Friday, June 26, 2009

"Mama-say Mama-sah Mama-kusan!"

Pretty Young THING

Okay, I have to echo every person I hear in the media and say that Michael Jackson's music has been a soundtrack of my life. My sister Angela and I were hooked on his music from the first time we watched that oh so cheesy Jackson Five cartoon that came out in the early 70s, courtesy of Bass-Rankin, the folks who brought you Rudolph & the Snow Miser ( Michael was so cute and so talented. I felt very disloyal, liking him more than I liked Donny Osmond. But there you have it. I even saw "The Wiz." Ouch.

Even the songs we didn't like somehow loom large for us. For example, Angela still tortures me by singing that creepy song "Ben," which was all about an evil rat. I'm serious. Look it up if you don't believe me. ( I liked "Off the Wall" but it was the "Thriller" album that really got me. Ange was working at Miller Outpost at the time and used some of her money to get us MTV. This was 1982 and the video world was exploding. Sure bands like Journey just filmed themselves playing in an abandoned wherehouse, but cutting edge groups knew this medium could change everything. And Michael Jackson was the king.

I remember going to my girlfriend Amy's house in December 1983 when MTV was premiering the "Thriller" video/mini movie. We watched it over and over and had the dance memorized by the next day. [see guide below] I still do a great zombie and thoroughly embarrassed my kids whenever I hear that song. Or "Beat It." Or "The Way You Make Me Feel." Michael makes me dance. And dancing makes me happy.

And growing up in LA, Michael Jackson was more than just a pop legend, he was a local boy, a Jehovah's Witness who just might show up at your door with a "Watchtower" pamphlet, dressed in a yellow suit with a matching yellow umbrella even though it was June. [I am still so jealous that he came to Amy's house. She even got a picture of the back of his Jheri curled head.] I once fought over a pair of cowboy boots with his baby sister Janet, Miss Jackson if you're nasty (I won). Here is a photo from 1984 that captures the times so well. I'm flanked by Stephanie & Amy and we are on our way to go dancing at some skanky club in Santa Monica or Hollywood.

Of course his whole freakiness took over, surgery after surgery, monkeys and Elephant Man bones and then feeling so embarrassed for Lisa Marie Presley (She had no idea?!) and then the baby dangling incident. Seriously? Top it off with the whole Peter Pan lusting after the Lost Boys and he lost us. We distanced ourselves. We called him Wacko Jacko equated him with the National Enquirer. But alone in our cars, we still sang along, still wanted to HEAR his music if not SEE his unrecognizable face wearing masks long before the swine flu made them vogue.

Now that he's gone, it'll be easier to remember the good times.

One last link that kills me every time I see it. It's from the show Psych about a fake detective. This one they go undercover on an American Idolesque show and perform "Shout" from Tears for Fears but bring a Jacko quality to it. It reminds me why I stayed up all night watching MTV, waiting for "Beat It" to come on. Sham-on!


JJones said...

I find it interesting that 99.9% of reporters and commentators state or imply that Michael Jackson's connection with the WatchTower Cult ended when he was disfellowshipped in the 1980s.

Katherine and Rebbie's family are all active JWs. Anyone who knows anything about JWs knows how this would play on MJ, who was at onetime an extremely devout JW.

In fact, circa 2004-5, a southern California newspaper published photos and an article showing MJ and his children attending their local Kingdom Hall. Does anyone really believe that someone with MJ's ego would not only attend a "meetings" at his Kingdom Hall, but also take his children with him, if he were being shunned as disfellowshipped persons are at a JW Kingdom Hall. I suspect that MJ had been "reinstated" as an active JW sometime prior to 2004. Let's see some reporter dig into that one. Don't expect the WatchTower Society or local JWs admit such without presentation of overwhelming evidence given present citcumstances.

The negative influence of the teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses on Michael and his family have been either downplayed or totally ignored for as long as the Jackson Family has received public attention. For those readers who really want to know what life is like to be reared in the WatchTower Cult, nothing beats real world scenarios, and of real world scenarios, nothing beats actual civil and criminal court cases.

The following website summarizes 900 court cases and lawsuits involving children of Jehovah's Witness Parents. The summaries demonstrate how JW Families rear their children and live life day-to-day. Also included are nearly 400 CRIMINAL cases -- most involving MURDERS:


Rachel said...

I totally laughed when you mentioned "The Wiz." The only other person that has brought that up was the labor and delivery nurse, and I of all people actually knew what she was talking about, not Ryan for a change. The whole thing is so strange.

Andrew said...

I was a Munchkin in the Butler Middle School production of "The Wiz" when I was in eighth grade. Oh, the irony...a pretty much all white school in Utah. I believe we had two black kids in the whole school...and they were rock stars to the rest of the "urban wannabees." [Let's just look over the fact that I thought I'd be some great thespian when I was that age...I was a fabulous Randolf McAfee in our production of Bye Bye Birdie.]