Hot Buttered Death
the southern white crap that talks back
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Wednesday, February 05, 2003  

That Michael Jackson documentary surely was popular the other night. I didn't exactly make a point of not watching it, I just didn't realise it was on last night; saw the ads on TV but didn't notice that last night was the night. Still, I had no desire to watch it in any case, but this story, plastered all over the front page of this morning's Telegraph as it was, told me what I didn't need to know. If any further proof were needed that Michael Jackson is a complete bugfucking maniac, this is it. What on Earth are those three kids of his still doing in his custody? What on Earth is up with him being allowed to have other kids over at his place? And what sort of fucking excuse is this meant to be?

But then what sort of role model does Jackson have for fatherhood? He may have taken mendacity to new levels ("just two operations to help my breathing"), but on this we can be sure: he was telling the truth when he told Bashir he was horribly treated by his own father. His sister Janet and brother Jermaine have both independently corroborated that Joe was a brute.
Physical and psychological bullying were the basis of his coaching technique as Joe Jackson coerced his family of five boys from Gary, Indiana into earning the fortune that would keep him in the style to which he fancied becoming accustomed. This is GCSE-level Freud, but every twitching complex from which Jackson suffers - self-loathing, self-obsession, self-abuse and 150 other terms each carrying the prefix self is directly attributable to his father: the way his father beat him and sneered at him and made him feel worthless. Poor Wacko ended up cutting off his nose to spite his dad.
But that does not mean Joe got his tactics wrong. For the other consequence of their abusive relationship was Michael's creative ability, the way he learned to perform in a doomed effort to earn the approval and love his father cruelly withheld, the way he channelled his frustration and rage into his music, and finally found that it seemed to give him the unconditional affection from fans that he had craved from his dad. Joe's parenting technique may have made his boy bonkers, but it also made him a genius - the psychological equivalent of locking him in a freezing garret.

I could almost buy that if Michael had actually done anything in the last decade or so to express this genius of his. What did he do instead? History, Blood On The Dancefloor, Invincible, floating a statue of himself down a river... does not even our author make reference to "a score of hysterical girls labouring under the quaint misapprehension that Michael Jackson is still worth swooning over despite not producing a decent tune for 15 years"? Apart from anything else, I don't buy that whole abused child thing as an excuse. It may well be a valid reason, but a reason is not necessarily the same as an excuse, and Jacko is fast running out of the latter...

posted by James Russell | 2:47 PM

what the critics have said