Apr 19 2011

Michael Jackson: What We See Is What We Look Like

Category: Justice,Prose/EssaysSeven @ 4:11 am

We See Him How We Are . . .

We See Him How We Are . . .

The following short essay is from another website which has nothing to do with Michael Jackson. In fact it seems to be a site dedicated to politics. However there is a forum on that site called “Entertainment” where members can post about Entertainment news and their favorite (or least favorite) entertainers. A member of that site posted the following about Michael shortly after his death. I want to share it because I felt it was a very wise assessment of how the world treated Michael – and why he was so persecuted by our society. I’ve said before that he wasn’t only ‘The Man in the Mirror‘, but that he also was the mirror itself.

When you consider the deliberately destructive tactics of Martin Bashir and Tom Sneddon, the insidious, ignorant rantings of those such as Diane Dimond; then consider that their work to destroy Michael Jackson says more about them than it does about Michael, this is particularly significant.  What must these people look like to themselves? Can they face the reality of who they are? I don’t believe they can, which is why so much of who they are is wrapped up in fighting it externally using people like Michael as a whipping boy. They apparently don’t possess the necessary self-awareness to deal with their true selves and their own inner demons in an honest way. The same applies to those who follow and believe the work of these people, which unfortunately is most of society.

shondradawson‘ elaborates in her short essay on the subject:

SOURCE: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=389&topic_id=6075401#6083051

There is no end to the commentary concerning the death of Michael Jackson and mine certainly warrants no special attention: nevertheless, I am slightly embarrassed to say how much his death has affected me. I have been a great admirer of his talent since I was a child; as most of us, I grew up listening and watching him evolve as an artist and reach the heights of stardom that I believe will never be surpassed…we no longer have a culture (or an attention span) to allow even the most deserving of talents rise and remain at the top of their fields. Our standards in so many respects have declined to even expect mediocrity: we are relieved to see it, as most of the talent now falls so far below it…

I have taken it upon myself to observe the collection of interviews, appearances, photographs, and other media on Michael Jackson during the course of his forty-five year career. What has struck me most about his personality (if, indeed, it can serve as insight to his character) is the alarming consistency of it. I say alarming only because most of us grow out of our childlike wonder at the world and the idealism in helping those in need, and making the world and its future better and brighter for others as well as ourselves. Mr. Jackson’s interviews as a child serve to show the influence of his family’s religion; as a Jehovah’s Witness, the strict beliefs that denied him holidays, birthdays, and the many forms of amusement such as television and movies and games that most children take for granted as their province. Being fully employed by the age of nine, Mr. Jackson had only his family, a large one, granted, but still a small cramped corner to grow up and cultivate a sense of self from: meanwhile, his exposure to the outside world of other people was distorted by fame, and the outrageous expectations that come with anxious and adoring crowds…how, indeed, does this shape the perspective of a child? I don’t wonder ever of his love for children and animals, undoubtedly the only company that never wanted or expected anything from him. I daresay it gave him a liberty from a repressive religion, suffocating family bond, a grueling work schedule, and a unruly mob of fans that held no end of comfort for him, even into his aging years…

Michael Jackson’s battle with vitiligo and lupus has been confirmed: suffering from gradual de-pigmentation and joint inflammation in front of the world must have taken a great deal of confidence from him as a performer: it made him a public spectacle in a way he never wished to be seen and shown. Why after thirty years of being born and raised into unprecedented stardom as a Black man, Mr. Jackson would decide to “become White,“ has been accused, but never explained. Alas, heavy makeup, ornate dress to completely cover his body took more than a physical toll; it took an emotional one, as his appearance was ridiculed even as he made desperate attempts to prevent it. Mr. Jackson directed our attention to his performance, more singing, dancing, fireworks, all the glitter and glamour and sparkle he could muster until we didn’t believe what we saw, but we loved it…therein lies the real magic of his talent, I believe, he convinced us he was beauty and grace even as his skin spotted and his limbs crippled behind the curtain…

Michael Jackson’s ordeal with accusations of child molestation are sad….I worked as a voluntary on three psych wards and have some indirect experience with pedophiles. He is certainly uncharacteristic of any I have spoken and dealt with outside of his love for children. A pedophile surrounded by children for four decades: two allegations surfaced with a nearly ten-year interval: the illogical sequence in the course of events should have been comical…should have been. The real argument is how many have allegations have not surfaced in the forty years….What will strike you about any repeat offender of such sex-related crimes is cunning: building an amusement park for thousands of children to run and play in; to openly admit you share your bed with them, to spend no less than twenty years of your life expressing how much children motivate and inspire you is no show of cunning, I can tell you. A pedophile would immediately open himself to suspicion under such candor. I believe Michael Jackson’s lack of exposure to our socially accepted hypocrisy failed to learn the rules of the games we play with one another. There is something pathetic about Michael Jackson’s statements and arguments: he seems to be genuinely telling the truth and expecting it to matter…the rest of us in the real world know better.

You are not innocent before proven guilty; if acquitted, it doesn’t mean you cannot be condemned…individuality can only be expressed if it is in accordance to what everybody else would do and be…if you are a man, be “how all men are,” or you will be labeled a homosexual, and you know what that means: a freak of nature, which will open you up to all sorts of allegations and assumptions, particularly when it comes to your relations with children and the paternity of your own.

The biggest star the world was beaten by a windfall of public scorn, a far more powerful weapon than any military force could wield…we pride ourselves on being able to say and do what we want, live and believe how we want: we indulge our delusions, don’t we? Try living in this world and this society where your love for nature, animals, children, family and friends made you a suspect; where your abstinence from drugs, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity made you a freak; where your compassion for the sick and the suffering, your aspirations for world peace and justice made you pathetic; where forgiving those who manipulated, exploited and wronged you made you deserving of being dragged through courts and drugged to keep the money-making machine oiled…in short, made you Michael Jackson.

I don’t pretend to know the truth of this man’s life…I can only seek to know it. I have sought it through his own words and the words of those who knew him. I have sought it in his art, his music and performances. I believe Michael Jackson’s life and death have much to say about what our society has become, clouded in delusions of freedom and liberty, in our aberrations of what it means to be good and decent.

Was Michael Jackson a good and decent man? I don’t know for certain; what I do know is, the qualities he was most ridiculed for are the ones we as a people are supposed to honor and celebrate in a human being, and his battles were something for which we are supposed to show compassion and understanding…

I believe Michael Jackson’s decade-span gave a baleful testimony of American society.

We saw Michael Jackson through the years from our own eyes…

What we see is what we look like…

We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.

-Anais Nin (1903– 1977), French-Cuban author, famous for published journals

Successfully forging the belief that tabloid journalism is a worthwhile use of your brief time on this planet must require a mental leap beyond the reach of Galileo. This is one reason why so many tabloid stories are routinely peppered with lies – if the writers didn’t continually flex their delusion muscles, a torrent of dark, awful self-awareness might rush into their heads swiftly followed by the realization that they are wasting their lives actively making the world worse.

-Charlie Brooker

_ _ _

{ Thank you to my friend Dhez for finding this very insightful essay on DU. Please note that any comments attempting to turn this article into a debate on politics will not be posted. -Seven }

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22 Responses to “Michael Jackson: What We See Is What We Look Like”

  1. dez says:

    Thank u & welcome seven. Actually i found it on maximum-jackson forum. A member posted it, when I read I nearly cried cause its really thought-provoking & mind blowing. Kudos to the writer. This should spread everywhere, a lot of truth there. http://www.maximum-jackson.com/discussion/showthread.php?11637-Very-Thought-provoking-Post-from-Another-%28non-MJ%29-Forum

    The OP said:
    “Very Thought-provoking Post from Another (non-MJ) Forum
    This is a forum to which I belong, where Michael’s death was met with both grief and scorn…some people wanted to learn more about Michael after he died, some others flaunted his death and continued to slander him, others were Michael fans and were devastated. It was a big controversy with lots of contentious threads among the members for the first couple of weeks. I would say that, although the Michael haters were the loudest and most offensive (or it seemed to me at least), a slight majority at LEAST were willing to give MJ the benefit of the doubt and were, at the very least, sad at losing someone so influential to music and popular culture.

    It got to where, though, MJ defenders were being so ridiculed that the vicious comments started to override the positive and neutral ones. On that board, many people tend to pride themselves in being “above” popular culture, BTW, and people who are more sentimental, sympathetic, and open-minded sometimes tend to get shouted down and intimidated. Still, a poster with a low post count dared to post this on the forum two weeks after Michael died, when most MJ supporters (including myself) had basically given up due to the hostility. I was so pleased to see the support she received, not to mention the beautiful and thoughtful post itself.

    BTW, the forum to which I have linked is NOT very tolerant of new members and there really are a lot of hateful people there, I have to admit. They pride themselves on spotting people who come with an agenda and will drive people away (even well-meaning people) in a heartbeat. Just a warning, just in case.

    I hope you enjoy the post.

  2. Anne Mette Jepsen says:

    Thank you Seven.
    LOVE and GRATITUDE 🙂

  3. Simona says:

    This is a treasure Seven, thank you and Dhez for sharing it with us.

    Got me very emotional….. so much truth and insight. Thank you truly

  4. Marie Jackson says:

    Very thoughtfully written and agree totally, that is why the internet is bursting at the seams with people trying to console themselves over Michaels loss.

  5. Karen in Houston says:

    This piece was very true and very sad. The road most people are putting themselves on by following the media diet is very distructive and morally wrong. When someone can say just about anything about you and stand behind the First Amendment to get away with it and you have no recourse except to sue (which is costly and time consuming), this is wrong in so many ways. We should be trying to help one another and not tearing good people apart for pure sport. I was always taught that if you have nothing good to say about someone, then say nothing – those days are long gone unfortunitly and we need to find our way back. We pride ourselves in helping when there is a natural disaster somewhere but what about our everyday lives? Where are we then? So many times people or friends become scarce because they are afraid of the fallout hitting them and causing some damage to their lives. That is not true friendship and that is what Michael was in need of most.

  6. TLS says:

    This is an excellent segue from Chaplin, who, like Jackson, didn’t waste a lot of energy defending himself against what for both was a tidal wave of baseless accusation, scorn and rejection. Chaplin was “accused” of being a Jew. Though there is no evidence of Jewish ancestry in Chaplin’s family, he himself refused to ever address the subject, saying it would play into the hands of anti-Semites. Just as MJ repeatedly refused to publicly address “charges” that he was gay. In what was intended to be an off-the-record comment, he said he didn’t want in any way to hurt the feelings of his fans, many of whom are gay. It’s heartbreaking that instead of being recognized and admired for their dignity and compassion, these two men were punished and reviled. The only explanation is that, as a society, we’ve got a lot of evolving to do before we can look in the mirror with anything close to pride.

  7. Seven says:

    @TLS,

    I used that very word just about an hour ago in reference to humanity: E V O L V E. We either need to do it or risk destroying ourselves due to our abject refusal not to. The choice is just that stark and devastating. Do it. Or, die.

  8. Seven says:

    @dez,

    Yes I did look around more in that forum, and even searched for the phrase ‘Michael Jackson’. What I found was mostly ignorant, chest-thumping vitriol, with the few open-minded people and defenders of Michael being shouted down with vile hatred saturated with tabloid ignorance.

    But you pulled this jewel out of that sea of muck and for that my friend I thank you. It’s an important light in all the darkness.

  9. Samba says:

    Thank you Seven for this article. All that has been said in it is true. I sometimes think that Michael may have been a wake-up call for mankind and the way we treated him is our biggest failure. How else would you explain a person so god-like and angelic. As he himself said in his song Is it scary?

    ” I’m gonna be
    Exactly what you wanna see”

    “Am I amusing you
    Or just confusing you
    Am I the beast
    You visualised
    And if you wanna to see
    Eccentricalities
    I’ll be grotesque
    Before your eyes “

  10. kay houston says:

    Thank God there is someelse brave enough to speak up with the truth! We truly live in a sick world where everyone thrives on lies.No one wants to hear about all the good Michael did or how wonderfull he was as a human being.God is still on the throne and His word is true and He says Vengence is mine I will repay! So all of you foolsh people watch! Michael God Bless You and Keep You May His face Shine Upon You and Your Children!

  11. emma says:

    It is a profound piece. Thanks Seven for sharing. As regards this quote: “I believe Michael Jackson’s lack of exposure to our socially accepted hypocrisy failed to learn the rules of the games we play with one another.” I my opinion He was perfectly AWARE about all the hypocrisy in our society and He not failed but REJECTED those “rules of the game”. He was a free spirit.

  12. Angela says:

    A small adjustment to the Is It Scary lyrics: towards the end – “Eccentric oddities”. Samba, that song is an excellent choice to demonstrate Michael’s frustration. Isn’t it ludicrous to think that some people regarded him as a beast and as grotesque? After you read some reflections by those who knew him well – like Bruce Swedien, David Nordahl, Karen Faye – you just have to give your head a shake about how this could possibly be the same person.

    Thank you, Seven, for posting this insightful essay, and for all that you do for your readers.

  13. Nancy says:

    Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Very insightful. Reminded me of you write Seven! It brought into focus how hypocritical we are as a society of people. We hold people in high esteem as long as they follow the guidelines as to what is perceived as unique or individualistic. Michael was a person who was an individual. Unfortunately for him, his uniqueness stepped way outside the boundaries of what is acceptable individuality, he therefore, became an object of mass bullying. His mission of peace and love was overshadowed by stories of plastic surgeries and accusations, because people couldn’t get beyond his eccentricities. He was a genius therefore, eccentric and he was eccentric because of his genius. What I love about Michael is that he was consistent in personality, philanthropy, morals and ethics. Even in the face of continual ridicule he continued to create and he created in a way that was unique to him…he did not cave in creatively. His psyche and soul were chipped away, but he still spoke of love and gentleness. He was not Jesus, but he was very Jesus-like and looked what happened to Jesus! He never spoke ill of anyone(except for Tommy Mottola-sp?-the Sony guy) and everyone who knew him personally said he was the sweetest man they had ever known. Like May Angelou said…we had him, but society did not know what a gift he was until he was gone.

  14. dez says:

    yes it is quite a gem & enlightenment. welcome seven …glad I could help. What a truly amazing piece that people especially among the haters should delved into. Much love♥ Thank you also for this wondeful & truthful blog. God bless always!

  15. Siu Siu from Hong Kong says:

    Seven, I would like to link this message on my fb and share with my friends. I cannot do that with the original message. Thanks for posting this message, it become clear Michael’s influence is within our heart and mind. I am so glad I live the same time with Michael and can understand his legacy.

  16. FF says:

    Thanks for this. It’s exactly what I’ve known for a while.

    There are lots of reasons they’ve sought to bring Michael down – and continue to. He clearly poses an inexplicable threat to some if only because I’ve never observed such a concerted effort of defamation of character continue well after death.

    This incenses me largely because I often observe people who have done genuine harm have their misdeeds excused or swept under the carpet.

    I too have read Michael’s interviews and the consistency of them in relation to his character also struck me. When he was young they said he was an old soul, when he was old they said he refused to relinquish the things of a child – what was always actually there was the same person – all the way through. Something nigh unheard of in a celebrity, let alone one famed to the degree Micheal Jackson was celebrated.

    I was reading – randomly – recently about computers and how when creating the basis of any system the system will ultimately get locked into it’s own limitations, and even though subsequent upgrades and additions highlight these limitations it’s almost impossible to go back and make a systemic correction without starting the entire system from scratch. A virtual impossibility when one system becomes dependent on another, and several others over time.

    Culturally you have a system based on a lot of assumptions and beliefs. When introducing something that doesn’t fit that system you have the choice of starting your belief system from scratch or simply ‘re-evaluating’ the incoming something that doesn’t fit your system (and making it something that does ‘fit’). In short, people would sooner believe the worst about someone (that’s one socially encouraged tendency, they actually call it ‘growing up’) then wade through all the information available and make an informed assessment (correcting the errors on which the system is based and the errors that have been created due to those errors). This is particularly true if they have to change something (even worse if it’s something that forms the foundation of their belliefs) in their belief system. Worse than worse if it’s something that forms the foundation of theirs AND the prevailing cultural mind.

    In that respect, Michael didn’t have much of a chance. I honestly feel that the 90s were the age of cynicism. The 80s had an element of it later in the decade but it really picked up speed in the 90s. I feel like that was the last decade, even as a child, you were permitted/encouraged to wonder at things rather than project your ideas of what they ‘should’ be onto them.

    I’ve noticed the people who seemed to understand Michael best were those of the older generations and children. I also find it interesting that I can hardly ever find detractors of his who don’t site tabloid lore as starting point: you can literally start picking off all the reported lies in their reactionary statements.

    I’m starting to get fed up with the paedophile label. No one who has lived in the public eye as long as Michael and been around as many children can be a paedophile with out there ever being evidence – or a collaborating body engaged in creating an apposite public image. As we all know any large body that could have been collaborating to create a positive public image for Michael was utterly absent. The media was bent on creating a monster. You need only examine the reporting of his trial and the FACTS of his trial to see this in action. Critically, no one can be in the public eye like he has with no evidence to show for this supposed paedophilia with a media so clearly set to inflating negatives about him.

    On one hand we clearly have a media pitted against him in order to make his every movement and memory that of a freak, and on the other hand we’re supposed to believe that this same individual was allowed to ‘buy’ his way out of prison. Really? How, exactly?

    As is known with a media paying for negative stories about the man with the price going up the uglier the lies become what exactly would be the motivation for covering up his misdeeds?

    I have to wonder if people put their special brains on when they start discussing Michael Jackson.

    It’s a lifelong smear campaign but the real question is that if we can’t examine the facts about such a visible and talented star what else are we routinely making negative assumptions about based on untruths? That’s the real question. I can only presume this is the real reason the campaign continues to this day: to stop people making that mental connection.

    Micheal Jackson is the biggest and brightest example of a glaring glitch in a system of negative assumptions. The only way to save the system is to negate the example. Then everything can continue as before.

  17. Solar says:

    Brutal truth be told! Thanks for this post, Seven! This is similar to the Rorschach test wherein the subject’s interpretation of inkblots is an indication of his/her own personality traits, preoccupation and conflicts.

    This explains why some people’s impressions of and feelings towards Michael can be so starkly different, revealing much about themselves – people like Dimond, Oprah, Sneddon, Bashir, etc.

    Indeed Rev Sharpton was correct when he stated at the memorial service something to the effect that Michael was NOT crazy, it was the crazy people/things around him that he had to deal with!

  18. Kasi says:

    @ FF

    May i say that your comment was equally amazing as the main post.The sad thing is that although we do know those facts, it seems like the media and the people who work on it have decided that Michael legacy should be formed based on the tabloid lies. Isn’t it just tragic that an innocent man who genuinly and maybe naively tried to help this world with everu mean possible is going to go down in the history as a “crazy, self loathing ,p.d” only because those who have the power to inform people have decided that in this case for some reason they are better to remain missinformed?

  19. Joyce says:

    Thank you Seven and Dez for finding and sharing this excellent, thoughtful and well written essay. It is even more amazing considering where it was found. The words that struck me as the truest and saddest were these:
    “…the qualities he was most ridiculed for are the ones we as a people are supposed to honor and celebrate in a human being…”

    It is up to all of us to keep Michael’s mesage and spirit alive.

  20. Heidi says:

    This can all be bottom-lined rather simply: Michael Jackson was the brightest Light this world has experienced in 2000+ years. This is crystal clear when one examines the messages delivered in his songs, his interviews, and his character/behaviors. This made and STILL makes him a threat to all those who uphold dark mindsets.

  21. Seven says:

    @Kasi,

    The reason is PROFIT. MONEY – lie for it, kill for it…remember Michael’s song. That’s why the media creates and perpetuates tabloid lies about Michael. It’s profitable.

  22. Ellen says:

    In all honesty, this article has a very sad message about the world we live in. There are just too many people out there who cannot or will not see the forest for the trees. We had an absolute angel in our midst for 50 years who showed us how to love and care for others less fortunate. This was so evident in everything he did whether by the message in his songs or the direct humanitarian deeds or in his interviews. For me, just looking into his eyes and hearing the gentleness and lovliness of his voice was enough to convince me that this wonderful creation of God was a decent and truly loving man who could hurt no one. I ache thinking about how cruelly he was treated and persecuted in this world of ours and regret never having known him personally. My only consolation now, since he was taken so tragically and abruptly from us, is that no one can ever, ever hurt him again and that he shall have no more pain. The suffering he went through at the hands of so many evil people was beyond what anyone should ever go through. I love you and miss you so very, very much, sweet Michael. I pray that I will see you in paradise.

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