Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Don't let them do to Beyonce what they did to Michael!

About a month ago I was very concerned when I read an article where the media was accusing Beyonce of trying to look white.

I had looked over the shoulder at a fellow passenger's mX magazine one evening as I headed home from work. (I  refuse to pick up a copy of this free newspaper as they have repeatedly been quite hateful towards Michael).

Here's the photo in question that sparked the controversy. From my vantage point (over someone's else's shoulder) I noticed the photo before I read the headline and I actually thought it was about Rihanna! So, to me she does not look white!

A black woman who is beautiful, talented and successful. Why on earth would she want to go lighter? And isn't it disturbingly familiar to hear this kind of attack to someone at the top of their game?

It makes me wonder if there is some invisible line she has crossed that means this attack now has to start. Did she win too many Grammy Awards in one night, like Michael did?

Quincy is just too funny in this!

As for the photo itself: 1. Is it photoshopped? And if so by whom? At whose request?

2. Was it taken in different lighting? For example sometimes the closer the subject is to the flash the paler their skin becomes - like in the above photo perhaps?  

I was shocked when I saw this photo. It is so very cruel - to do this to a child. And a child that idolizes her father. To make his little green eyed girl look even less like him - how mean is that? 

What's even worse is that they are still doing it!

Part of it might be unintentional. In this photo comparison a fan did, three outlets photos were matched to show how Paris's skin tone varies on each one.

Paris's skin tone is olive - like in the below photo - a result of being mixed race.

Beyonce is one of us - she's a total MJ fan so for that reason alone I hope we can all defend her against these assumptions. At least until there is some proof of some kind!

In every interview I've ever seen her do, she always mentions how much she loves Michael - and this is from the beginning, not just since he died.

She also incorporates him into her concerts; thus ensuring his legacy will not be forgotten. She shows this footage of herself as a little girl...

She then dedicates the song "Halo" to Michael.

Who can forget how she was so engrossed in the Earth Song performance at the 2010 Grammys?

I just love her - and with the recent passing of Whitney Houston (which if nothing else should serve to all as a reminder to treasure the talented whilst we still have them) we have to do all we can to stop the media assault on our beloved performers.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Michael was a very forgiving man.....and boy, did he need to be! Here is a list I’ve compiled of some of the things his ‘friends’ and sometimes even members of his family have said that I find disturbing. These quotes are only the opinions of his friends and family, but I honestly believe the quotes have contributed much to the media character assassination of Michael Jackson.

It’s so easy to portray the media as evil monsters who have a vendetta against Michael. And certainly, there are many who fit into this category. However, there may also be a good number of them who have formed their wrong impressions from comments made by Michael’s own family and friends.

Latoya held a press conference in Tel Aviv in 1993 where she seemed to be confirming the allegation levied at Michael by the Chandler family. I'm not going to go into the specifics of it because

1. It was all innuendo - she never actually said exactly what she thought Michael had done. She claimed she had seen payments made to children - the insinuation being that it was some kind of payoff to secure their silence. And of course, the media jumped on that!

Knowing Michael's generousity payments most likely were made. We know that the Arvizo family were helped tremendously financially by Michael and yet when the matter reached court there was no evidence of abuse.

Allegations = Proof                    Nope, don't think so!

What I'm trying to say is what she actually said was true - the way she said it lended itself to be construed the way the media wanted and thus hurt Michael.

2. And as I've told you - I've forgiven her. I do think she is genuinely sorry for what she did. More importantly Michael forgave her - so why shouldn't I?

Doesn't mean I can't poke a little fun, huh?

OMG! The sun really does shine out of LaToya's ass!
I was talking with a fellow MJ fan recently - she is very anti LaToya - and it made me realise something.

Who you're mad at, when it comes to Michael Jackson, is probably who most successfully duped you when it comes to Michael Jackson.

Let me explain. The friend I was talking about read LaToya's first book and was very knowledgeable about everything LaToya had said. All the comments or insinuations LaToya made did have an effect on her and made her doubt Michael's innocence.

For me, LaToya confused me a little I admit but I did not find her very credible and instead relied on the Mary Fischer GQ article.

In this video, the author of this article briefly summarizes her article.

I love her final comment: "To me there are so many similarities with the old case and this current case that it's really important to reserve judgement before anyone comes to a conclusion about guilt or innocence here. 

She said this in 2003 - it's just such a shame that hardly any of her colleagues heeded her advice!

The next person on the list did influence me - albeit indirectly. It was brother Jermaine. He wrote a song called Word to the Badd with some very pointed barbs at Michael. The ones that trouble me the most concern his lightening skin. Even though Michael cleared it up on Oprah about the vitiligo:

The question remained in many people's minds - mine included I'm very sorry to say. And mainly because it did not appear to be believed by people. At that time I thought what the media reported had to have an element of truth in it. Yeah, yeah I'm a gullible fool - or at least I was!

Molly Meldrum - and thank you to all the overseas MJ fans who have expressed well wishes for him by the way - repeatedly talked about how he heard that Michael saw all these programs on TV as a youngster where everyone was white and that is why he lightened his skin.

In addition to the multiple times he has interviewed Michael, Molly has done likewise with both Jermaine and Janet. Any stories of Michael as a boy would have come from the older sibling and not the younger.

I was going by memory - although this is the kind of stuff that gets imprinted in my brain - and I thought I'd better just re-check. Here is an excerpt from an article discussing Molly's reaction to Michael's death:

Over the years Meldrum became acquainted with Michael's brother Jermaine, who explained Michael had had no real childhood because their father, Joe, made him work so hard.
"He would just watch television. None of the shows, like The Partridge Family, Leave It To Beaver or My Three Sons had Afro-American actors so he got into his head the only way he could become a world-famous artist was somehow to be white
Read more:
So that is why I struggle with Jermaine! This is the best photo to me of him:

We then come to Lisa Marie Presley. I'm a little scared to considering how posting fairly innocous photos of her lead to a rather heated debate on my Facebook page!

 When asked by Diane Sawyer about Michael’s appearance Lisa Marie said this:  “And he is constantly re-modifying something, or changing it, or reconstructing it or, you know, working on some imperfection he thinks needs to be worked on. If he sees something he doesn't like he changes it. Period. He re-sculpted himself. He's an artist.”

 Michael, had started to say that his changing appearance was due to nature…referring to his vitiligo.

Dr Patrick Treacy - who I think is wonderful and seemed to care so beautifully for whilst Michael was in Ireland - on a Blog Talk Radio show hosted by Rev Catherine Gross said that Michael wanted a Caucasian nose. I'd definitely agree Michael wanted a smaller nose - but Caucasian?

Brooke Shields - when she appeared on The View - said there was definitely some 'arrested development' issues when it came to Michael.

Whoopi Goldberg - another of Michael's friends and a woman I practically worship - did not contradict Brooke on this score.

Raven from Allforlove Blog did an excellent piece recently - which is one of the things that made me want to do this posting - discussing the subject of "stuck in childhood" myth.

And lastly - gasp! - even the magnificent Mr. Mesereau: He was the scion of a prominent black family with two white and one Latino child.”

I ask you, with friends like these, what chance did Michael stand?

Friday, September 9, 2011

I’m a Black American; I am proud of my race…I am proud of who I am.

I’m a Black American; I am proud of my race…I am proud of who I am.

One of the items I unfortunately used to wonder about was the media’s assertion that Michael wanted to be white. Vindicatemj recently did a piece on this and it sparked a desire in me to put my two cents worth in.

When I first noticed Michael’s lightening skin color, I could think of no other explanation other than he chose to do that – although I could not imagine why – not when he was so handsome naturally. But, as is often the case, many people who change an aspect of their appearance do so because it really bothers them – even if it is something that seems insignificant, or sometimes even attractive to everyone else.

In 1991, when his ‘Black or White’ song came out I was puzzled by the rap line:
“I’m not gonna spend my life being a color”

It wasn’t one of the lines Michael sang – although he does lip synch to it with the kids in the short film as per the above picture. But was this his way of explaining why his skin was getting lighter?

Two years later, on the Oprah show, he would provide the first official explanation for what was going on – that he suffered from vitiligo. Oprah’s reaction confused me. At the time I admired her, even related to her in many ways and so set more store in what she had to say that what she deserved. She asked him about bleaching creams immediately after he stated he had vitiligo. I had no idea what vitiligo was back then.

Actually it was only after Michael died and I started my intensive ‘Michaeling’ that I first saw photos of him where his vitiligo blotches were evident. Hell, it was also the first time I saw other vitiligo victims as well and developed a sense of what this disease was all about.

A further two years on from the Oprah interview, Michael appeared with Lisa Marie Presley in an interview the couple gave to Diane Sawyer. Diane asked Michael about his changing appearance and Michael started to say how it was a result of nature. LMP interjected and said:

“And he is constantly re-modifying something, or changing it, or reconstructing it or, you know, working on some imperfection he thinks needs to be worked on. If he sees something he doesn't like he changes it. Period. He re-sculpted himself. He's an artist.”
LMP’s statement, however well intentioned, only served to add to my confusion. To me, it seemed like she was confirming the media’s claim that Michael chose to be white.

When I tried putting myself in Michael’s place I started to realize a couple of things I had not thought of previously. Michael could not fully share his distress over the vitiligo. Imagine if a black man started to complain bitterly about turning white! Instead, he did the only thing he could; proceeding with his career and humanitarian goals in his focused and driven way.

During one of my Michaeling sessions I came across this very significant photo.

 Here Michael is getting made up on the Thriller set – his most successful short film ever – and the skin underneath is lighter than that which is being applied or removed! 

 To me, most revealing of all concerns his children. Now I know there are some who are quick to label the MJ3 as ‘white’ kids but I disagree. Below is yet another example of an African American man and a white woman having a child together. Walker, the son of TV actor Taye Diggs and stage actress Idina Menzel looks quite similar to baby Prince Jackson don’t you think?

 Some like to cite the fact that Michael married and had children with white women as evidence he didn’t like black women. Further examination of Michael’s attitude towards motherhood reveals no such bias. If anything, one could argue that he preferred black women to mother his children. We know that Michael left custody of his beloved children to his mother and, failing that, Diana Ross – two black women.

Whilst Michael did have multiple women on his nanny staff, Grace Rwaramba – seen below accompanying Michael and Paris to the ‘Men in Black 2’ set – seemed to be the main nanny for his children.

Most telling of all perhaps is who Paris looks up to as per her recent tweet:

To my way of thinking, the fact that his little green eyed princess identifies with, and aspires to, these beautiful black women is proof that Michael is not a self hating racist.

His attitude would clearly have rubbed off on his daughter, who worships her Daddy, had he harbored any ill feelings towards his own race.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Brett Ratner interview with Michael transcript - Updated 17 Feb 2012

I wanted to add to this posting Brett's account of how he came to meet Michael and another story I love.

LA Times reporter Patrick Goldstein writes:
"My father loves to brag to his friends that while his son is a big-shot Hollywood reporter, it was his father who actually met Michael Jackson. Until he retired a few years ago, my dad had a store called the 24 Collection on the Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach that specialized in fashion, jewelry, art and one-of-a-kind oddities (I still have a clock set into a Cuban cigar box with a portrait of Fidel Castro on the clock face). One day Brett Ratner, who grew up in Miami and whose mother was a regular customer at the store, called my dad and asked if he could bring his pal Michael Jackson by to look around. As he often did as a courtesy for celebrities who might be annoyed or hounded, my father closed the store that afternoon and put the staff at Jackson’s disposal.

“Michael walked around every inch of the store, feeling things, smelling things,” my father remembers. “He’d ask questions about what this was or that was, where it was from, how we found it. I made sure the staff didn’t intrude on him, although one person did ask for an autograph, which made them an ex-employee right away. But Michael was just off in his own world, curious about everything he saw.”

I think my dad got his hopes up when he saw that Jackson was also accompanied by an aide who had a zippered envelope full of cash. But the King of Pop never bought anything. After spending an hour in the store, he just thanked everyone for letting him look around and left."

I called Ratner this morning to ask him how he became such fast friends with Jackson. It turns out that they met in 1998 when Ratner was finishing his first “Rush Hour” picture. One day, Chris Tucker was doing a scene and broke into a wild, Michael Jackson-style dance. The sequence was so funny that when Ratner had test screenings of the film, it got one of the biggest laughs in the picture. But because it was an obvious Jackson impression, Ratner knew he had to clear it with the pop star before he could put it in the movie.

That presented a problem, since Jackson was so reclusive that even Ratner, one of the great celebrity schmoozers of our time, couldn’t get to him. He even called Jackson’s Neverland ranch but never got anywhere. Then he got lucky. “My editor was talking to the projectionist who ran the final screening and it turned out that he was Michael’s personal projectionist,” Ratner told me today. “So I gave him the print and asked him to play the beginning of the second reel for Michael, which had Chris’ dance in it.”
Two days later Ratner picked up the phone and heard the soft, feathery voice of Michael Jackson. So what did Michael say? 
“Michael said he’d watched the whole movie and loved it, especially the scene Chris did with his dance. He said, ‘You have my permission to use whatever you want.’ ” That was great, but Ratner needed something in writing. When he asked Jackson to sign something on a piece of paper, Jackson simply invited him up to the ranch. “So I drove up there and walked in, with all his giraffes and other animals, all out there to greet me.” Ratner recalls. “I ended up staying at the ranch and we just became great friends. We both had this huge, almost childlike fascination with movies and music and all kinds of entertainment.”
Over the years, Ratner and Jackson spent an enormous amount of time together. They would film each other, with Jackson asking Ratner about how he became a film director and Ratner asking Jackson about how he became an entertainer. “I have hours of footage of us, sitting around in our pajamas, with me asking him about what kind of music he loved as a kid, what kind of books he had on the wall as a kid. When you were with him, you really felt like God was within him. He was an amazing, superhuman kind of person, but he always treated you as an equal. He would be your friend and he never asked for anything in return.”

One of their favorite activities was to have dance-offs in the game room at Jackson’s house. Jackson would put on a record, usually a song by his sister, Janet, and unleash some awesome dance moves. Then Ratner or Chris Tucker, who would sometimes come along, would play Michael’s records and dance along to them. I asked Ratner if that felt a little like a mere mortal playing one-on-one with LeBron James. “Hey, I wasn’t self-conscious. I’m a pretty good dancer. It was just fun to do it together.”
When they weren’t dancing, Ratner and Jackson would watch movies together. He says they must’ve watched the original version of “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” 50 times over the years. 

“I know that people looked at Michael and thought he was strange, but to me, he was fascinating,” Ratner says. “He was the most inspirational person in my life. His one dream was to cure all the sick children in the world. And when I’d say, ‘Isn’t that impossible?’ Michael would just start to cry. He was very emotional about things that moved him. I guess you’d have to say he was a pure innocent in a world that wasn’t so innocent anymore.”


Recently I came across a transcript of the interview Michael gave to Brett Ratner. Earlier I had tried to find one and couldn't so this is a bonus.

I’ve decided to include it here because I know some of my readers would appreciate the transcript.

Also, it’s a good excuse to share some more of my favorite photos!

There will be no analysis afterwards. This is just a chat between two friends and makes a welcome change from interviews with slanted and biased commentary. 

Speaking of which, I do want to assure my readers that I will conclude the Living with Michael Jackson series shortly.

I took what was only meant to be a short break from it, but its now several months later!

Anyway, please enjoy this transcript in the meantime.

Interview with Michael Jackson, February, 2004 by Brett Ratner

 Brett wrote: It ain’t easy being a genius: You do pay the price, not unlike Mozart, who will be remembered far longer than Napoleon. Michael Jackson understands this irony. No one I have ever met in my life has had such passion and love for entertainment. His work, brilliance, and vision will be remembered far longer than any of those who now think of him harshly.

Michael and I have shared many a day, week, and month together. Our relationship is based on our love of films. We have watched many films together, and our personal favorite that we enjoy most is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! A few months before the latest drama, he and I were on a little vacation. In the past he has often put a video camera to my face and asked me questions. This is what Michael does with his friends: He becomes a scientist and dissects them through questions in order to learn. Many times he has asked me how my childhood dreams became a reality, about why I wanted to become a director. So I decided it was time to hear from him about his childhood dreams.

After my interview, I went out and bought all the records he mentioned and listened to them, understanding a little more about Michael. What you are about to read is a very private and personal conversation between two friends.

BRETT RATNER: Do you have a mentor or someone who inspired you?

MICHAEL JACKSON: Yeah, I do: Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, James Brown, Jackie Wilson.

BR: And what did you learn from them?

MJ: I learned a lot from them—about how to be a visionary, how to be creative, how to be persistent, how to be determined, how to have a will of iron and to never give up no matter what. You know?

BR: What was your first job in the music industry, and how did you get it?

MJ: First job, probably … Gee, I don’t remember back that far. I was around 6 years old. Maybe it was Mr. Lucky’s. I think it was a club—yeah, Mr. Lucky’s. We performed there.

BR: And how’d you get the job?

MJ: I don’t know; my father would know. I was too little.

BR: What was your first break and the first great thing that ever happened to you?

MJ: The real big break was when Motown signed us. We auditioned in Detroit, and Berry Gordy invited all our favorite stars that we saw as kids to this little town in Indiana: Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Temptations, and Stevie Wonder—everybody was there. And it was next to this indoor pool at this huge mansion, marble everywhere. We performed, and they just went crazy. They loved it. And [Gordy] says, “Boys, you’re signed.”

BR: Really?

MJ: Yeah.

BR: And you remember that day?

MJ: Oh, I remember it.

BR: What elements of your job make you want to go to work every day?

MJ: I want to work every day—just the idea of creating worlds. It’s like taking a canvas, an empty canvas, you know, a clean slate. They give you paint, and we just color and paint and create worlds. I just love that idea. And having people see it and be awe-inspired whenever they see it.

BR: What qualities of yours helped you get where you are today?

MJ: Faith and determination. And practice.

BR: Right. Practice makes perfect. What would you have done differently in your career if you knew then what you know now?

MJ: What would I have done differently? Let me see … Practice more.

BR: Practice more?

MJ: I practiced a lot.

BR: You practiced a hell of a lot! [Jackson laughs] But you would have practiced more? [Jackson nods] What’s your greatest lesson learned?

MJ: Not to trust everybody. Not to trust everybody in the industry. There’re a lot of sharks. And record companies steal. They cheat. You have to audit them. And it’s time for artists to take a stand against them, because they totally take advantage of [artists]. Totally. They forget that it’s the artists who make the company, not the company who makes the artists. Without the talent, the company would be nothing but just hardware. And it takes a real good talent that the public wants to see.

BR: What are some of your favorite albums?

MJ: My favorite albums would be Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Claude Debussy’s greatest hits, which is, you know, “Claire de Lune” and “Arabesque” and The Afternoon of a Faun. I love Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, James Brown’s Live at the Apollo, The Sound of Music [soundtrack]. I love Rodgers and Hammerstein. I love the great show-tune writers very much, and I love Holland-Dozier-Holland from Motown—they were geniuses. So many great writers. So many great ones.

BR: Any other great albums, like contemporary albums?

MJ: Great albums … It’s hard because albums today have one or two great songs and the rest stink.

BR: Or older style—-it could be like Marvin Gaye or Sly.

MJ: Sly & the Family Stone—I like everything they do. Stevie Wonder is a genius.

BR: Which album?

MJ: Every one. Talking Book. I love when he did “Living for the City.” I forget the name of it [the album]. Fantastic. I think that was ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ —fantastic. Hearing this music made me say to myself, “I can do this, and I think I can do this on an international level.”

BR: Really?

MJ: Really, and then when the Bee Gees came out in the ’70s, that did it for me. I cried. I cried listening to their music. I knew every note, every instrument.

BR: [sings] “This broken heart …”

MJ: [sings] “How can you mend …”

BR: [sings] “This broken heart …”

MJ: And [sings] “How can you stop the rain from falling down?” I love that. [sings with Ratner] “How can you stop the sun from shining? What makes the world go ‘round.” I love that stuff. And when they did ‘Saturday Night Fever’ that did it for me. I said, “I gotta do this. I know I can do this.” And we hit with Thriller. And I just started writing songs. I wrote “Billie Jean.” I wrote “Beat It,” “Startin’ Somethin’.” Just writing, writing. It was fun.

BR: Any posters up in your room when you were a kid?

MJ: Yeah. Brooke Shields, everywhere. My sisters would get jealous and tear them off the wall.

BR: What are the great shows that you’ve seen, concerts?

MJ: James Brown. Jackie Wilson. The real entertainers, the real ones, make you get goose bumps.

BR: It was James Brown? Where’d you see him?

MJ: We used to have to go onstage after him because he would come on and then we would come on amateur hour. So I’d be in the wings studying every step, every move—

BR: —On TV?

MJ: No, at the Apollo [Theater].

BR: Amateur Hour at the Apollo. And you saw him perform?

MJ: Yeah, and Jackie Wilson. All of them—the Delphonics, the Temptations.

BR: But do you remember one show? You saw the Temptations, too?

MJ: Yeah. 

BR: But was there a show when you said like, “Oh, my God”?

MJ: James Brown, Jackie Wilson.

BR: At the Apollo?

MJ: Yeah, they made me cry. I’ve never seen nothing like that. That kind of emotion, that kind of fever, feeling—it was like another higher, spiritual plane they were on. They were, like, in a trance, and they had the audience in the palms of their hands. I just loved how they could control them like that, that kind of power. When they’d sing they’d have tears running down their faces. They’d get so into it.

BR: What are some of your favorite songs?

MJ: Favorite songs of all time? I love Burt Bacharach very much. Any Motown. The Beatles, like “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday.” Any of the Supremes’. All that stuff is great. I think the ’60s had some of the best melodies of all time between Peter, Paul, and Mary, and you know, all those people. The Mamas and the Papas were wonderful. And the Drifters go a little further back, but I love that song “On Broadway”—it’s genius. The simple ones are the best, I think. I love “Alfie”—so beautiful. There are so many. Like movies, there are so many great movies.

BR: So list a few things that could be helpful to someone breaking into the music business.

MJ: Believe in yourself. Study the greats and become greater. And be a scientist. Dissect. Dissect.

BR: You said something else before: Don’t give up.

MJ: No matter what. I don’t care if the whole world is against you or teasing you or saying you’re not gonna make it. Believe in yourself. No matter what. Some of the greatest men who have made their mark on this world were treated like that—you know, “You’re not gonna do it, you’re not gonna get anywhere.” They laughed at the Wright brothers. They laughed at Thomas Edison. They laughed at Walt Disney. They made jokes about Henry Ford. They said he was ignorant. Disney dropped out of school. That’s how far they went. These men shaped and changed our culture, our customs, the way we live, the way we do things.

And I think God plants those seeds through people on the earth. And I think you’re one, I’m one to bring some bliss and escapism, some joy, some magic. Because without entertainment, what would the world be like? You know? What would it really be like? It would be a totally different world for me. I love entertainment. And my favorite of all is film. The power and magic of movies. It’s the greatest, it’s the most expressive of all the art forms. I think it touches the soul. Music and movies are the most expressive. It’s almost like religion: You get so involved, so caught up. You go in the theater a different person than you come out. It affects you that way. That’s powerful. I think that’s strong. I love that.

(The above video is of Michael visiting Brett on the set of "Red Dragon")

BR: When you can make an audience feel.

MJ: Yeah, yeah.

BR: They relate to it.

MJ: Yeah, they live it. They’re a part of it. They forget they’re sitting in a seat.

BR: The experience of watching a movie affects their life.

MJ: Their whole life. It could change your life.

BR: Yes, I remember seeing Star Wars in the theater when I was 7 years old. It’s a different experience for Paris or Prince [Jackson’s children] seeing it today on DVD, 27 years later. I saw it when it first came out, with all the shock and awe of the time. No one had ever seen anything like it. There were lines for blocks, and I didn’t even get in the first time. I had to go back the next day to try again. The memory of being so desperate, at 7 years old, to see that movie makes it an even more unforgettable experience. The first time you see something like that, it permanently affects your life. It’s like listening to a song or seeing an artist perform for the first time. Getting to see James Brown, and that moment of tears coming out of your eyes, is different than listening to it on the radio 20 years later.

 MJ: I can’t tell you how incredible it was. I just love the great entertainers, the great performers, the great showmen, the great storytellers. Just watching them, you’re just mesmerized. You’re caught up in it. I love it. One spotlight, baby.

BR: Frank Sinatra.

MJ: Yeah. Those guys are cool. And Sammy Davis. I just love it, the whole thing. It’s magic, it’s real magic

"As long as its NOT a journalist!"

A few months ago I did a post (it appears below) that included this quote from Michael:

“My friends, with 2 children of my own, I know what it means to have to balance the demand of family and career -- let's not even talk about finding a date for myself, even though... Even though Rabbi Shmuley keeps telling me he's going to find me the perfect woman, my response is: As long as it's not a journalist!”

Michael Jackson, Heal the Kids, Carnegie Hall Address

February 14th, 2001

By chance, I recently came across a video showing snippets from that speech. 

The fan that put the video together assembled coverage from three programs: Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and eXtra. 

Interestingly, out of the three reports, only one - Access Hollywood (00:02:16) – included the best line:

“As long as it’s NOT a journalist!”

Media protecting their own from ridicule?

 Friday, March 11, 2011

So we are supposed to care about the media? Who lie and deceive us?

One of the things I’ve struggled with since Michael’s death is remaining positive in light of the dawning evidence that I had been somewhat brainwashed by the media. I’m a MJ fan, have been since 1991 and yet some of their crap did permeate my perception of Michael. Not all of it, but more than I would have thought possible. 

As a result, now that I know better I am incredibly cynical about the veracity of any news report I see or read. It infuriated me recently when all the various media outlets seemed to be insisting that I fear for the safety of several US journalists covering the unrest in Egypt. Most notably to me were Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper. Firstly, they knew what they were getting themselves into; after all that is why they were there – to cover the newsworthy event.

After the election of President Obama in September 2008, I began watching a lot of CNN to learn more about the charismatic new US leader – and in particular I watched Anderson Cooper 360. I picked his show because he had become known to me as doing exceptionally good work covering Hurricane Katrina. The impression I got was that he was one of the few remaining authentic newsmen; an honorable journalist committed to using his reporting skills to make a positive change in the world.

I distinctly remember they covered the ‘This Is It’ announcement in March 2009. They implied that Michael was a rambling, incoherent mess. Now, they are not members of the tabloid media so I assumed (incorrectly) that it must be true. I felt bad for Michael; I did not want to see him humiliated so I fast-forwarded the rest of the segment featuring the O2 Press Conference. 

Imagine my surprise when a year later, I came across a transcript of his O2 announcement. It was so brief, how could anyone possibly label it as rambling? "I love you so much. Thank you all. (Fans begin chanting ‘This Is It’ and Michael responds to this by chanting along with them) This is it. I just want to say these…these will be my final show performances in London. This is it, this is it and when I say “this is it” it really means this is it because erm…I’ll be, I’ll be performing the songs my fans want to hear. This is it, I mean, this is, this is the final curtain call okay? And, erm…I’ll see you in July and (Fans chat “We love you Michael!”) I love you. I really do. You have to know that, I love you so much, really, from the bottom of my heart. This is it and see you in July!”

To characterize it like that, when it could be so easily verified…it shows you how audacious the media has become. And it also shows how stupid they think we are! I suppose they’re right because I didn’t question them…not enough.

With Katie Couric, I have been a fan of hers for years. I would even tape ‘NBC Today’ everyday (it is on at 4am in Australia) because I loved her and Matt Lauer. I still watched it even after she left for CBS – until Congressman…the former Congressman (hee hee!)…Peter King appeared on it. One day, I came across a YouTube video of Katie on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ discussing Michael Jackson. 

Now, my situation is a bit different, I do not have the internet at home (ironic isn’t it? I cancel my home internet and then a week later I start a blog!) So after I finish work I use at my office to save any videos. I don’t watch them at work – instead I use a USB device to transfer files between my home and the office. Anyway, the point is: when I got the Katie Couric ‘Late Show’ appearance home it wouldn’t open.  I didn’t give it another thought other than perhaps I was better off if the story Katie told was mean spirited. 

So I wasn’t inclined to feel instantaneous concern for either Anderson Cooper or Katie Couric. Even that angered me, because I would have prior to Michael’s death. It is the loss of trust I have in the media, my increasing levels of scepticism that I struggle with daily. I’ve found that most of us are Michael Jackson fans not because of his undeniable and unquestionable talent, but because of his heart. He was a genuinely good person. He was an angel on earth, here to make the world a better place.

I want to be like him not like them…I want to see the world through his eyes not theirs.

Months passed, I became more adept at using the new system I’d implemented for YouTube videos so I re-tried and finally got to see the Katie Couric MJ discussion for myself a few days ago. Here it is:

I was so relieved that she wasn’t nasty about him! The video also served to inspire me to group the following items together, with Michael, as he always should, getting the last word. 

“My friends, with 2 children of my own, I know what it means to have to balance the demand of family and career -- let's not even talk about finding a date for myself, even though... Even though Rabbi Shmuley keeps telling me he's going to find me the perfect woman, my response is: As long as it's not a journalist!”

Michael Jackson, Heal the Kids, Carnegie Hall Address

February 14th, 2001