I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Michael Jackson

tn_mjIt’s not like there’s anything new that needs to be pointed out about Michael Jackson, but I can’t think about anything else. Over the years I’ve spun off on many tangents about his talent, his fascinating persona and the tragic circumstances of his life, so it’s nothing really new except for the unhappy ending, the lid put on my dreams of what could happen next. But maybe putting it into words again will help me accept that this has really happened.

The news just blindsided me and ended my day. I was researching something on IMDb, and as the page was changing I noticed the headline saying he’d been hospitalized. I was immediately worried because it said “cardiac arrest,” but thinking he was okay for now. I hit back, clicked on the link and didn’t even read the story because my eye went to the link below it, a TMZ story saying he was dead at 50. I wanted to believe it wasn’t true, a dumb mistake, or Michael doing a tasteless stunt he’d have to apologize for later. But somewhere in my brain I thought, 50, huh. Nice round number. I always wanted to see him get old with that face, keep that nose but have wrinkles and grey hair like a normal person. Walk around with a black coat and an umbrella, a strange but graceful old man. But it figures it would be something like this. Not 49, not 51, but 50. Fifty years of Michael Jackson, one half century. That’s all you get.

It took me about 2 or 3 minutes to remember how to turn the cable on, seriously. I just stood there with the remote control in my hand. I get bummed by celebrity deaths, but they never hit me like this. I was literally shaking. I got alot of singers I’m always dreading the death of, but he wasn’t one of them.

For the rest of the day it seemed like every 2 minutes my brain would reset itself, suddenly remembering “oh shit, he really died.” During the night I kept waking up and that was all that was on my mind. This morning I watch a youtube video of the legendary Motown 25th lipsynch of “Billie Jean,” and I forget again, I get so caught up in appreciation. You’ve seen that thing, right? One thing that’s incredible about that performance is that except for the moonwalk part (with its pulling-up-the-pantlegs buildup) it’s disguised as not really being a dance. It’s like that’s just how the guy moves when he’s singing. But it defies gravity. It’s like he’s the coolest strutter ever and he’s standing on a giant air hockey table.

mjcolumnMichael was supernaturally talented. There’s another video that shows him as a little kid auditioning for something, and he’s doing some of the same moves we associate with him as an adult. In a way, and not by choice, Michael sacrificed his own life and well-being for our entertainment. By all accounts his father was cruel. He drilled, overworked and beat those kids to be a success, to bring their family from poverty to wealth. You could compare it to the Chinese Opera that Jackie Chan grew up in, a miserable childhood of extreme training that brought him great skill. But of course that can’t explain it all because the whole Jackson family experienced that, they were all talented kids who could sing and dance and play instruments. And none of them approached Michael. He just had something.

Stevie Wonder was a child genius who grew into an adult genius, and he doesn’t seem to have the same damage. But I’m guessing he had kinder parents. I wish Michael could’ve gotten over it. But he felt he had missed his childhood and he spent most of his adult life trying to get it back. He was unhappy with reality so he built a new reality, an amusement park, a zoo, a statue of himself with a Batman costume. He apparently leaked stories to the press to make himself seem even weirder, like the one about sleeping in a hyperbolic chamber to protect his skin. And his skin was an issue. He was unhappy with the reality of himself so he transformed himself as well. He smoothed out the vitelligo and everyone made fun of him for becoming “white.” He slowly chipped away at the nose, changed the eyes, until he was a completely different person who on a bad day looked like a drag queen with an alien nose, on a good day a pixie-ish Peter Pan type like I imagine was the goal.

It seems pretty clear that somebody who would do that is deeply troubled. But I can’t lie, the bizarreness was part of my fascination. It’s just amazing to me that somebody could and would do those things. He seemed like a fictional character. Sometimes I thought of him as a weird Vincent Price anti-hero, a wronged madman living in a spooky castle, with rides and mannequins. And I was thrilled every time I read a new strange thing that he did. I remember years ago he was interviewed in TV Guide and claimed that he went door to door like other Jehova’s Witnesses, but that he did it wearing a fat suit, afro wig and buckteeth. And I thought damn, what I wouldn’t give for Michael Jackson to knock on my door wearing a fat suit, afro wig and buckteeth.

Oh man, the disguises! I loved the disguises. The first time I knew about it was a picture I saw in People magazine or some shit like that, maybe in the early ’90s. He went to Disneyland in disguise. He had a mustache and a trucker hat (at that time only worn by actual truckers). But his eyes looked like Diana Ross. It was not convincing, and I loved it. This was years before we all became accustomed to the face mask and the umbrella, later the plastic mask, recently the Zorro mask (and pajama pants). And his kids wearing Spider-man masks. I mean, if you’re Michael Jackson, why not celebrate Halloween everyday? (although I guess Jehova’s Witnesses aren’t supposed to celebrate holidays.)

I don’t think most of that stuff was a put on, but it fit nicely with his work, which was equally bizarre and eccentric. There was of course Captain Eo, the 3-D movie at Disneyland (directed by Francis Ford Coppola) where he flew around in a spaceship with robots and furry aliens, and used his dance moves to transform a Giger-esque Angelica Huston into pretty lady Angelica Huston. I always liked when his moves made sound effects or shot lasers. Moonwalker was my favorite, the home video that was basically a feature length expansion of the Smooth Criminal video. He fights Joe Pesci, saves the children, turns into a car, a robot, a space ship. Flies away like E.T.

Much later on there was his short film Ghosts, which took me a while to get a hold of, but it was worth it. Come to think of it this is probaly the last time he worked with a bunch of special effects. It’s bizarre, with creepy hints about him being a child molester, which I could never figure out how they got in there. Was somebody trying to make him look bad? But it also was the first time I saw motion capture put to good use, and still one of the best. He tears his skin off, becomes a skeleton, then proceeds to dance in ways that only Michael Jackson could, ways that could never be animated by hand.

That one came out after his first trial. It portrayed him as a weirdo in a castle who some of the neighbors want to get rid of, but then when they come talk to him and see him dance (and turn into ghosts) they are won over by him. In real life people were more eager to condemn him. I guess that’s fair. I would like to believe he was totally innocent of all charges, but I don’t. Still, when the allegations came out it infuriated me because I felt like innocent or guilty didn’t matter to anybody, he was a weirdo so he was guilty. I felt bad because I knew if he really was innocent nobody would ever believe him. And now that I think about it maybe I’m included in that, I didn’t believe him either, as hard as I tried.

I remember eulogizing Michael’s hero James Brown when he died a few Christmases ago. That was a tough one because he created some of my favorite music in existence, and inspired so much, but I’m convinced he was a total bastard. James Brown beat up women, I don’t think he denied it. Michael, although never convicted, most of us believe he molested children. If it’s true it will damage those kids just as Michael’s childhood damaged him. If you believe or know they did these things, but you think they make great art, you have to do that separating-the-artist-from-the-person thing.

But with Michael it’s hard to know where the line is between those two sides. For me the eccentricities were part of the performance. I remember watching that TV documentary by a guy named Martin Bashir, the first thing that gave an inside look at Neverland Ranch, and showed Michael going on ridiculous shopping extravaganzas in Vegas. I was so thrilled to be seeing every weird detail at the same time as I wanted to punch Bashir in the balls for being such a clueless, sensationalistic prick. I haven’t seen that thing in years but it still pisses me off thinking about it. He asks Michael why he’s so fascinated with Peter Pan and Michael says, “I am Peter Pan.” And Bashir says, “You’re not Peter Pan,” pretending that Michael meant it literally, which he fucking well knows he didn’t. The part that really gets my blood boiling is thinking about them walking around the ranch and Michael spontaneously starts singing. Bashir doesn’t give a shit and interrupts him to ask some trivial questions.

Hey asshole, you are privy to a private Michael Jackson performance, you don’t want to hear it? Fine, go stand in the corner so the cameraman can get it. We want to hear it.

But also that special broke my heart because that was when Michael addressed the allegations, and at the same time made suspicions worse (and I believe one of the kids hanging out with him there is the kid that his second trial was about. Although that one did seem like a setup.) I guess this was nothing new. He had done that interview when he was married to Lisa Marie Presley, and I listened to him and wanted to believe him, but I just didn’t.

I believe Michael Jackson was an otherworldly talent, and was very sick. He was a victim who was not strong enough to survive, and instead perpetuated the cycle of victimization. And if we believe that’s true we have to condemn him for that but also I think we should weigh his flaws against the good he did in the world. Despite his probable sickness I genuinely believe he was a good person who wanted to heal the world and spent millions of dollars helping people, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick. Believe it or not I have a friend who’s even more into Michael Jackson than I am, and he always points out how Michael is one of the only people always talking about healing the world and seeming completely sincere and unironic. Nobody these days wants to be that earnest all the time.

He also improved the world in ways that were not intentional. His phenomenal success on MTV (which would not even play black artists until his record label backed them into a corner to play him) truly did break a color barrier in pop culture that opened a floodgate that over time massively changed race relations at least in this country. He was the Jackie Robinson of the video age. He absolutely was the spark that lit the fire that brought a generation together through music. He made all kids of all races learn about breakdancing. He was a pinup in the locker of girls of all races. Little boys of all races wanted to be him. Corey Feldman dressed up as him, Alfonso Ribeiro dressed up as him. Some people say there would be no President Obama if not for the generation of white kids who grew up on hip hop, breaking down racial barriers. But I don’t think there could be that generation if Michael hadn’t integrated MTV. What if it had been Orin “Juice” Jones or somebody, nobody gave much of a shit and MTV went back to all white artists?

Shit, you can say Elvis was a white guy stealing from black music, here was a black guy stealing it back from white people. And then sharing it with them, and erasing his race altogether. There are a million ways to interpret what he did with race. Who knows what the fuck it means? It could be a good thing, it could be a bad thing, it’s definitely an incredible thing, that this really happened.

I don’t know, man, all I know is I woke up this morning knowing there’s no Michael Jackson anymore, there’s only Michael Jackson music. Like Elvis he will start to be remembered less as a person and more as an icon. A t-shirt. A magnet. I regret that I never got to see him in person, or even see a DVD of the London shows I was hoping would be amazing. But I’m thankful I got to live through his era. In death, at the very least, there is an end to his pain. If there is something beyond this I hope he finds peace and forgiveness.

Okay, I apologize in advance for giving you this mental image, but yesterday I was really crushed and grieving about this, and watching the TV for hours and feeling weak and helpless. But then I started putting on my favorite MJ songs… “Thriller,” “Billie Jean,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Another Part of Me,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Ben”… and I started to fucking dance. Or as much of an approximation of it as a guy like me can accomplish. And as long as the song was on I could smile and I could laugh. The song would end though and it would all come crashing down, because during the song I was just thinking about the music, celebrating it, enjoying it, and when it faded out I would remember “Oh shit, Michael Jackson is really gone.” And I’m still having those moments while writing this. But I know that some day not too far away it will be different. I’ll listen to those songs again, and when they end the joy will stay with me. My mind won’t dwell on how much of Michael is gone, but on how much of him is still here, and how great it is.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 12:45 pm and is filed under Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

100 Responses to “Michael Jackson”

  1. Absolute best thing that has been written about this, and one of Vern’s best ever.

  2. Wow, that was everything I wanted to say but more. You hit right on the head from how you describe it. And you’re right about the brain reseting every two minutes! I mean it just seems like I go out and do something else and then I’m back thinking about it. I don’t know where else to express this grieving, and you pretty much covered what I wanted to say but I just want to type something to get it off my mind.

    I know it might seem crazy, but before I heard the news I’ve been having alot of references of Michael Jackson through my recent days.

    A few days ago I watched Delirious again and played guitar hero with his song which I haven heard in awhile, with mimicking the “Is it alright if i come over there and sing to you” bit with my cousin. Then the other day, I found a remix of his by accident, only because it was included in this mix I had. And finally, I then somehow got a chance to play his old MOONWALKER videogame, which i haven’t seen for years when playing some old sega with some friends just yesterday. All of these so called hints might seem a little nonsensical, but it felt about the same before Issac Hayes and Bernie Mac passed away (watching oceans, listening to the sample portishead/biggie/hooverphonic/and many others had used prior to the event). I’m not saying I have powers in the form of activities, but has anything like that ever happened to anyone else? Like, “Man i was just thinking about that guy!”. Which gets me scared everytime I think about stevie wonder for some reason (since that eddie murphy joke cracks me up even when i’m not thinking about anything…MUDDAFAWKA!)

    But wow, I never thought it would have that great of an effect on me until I heard the news. All of a sudden, it felt like I had lost someone close to me. I haven’t felt this way about someone “famous” since stan winston died. Just thinking about the magic and passion that was put in their body of work were something of awe. And to know that magic will never be made by them again with yet so much left to give, just makes the world even less exciting than it was when they were here.

    I can’t say i’ve stuck it out all the way with Michael as a fan throughout the years. But growing up, he was all I ever ever talked about and tried to imitate along with Batman and Superman. He was a hero of mine, and its sad how I never openly expressed how big a fan I was of his later down years. I mean its sad! to know that you can say “i’m a big fan of batman and superman” with that still being somewhat okay, but you can’t even mention michael jackson without being questioned. I’ve always hated that. I hated that interview of his way back when with that one indian dude and hated every single moment I tried to play a song of his without knowing something might be wrong with him.

    But just looking at those videos of him again brought me back to that kid witnessing his music for the first time. The memories of me waiting late at night when he’d premiere a new video on tv and singing them the next day at school with friends. I was reminded of the magic it was to have a michael jackson in life and what an honor it was to have been witness to when he was here. Its as though none of his later years had never been mentioned, and whatever might have happened afterward just became a blank. I see that and more, its as though I might have overlooked how content he was while he was performing. That confidence and way he really felt the music and put it out there. It brings me some hope that he really was happy in life, and sad to know we’ll never get to see him like that again. But I just know him and james brown are making the best music and dancing like this world will never see until we get there.

    Thanks Vern. I knew you’d post something about it. And you did.

    Its still bringing me down when I think about it, and I thank you for the chance to post this. I don’t know where else I could have expressed this with other then with people who understood. But its good to know that there is still Vern around for some form of excellence. Review or not, i’ll keep reading just because. Plus, the commentators we got here are just as interesting to read as well.

  3. That was exactly the tribute Michael Jackson deserved Vern. Incredible

  4. I’ve been a huge fan of Michael all my life. And of all the articles and stories to come up since it happened yesterday this one is the best. You hit the nail on the head, nothing else could sum up The King of Pop’s mystique, life and persona better.

    Right after it happened yesterday I listened to Gone Too Soon off of Dangerous. The song just captures that weirdly “Spielbergian” sense of wonder and sentiment and cheesy-awesomeness that Michael so perfectly put forth, side by side with his mystical pseudo-badassery.

    A very special, indescribable “thing” is gone from the world. And it is very sad.

    Thank you for being so frank and honest. A very nice article.

  5. Great article Vern. I wouldn’t have said I was ever a fan per say but this still articulated a lot of my feelings about the man and what I have been trying to say to a lot of people about him today. Well done.

  6. That was really touching,Vern. Thanks for that.

  7. Vern, you’ve displayed once again why you aren’t just the best film critic on the Internet. You’re among the best of your generation.

    Ebert’s tribute was nice, but you as a fan…you probably articulated fully why this demise is up there with Elvis and Lennon…which really, the reaction by me and everyone else actually kinda surprised me.

    I’m reminded of when I was in high school when Joe Strummer of The Clash died, in his late 40s and was having an under-the-radar small comeback with his band and still doing his shit. Hell his last concert gig was a benefit fundraiser for striking British firefighters. Anyway, the death pissed me off becuase besides not getting anymore music obviously…it also killed any chance of a full Clash reunion, and I wanted to see them live. Oh well.

    Anyway, thanks Vern. I’m sure you helped yourself as much as your readers.

  8. just chiming in to say that was a fantastic piece of writing.

  9. If anyone else is in Seattle, the EMP took a Michael Jackson jacket and glove out of storage and put them on display in the Sky Church, open to the public. I read that and went over there but wasn’t prepared for the fact that it was THE jacket, the one he wore on the above-mentioned Motown 25th! Behind it they’re playing videos and performances on the giant screen and outside everybody’s writing messages in chalk and leaving flowers. His music is also playing outside and from the fountain. It really cheered me up… until I left. But I talked to my even-bigger-fan-than-me friend so those two things combined with writing this seem to be helping me.

    Thanks for the comments everybody and feel free to keep sharing your thoughts, it felt good for me to get them out.

    Shummon. Who’s bad?

  10. Great article Vern.

    Have you read Moriarty’s post about it on hitfix? He has a fascinating story about meeting MJ, apparantly the guy used to come into a laser disc store he worked at after it had closed and buy $1000 worth of discs at a time.

    Also it’s great to read a eulogy that doesn’t ignore the fact MJ had some serious issues, the tabloids are happy to do their typical thing of condemning the man one day then praising him seconds after death and ignoring all the shit they wrote about him as if it didn’t exist. But I think it does need to be talked about. Like you said, the guy was a victim, and his lifestyle only helped to perpetuate that as he could live out his fantasies. Why face the screwed up parts of your childhood when you can just build a world and relive it. It’s depressing because it’s not the best way to move on from it and confront it, but at the same time completely understandable – who doesn’t want to just relive some fucked up moment of their life?

    And I completly get what you mean about his desire to help the world being genuine. I mean, listening to “earth song” there’s no one else in the world that could have done that song and leave me feeling like he genuinly meant it. I can be a cynical bastard and would normally shrug off that kind of attempt at “we’re killing the world, man” but with MJ there wasn’t a hint of irony or pomposity in it. You just genuinly felt like he meant it and couldn’t believe that this kind of shit went on.

  11. This is the first thing I’ve read about Michael Jackson’s death which has given me a real idea of what it is like for a die-hard fan on this day. I was never a huge fan, but I would never say his music didn’t affect me (I mean, Smooth Criminal? Goddamn yes). Thank you for that peek into your grief, Vern, it’s appreciated.

  12. Vern, the best thing about this is that you bring back the magic of Michael–the marathon day my cousins and I sat in front of MTV because they were playing “Thriller” every hour; the compulsion to rewind the footage of the Moonwalk over and over again; the rush I get from the bass lines in “Billy Jean” and “Smooth Criminal.” The pure, innocent *excitement.* When I read that he’d passed away, I remembered him as the sweet-faced, beaming-smiled Michael, and it was nice to have that, as well as your tribute, for just a short time….

  13. Wow, that was a good article.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you call MJ a “victim”. He was a fame-junkie, and the addiction destroyed him, with the help of a lot of the people around him (media, publicists, even family). Hell, he bleached his skin white for it. That’s not the action of a normal guy. I don’t think he ever stopped being a child himself.

    On the other hand… this is like the death of Jerry Falwell (not that I’m comparing those two people at all in terms of character or talent – in fact I’d find it hard to imagine two people more different! – just my own reaction to them) in that I’m really not sure how to take it. Victim or not, this was a guy who took young boys to bed with him. And hell, if I were a billionaire pedophile, I’d have a funfair in my back garden too.

    I think the best thing is maybe to try and forget the life, the media sensationalism and everything else, and concentrate on what he gave to the world – he made a helluva lot of people dance. Now that’s not such a bad thing to leave behind.

  14. Like Brendan said, this is not just one of your best blog entries, but one of the best M.J. tributes written. Especially because it comes from a viewpoint that I haven’t been seen much of online (I’m not even going to see what the AICN commenters have to say about this), it’s either overly glossed-over “Michael was a saint” or demonizing “The child molester deserved it” stuff. This guy was a fucking GENIUS, but also a very sick and troubled man, neither of which should cancel each other out. Thanks Vern.

  15. Wow. I have been a fan of yours for a long time Vern, and I always thought your writing was extremely entertaining, but this is some serious, thought provoking, and moving stuff. As has been said already, this is the best tribute to MJ that I’ve read, and it is definitely your best work as well.

    Kudos, sir!

  16. On CNN, there was a touching segment about the fence surrounding the American Embassy in Moscow…all decorated with flowers, signs, and photos from MJ’s Russian fanbase. Alot of whom bought the guy’s records from the Soviet black market, when the KGB could jail your ass for owning THRILLER.

    Think about that for a moment. Or Iran at the same time, for that matter.

  17. A slight update: If one counts MJ’s singles, along with his shit with the Jacksons and Jackson 5 and even that “We are the World”…on iTunes, he’s got 42 of the Top 100 currently downloaded songs, with SIX in the Top 10. The highest is “The Man in the Mirror” at #2. Not even The King of Pop could dethrone the Black Eyed Peas.

  18. Oh and Owning up Amazon’s record charts so far.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/music/ref=pd_dp_ts_m_1

  19. dude, you’re gonna make me cry.
    excellent piece Vern.

  20. and by “cry”, i of course mean dance.

  21. I’m not sure if anybody else said this, but I always figured he’d just kill himself one of these days. That we’d all here about it suddenly like we did this death.

    He was always so sad and needy, it just seemed inevitable. But I guess it didn’t happen that way.

    I grew up in the late 80s and everybody back then still wanted to be Michael Jackson. I had no idea how much he’d changed his image because he’d done most of it during years before I watched television or whatever on account of being a toddler. I got to be a teenager and that’s when all the pedophile stuff started happening, but most people my age didn’t really like hearing jokes about him molesting children because he was an idol to all of us growing up.

    I guess if I’d been a bit older I would’ve been aware of his plastic surgery obsession and been more critical of all those wacky rumours about sleeping in a fridge with a monkey, but I wasn’t.

  22. I pretty much said my piece and memorial in the ‘rest in peace’ thread and I still can’t fully fathom that he is no more. Weird too because in some ways it’s odd that we are mourning him due to his ‘controversies’ with children. Yet he also did so much good and as stated he seemed very sincere with wanting to ‘save the world’. Just a facet that made him so interesting, and all the more sad: he wanted to save the world but his own inner demons and insecurities led him to perform some evil acts that almost single-handedly cancels out all the good he has done and wanted to do. Yet he completely broke the color barrier and in that way he did change the world for the better. As stated this is what made him such a fascinating tragic character, he wanted to (and some ways did) change the world for the better but he could not save himself.

  23. -with everyone else giving fond memories of him I guess I will as well

    My fondest childhood memory of Jackson though was probably ‘Captain EO’. I had not seen ‘Star Wars’ yet or any fantasy/SciFi what so ever. I didn’t even know who Jackson was, it was just another attraction at Disney World. So it’s with that this George Lucas-written oddity blew my mind (amazing in retrospective since Lucas was in a bit of a hermit at the time and wouldn’t do anything at the time other than Indy). Even though I was under 10 at the time and can’t remember much of my childhood (most not worth remembering or not pleasant to remember) but I completely remember watching and being captivated by what I was witnessing in that theater. Pure magic and looking back at it, very innocent. How does Jackson save the day? With violence which is the typical method in narrative it seems? Nope, he does it with dance. In some ways that pretty much summed up what made him a legend and a wonderful character. He just wanted to bring the universe together with his art and performances.

  24. (applauds Vern)

    You handled that the same way the man did it himself. Michael was beaten, insulted, and put on display from a very young age, and his escape was in making art. You, along with millions of the rest of us, are grieving today, and you just plowed through and made a little art yourself there. The act of writing…or art…or CREATION is the surest way of dealing with grief, and my compliments to you on doing it in such an articulate fashion, Vern.

    I asked myself at the beginning of hearing this news, “well, when did you PICTURE him dying, Matt? Everyone has to go sometime.” And I found that I couldn’t envision him as an old man, dying in some forgotten room of Neverland like Charles Foster Kane. As shocking as it may be, this scenario seems somehow more appropriate for Michael Jackson, to me: he was training relentlessly for those London shows, pushing himself to be the perfect entertainer he found such joy in being (and what’s evident in all the video clips is how much JOY there is in his performances; he never made dancing seem like a chore. I’m thinking right now of his horny-ass street serenader in “The Way You Make Me Feel”–a lesser artist would look like a rapist doing all that, but that natural charisma and fluid perfection is right there, turning all the street bystanders into fans. It works because it’s true; you believe Michael Jackson could do that.) I suppose you can look at dying while straining to be the same perfect entertainer you were at 20 years old to be pathetic, the only remaining, desperate move of a man who was nothing without his fans…but, shit, if you’re that cynical about his motives, you never understood Michael Jackson, and you probably don’t know much about performers in general. I’d rather have him alive than dead, of course, but to know it came about while he was still trying to give the utmost for his art…it sure as hell beats dying on the toilet like Elvis, doesn’t it?

    By the way, regarding the Elvis comparisons, I firmly believe there’s a section of the population that’s in such disbelief about all this that before too long, stories of “Michael Jackson faked his death!” and “Jackson sightings” will enter the American conversation. Mark my words, you heard it here first.

    Finally, by way of personal anecdote (I have several, including dancing so hard to Michael Jackson at one college party that I literally threw up afterwards), I would like to submit that from eighth grade on, at every party where music was involved and I was on the dance floor, I was trying to be Michael Jackson in some fashion. Consciously or unconsciously. Yeah, I tried to get a few of the moves down (spinning: yes, going up on my toes: no), and, yeah, I looked so stupid doing it that I think I attracted friends mainly out of pity, but I think, as a child of the MTV era, that what I saw Michael Jackson do just got written in my DNA: THIS IS HOW TO BE COOL. Be eccentric. People will either love you or hate you, but they will never be without an opinion of you. That’s some good advice to follow, whatever field you’re in.

    And it’s a field you’re in, Vern, being one of the most readable critics churning out words today. Thanks again for writing about this. Stay eccentric.

    HEE hee! Owww!

  25. “In a way, and not by choice, Michael sacrificed his own life and well-being for our entertainment.” You know, that quote of yours sums up quite perfectly what i think of his life. For all his money and fame i wouldn`t wanna be him for one second. I think it was in that documentary you spoke about, where they said that back in the Jackson 5 days his older brothers were bringing groupies to the hotelroom and micheal being there right next to them. I think stuff like that really messed him up.
    I always got the impression all he wanted to be is a child.
    Yesterday the host of the biggest live show in german television here spoke about how hes never seen such a difference between the artist as a person and a performer. That when they were talking about the show michael didn`t wanna stay on stage and talk about stuff and they really had to take him by the hand and assure him everythings gonna be fine. But as soon as he got on stage he was that amazing artist with such a self esteem.
    Looking back i really feel sorry for him. I dont think he lived a happy life after all.
    I hope wherever he is now he will be happier.

  26. How sad.

  27. Thanks for that Vern.

  28. Beautifully put, Vern.

    Let’s hope that in passing he finds the peace he never quite found whilst living.

    He certainly deserves to.

  29. Jackson is now #1 on iTunes, with 7 in the Top 10. His “Man in the Mirror” edged out the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.”

    Yeah from the grave mother fucker.

  30. The first time I saw him perform was the Motown show on TV and even as a kid I new that this guy was something on orders of magnitudes more talented than anyone else.

    He was pure magic and his death really makes me feel old because I remember feeling dazzled when watching him and the feeling of being dazzled as a kid.

    I’ve never been fully convinced that he was a pedophile and whatnot. He was definitely creepy, but more in the sense that he wanted to be a kid than a molester. Of the 2 scandals that went to court, there was an in depth GQ article with Jackson on the cover in 92 or 94, I forget when that suggested that the kid’s dad used pscyhotropic anesthetic on him (he was a dentist and had access to the stuff) and that he needed the money. It is an interesting read if you can find it and it is believable. The second lawsuit seemed pretty much a grab for cash and that’s why he was acquitted. Still, the first tarring was to me what did the damage and gave license to every person who wanted to shake him down cause he was such an easy target…

    …or maybe he was guilty – I don’t know. I don’t think he was. He reminded me of Depp’s Edward Scissorhands character for some reason, unable to communicate with the rest of the normal people.

  31. Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part, and maybe after Jackson’s death some truly horrific details about his personal life are going to come to light, but, as of right now, I have serious doubts about him being a pedophile. I think there’s a big difference psychologically between wanting to actually be a child and wanting to have sex with a child. And I think his defense attorneys determined that a jury would take one look at him and say, “This fucker’s weird…he obviously did it.” and advised him to settle the case. Maybe later on, there will be irrefutable proof that reveals Jackson to be the biggest pedo who ever walked the Earth, and if so, I’ll have to say, “Wow, I was really wrong about that.” But right now, I continue to doubt.

    I didn’t know Jackson planted tabloid stories to make him look even stranger in the public eye. It reminds me a little of Marlon Brando’s awesome performance in “The Island of Dr. Moreau” where it feels like Brando’s saying, “I know you people see me as a big fat weirdo…fine. I’ll be the biggest, fattest weirdo you idiots have ever seen!”

  32. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe he abused children. I think the guy probably did some extremely inappropriate things, and maybe even illegal things, but I honestly believe that in his heart he never did anything he thought would hurt anyone. He was just way too naive for his own good. The guy enjoyed the company of children, does it not say more about society than it does about Michael Jackson that people immediately jump to the conclusion that he’s a paedophile? I mean shit, It seems to me completely understandable that someone like him would want to retreat into a more innocent world when the one the rest of us live in is so fucking jaded . Michael Jackson was someone that really did change the world for the better, and in return the world fucked him.

    It makes me sad that my generation never produced anyone even approaching the unbelieveable awesomeness that was Michael Jackson. The legends are all dying with no one to replace them. All we got are cheap copies of the one’s that came before.

  33. Mode_7 – There is something to that. I look back at 1979, and look who was on top.

    You had the pretentious-prog-rocking-but-still-fucking-awesome Pink Floyd release their classic opera THE WALL. 1982 is pivotal too, for besides that THRILLER video, Alan Parker’s PINK FLOYD THE WALL movie was also highly influential (concious or not) for MTV for the rest of the decade.

    I’ve pointed out earlier about the “punk”* The Clash with their LONDON CALLING which gave the stagnant punk music movement a kick in the ass, and a new possible direction. The next year was SANDINISTA!

    Then you had of course Michael Jackson’s pop sensation OFF THE WALL. And speaking of pop rock, while that album didn’t come out that year, Queen’s THE GAME came out in 1980 (which was recorded in’79). The last time IMO when Queen were fucking relevant and weren’t simply re-recording the same basic album over and over until the AIDS.

    So that’s arty rock (Pink Floyd), anti-establishment rock (The Clash), pure arena pop rock (Queen), and a new form of funk-pop (MJ). All great at their thing, their own tasty flavors, and people still listen to those albums to this day. Not bad 1979, not fucking bad.

    Then I look at 2009 and…who’s there? Nobody intrigues me or my ears at all, and I argue that those artists fucking FAILED US during the Dubya years. I’m sorry, but when the best try is “American Idiot”….pathetic. That and the only “pop rock” that stands out for me is Franz Ferdinand**….

    I think Mr. Subtlety would have the right words for this big problem.

    *=That term disservices The Clash. Maybe first two albums, but by LC and afterwards…more Post-Punk, Ska, New Wave, a genre of their own I suppose would fit them best.
    **=Nothing with being unabashed pop rockers but instead more OUTLAND than ALIEN, if you get my sci-fi cinema reference.

  34. Amazing write up, Vern. Thanks so much for this.

    I also suggest reading Drew McWeeny’s story about meeting Michael multiple times when he worked at a video store over at Hitfix.

    Thanks again.

  35. Vern…anyone else who is interested – this is the ’94 GQ article that I was referring to about the original molestation accusation that is reprinted here

    http://www.buttonmonkey.com/misc/maryfischer.html

    Basically, if you read the story it suggests that the original accusation seems baseless and contrived and designed to extort money from Jackson with the police as useful stooges. It is well written and well researched.

    That case to me was what set up the stage for the subsequent charges because he was such an easy target and everyone “knew” that he would pay to keep things quiet.

    Of course, MJ was foolish in allowing himself to be an easy target again given what he knew how people can act since he went through it once before, but I’ve never felt that he was a child molester – just a flawed guy with serious emotional issues given his upbringing.

    Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on this issue, we should be celebrating the man’s genius, but I’ve always felt that MJ, given his “whacko jacko” persona in the media over the last 20 years was never able to defend himself as well as he might.

  36. Holy crap, that article quotes from a tape made before the accusation of the kid’s father talking about how if he didn’t get what he wanted he had “a plan in place” and had already paid people off and couldn’t lose. I always thought the second one was a shakedown, but I always had a hard time accepting the idea of being innocent and settling out of court for something like that. Actually, either side settling out of court, because if that was your kid you would want the guy convicted.

    It’s a very persuasive article that paints an even more depressing possibility, that MJ really didn’t do anything but as a rich weirdo was victimized by his hangers on, ruining his reputation and career and leading to the drug addictions that seem to have killed him.

    If so, thanks alot assholes and may Bubbles shit on your faces forever.

  37. Vern, here’s another good “Inside Story” article, from the Daily Mail. Since its a British paper, take a grain of salt. It seems to argue that MJ wasn’t a pedophile as much as a homosexual with an eccentric lifestyle…but not a pederast.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196009/Im-better-dead-Im-How-Michael-Jackson-predicted-death-months-ago.html

    And reveals that MJ left his kids 200 unpublished/demo songs penned and produced since the 1990s (which the banks can’t touch) so they would live comfortably after he expired. Yes, TWO HUNDRED songs.

  38. you are, without a doubt,my favorite writer. I listened to both discs of History yesterday, RIP Michael

  39. The Jacko-Pedophile debate goes into the “Capturing the Friedmans” / Kafka’s “The Trial”-esque territory. The guilt is certain, the crime less so… is he really an all-out pedophile? How much of it was him and how much was speculation or gossip or media distortion? I doubt we’ll ever know.

  40. Well in front of the SIMPSONS tonight, in honor they replayed the “Do the Bartman” music video, the song that MJ apparently penned without credit.

  41. Well, I sure hope the part about the 200 songs is true. That would be great for his children and for the world. Unless they’re all by that Britney Spears producer who did Invincible.

  42. hey Vern, just heard on the news that his last rehearsal for the tour was taped. depressing though, that it had to take place the night before his death, but they say there’s a chance it could be released one day as “his last great performance”. good news?

  43. @Paul

    …interesting analogy with “Capturing the Friedmans” but I am not at all convinced of his ‘guilt’ – even in the limited sense that you suggest it. Clearly he was screwy and had a pathological need to surround himself with child-like things and kids but if you read the article of the early 90’s accusation that I link to it might give you an additional perspective.

    Having said all that, his need to be around kids and what not isn’t appropriate in my mind but I’ve never felt that he was the sex predator that his accusers and extortionists and the sensationalist media painted him as in his later years. There’s a reason why in his first accusation the police never even went to trial (I’m not talking about the civil suit which was settled but the alleged crime) even after spending millions and thousands of hours in manpower investigating him – there was nothing to support the charges and much to refute them – and the second case, where he went to trial, was out an obvious out and out attempt at a cash grab, which was why he was acquitted on all charges.

  44. I got in an outrageous fight online with this d-bag about MJ’s death. I’ll have to tell you about it later.

    in the meantime, I am glad to see you wrote about MJ.

    in high school when I was co-captain of the dance team with 2 of my best friends, we always made mixes with Michael Jackson songs. I liked that one of my friends was black and the other was latino and the 3 of us formed together for our love of dancing to MJ. when we would go out after we turned 21, we’d always request MJ to the DJ and when our song came on our faces would light up and we would DOMINATE the dance floor. (they were the first 2 I called when I heard the news.)

    I like that when I searched for images of people from the day we all heard the news that most of the mourning involved smiling faces and dancing. sounds almost evil, but more like people were so happy he merely existed and no matter what happens when you play his music you are touched or ready to dance!

    I also cherished our conversations about you excitedly playing the MJ sega game. it sounded so awesome and that you had so much fun playing it!

    I want to say that I don’t believe he touched those kids inappropriately. I felt like that he himself was a kid. it was just a sleepover! all kids have them! I strongly believe it was the parents with dollar signs in their eyes. I hope if it was their lie, their awful money grubbing intentions to push their kids to take advantage of their position hanging with Michael, that they feel guilt to the point of fiery damnation for all eternity in their souls for ruining the reputation of such a sweet/innocent/weirdo/messed-up/icon/best performer of all-time guy. fuck those parents. that’s what I say. I’m sick of the cheap jokes about MJ.

    I’ve been trying to put it in perspective for my friends who seem to not be hit as hard as I have– MICHAEL JACKSON was the closest thing to WORLD PEACE this universe has ever seen. in his prime, he was loved by practically EVERY COUNTRY. is there any other star or figure who has had such world-wide appeal since? he was literally the hugest thing that ever happened in this or any lifetime!

    that’s what I say!
    I’m still bummed. it might be stupid to say, but June 25th (and the day after) I felt more sad and upset than i did on 9/11.
    MJ = WORLD PEACE = FACT

  45. Alex t – I’m reminded of how big of an idol MJ was in the Middle East. Hey man, bridging the differences.

    Did anyone see the BET Awards last night? Nice surprise appearance at the end by Janet Jackson.

  46. Unfortunately , I never was a Michael Jackson fan. I said unfortunately because , even from a non-fan perspective , the man was a genius. Not only as a performer , but also as a composer.Growing up in the Eighties it was impossible not to listen to his music , and , I’m afraid , the music “industry” only picked up on the shows and moves of Michael , resulting in a lot of pale imitators without his passion and ability to create music. I felt the same as Vern with the death of Joe Strummer , right after seeing him play in Bologna. One of my favorite musicians was dead , and I wasn’t able to realize or accept the fact. But Vern is right , we will always have the music to keep us company.

  47. @ Vik:

    Y’know, I agree with what you’re saying. The real test is: would you have left your kids on their own with him? I know what the answer would be for me.

    Years ago, a diamond engagement ring of great sentimental and monetary value went missing in my family, causing someone a great amount of distress; and, as with most families, there was a “black sheep”, a teenager at the time, who was suspected of taking it without realising how much it meant to the person who lost it. Only the suspected person knows whether or not they took it. If not, it’s probably lying at the bottom of a drain somewhere.

    That was fifteen years ago, it’s barely been mentioned since, and I know it still weighs on our minds occasionally… Therein lies the power of credible but unproven guilt.

  48. @ Paul

    I wouldn’t leave my kids with him or most anyone except for close family. Like I wrote above, I believe his compulsions to be around kids is inappropriate, only that I don’t think that he was a predator – just severely damaged in a unique way because of his upbringing.

    I think that we basically agree on most of this. At any rate, he didn’t make it easy on people who wanted to disbelieve the charges and to believe him, that’s for sure.

  49. Great piece… And name-checking Orin “Juice” Jones? Fucking awesome.

  50. “I was just about to run up on you and pull a Rambo, but I didn’t want to mess up this 37 hundred dollar lynx coat.”

  51. Nothing against Juice, just saying that if Michael hadn’t been spectacular maybe MTV would’ve stuck with the white only programming after he fizzled out.

  52. wow Vern, this is 100% brilliant, you deserve applause!

  53. It’s just a shame that no one loved him enough to get him the help he needed. Of course, the ones who SHOULD have been there are also the ones who fucked him up in the first place. It just sucks that he had to go out like that schmuck Elvis. But at least Jackson maintained a certain dignity within the walls of his crazy, eccentric world. And now, the really sick part is going to be the greed circus that begins pitching its tents on and around his estate. I don’t know if I even want to see the so-called “tribute” final rehearsal tape or even his backlog of unreleased songs. It’s just going to be a more transparent form of the Michael Jackson Money Machine that his handlers have constructed from the bones of an artist.

  54. Anyone else surprised when he named Diana Ross as his kids’ alternative guardian?

  55. I have to say, that memorial was surprisingly well-done and touching today.

  56. like when they pulled his daughter in front of the crowd, when michael alway tried to hide them from the public. Here was a man that has gone so far as change his skin color to break up with his roots and thinking about that his kids now get instrumentalized the same way as michael by his father makes me wanna puke.

  57. This is the first black that has kept my attention from beginning to end … I did nit want to leave my PC ….

    You are completely on point re MJ…. Great work…

    Tell me, what do you think about the absence of many A listers at the MJ memorial

  58. OMG correction … This is the first BLOG that has kept my attention from beginning to end … I did not want to leave my PC ….

    You are completely on point re MJ…. Great work…

    Tell me, what do you think about the absence of many A listers at the MJ memorial ?

  59. “Tell me, what do you think about the absence of many A listers at the MJ memorial ?”

    I didn’t know Kobe, Usher, John Mayer, and Mariah Carey weren’t A-listers.

  60. Maybe he meant cool A-listers.

  61. Well….ok, maybe he’s got a point.

    Though Kobe just won his Shaq-free ring. I guess that’s cool, yeah?

  62. I don’t know, it didn’t seem to me like they made his daughter talk, she just did it. Pretty crazy that a girl can be hidden behind a mask for her whole life and then open up in a stadium full of 20,000 people. All the CNN people seemed to have their hearts ripped open by her and I think maybe in part because they remember how they’ve covered this guy for the last decade and a half and now “oh shit, he was a guy with a family.”

    But I hope they can keep those poor kids out of the spotlight as much as possible. Don’t give them a reality show.

  63. By the way, thanks to that article linked above I’m back in the “Michael is innocent” camp. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, I don’t know.

    This one makes some pretty good (but less detailed) arguments:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/earl-ofari-hutchinson/bury-the-never-ending-myt_b_228307.html

  64. Na, please take another look at it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdSQBkk1gJo
    how they gather around her and hold her the microphone when shes nodding her head. Man, i see a girl looking down on the ground who dont wanna be in that spot at the moment. Seriously, who wanna step up to a stage in the moment of your greatest loss and talk to a stadium of strangers. I dont see much of a bright future for those poor kids when they stay with the jackson clan.

    That said, after reading the articles posted here i have to say i`m in your camp to. I never really read much about the circumstances, but after its get repeated in the media that often you think there has to be at least some kind of truth to the story. Seems to me like another case of the media just trying to sell news instead of actually looking up the story. Would love to know what that fucking dentist is doing today, i hope he had invested his money in Lehman papers.

  65. Superb article. Thank you.

    For me the most convincing proof that Michael wasn’t a pedophile is that he had thousands, maybe tens of thousands of kids at his ranch over the decades. Many of them kept coming back. Hospitals allowed kids dying of cancer there by the hundreds (he had special hospital beds installed in his movie theater so kids bed-ridden with cancer could watch movies in a proper movie theater). And there are two accusations of abuse. That’s just not the pattern of a pedophile. If you give a pedophile access to thousands of children for decades, they’re going to abuse more than two of them.

    R Kelly totally pissed on that girl though.

  66. So sorry!

  67. Don’t want to be an asshole or anything, but…I reviewed MOONWALKER.

    Expectedly, it’s quite terrible and at worst points (which are many), is pure egotistical. A superstar’s self-jerkoff or expensive private public shrine.

    That said, “Smooth Criminal” video (which MOONWALKER was shot around) was fucking awesome. You know, I’m actually shocked that MJ in the 80s didn’t actually make a full-fledged musical. With “Bad” and “Thriller” and shit, one might have thought that was inevitable. I guess that’s what Spielberg’s PETER PAN with MJ would have been.

    Oh well.

    http://filmcinemamovie.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=1960s&action=display&thread=2782

  68. Hey Vern, read your piece on Michael Jackson (very nice) but are you going to update it since now you believe that he is innocent of those charges? You say that you’ve changed your mind in the comments but the main article hasn’t changed or have any updates.

  69. Old news I guess, but a clip of an unreleased MJ song got leaked out (intentionally I’m sure)

    http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/hiphopmediatraining/153472/jackson-sings-about-escapism-on-previously-unreleased-song/

  70. Vern – you watched that MJ tribute at the Grammys last night?

  71. Yeah, but I couldn’t get the 3-D to work. I’m not sure where you were supposed to get the glasses so I tried the ones from my Friday the 13th 3 and other 3-D movies. None of them seemed to work.

  72. Vern – MICHAEL JACKSON EXPERIENCE. I bet you’ll asking your loved ones to get you this dance video game.

    http://videogames.yahoo.com/events/plugged-in/michael-jackson-the-experience-wants-to-rock-with-you-in-new-trailer/1411108

  73. Michael Jackson apparently tried and failed to get the rights to produce a musical based off the HARRY POTTER books, at least that’s what this JK Rowling woman claims.

    http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20431067,00.html

  74. Vern – New MJ song “Opis None” from the vaults!

    http://www.tmz.com/2010/11/06/michael-jackson-katherine-jackson-mj-song-opus-released-music-jackson-secret-vault/

    As a polite “Screw You” at Sony over those to-be-released archived MJ tracks which the estate claims are forgeries (Sony thinks overwise), the estate has released for free one of the legit MJ songs from the vault.

    It’s interesting, almost like his attempt at a Pink Floyd sort of thing I guess.

  75. I hate to say it because I like Michael Jackson but that song is terrible. It sounds like someone who is just learning how to use Pro-Tools got a hold of a 2 second soundbyte of MJ saying “This much confusion” and decided to turn it into a seven minute song.

    I’m sure the original song would probably be good as it sounded like there was some potential in what little vocals there was but that remix (as most remixes are) in my opinion, was garbage.

  76. I agree, I fear we’ll get a Tupac again here.

  77. So TMZ is now saying the family never “authorized” that release.

    Vern – What you thought of that “song” (yeech)?

  78. So “Breaking News” (the second “new” MJ song in the last few days) is now out on the Net: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfA4eLjsO20

    Two questions: (1) Is this shit legit, and (2) How is it?

    Vern?

  79. Well, the first one you posted is interesting because it shows that he was doing weird experimental stuff more like something I’d expect Prince to do. But it’s obviously an unfinished demo without lyrics. “Breaking News” is okay and does sound like him and the songwriting he was doing for Invincible. If part of it is overdubbed though I’m guessing it’s when he says “Michael Jackson.” That part sounds weird.

  80. Another MJ single released, his Akon-duet “Hold My Hand.” This was the one TMZ reported that Akon went back into the studio to “finish” up.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIxEISCUN3k

    Not bad.

  81. MJ beyond the grave with “This is It” got a Grammy nod, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and is up against Michael Bublé, Adam Lambert, Bruno Mars and John Mayer.

    http://www.tmz.com/2010/12/02/michael-jackson-grammy-nomination-this-is-it/

    And even if its the fucking (worthless) Grammys, I think a win is quite possible. Or to put it another way, look at 1981.

  82. Another new MJ tune revealed, “Hollywood Tonight.” Why premiere it on Ellen, I don’t know.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPFoz4zNB-4&feature=fvhl

  83. The first review of the MICHAEL album is out, and wow its ugly.

    “When Will.I.Am of all people is denouncing your project on the grounds of taste and authenticity, you know you’re on shaky ground. When your lead single is a duet with Akon, you should probably just pack up and go home. Michael Jackson couldn’t do any of these things of course, because Michael Jackson is dead.”

    http://www.nme.com/reviews/michael-jackson/11762

    Still apparently “Behind the Mask” and “Much Too Soon” are pretty good, so there is that.

    Vern buddy, can’t wait for your review.

  84. I’m glad I read the review instead of your out of context quotes, because it’s actually pretty positive. And I feel like I can trust the guy because he’s correct about “Invincible.” Mentioning “Butterflies” gets him the seal of approval.

  85. Vern – I wouldn’t exactly call 5 out of 10 “positive,” but from the viewpoint of “at least its not like the last Hendrix boxset,” then I can see that argument. My bad.

    I sure hope the guy is wrong in what he said in the last paragraph:

    “if this decent-enough album is the best of the bunch, things are going to get ugly from here on in. Michael has his epitaph now. Tear up that contract, The Jackson Estate. Tear it up now.”

    Ouch.

    I wonder when we finally get “Got the Hots,” which unless I’m mistaken, hasn’t been officially released except in Japan on their version of the Thriller 25 CD. Or for that matter, other demos like those he did with Freddie Mercury.* Maybe the next CD next year.

    *=Which I bring up because incidentally MJ claimed Queen’s HOT SPACE was a considerable influence on THRILLER.

  86. Vern – LA Reid (CEO of Island Def Jam) included “Butterflies” on his Michael Jackson playlist he published for Rolling Stone magazine recently.

  87. Quincy Jones is remastering OFF THE WALL, and we’re promised “never before seen” outtakes. Awesome.

    Also down the road, a soundtrack of the MJ-themed Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas.

    http://www.tmz.com/2010/12/13/michael-jackson-album-sony-off-the-wall-remaster-quincy-jones-cirque-du-soleil/

    Angela Dorian

  88. allmusic.com gave **1/2 out of 5 for MICHAEL, their views summarized as:

    “At the very least, the album doesn’t tarnish his legacy, although it adds nothing to it either. ”

    http://allmusic.com/album/michael-r2075647/review

    Can’t wait for your review, Vern.

  89. Just random, but I found this old clip where MJ in the mid-2000s briefly responds to getting dissed on Eminem’s “Just Lose It.” Best bit is when he calls it bullshit, bleeped of course.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKE1Sc0wPLE&feature=related

  90. Vern – Not that it matters, but Here is the Top 40 selling records of 2010. Both MICHAEL and THIS IT IS (which actually sold more than MICHAEL) each did platinum numbers.

    #1 btw was THE FAME (MONSTER) by Lady Gaga (meh) and closely followed by Eminem’s RECOVERY (pretty good/decent)

    http://www.mediatraffic.de/albums-2010.htm

  91. Vern – I know you’re not into those video game things, but would the MICHAEL JACKSON EXPERIENCE change your mind? My local Wal-Mart had that demo display some weeks back, giving people the chance to “dance” and also look like they were having a seizure or something.

    Anyway from what wikipedia says its got a good setlist. All or at least most of the hits. Plus they threw in some lesser-known tunes like the (awesome) outtake “Sunset Driver”* and “Money.” That was nice.

    Also I’m sure you would be amused to know that for “Speed Demon,” they used that anthropomorphic rabbit from MOONWALKER. Now that’s MJ nerdery on your level, Vern.

    *=Still evermore baffled why MJ cut that from OFF THE WALL.

  92. Vern – BTW, I’m surprised after Sidney Lumet’s passing you didn’t get inspired to review his THE WIZ.

  93. Michael Jackson was apparently Paramount’s top choice for the DOCTOR WHO movie back in the late 1980s (the project which ultimately was never produced.)

    http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/nailbiter111/news/?a=82729

    You know I’ll shock the Internet by saying that this casting actually made sense back then. I’m not saying it would’ve been good or even work but its as oddball Hollywood casting ideas go…you could do worse.

    Like Paramount’s 2nd choice: Bill Cosby.

    Where’s my pudding?!?

  94. I still think the best American actor to play the Doctor is Jeff Bridges, but that’s a different topic.

  95. Ha!

    Well in off-topic bad news, I missed the last VENTURE BROS. episode. My DVR shit the bed on me.

    Did you see it CJ?

  96. Dude, I’m sorry to say it, but you missed an episode, that could be one of the most important of the whole series (or at least this season)! Lots of shit went down, concerning O.S.I., Molotov & Monstroso and we even learned some new stuff about the Sovereign! You better try to catch up on it somehow (I think it’s on iTunes).

  97. I don’t know if this is true, but the complete docket of the porn found at MJ’s house when it was raided in 2003.

    http://www.sbscpublicaccess.org/docs/ctdocs/011805pltreqaseemd.pdf

  98. I meant “new,” not “true.”

    CJ – I’ll get around to it. I did catch this week’s episode “Momma’s Boys.” Started off trivially with the talking teddy bear plot, but then it went full on AWESOME starting with the bank robbery, which nearly made me piss myself. Also the ending, that’s how you drop the mic and walk off.

    Damn its amazing seeing how awesome Hank Venture is when needed and handle himself.

  99. I’m still torn about MOMMA’S BOYS, because the script was all over the place and felt more like one of the rare stinkers within the show (THE INCREDIBLE MR BRISBY, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO STATE DINNER, VIVA LOS MUERTOS, PERCHANCE TO DEAN), but the difference was that it was actually very funny and I just couldn’t stop smiling, while the story got more and more absurd.

  100. Currently it sounds like WordPress is the preferred blogging platform out
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