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Tony Grist

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Almost Too Painful [Mar. 11th, 2005|09:44 am]
Tony Grist
I expected LJ to be full of stuff about the Jackson trial and it isn't. At least this corner of the LJ universe isn't. I wonder why.

My reason for steering clear (until now) is the difficulty of writing about it with dispassion. Jackson has been getting me all stirred up for decades now. Love the music (some of it.) Hate the preening and self-deception.

I wish I didn't care, but I do. There was a moment- a very brief moment- when Jackson was not only the greatest singer and dancer in the world, but also the most beautiful human being. Bille Jean. That's a fabulous song. And Michael is a vision, a visitation, an otherworldly androgyne, a god.

And then....

And then the decline, sinking deeper and deeper into freakishness, into Messianic fantasy, into a candy-coloured porno-heaven. It's been like watching a self-exiled Caesar go to the dogs.

Tiberius on Capri- all alone with his flatterers and pimps.

Yesterday, he turned up at the courthouse an hour late in his pyjamas and nearly got his bail rescinded. He doesn't seem to realise how serious this is. It's as if there's no-one in his entourage with the balls to tell him, "Er, Michael, you're not actually writing the script any more."
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-03-11 02:51 am (UTC)
This somehow goes along with your comments on celebrity worship yesterday. I think - although quite honestly, it's MY opinion - that he has no idea. I think he thinks that the public is all behind him, and the judge wouldn't dare revoke his bail because his 'followers' would do something to make the Judge change his mind. I think that Michael's mind is sick.

I have no idea - and certainly don't want to speculate- whether he is guilty or not although our justice system says he is indeed innocent until proven guilty. I would hate to think this is all one BIG publicity stunt.

IF people didn't worship celebrity - maybe Michael would still bear some semblance to normal. There is no doubt that he is - or was, anyway - a talented man. Now, it's just a very sad thing.

I don't follow the 'trial news' of Michael's any more than I followed the OJ Simpson trial. I think that all the fuss is totally disgusting. Just like the fuss about Prince Charles (as you said yesterday, a public embarassment) marrying whomever. Hey folks, Diana is dead. Let her go, leave Charles in peace.

And start worrying about the REAL world.

Sorry, Tony. I didn't mean to get up on my soapbox.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-11 03:28 am (UTC)
SKY News has been televising reconstructions of each day's proceedings. I wish I could look away, but I can't.

I was better able to ignore O.J. Simpson because I didn't have any idea who he was until the murder, but Jackson has been part of the landscape of my life.

I don't know whether Jackson is guilty of these particular offences, but I've little doubt that he's one sick bunny.

P.S. The Bridges of Madison County just arrived. Thankyou so much! Unless you strongly object, I'm going to send you a box of kinder eggs in return.
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[User Picture]From: dakegra
2005-03-11 02:53 am (UTC)
not a lot I can add to that, other than you seem to have captured it in a nutshell.

Michael Jackson doesn't seem to realise quite how serious the whole thing is.

I wonder if he'll ever make it as far as prison, if it turns out that he's guilty, or whether he'll vanish into the ether...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-11 03:29 am (UTC)
It's certainly hard to imagine him in prison- or anywhere else in the real world.
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[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2005-03-11 03:22 am (UTC)
I agree, except that I could never remember Jackson being a god. I hate, hate, hate the way that the radio pours vile details of child abuse into my ears every half-hour on the half-hour; I think I'm going to have to turn it off for the duration of the trial. It's purient and horrible and, surely, glamourises Jackon in a reverse fashion.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-03-11 03:29 am (UTC)
Never a God. But I remember seeing 'The Jackson 5' on Ed Sullivan. MIchael was a beautiful child. I always get that mental picture when I accidentally catch a whiff of any of the news.

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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-03-11 04:39 am (UTC)
The news this morning is all about Michael and his PJs.

One reporter who was watching him in court said she'd never seen him looking worse: his hair was uncombed, and he was so pale (I saw this, too) that he looked like a "death mask." It was also noted that he is extremely thin.

I suspect that Michael is moving close to the depressive barrier of the real world which he has, through wealth and syncophants, been able to avoid for years in Neverland. I think he is losing his mind.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-11 04:45 am (UTC)
I'm disturbed by my own reactions.

Sometimes, watching these images, I feel like I'm a member of a lynch mob



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[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2005-03-11 05:21 am (UTC)
I confess that I am not following his trial - at least, as far as I am able to avoid it. Unfortunately, details are being plastered on every damn news show out there, even some that should have better things to talk about.

And Michael is a vision, a visitation, an otherworldly androgyne, a god.

I also confess to disagreeing with you wholeheartedly on this. Michael was never an androgyne (as very old pictures can attest)...until he plastic surgery-d himself. I also don't think he was aiming for androgyny but rather femininity. To me, David Bowie is androgynous, K.D. Lang is androgynous....Michael Jackson is a horrible nightmare. I cannot help but wonder if Michael is a frustrated transsexual - something tells me he would very much like to be a Caucasian woman. There isn't a word like "transsexual" for wanting to be of another ethnicity, but I really do have to wonder, with all the bleaching, etc. he has put his skin through over the years.

People are saying that he's "coming unhinged" - I say that he's been unhinged for quite some time, and this is merely him continuing to sink in depravity and jackiejj is probably right that the reason he looked so awful yesterday is because he is getting his first dose of reality in probably twenty years. Imagine what a rude awakening it would be to have lived most of your life in the "happy ending" of a fairy tale, to suddenly wake up amongst the cinders.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-11 06:04 am (UTC)
There was a moment, after a certain amount of surgery, but before he turned white, when Jackson
was very beautiful- at least I thought so.

I agree that he's always been unhinged. I don't know if you saw his movie Moonwalker- my kids dragged to to it- but it was the sort of wish-fulfilment fantasy an 8 year old might have made.
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From: sunfell
2005-03-11 05:32 am (UTC)
I'll admit that I am not watching the trainwreck of a trial. I haven't bought an album of his since "Thriller". He was the soundtrack of my tech school days, but I was never a fan. He lost me when he lost his color.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-11 06:06 am (UTC)
I was always too old to be a fan, but my kids loved him and I could see what it was they saw in him. At the peak of his career he was extraordinary. And ground-breaking. There was a time (a long time ago) when the release of a new Michael Jackson video was an important cultural event.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2005-03-11 06:05 am (UTC)
I'm just one of those who never got the cult of celebrity that built up around him, even in the Thriller years. And even now, when the man (?) is at best mentally ill, and at worst a pederast, there's still a throng of fans gathering outside the courthouse chanting "Innocent!" I'm not naive to the possibility that there are plenty would would exploit their own children for a slice of the Jackson estate, but c'mon!

In the end it's just gotten tedious, hearing about him year in and year out. Your line pretty much says it all:
And then the decline, sinking deeper and deeper into freakishness, into Messianic fantasy, into a candy-coloured porno-heaven. It's been like watching a self-exiled Caesar go to the dogs.


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[User Picture]From: darlax
2005-03-11 06:53 am (UTC)
there's still a throng of fans gathering outside the courthouse chanting "Innocent!"

I remember a special on TV that talked about this throng of people always around Jackson. Apparently the numbers have been dwindling for years and they (the news) keeps cutting the angle closer and closer so you can't see that in fact, there are very few people there. I guess they do it under Jackson's direction. Pathetic, really. But also, it says he's fully aware of his dwindling popularity AND is aware enough to try and manipulate that perception.
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From: saskia139
2005-03-11 06:38 am (UTC)
Tiberius on Capri- all alone with his flatterers and pimps.

God, you are so right.

*points to Livia icon*
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-11 09:01 am (UTC)
Ah yes, the divine Sian Phillips!
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2005-03-11 08:59 am (UTC)
As well as the cult of celebrity I am curious as to why there are so many fans who are so obsessed with his innocence.

I sometimes wonder what he would have been like had he not been a child star. But I can't, he wouldn't have been MICHAEL JACKSON,just Mickaek Jackson, a different entity altogether.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-11 09:10 am (UTC)
I saw a mock-up once of what he would have looked like by now if he hadn't had all that surgery. This "real" Michael Jackson was just a balding, ugly, middle-aged man with a big nose.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-11 11:26 pm (UTC)
What was the official line- that he hurt his back putting on his trousers? Gosh, yes, trousers can be pretty nasty!
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From: goodfoot08
2005-03-11 06:18 pm (UTC)

not my area of interest

but I do want to make a passing comment. I think there are two endgames in process. The legal one involving "lifestyle" issues is certainly the more compelling arena for those that care. I frankly don't. It smells of the sort of bread and circuses that the popular press favors. More of the silliness that has professional baseball people being subpoenaed by Congress to weigh in on the use of steroids in baseball. If you make a list of the top 100 things that matter for our future, neither MJ or steroid use matter a fig.
Second endgame with MJ, is that he has lost control of his creative process and the way his last failure was promoted was the sort of corporate think inertia that results in useless expense and embarassing press for years to come. I have grown up with MJ in pop music and only grudgingly gave him acknowledgement for his accomplishment as a performer with the Killer album. I am reasonably certain that the army of pros that made that possible, starting with Quincy Jones, gave MJ the body of work that he has lived off of. As he has tried to "mature" and take control of his music, the results have consistantly lost the respect of musicians. The nadir was his petulant law suit against his record company for not properly supporting the album when all the money pissed away could have supported a hundred new artists who deserve a chance. The simple fact was the album was unlistenable.
The trial can't be over fast enough for me, regardless of the verdict. Assuming it is even possible, MJ needs to be refind his roots as a performer as so many others have had to do. Then he might find the respect he has lost.
Compare this to someone like Ronnie Lane, who has continued to create and perform music as he battles MS. There are other stories like his involving artists who continue to create. To focus on MJ is to buy into a cult of personality.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-11 11:37 pm (UTC)

Re: not my area of interest

Pop musicians can normally only expect a brief time at the top. Jackson has defied the odds by staying in the spotlight for as long as he has. Like you, I've been turned off by the attitudinising and the media stunts.

"King of Pop", indeed!
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