a pedophile (a stance the state of California believes to be true b/c they prosecuted him), the acclaim seems odd. I'm also almost certain that he harbored pedophillic tendencies.

His talent and music are unparalleled, but ignoring this unsettling aspect of this man is short-sighted analysis.

John Craig said...

The worst of the abuse was that his father almost undoubtedly gave him some sort of female hormones as he approached puberty in order to keep the sound of the cash machine that was the Jackson 5 intact. Take a look at some of the youtube videos of the 8 year old Jackson. He was a robust little boy (with, if anything, a deep or at least raspy voice for a kid that age) who looked as if he were destined to grow up into a (physically, at least) normal young man. There was no hint of the whispery female voice and super skinny body to come. What happened in the meantime? My guess is that his father was terrified that his cash machine would dry up and so gave Michael some form of estrogen. Maybe he didn't realize that the effects would be permanent, maybe he just didn't care, but either way, the damage was done.

Anonymous said...

Amazing that after years of scorn, now that he is dead the very same people speak as if they always had a high regard for him. (Not talking about you Steve.)

BTW, I always thought "Ben" was sung by Roberta Flack!

Victoria said...

Re Jackson whitening his skin:
... wanted the kind of mass success that would appeal to everyone and threaten no one.

You mean that he did not have mass appeal even as that little black 11-year-old boy? Did Nat King Cole have mass appeal, and did he feel the necessity of whitening himself? Did Johnny Mathis have mass appeal? How about Ray Charles? Were whites too "threatened" by these men to make them phenomenally successful millionaires, while filling theaters where they performed? That they did not want any of these men to marry their daughters did not make whites hesitate to show their appreciation for their talents. Who would have been "threatened" by Michael Jackson?

That his sisters followed suit simply shows what weak-minded copy cats they are.

The reference to vitiligo is accurate. I know blacks who do suffer from this gradual loss of melanin, as colorless spots begin to develop on the face and hands especially.

John Anello said...

I don't speak ill of the deceased unless they are truly despicable people. Michael Jackson was a very odd man but he certainly made lasting contributions to humanity. Our thoughts and prayers should be with his family, especially his children who now must grow up without a dad.

Concerned said...

Regarding transethnocism (I like that word!): try this:

Weisberg/Sailer explain that Jackson was frozen into permanent adolescence because he was terrified of the black male sexuality he saw in front of his eyes at an impressionable age. This was the sexuality he would have been expected to grow into as an adult.

In the effort to neuter himself, he turned himself into the only role model he had: Peter Pan. Who is white. An otherworldly inoffensive white person was his ideal of safe and happy.

My two cents.

Concerned said...

I made my Peter Pan analogy w/o reading the actual Weisberg article, which mentions it. Great minds.....

Anonymous said...

His efforts to look white went way beyond trying to match "vertiglio" -- has that ever been a medically verified diagnosis for him anyway? I mean aside from pr? I know we're not obligated to be pc here, but Angelina Jolie in a tanning booth might be a white, female MJ, except that she did actually produce her own biological, white kids.
Back to Michael: the hair, the whole freakin' face, the whole person, the nearly complete avoidance of black kids. At first he said he identified with Diana Ross. OOOOkay. (she too had surgery.) Then Elizabeth Taylor became his role model. That's when I knew he'd lost it and kept on losing it bit by bit. Actually Macaulay McCulkin is probably the human closest to what MJ wanted to be and identify with.
Even more than his spectacular dancing is MJ's amazing feat of reproducing three children who have no negroid features whatsoever, and no basic family resemblance to him whatsover. One does sometimes see mixed individuals whose racial characteristics favor one race, but there will nevertheless be some sort of family resemblance to both parents. In any case, after spending millions to eliminate black features, do you really think he'd risk having children who would constantly remind him of what he looked like when he was a black kid and evidently not too happy about it?
Truly--geneticists should study this one.
This case resembled those of most white females I know who chosen black men. Most were the victims of incest, or a kind of passively hostle neglect by the father. Not obvious abuse necessarily, but a deeply unhealthy relationship (or total lack thereof) with the father. This phenomenon probably crosses races and genders (boys who have been abused/neglected by mothers) and makes sense. After all, if one wants to be damn sure one doesn't relive that kind of childhood ghastliness, at a primal level one will get a partner who is biologically and visually very different from the abuser/neglecter.
There are long discussion threads, interesting for sociological cases, where people (mostly blacks I think) argue that MJ's kids are his and look like him. Well-yeah. They've got eyes, a nose and mouth, and are bipedal. But then steve's blog reminds us constantly of the challenge to see what is before our eyes.

Eric said...

Joe Jackson nicknamed Michael, "big nose" as a child.

"Who's the big nose now DAD!?!"

Anonymous said...

May I point out the parallels to be made between Michael Jackson and Elvis ? Humble guy become the biggest star of his era, coasts along for 20 years on past glory, become progressively weirder and wasted on all kind of drugs, and dies suddenly before his time. Hard to draw any conclusions, as this is probably something that happened for as long as there were 'pop stars' of any kind

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Are you being a little to easy on him? He may have been acquitted once, but he also paid a family $22 million to make child molestation charges go away-not something to just dismiss as a spurious charge of child molestation.

He was 50, not a baby. He was an adult and had the capacity to make adult decisions all his life-something he avoided but we all have to make. He had talent but also benefitted from IMMENSE hype. Sad, but not worthy of the attention.

Anonymous said...

Undoubtedly Jackson's father has a lot to answer for.

Anonymous said...

He came along ~10-15 years before black became cool and that self-hatred is written in the whitening.

As to early sex, ditto. Think Lil' Bow Wow or Lil' Romeo for whom youthful sex is glorious.

The combo of Victorian sexual norms and racial self-hatred ripped him apart psychologically.

- hcl

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a conservative who generally won't say nice things about most black celebrities (like obama, oprah, etc.), but over the years I actually developed a soft spot for Michael Jackson and even a grudging acceptance of his music (whoever actually wrote it notwithstanding). Don't get me wrong Michael Jackson music isn't my favourite but I sort of "get it". I listened to "beat it" last night. It's like a perfect distillation of 80's guitar rock with a dance beat. It's even got an eddie van halen solo. I have very diverse tastes in music but i'm primarily a metalhead. The only genres I will not listen to at all are rap, country and blues. I do enjoy jazz, some disco (e.g. the bee gees), some R&B, classical etc. In other words I find that I now have an appreciation for things I would have denounced as "gay" as a kid. One thing though is that Michael Jackson's music went into the crapper after thriller. Everything after that wasn't really any good.

Anonymous said...

I'm older than you steve, ten years older than Jackson.

In college, I recall a small group of us, a few couples, blacks and whites (we were semi-dating; it was our white "daring stage")dancing in our apt. to the Jackson Five album.

I remember it because we sat on the couch, taking a break from dancing, and talked about MJ, about how talented he was even as the young kid he was, and I recall the guy I was seeing saying there was no telling just how good he'd be when he became an adult.

I mention this because I remember my comment, that he was going to be a very handsome man (yes at first, and then no) and that he seemed to have his head on straight from what I gathered from his few tv appearances when he was briefly questioned by the host(really, really wrong).

I have had a visceral reaction to his demise over these last few decades because I saw just how wrong I had been--he was NOT okay, ever; he couldn't have been unless some disease affecting his brain suddenly struck him or unless drug abuse as a young man did irreparable damage.

Under that wide, winning child's smile, beneath the rounded Afro, under those sparkling kid eyes, under those polite, happy-seeming words he spoke, he couldn't have been all right then, could he have?

It's that question that I always ask whenever one of his songs plays on the radio: "How could I have been so wrong?" It's always disturbing when you realize your eyes and ears have deceived you, that you lack the sense to see what is thinly veiled right in front of you.

I've never read much about his bio, just heard about his dad's brutality and Jackson's early involvement in the church. Do we know if this stuff about the dad is true? Hyperbolized?

What pushed him over the top, from looking normal, sounding normal, to looking and acting like a freak and sounding like a child?

Did mental illness strike? Could it be at all possible that as a kid he was developing relatively normally, and then wham? Or was he always damaged, and we only began to see it once he left the parents' home?

Did he indeed physically and sexually molest children or just seek their company? Both are weird, but one's much worse than the other. Are we dealing with the mind of a pedophile or not?

(Brings up the question of why more research into pedophilia isn't being done).

Any other man suspected of being a pedophile would be reviled, not celebrated, regardless of contribution so why is it I feel so sad? I don't know unless it's because he SEEMED so normal as a kid, a cute, endearing kid.

Even when we don't seek out info about public figures, we can't escape the details, whether it's Sanford or Jackson, and it just feels all too voyeuristic for my comfort level.

kudzu bob said...

It's not over.

Jacko's body will sealed inside an adiabatic pod filled with helium-4 superfluid, then launched via Russian Proton heavy booster onto a leisurely trajectory to the Oort Cloud, there to be found and revivified by our comet-dwelling transhuman descendants a million years hence. Despite their genetically enhanced brains they will be utterly baffled... yet somehow strangely intrigued.

"Please demonstrate once more how you primitive ones practiced locomotion upon the surface of Earth's satellite. Our hatchlings request it."

Michael will have come home at last.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of washed up child entertainers whose careers messed with their heads, and most of them are just drug addicts. The whole Neverland thing takes a lot more explaining than just a lost childhood.

josh said...

I recall a recent article in People(not that I read that junk,'course,but this caught my eye);remeber the Two Cories? Coreys Feldman(funny looking guy) and Haim,who shot to fame a s child actors? (Lost Boys) Feldman,a bizarre guy--and a friend of Jacksons,for a while--admitted he had been molested as a child. Then the OTHER Corey admitted that he had been molested also. Add to that the broken down life of Willie Ames,another good looking boy actor,who has apparently been abused a s a child,and there seems to be a trend.Given the huge influence of gays in show biz,(what Michael Ovitz labeled the Velvet Mafia)I believed that Michael had been molested by adults,and that his parents implicitly knew of this and did nothing to stop it because it opened doors for the boys. Maybe thats one reason Michael had such a (literally) vomit-inducing repulsion towrad his dad,and freaked when he saw Joe's features start to show in his own face. Anyway,whatver,it will be interesting to see if the authorities can find out why he really died.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Michael Jackson croaked owing half a billion dollars. Somebody needs to stop the autopsy with a court order so he can be converted into a cyborg or a zombie. Let the show go on - he needs to pay back his creditors, or he'll go to debtors hell.

(Probably Jackson is a metaphor for California, somehow.)

i am the walrus said...

New conspiracy theory: Iran did it to tie up the Western media.

Wrong. Mark Sanford.

Fred said...

Have you seen how white Jackson's own kids are?

Anonymous said...

His desire to 'be' White was typical of many non-Whites I know. It drove some of them nearly insane, I'm sure it had a similar effect on Michael. He also made it more kosher to talk about other race's sense of inferiority at not being White. On a personal level, he seemed like a decent fellow, I never trusted the media reports on him. I wish him well in the afterlife. RIP

testing99 said...

Jackson IIRC was badly burned filming a Pepsi commercial. That may have caused him to do what he did with his appearance and so on.

However, the whole "turning himself into a White Woman" is not hard to understand. Millions of White Women around the globe felt sorry for him and protective of him, whereas his father beat the holy hell out of him.

He did not want to be his father (how sad is that?) and instead wanted to be one of his fans (also sad).

But to me, the more fascinating man is Ed McMahon. I was flabbergasted to learn he'd been a WWII Marine Fighter Pilot, and later a Korean War Marine Fighter pilot. The guy was made up of nothing but guts, brains, and nerve.

But then, Don Adams was an Island Hopping WWII Marine (his Maxwell Smart quack was modeled after an officer he hated and William Powell). Eddie Albert (Green Acres) was given the Navy Cross for his heroism under Japanese Machine Gun fire for piloting his LST back onto the reefs at Tarawa to pick up wounded Marines. Again and again. Charles Durning was a Ranger at D-Day and fought in the Bulge, escaped from Malmedy.

I don't think it's very remarkable that a very talented, but abused kid turns out to be a sad and weird adult. What I do think remarkable is how "ordinary" celebrities who you would not think too much about shock and surprise you in a good way, with astonishing acts of bravery when they were just "ordinary."

[Albert at the time had already acted in a number of movies, his career dating back to the late 1930's.]

Ed McMahon may have been just some guy laughing on the couch, but when it counted the most, he was in the thick of danger, something the most X-Game extreme sports enthusiast would cower in fear from. Yet he was so ... ordinary.

Which I suppose speaks to the true nature of heroism. Probably a more useful lesson than Jackson's sad life.

Proofreader said...

You just cannot explain his freakishness by his stolen childhood.
A balanced mind can overcome almost anything with barely a scar.

There was something in his mind that was perhaps inherently perverted and prone to short-term gratification.
Strange that nobody here mentions his likely low IQ. Bad choices= low IQ.

More proof:Jackson composed on a tape-recorder and probably could never play any instrument, unlike his brothers, and wrote conspicuously childish lyrics.

Apart from his falsetto tenor verging on the castrati register, obnoxious vocal hiccups and ridiculous dancing style, what's his legacy? A couple of tunes, and some of the stuff he recorded with the Jackson Five. And millions in debt.

Wait until they start digging up the dirt. He'll never be forgotten, but for the wrong reasons.

terry said...

What's interesting is how Michael Jackson has always been so loved and respected by the black community despite his "transethnocism", his obvious discomfort with his black appearance, desire to look white, etc. when trying to act white, talk white, etc., is so often disparaged in the black community.

Is it a case of what I believe Steve has discussed before, of how he's just so definitively black that he can get away with? He's from Gary, Indiana, from a tight knit black family with a dominant black father figure, etc. Like James Brown getting away with being a Republican.

Whereas someone not as black, like Obama, wouldn't be able to get away with dying his skin white.

Glaivester said...

I think you mean the song Ben's song from the movie Ben. Willard was the remake, named after the human rather than the rat.

Anonymous said...

terry,
Back when there were few black celebrities any famous black person was beloved by blacks. Now with many black celebs they are accepted or rejected by the black population on how "black" they are.

Anonymous said...

"Almost everything that seems freakish about him can be explained by his poignant, doomed effort to get his stolen childhood back."

How about a different theory: he was simply gay.

Anonymous said...

"But what explains his 'transethnocism' with the skin bleaching and moderating overtly black features through plastic surgery?"

Black men often want to be darker (i.e. more masculine) than they are - look at our president. Black women usually want to be lighter (i.e. more feminine) than they are. It would follow from this that gay black men (and Michael was undoubtedly hormonally gay) would want to be lighter, not darker, more feminine, not more masculine, than they were born. To me this makes sense.

Danindc said...

Why are his children Nordic blondes? It's never been clear to me.

Too many people are making excuses for this freak.

I have not heard the word "molested" once during the extensive MSM coverage.

Ben was good though.

Anonymous said...

Relevant to this thread:

http://www.justnews.com/news/19871780/detail.html

yep, black people like Jackson.

Anonymous said...

"I think his 'transethnocism' can be explained by the fact that he became famous at a time when blacks were not nearly as accepted into mainstream American culture as they are now"

Bulls__t. Anyone who doesn't think that blacks were not accepted into the mainstream in music in the 1970's is just plain nuts. Black entertainers were actually more in the mainstream back then, because back then, whites and black's musical tastes were much more similar, before blacks closed themselves up in the Rap ghetto. Obviously, you weren't there...

Anonymous said...

I WISH TO DEBUNK THE LIE HE "LOST HIS CHILDHOOD". HE LOST NOTHING.

WHILE I WAS SITTING IN CLASS AT 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, NOT MAKING MONEY, NOT GETTING LAID, APPLYING FOR MIN-WAGE NEWSPAPER BOY JOB (AND GETTING REJECTED) - YOU KNOW, THE SORT WHERE YOU WAKE UP AT 5AM TO TOSS PAPERS ONTO LAWNS, HE WAS MAKING *BIG MONEY*, GETTING LAID AS MUCH AS HE COULD STAND (NOT SURE IF HE TOOK ADVANTAGE), AND GETTING FAMOUS.

SOMEONE NEEDS TO TELL HIM HE *HAD* A CHILDHOOD - A FABULOUS ONE.


- hcl

jody said...

i really liked jackson in the 80s, and have complained in the past about how far downhill black american music has gone. it used to be fun, it used to be something you could enjoy.

but michael jackson was completely irrelevant for the last 15 years when it comes to music. now, suddenly, the day after he dies, some people in the media are trying to pretend he might have been the biggest, most important mainstream musician in modern history? that's ridiculous. he is totally outclassed in that discussion by at least 5 other, bigger acts.

the news media is pretendling like this isn't the case. "Was Michael Jackson bigger than Elvis?" only a few music industry experts on CNN and FOX have even pointed out that michael jackson was now far behind many other musicians that had stayed relevant for years while jackson had descended into irrelevance and parody.

here are confirmed US album sales, in the millions, of the most popular bands and musicians in modern times. michael jackson is all the way down at number 17. the real biggest musical acts of all time are two times as popular as michael jackson. the beatles were three times as popular.

170 the beatles
128 garth brooks
119 elvis presley
111 led zeppelin
100 eagles
79 billy joel
74 pink floyd
71 barbara streisand
71 ac/dc
70 elton john
68 george strait
66 aerosmith
66 the rolling stones
64 bruce springsteen
63 madonna
62 mariah carey
61 michael jackson
58 metallica
56 van halen
54 whitney houston
51 kenny rogers
50 u2
50 celine dion

and metallica is going to pass michael jackson, because they sell about 500,000 albums a year, every year, because of their back catalog. mainstream media types are probably loathe to even consider that ac/dc and metallica and van halen are more popular than U2.

michael jackson - awesome talent, perhaps THE key figure of mainstream music in the 80s. but a career that was not even close to the beatles or even led zeppelin.

Anonymous said...

Michael Jackson embodies many aspects of American culture: success earned from hard work and talent; racial conflict; pop culture and bad parents arrogantly imposing themselves on childhood; gender conflict; drug abuse; child molestation scandals; bankruptcy. MJ's life presents the last half of 20th century America in one tragic little package.

jody said...

i really liked jackson in the 80s, and have complained in the past about how far downhill black american music has gone. it used to be fun, it used to be something you could enjoy.

but michael jackson was completely irrelevant for the last 15 years when it comes to music. now, suddenly, the day after he dies, some people in the media are trying to pretend he might have been the biggest, most important mainstream musician in modern history? that's ridiculous. only a few music industry experts on CNN and FOX have even pointed out that michael jackson was, at the time of his death, now far behind many other musicians that had stayed relevant for years while jackson had descended into parody.

here are confirmed US album sales, in the millions, of the most popular bands and musicians in modern times. michael jackson is all the way down at number 17. the real biggest musical acts of all time are two times as popular as michael jackson. the beatles were three times as popular.

170 the beatles
128 garth brooks
119 elvis presley
111 led zeppelin
100 eagles
79 billy joel
74 pink floyd
71 barbara streisand
71 ac/dc
70 elton john
68 george strait
66 aerosmith
66 the rolling stones
64 bruce springsteen
63 madonna
62 mariah carey
61 michael jackson
58 metallica
56 van halen
54 whitney houston
51 kenny rogers
50 u2
50 celine dion

and metallica is going to pass michael jackson, because they sell about 500,000 copies a year of their old albums like metallica, and justice for all, and master of puppets. they sell over 1000 albums a day just sitting around doing nothing.

mainstream media types are probably loathe to consider that ac/dc is more popular than U2. indeed, to even acknowledge that ac/dc exists, or that anybody who bought an ac/dc album actually counts. it would kill them to actually have to admit on air that the new ac/dc album outsold the new U2 album, which it did - by double. they're certainly not going to stick with the facts and admit that even lowly ac/dc is more popular than michael jackson.

michael jackson was an awesome talent and perhaps THE key figure of mainstream music in the 80s. but he did not have a career that was comparable to the beatles or even led zeppelin. heck, robert plant won the GRAMMY award THIS YEAR for album of the year, and the media pretends like he doesn't exist.

1 said...

Michael Jackson, roast and rot in hell...

Anonymous said...

"You just cannot explain his freakishness by his stolen childhood.
A balanced mind can overcome almost anything with barely a scar."

Intact childhoods help create balanced minds.

Anonymous said...

Jody, what about international sales? I understand Thriller sold 100+ million on it's own. I can't imagine Garth Brooks is very popular outside the USA (no offense to Brooks).

Anonymous said...

I think I am buying the theory that he was treated with female hormones at puberty or even castrated to keep his high pitched voice. That would explain the white kids who are obviously not his genetically and must be from sperm donors.

Proofreader said...

Intact childhoods help create balanced minds

The balance, or ability for balance must be there from the start.
Jackson was psychotic and dumb.

Concerned Netizen said...

"Was Michael Jackson bigger than Elvis?" only a few music industry experts on CNN and FOX have even pointed out that michael jackson was now far behind many other musicians that had stayed relevant for years while jackson had descended into irrelevance and parody."

Jody,

When Elvis died he was a sad joke. The second after he died the world was howling and moaning. Are you too young to remember? I do. It was an enormous shock. I saw men crying.

Jackson's career trajectory is similar to Elvis (except for the childhood stardom): a burst of creativity when young, a sad decline into total weirdness as a mature adult.

I do think that there's a Steve-essay in here somewhere. I'm a bit older than the rabid Jackson fans who grew up with him in the 1980s, so I remember that when they came on the scene we disdained them as "show business." Rock music was supposed to be real, anti-show biz. Of course by the 1980s rock music had been co-opted by show biz, so we rebelled against THAT by going for punk grit and scuzz. The Jackson Five with their choreographed movements were completely opposite of everything we went for.

In fact, although the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame assiduously doles out places to blacks, the difference between their music, and their acts, and the white musicians, is glaringly apparent: white musicians, however co-opted they are by show biz, are rock musicians: Dyonisan and anarchic. The black acts are scripted up the wazoo.

I watched the television obsequies yesterday with fascination. Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, Debbie Allen...every cultural arbiter was black. They mentioned the effect Jackson had on people like Timberlake, but the point was that everything in pop culture now is black.

Black president, black culture, black everything.

White culture has been completely driven underground, marginalized.

White culture is now officially a minority culture in the US.

What next?

Anonymous said...

I am surprised to see that anyone in the realist/evo/Steveosphere community would believe that Jackson was a child molester. There is no such thing as a child predator who would, by age 50, have had only two victims come forward. The first one, and definitely the second one, would have led to a parade coming out.

The Slate article sounds not just intuitively right when it suggests Jackson was asexual, but it is objectively right when he writes that molesters' victims *always* number very high. They are ultra compulsive as the famous fact of their high recidivism rates attests.

I vaguely remember hearing about Jay Leno's testimony and it strikes me that his intuition of the boy's mother sounds far more likely (gold digger) than the idea that Jackson was an unimpulsive molestor (they don't exist).

Anonymous said...

"I think his 'transethnocism' can be explained by the fact that he became famous at a time when blacks were not nearly as accepted into mainstream American culture as they are now"

answer:"Bulls__t. Anyone who doesn't think that blacks were not accepted into the mainstream in music in the 1970's is just plain nuts. Black entertainers were actually more in the mainstream back then, because back then, whites and black's musical tastes were much more similar, before blacks closed themselves up in the Rap ghetto. Obviously, you weren't there..."

That's exactly true. "Not accepted?!"
Is the first commenter just above nuts or just born yesterday? \Black entertainers were mainstream and huge from the 50s on at least, and commonly on tv from the early 60s on. Remember when Soul Train was something everybody watched on Saturday morning? Everyone owned a 5th Dimension album and the members were actually legally married to each other or the manager? Sammy Davis Jr. in Golden Boy (which had been a white role) in 1963-5? Sidney Poitier? "Julia" on TV? Black is Beautiful everywhere? Afros? I remember fawning articles about these celebs that were hardly different in tone from anything you'd read today. Once they were in, they were well in.
If anything, there is WAY WAY more imitation of white looks among blacks nowadays because the technology and products are there to enable such transformation.
The first I heard of plastic surgery among black entertainers was in the 70s, and it has increased to point where almost every "black" female celebrity I see appears to be trying to disguise herself as a white woman, or at least some sort of "Hispanic."
The black celebs of the 60s were unabashedly black until the advanced technology allowed them to look otherwise.
It had nothing to do with being "accepted." They already were, in the industry. It had to do with feelings of peronal worth and vanity, the same reason whites go for plastic surgery.

daffy duck said...

"He came along ~10-15 years before black became cool and that self-hatred is written in the whitening.

As to early sex, ditto. Think Lil' Bow Wow or Lil' Romeo for whom youthful sex is glorious.

The combo of Victorian sexual norms and racial self-hatred ripped him apart psychologically.

- hcl"

Born yesterday I think.
But just in case: How old are you? Again--there is a LONG tradition of considering blacks (especially males) as "cool" or "hip" or whatever analogous adjective was in use at the time. It goes back as far as the 19th century. It's just that blacks were not taken seriously until well into the 20th century and affirmative action and the civil rights movement opened responsible, high profile jobs and positions to them.
Anyway, read Day of the Locusts about Hollywood during the 20s, or an article about the "Harlem Renaissance" of the 30s, the jazz of the 40s, or the beat generation of the 50s. James Baldwin. Billie Holliday. Lena Horne. Richard Wright. Thurgood Marshall. Need I go into the 60s? You'd be amazed at the white kids who did not live anywhere near any blacks (naturally) who thought they could be honorary members of the Black panthers? That black rapist of whites who got on magazine covers, ran to Algeria and then ran back here when he found out the Arabs didn't like him either? Read up on 20th century history, but look at popular publications, prime sources, biographies, even fictional narratives, but not pc textbooks written by mentally ill leftist professors.

Anonymous said...

1 said...Michael Jackson, roast and rot in hell...

Charming, not.

And then lets say I make a further comment about yours...

Then you come back denying you made the first comment and imputing your beliefs to me - just as you did on an earlier thread about global jihad.

Anonymous said...

MJ's residence in Holmby Hills was on the same street, Carolwood Dr, where Walt Disney built his dream home, complete with an extensive model railroad in the back yard. In good times and bad, MJ was a Disney obsessive to the last.

Mr. Anon said...

"Concerned Netizen said...

In fact, although the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame assiduously doles out places to blacks, the difference between their music, and their acts, and the white musicians, is glaringly apparent: white musicians, however co-opted they are by show biz, are rock musicians: Dyonisan and anarchic."

Nonsense. Rock and Roll is a business - always has been. The image of a few dedicated free-spirits coming together in a garage somewhere and breaking out into stardom was the exception, not the rule. Bands of the 60s and 70s traded players around like sports franchises. The members of Supertramp were recruited by a music producer - they were as "synthetic" a band as the Monkees (but a lot more talented, obviously).

Those guys were, for the most part, professional musicians - not much different than those of the jazz and swing eras, other than the long hair and drugs (even the drugs weren't entirely new - in his younger days, Bing Crosby was a big fan of weed).

Nate M said...

Jody,

For some reason, Motown doesn't seem to have certified the Jackson 5's albums. If Wikipedia's #'s are correct, cetification totals in the US should be at least 28.5 million (not at all surpising). Michael was the lead singer and main attraction on virtually all of the songs during this period. Add RIAA certifications of 5 million for the post-Motown Jacksons (through 1984 when Michael was still the main draw), and we're talking about 33.5 for J5/Jacksons, plus 61.5 as a soloist is 95 million total in the US.

I predict MJ's current sales spike will last long, like Elvis, as people will remember him at his best. He has no more opportunities to tarnish his image, and who knows, maybe his former accusers will admit some day that their parents put them up to it.

Led Zeppelin, on the other hand, already had a member die young a while ago -- Plant and Page missed their chance. Garth Brooks is too healthy and balanced to have a dramatic or young death. And yes, his international album figures, as well as singles, videos, airplay, etc., make him nowhere near as successful as MJ, who's often ranked in the top 3 global sales of the recording era with Elvis and the Beatles.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if we're going to start getting sightings of Michael and Elvis hanging out together?

Anonymous said...

Get famous forever -

- die before you get found out

eh said...

The doctor who was reportedly with Jackson when he died is black. If you listen to the 911 call, it seems he was performing CPR on Jackson (for how long before the 911 call was made?) while Jackson was lying on a bed. You'd think a doctor ought to know you cannot do chest compressions as effectively on a soft surface -- the guy on the receiving end of the 911 call knew that. It now appears this doctor when to Meharry Medical College, a 'historically black' medical school (I didn't know there was one). Raise your hand if you'd feel entirely comfortable being treated by a doctor who went to a medical school that seems more interested and proud of the ethnicity of its students than it does of the quality of medical training that occurs there (one can be forgiven for having this impression after visiting the web site).

This could get interesting.

Proofreader said...

There is no such thing as a child predator who would, by age 50, have had only two victims come forward. The first one, and definitely the second one, would have led to a parade coming out.

Just sit and wait. He can't bribe anyone anymore.

Anonymous said...

"It had nothing to do with being 'accepted.' They already were, in the industry. It had to do with feelings of peronal worth and vanity, the same reason whites go for plastic surgery."

If you've ever watched BET news you'll see that all of the women newscasters look like Jennifer Lopez. A dark skinned woman
like Gwen Ifill could never be a news caster for a black-run network because blacks of both sexes prefer to look at women who look as though they are half white. So I think that "being accepted" is a motive but the acceptance they seek is from other blacks not whites.

Anonymous said...

"Just sit and wait. He can't bribe anyone anymore."

He was half a billion dollars in debt when he died. Maybe some of his fortune went to paying off victims but if that were true I think they'd have already come forward because he hasn't been able to write huge hush checks for a while now.

Anonymous said...

"I think I am buying the theory that he was treated with female hormones at puberty or even castrated."

During at least one of the child molestation investigations, he was strip-searched and thoroughly examined including genitals. If he had been castrated there's no way that wouldn't have leaked. (Ditto for after today's autopsy.)

I agree, however, that those are surely not his kids.

Anonymous said...

"During at least one of the child molestation investigations, he was strip-searched and thoroughly examined including genitals. If he had been castrated there's no way that wouldn't have leaked. (Ditto for after today's autopsy.)"

Prosthetic testicles that might not have been noticed? Maybe he just took estrogen all his life starting at puberty.

jody said...

some more evidence that the guy was, by the time of his death, not nearly as popular as the american media is making him out to be, are the 2008 worldwide concert numbers, easily obtained from billboard.com. here are the biggest 20 tours from 2008, with the table organized as such:

act, number of shows, number of sellouts, sales in millions of dollars

1 bon jovi 99 99 210
2 bruce springsteen 82 46 204
3 madonna 39 38 185
4 the police 78 71 149
5 celine dion 44 36 91
6 kenny chesney 46 25 86
7 neil diamond 61 61 81
8 spice girls 45 34 70
9 eagles 34 27 56
10 rascal flatts 65 58 55
11 van halen 44 41 49
12 trans-siberian 120 67 47
13 michael buble 85 67 46
14 miley cyrus 57 57 45
15 billy joel 29 25 41
16 jonas brothers 85 56 40
17 dave matthews band 44 19 39
18 tom petty 36 29 39
19 leonard cohen 65 30 36
20 journey 57 30 35

michael jackson's farwell shows have numbers like this:

michael jackson 50 50 85

good, but hardly the huge deal the media is reporting. his farewell shows for 2009 would put him at number 7 for 2008. not exactly in line with being "the biggest musician evar!" and fairly similar to the numbers celine dion was putting up in her 4 year residency in las vegas.

his farewell tour numbers would be far, far behind "nobodies" like bon jovi and bruce springsteen, his per-show sales would be HALF of what madonna makes.

even worse for the case of jackson being "the biggest musician evar!" is that some of the acts on the 2008 list put up numbers like that every 2 or 3 years. going back on tour, racking up obscene attendance and sales figures, making you wonder what they need another 100 million dollars for.

this plainly shows how jackson had declined a lot in international appeal and been passed by other acts that the media is pretending don't exist and don't have more fans. the guy was absolutely awesome for over a decade, but that was a long time ago now. he really dropped off in the last 15 years.

Dennis Dale said...

No offense to anonymous above, but once the term "prosthetic testicles" shows its, er, face, I'd say the subject has been exhausted.

Anonymous said...

*An Alchemical Minstrel Show*

"If Jackson is the face of America, then America no longer exists, except in places like Idaho and Montana --while New York and Hollywood bear the same relation to America that Michael Jackson's collapsing nose and bleached skin do to the proud Black men and women he insulted with his mission of becoming the leopard that can change his spots and the Ethiopian who can change his skin.

"But let us not feel smug or superior. We live in a scientific era where cloned meat and genetically-altered corn are fed to our children; where "pro-life" Republicans massacre Muslim and Arab civilians; where the worst ideas are touted as the best ideas; where heads is tails. In such a mixmaster milieu, why wouldn't Black be White, and male be a simulacra of female, and Michael Jackson the king of American culture and the star of the alchemical minstrel show that has become a religion for the masses?"

http://tiny.cc/Fm2n1

Anonymous said...

From The Sun.

"Cardiologist Dr Murray was thought to have given Jackson the final injection of painkiller Demerol.

He is facing serious questions about his resuscitation attempts, which began when he started CPR as Jacko lay unconscious on a bed. Basic first aid guidance says patients must be face-up on a hard surface before compressions.

Experts yesterday expressed amazement that a trained cardiologist could have made such an error, potentially wasting vital minutes.

Additional damage was believed to have been caused by oxygen masks and tubing inserted during resuscitation attempts."

Murray is African American. Perhaps he didn't do so well on the MCATs or the medical boards because he wasn't a "medical buff." Disparate impact and the four-fifths rule strikes again?

Anonymous said...

I read tht Michael's father called him Big nose so I think that helps to understand his obsession with it. He was so abused by his Father he probably didn't want to look anything like him.