E–pub/E–book [On Michael Jackson] author Margo Jefferson
Yes my longest and most thoughtful Goodreads review is
for a book about Michael Jackson Since he died I ve been upset upset than I expected Michael Jackson a book about Michael Jackson Since he died I ve been upset upset than I expected Michael Jackson for me what he was to many always there in the background whether it was his inspired music dance and presence in the early 80s the speculation over his increasingly bizarre behavior starting in the mid to late 80s or the sinister role he took on as charges of sexual molestation were brought against him Always there someone you raised your eyebrows at someone you never doubted would be there forever whether because that s how it had always been or because of the freakish lineless mask his face had become His sudden death was surprising as in I didn t know that could happen and extremely upsetting because he runs through my childhood memories and because his life seemed incredibly sad I ave into this weird intense mourning read a lot of news stories that all said pretty much the same thing watched a lot of his videos especially his older stuff cried a few times and finally came across this bookMargo Jefferson s tone is academic as she explores Jackson She of course depends heavily on biographical details for many of the conclusions she comes to but she also analyzes the trainwreck of his existence covering until he is acuitted on the molestation charges in 2005 through culture race Bonds of Need (Wicked Play, gender and sexuality She briefly tells us about Motown by the late 60s it was beginning to decline but had the sameoals it always had of captivating black and white audiences without allowing for musical emotional outbursts or improvisation but rather pure pleasure addictive pleasure She dedicates an entire chapter to the stress put on the Jackson children and child stars in Scoring Points general Shirley Temple is uoted from her own autobiography It is not easy to be a Hollywood starlet Starlets have to kiss a lot of people including some unattractive ones Often starlets are knocked down to the floor or pricked by diaper pins The hours are long Whoosh That statement knocks the air right out of you Jefferson discusses the sexualization of child performers particularly Michael Jackson Asked to move sing and act like an adult while talking about things children don t really understand romantic and sexual love and the loss of it He did it uncannily well She discusses the freaks of PT Barnum and places Jackson within that context not only for his ever changing face but also because of his fascination with Barnum she discusses Peter Pan JM Barrie his mother as a Jehovah s Witness and the historical rejection of typically black features both within and without black communities particularly skin color nose width lip size and hair texture You can see why the latter point is relevant to a discussion of Jackson She discusses his parents and siblings his upbringing his solo rise tolobal fame Note too that she covers all of these topics and the book is a brisk 146 page readSo did Jefferson answer my uestions about Jackson What was wrong with him Why did he drastically change his appearance Why did he surround himself with mostly sick needy children mind you I do not believe he sexually abused any of those children And seriously this is something I ve always wondered and am really looking for an answer to why did he always Life Is Unfair (Malcolm in the Middle, grab his crotch Well first Jefferson did kind of answer my uestions with interesting creative suggestions though it s mostly speculation Now back to the crotchrabbing She focuses on the video for Black or White in which Jackson is pretty heavy with the crotch rabs and shots She says And he dances a violent tap dance without real tap sounds Which makes it oddly ominous we see and feel the percussion but we don t hear it It creates a strange tension Partly because it s sinuous and elegant the way soft shoe tap is And very much because every few beats he strokes snatches at caresses hisphallusIn retrospect the crotch clutch seems at once desperate and abstract It is as if he were telling us Fine you need to know I m a man a black man Here s my dick I ll thrust my dick at you Isn t that what a black man s supposed to do But I m Michael Jackson so just look but you can t touch It wasn t real it was symbolic Not a penis but a phallus This interpretation not so sure that I buy it though I would love to how awesome if Jackson was really thinking that It does put Jackson firmly in control of himself his his actions his behavior My own impression of was that of a vulnerable broken mentally ill and psychologically damaged man This is probably part of why I and many reacted so strongly to his death As my friend put it You just want to ive him a hug and tell him you re on his side But you can t He s deadI can t uite believe that the crotch clutch The Billionaires New Assistant (The New Dominators, goes as deep as all that Is it not just a childish dance move from a man who was somewhat stunted psychologically And I am serious when I say that I want to know what s behind the crotch clutch and I m eually curious to know how America and the world accepted something so blatantly sexual into their lives this is not swaying your hips suggestively this israbbing your dick But I do buy Jefferson s premise that Jackson s career and some of his physical transformation that called his ender race and entire identity into uestion was somewhat purposeful Perhaps psychological damage. Margo Jefferson’s On Michael Jackson is a lucid and elegant cultural analysis of the rise and fall of the King of PopAn award winning cultural critic Jefferson brings an unexpected compassion as well as her sharp intellect and incomparable in. F certain other women in MJ s life his other sisters La Toya and Rebbie and his wives Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe She s much fair when discussing these women and considering how maligned they ve all been in the press especially La Toya and Rowe or ignored in the case of Rebbie it s really refreshing But it also just makes the sex toy summary of Janet even ungenerous and bizarre and undermines the depth of the rest of her analysisStill I think this is a necessary book for any Michael Jackson fan as well as readers interested in American music and culture and the intersections of race and ender in American art and entertainment If you re looking for an in depth look at Michael Jackson this isn t it and I don t think the book is particularly well written In fact the author seems to know so little about Michael Jackson that you really wonder how she could have been so bold as to have written a book about the length of two New Yorker articles about the musical superstar I m not even sure how to describe this book it seemed to be a whimsical or poetic or reflective look at Michael Jackson Still I liked the book I m Quinn (Wyoming Sky, glad the author declined to pass judgement on Jackson I agree that he was a strange and sad and brilliant person but I have my doubts as to whether he was a child molester One would think that a book titled On Michael Jackson would attempt some kind of objectivity in writing about such a controversial mega star Unfortunately the author says everything we have already heard he is a freak he is odd he is asexual etc What disturbed me most was the voice which was very matter of fact when it is clear that nobody really knows all of the facts of Jackson s life I wanted so much and it just wasn t there There were a few strong points regarding Jackson s apparent desire to transcend race while defying masculinity norms This is the book I would have dreamed of writing had I decided too to The Princes Bride grad school It s like listening to your cool professor in a seminar called Constructing Identities in fill in the blank I read it because Michael Jackson represented such a big part of my childhood and I was expecting a regular biography that wouldive me a walk down memory lane Instead the book made me appreciate MJ in a way I never thought possible He truly defied any categorization which I think is one of the reasons people felt so uncomfortable about him People need to be able to pigeonhole everything and even in Hollywood all the enhancements people do typically emphasize that category in an exaggerate Michael Jackson speaks to and for the monstrous child in us allEasily the best thing I ve read that tries to figure out Michael Jackson The right mix of
sympathy and uery that doesn t come up with an answer you can t turning and uery that doesn T Come Up With come up with answer you can t turning uestion back on us instead There are some factual
hey I m a fan an encyclopedic knowledge of MJ I can t help it but overall the conclusion she comes to with the available evidence minus my tendency to A Cinderella Christmas Carol (Suddenly Cinderella, get upset and defend him is the closest one to my own In short poor Michael but he was his own worst enemy I don t agree with all of Jefferson s conclusions she doesn t explore Michael s adult and apparently uite lucid side for instance and evidence that s arisen since his death but I appreciate her methods and open uestioning approach to the subject Don t bother with the longer exhaustive accounts of his life or of the stories other people tell of it anyway that are rich in detail but poor in explanation and seek only to confirm the author s own bias This and John Jeremiah Sullivan s article on the same subject are true essays open minded thought exercises that uestion our every assumption Excellent Recommended Terrific premise disappointing execution I think it s areat idea to examine Michael Jackson as a persona performer and phenomenon from a multifaceted cultural perspective including the histories of entertainment race family culture legal precedent and which is exactly what this book does The problem here is that although the perspective is broad and far reaching the author just doesn t delve very deeply into any of her subjects and the resul I read this book when it first came out and ordered a copy when Jackson died I appreciated and appreciate even so now Jefferson s ability to discuss both sides of Jackson his unuestionable talent and the irreparable harm caused to him in the name of that talent and the possibility that he may have caused harm to others as a result Jefferson s book is an example of how to talkthink about Jackson and his role in our culture without lapsing into the disturbing romanticization of him My Fair Temptress (Governess Brides, going on now or falling into labeling him a child molester and dismissing him I wish we could just let himo and hope he s in a better place Michael Jackson is a fascinating artist and personality Unfortunately this book did not do justice to him or his work Fairly disappointing I was never a fan of MJ although he was the biggest thing since sliced bread in pop culture during my formative years I do like several of this songs his dancing is phenomenalbut the evolution of his character career and physical being the stuff of endless articles is tackled in this short book written with a academic pen than a tabloid one As other reviewers have noted there is a lack of depth that leaves one unsatisfied. S well as published accounts of his childhood his family and Motown where Michael and his brothers first made the Jackson 5 a household name leaving us with provocative and perhaps unanswerable uestions about Jackson child stardom and fame itse.
SLIPS HEY I M A FAN
Margo Jefferson ✓ 5 reviewCombined with narcissism and a need for perfection and the fact that he has been a sexual impersonator since age five ives us this He imitates no kind of life known to us He passes in plain sight Each appearance through the years has been a rehearsal a restaging Our doubts are never soothed our uestions never answered Passers are supposed to hide their past shed their racial or sexual history Michael s past is everywhere It exists in thousands of photographs and film images And perhaps this is why we et Michael Jackson forty years after his rise to stardom holding his baby over the edge of a balcony a child star s act of vengeance Holding a baby over a balcony is furious infantile acting out doing something outrageous when people are interfering with you Hmmm Not sure I buy that either but the theories this author has are interesting as hellA few things worth noting personally I see this deliberateness in Jackson s uestionable L. M. Montgomery gender identity The video Scream is beautifully danced between him and his sister Janet There is a two second shot of him walking towards the camera in a very masculine way some sort of incredibly sexy macho swagger I had to replay it the first time after his death that I saw it The scene changes and a second or two later he s walking towards the camera again same flashyold costume same backdrop But this time it s a very feminine walk narrow with each foot in line making his hips sway while his arms propel him forward Is he fucking with us I thought or can he just not keep that effeminate runway walk from bursting out of him Either way he has exceptional control over his body Watch the video And the second note regarding Jackson s deliberateness in some things at least comes from Jefferson who says regarding his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley Kings are supposed to compete with their predecessors and kings are supposed to marry other royals Elvis s widow Priscilla Presley makes clear that she saw Michael Jackson as a scheming pretender building Neverland to top Graceland then courting Elvis s daughter to secure his lineage Same with the other towers of the music world the Beatles Michael learned to be as big as The Beatles He learned to be bigger when he outbid Paul McCartney and purchased the Beatles catalog a clever twist on the old money power and race euation that had white performers outselling black ones with cover versions of black hitsFinally Jefferson analyzes the criminal charges and trial and ets a nice fat jab in at that moron Nancy Grace and the celebrity crazed media and public who ate it all up She validates much of what I already thought about Jackson but she does it with a surprisingly thorough historical cultural and biographical analysis It s sad I m still so sad He was a messed up person whether his actions were deliberate or not As Jefferson says At this point Michael Jackson s damage is eual to what his talent was and that means it is extraordinary indeed This is deeply upsetting to witness Who wants to try and map that kind of compulsion and regression Who wants to watch mental illness in panoramic close up What language kind of compulsion and regression Who wants to watch mental illness in panoramic close up What language available to us when talking about it Fine writing reat critical analysis Interesting to compare the reviews of this book from before MJ died with those written immediately after his death and those written in
the years since The book was published in 2006 3 years before Michaelyears since The book was published in 2006 3 years before Michael I have to wonder if my own reaction to some of the perspectives and tone in this book would have been different if I had read this back when it first came out His death unleashed a lot of unexpected emotions in people especially Generation X fans who The Snatching of Bookie Bob and Other Stories grew up or came of age in the midst of the monster successes of Off the Wall and Thriller and maybe late Boomer fans who may have immediate Jackson 5 era memories and I think made it even harder to view the man and his work objectively I was a huge fan of his in my pre teen and teen years and was still intrigued by him in my adulthood Though I found much of Jefferson s analysis truly insightful and thought provoking I also detected a sour tone in her perspective of Michael Perhaps that s my former fandometting in the way or maybe it s the fact that Michael is Continuous Delivery with Docker and Jenkins: Delivering software at scale 1, Rafal Leszko, eBook - Amazon.com gone and there s been aeneral softening in the media s approach to the man since his death so the cynical perspectives on Michael that were so prevalent while he was still alive now seem a little harsh and unfair I do think Jefferson definitely ives Michael s adult career short shrift There s not enough analysis of his post Thriller work despite how much he kept producing and the changes his work and music not just his face and lifestyle underwent until the end of his life I think another reviewer on here complained about Jefferson s description of Janet Jackson as basically just a sex toy and I agree Jefferson is strangely disrespectful and dismissive of Janet She makes no mention of the fact that Janet has sold agree Jefferson is strangely disrespectful and dismissive of Janet She makes no mention of the fact that Janet has sold of albums is a multiple Grammy Billboard Music and American Music award winner has acted in numerous movies and TV shows and it s not like any of this is uncommon knowledge Instead Janet is the hardest working sex toy in show business Why not ive credit where credit is due What s even weirder about Jefferson s treatment of Janet is that it contrasts so much with her discussions Sight to Jackson’s 2005 trial for child molestation startling us with her erudite illumination of a media drenched circus that we only thought we understood As only she can Jefferson reads between the lines of Jackson’s 1998 autobiography