Category Archives: The Allegations

Blogs relating to subjects about the ’93 or ’05 allegations.

My Friend Michael: Just One Fan's Honest Review

Warning: This review WILL contain spoilers, so if you haven’t read the book yet but plan to, consider yourself forewarned!

Well, as I mentioned here before, I did end up receiving Frank Cascio’s book “My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship With An Extraordinary Man” for Christmas. I also promised a full review after I had finished reading it.

Back when I did my article on Christmas Shopping For The MJ Fan On Your List I mentioned how polarizing this book has been in the fan community. I haven’t seen much easing up in that regard, but I will note one thing I’ve observed for the most part-those fans who thoroughly trash the book, along with Frank Cascio, will usually admit they haven’t even read the book. Most of them will say they refuse to read it; a refusal based on their own personal feelings against the Cascio family and/or some of the more sensational publicity this book garnered on release. Typically, every media review of the book honed in on what is actually one very small and isolated portion of the book-Michael’s drug use, especially that of propofol. When the book came out, it was at the height of the Murray trial and of course, this was the one topic the media cared about the most-and the one aspect of the book that every reviewer seemed eager to pounce on.

I think based on these early reviews, many fans had an automatic, knee-jerk response to the book and its author. Of course, none of that has been helped by the controversy over the Cascio tracks on the “Michael” album. Ever since then, Frank has been lumped in with his brother Eddie to become-like many of Michael’s acquaintances-a somewhat controversial and polarizing figure.

But regardless of how one feels about Frank Cascio personally, one fact is undisputable: Michael Jackson was a very big part of this young man’s life, for many years. Frank was there when many of the darkest chapters of Michael’s life played out. He knew both Jordan Chandler and Gavin Arvizo, and as one of the many boys who formed that circle of friends in the early 90’s that included McCauley Culkin and others, Frank was in a unique position to tell that side of the story.

I said when I received the book that I would read it with an open mind. The bottom line is that, yes, there are some things that may be unsettling to some fans-if they are still clinging to some idealized version of who Michael was. Since that’s never been an issue with me, I frankly wasn’t shocked by some of the book’s “revelations.” But I think the bigger picture here is that the book does exonerate Michael on many bigger and more important issues.

However, that isn’t to say that I didn’t read between the lines and also find some fault with the book. But overall, I honestly think the worst thing Frank is guilty of is what I call the “Insider’s Syndrome.” It seems to be something that no aquaintance of Michael’s was immune to. Without fail, everyone who knew him seems to want to think of themselves as Michael’s closest friend and most intimate confidante. And along with that, often the idealized belief that they could have somehow “saved” him. Granted, in Frank’s case, he did know Michael in a way few people ever got to.  And certainly it would be arrogant and presumprious of me-or anyone-to sit here and say I know better than Frank what Michael did or thought or said. That’s not my intent. However, I did sometimes catch myself reading between the lines and second guessing some of the assumptions he makes-for example, that Michael’s marriage to Lisa was a sham (even if they did have sex-according to Frank, the sex was just a by-product, not so much that they actually loved each other, but because Michael wanted kids…and well, frankly, she was there and available) or his assertion that Michael never had sex with Debbie (insisting that Prince and Paris were both conceived in vitro; so yes, according to Frank, Michael is indisputably the biological father of all his children,  but he never touched Debbie). To be fair, he makes it very clear that his assumptions are based on what Michael told him; he wasn’t there in the room, of course. But by his own admission, he also admits several instances where Michael lied to him-so who’s to say? I’ve read some fan reviews of the book where people have said, “How would Frank know the details of Michael and Lisa’s marriage; he was just a kid?”

According to Frank Cascio, Michael Said He Had Sex With Her...But That Was All It Was.

Yes, but…let’s not forget that Michael and Frank remained close friends well into Frank’s adulthood. I’m sure Michael probably talked to him about these things, if not at the time, maybe later.

But I did question, for instance, if he was really with Michael when Michael supposedly “chose” Blanket’s mother out of a donor catalog-or that it was actually he who made the final choice! I’m just very suspicious by nature when someone claims to have been right by Michael’s side through every major important move and decision of his life. I’m willing to give to Frank that he was there for a LOT of it-but to hear him tell it, he was practically Michael’s shadow! (Let’s just say, some of it I bought, and some I took with the proverbial grain of salt).

When I was reading the part about Michael and Lisa’s marriage, I couldn’t help but think back to what David Nordahl told me in our interview last year. David, who was another of Michael’s closest friends (for over 20 years) and very loyal, spent over two weeks living with Michael and Lisa at the Trump towers in 1994, and by his own account, Michael and Lisa were “very much in love.” I have no reason to doubt David’s sincerity, so for me, that casts an automatic cloud of suspicion over Frank’s claims that Michael told him he had married Lisa just to satisfy bin Talal (an Arabian businessman who Michael apparently had many dealings with, and who was also apparently insistent on Michael having an image as a family man-at any rate, according to Frank, this bin Talal seemed to be Michael’s magical explanation for a lot of things).

But there is also another possibility, which is that Michael may have told Frank this after having become bitter over the breakup with Lisa; perhaps as a way of salvaging his own pride. (Oh, well, I never loved her anyway; I just married her because bin Talal wanted me to).

With The Entire Cascio Clan

Now see, this is where Frank’s book gets interesting for me. It’s not so much what he writes, but the little, subtle things one can pick up between the lines. Or as I call them, the gray areas. For it’s often in those gray areas that one really finds the truth, or the closest version to it. What a reader can take from this is that there is often some element of truth in all sides of a story-in this case, a marriage that may have indeed been a sham-or started out that way. But nevertheless, perhaps Michael and Lisa did have genuine love, of a sort-and certainly had sex. So in that regard, the marriage was absolutely real! Michael could be manipulative and at times, did stretch the truth-but he was 100% honest and up front about the things that really mattered in his life, and this is what all readers need to keep uppermost in mind. Michael apparently never lied about the things that were most important-his innocence of the allegations, his vitiligo, the paternity of his children, and that ever pesky little question of his true sexuality. It doesn’t bother me in the least if the truth of the matter is that he never really wanted to marry either Lisa or Debbie. Michael wanted children-not necessarily a wife and children. But regardless, he did have a very real bond with both Lisa and Debbie. And as Debbie herself has said, so what if theirs wasn’t a traditional family or traditional arrangement? It was their decision, and their life.

Michael Was Undergoing Painful Vitiligo Treatments That Called For Up To 50 Facial Injections Per Doctor Visit

This is just the beginning. There are other very telling details that give a reader pause for thought, or that may make them question certain beliefs about Michael they have thought to be true. Just to give another example, one of the more controversial aspects of the book is that Frank writes candidly (but also, I should add, very sympathetically) about Michael’s struggles with painkiller dependency and the Demerol shots he was receiving from Klein.  But he also reveals that Michael was undergoing a very excruciatingly painful treatment for vitiligo that involved regular treatments of over fifty facial injections per visit.

I haven’t had time yet to research this treatment as thoroughly as I would like, but I did have some very interesting links that were provided to me by shelley (thanks!):

http://www.vitiligosociety.co.za/Needling.html

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/psi/2011/158241/

http://acupuncturemiracle.blogspot.com/2011/07/acupuncture-treatment-in-vitiligo.html

And then there is this document, in which Tom Meserau refers specifically to a vitiligo treatment Michael was receiving that involved injections:

http://www.sbscpublicaccess.org/docs/ctdocs/011805notmotexc14.pdf

The reason I find this interesting is because if this is true, it provides one more instance in which Michael is actually vindicated by the revelation of this information. Remember how the media had a field day with the Demerol story, and how they were speculating why anyone would receive that much Demerol just for botox injections? But could it be that the injections Michael was receiving were not for botox at all, but rather legit if albeit experiemental vitiligo treatments? I don’t know about you guys, but personally, the thought of having 50 needles injected in my face would certainly be enough to make me want a shot of Demerol! And remember, I had quoted before from Dr. Treacy who said that Michael did have hyersensitivity in the facial area due to past surgeries, and therefore always requested some form of sedation before any cosmetic or dermatological procedures:

http://www.examiner.com/celebrity-headlines-in-national/dr-patrick-treacy-talks-michael-jackson-care-gave-propofol-previously-video

There are other  examples of what I call “gray area vindication”  throughout the book, instances in which we can see how certain myths about Michael may have gotten their start, but also getting the whole story of the truth that often lay behind those stories.

Just for example, Michael did refer to wine as “Jesus juice” and often did drink wine in soda cans, just as was alleged by the Arvizos during the trial. But it was not for the sinister reason that the Arvizos and DA tried to insist in the trial; it was not for the purpose of enticing children to drink with him. Rather, it was something he did to protect the children around him, as he did not want to set an example of drinking alcohol to them. Also, because being the very private person that he was, he didn’t necessarily want everyone to know his business. However, sometimes it’s important to know the truth if it means the difference between exoneration and allowing false notions to stand. Personally, it doesn’t bother me to know Michael liked his wine, whether in soda cans or not; I would personally find it a lot more disturbing if he had gone around drinking openly in front of kids!

The important thing one has to keep in mind when reading a memoir-especially a memoir of one’s experience with a famous person-is that no matter how honest this person is, in the grander scheme of things, their story is simply their version of the reality they lived. The root word of “memoir” is “memory.” But by our very human nature, our memories are often selective; occasionally even distorted. Our versions of events are filtered by our own biases and whatever baggage we associate with those memories. Memoirs have to accepted as what they are-one individual’s reality and perception of events. Memoirs can be entertaining, engaging, and even thought-provoking. But they can’t-nor shouldn’t-always be taken as gospel. However, I think if a reader approaches this book with a fair and open mind, they can certainly learn about the man Michael Jackson that Frank Cascio knew. And I do think Frank is being honest and open in presenting us the man, Michael Jackson, who was his friend and mentor. Like I said, it may not necessarily jibe with the idealized version of Michael that many fans have. But we have to keep in mind, this was Frank’s experience and the Michael Jackson presented in this memoir is the man he knew. Ultimately, however, memoirs of this type always end up being as much about the person writing them as about the subject in question. We have to keep in mind this isn’t “just” Michael’s story. It’s also Frank’s story and what it was like to come of age as a young man living in the shadow of Michael Jackson. When you realize that your whole life has revolved around Michael Jackson since the age of four, how does one find their own identity and purpose in the world? How do they manage to forage their own path? For Frank Cascio, that question has probably been his biggest life challenge.

Frank also does a good job of debunking the whole false notion which emerged after the Bashir crock, which was that Michael routinely had kids over for sleepovers at Neverland. In simple truth, the infamous “sleepovers” never happened, at least not as they have come to be portrayed. The sleepovers involved entire families-families who often traveled over great distances to be at Neverland. Michael’s enormous bedroom suite became a kind of informal, focal gathering place for these families, where people watched TV, played games, or simply talked until everyone fell asleep, exhausted. With the candor of an insider’s persective, Frank tells the truth about what those nights spent at Michael’s house were…and more importantly, what they were not.

Contrary To Popular Myth, Michael DID Alter His Behavior With Children After The '93 Allegations. The Accusations Left Him Permanently Scarred, And Fearful Of Being Accused Again.

And contrary to what some cynics say, Michael did alter his behavior around children following the ’93 Chandler allegations. He never again allowed young children-especially boys-to be in his bedroom unchaperoned (the parents were always present) and in most cases, he was careful from then on to always make sure that any child he was around was accompanied by an adult. One of the small but significant details that my boyfriend and I have noticed is that throughout the HIStory tour, when he would do the Heal The World finale, he never held hands with the boys or picked them up; it was always the girls that he would single out. Obviously, the first allegations did their damage. He was scarred emotionally by the accusations-but he also learned from them. That he would come to be accused again would come about, not because of any undue carelessness or blatant disregard and arrogance on Michael’s part-as has often been erroneoulsy reported- but because he was too kind-hearted to turn down a child in need of help.

was Michael Jackson Slated To Be The Original Simon Cowell? Perhaps Yes, Had Plans For The Show "Hollywood Ticket" Materialized

There are also a lot of interesrting but little known facts that I discovered from the book. For example, did you know that in the early 2000’s, before the debut of “American Idol”, that Michael was being slated to do  his own weekly talent show, one in which he would have been the judge? Apparently the project, tentatively titled “Hollywood Ticket” fell through, mostly due to waning interest on Michael’s part (anyway, we all know Michael wasnt’t fond of being on TV; he probably got cold feet over the idea of being on national TV every week and the obligation of having to be a weekly judge and mentor) but I have to say, it certainly would have been interesting had the project gone through. Sadly, though, this seemed to be the story so often in Michael’s last decade, so many projects that never materialized, and the saddest of all, knowing that it was often his legal issues and the mismanagement within his own ranks that led to these aborted projects.

Frank Cascio’s experience with Michael Jackson was a unique one from the beginning. It wasn’t an aquaintance he sought out, or even one that he made on his own. Imagine, if you will, that you are a small child, and your parents just happen to be best friends with a world famonus superstar. This was how Michael Jackson came to be part of Frank Cascio’s life. Imagine said superstar becomes your mentor and greatest teacher; now flash forward many years, and you find yourself as a young adult not only working for him, but even at times having to reverse the father/son role, which is a sad reality that happens for many of us as we grow up and realize our parents or even our “parent figures” aren’t the perfect people we envisioned as children, but rather, imperfect human beings just like ourselves. I can see why some fans have concerns about the book. There were a few things that I questioned-even if it’s true, why the need to include it here if it serves no real purpose? Why not keep some things private? Just for example, I don’t know that the whole world necessarily needed to know that Michael experimented with marijuana. It’s not that I’m a prude and really, these days, smoking a little pot isn’t really frowned upon that much more than drinking beer. But as we know too well, the media has always been prone to judge Michael by a different standard than other celebrities. That’s really the whole issue when it comes to making these kinds of private details public-we all know how the media loves to sensationalize and run with any story on Michael Jackson. This knowledge is, in turn, I believe, why so many fans are prone to feel very over protective about what is written about Michael. It simply comes from long experience with knowing how the media has always loved to portray Michael Jackson. What is seen as harmless behavior for most celebrities somehow becomes damning when it’s Michael Jackson. (However, if you are curious about this, I’ll  just say that you’re probably going to find it quite funnny when you discover just who it was that turned Michael on to pot…hint: It certainly wasn’t any of his heavy metal stoner friends!).

Did Some of Michael's Luckier Female Fans Make It To "Never-Never Land?" Frank Says Yes. But The Occasional Encounters Were Always Very Discreet

Again, some will fault Frank for this revelation, just as they have for some of the things he reveals about Michael’s private sex life (though nothing too graphic; however, he does say that Michael had quite a few, casual encounters through the years, even with some fans…well, lucky them, I guess). However, I’ll stress again that the importance of knowing this information is that, violation of privacy or not, it does help to exonerate Michael in perhaps a far more crucial way, which is the knowledge that his only sexual interests were in adult relationships with women-not children, and certainly not with boys.

I think for Michael there was always a sort of “disconnect” from the human being that he was, and this sort of idealized vision he had of himself, or rather, the person he wanted to be. Sometimes it’s easy to look at some of his words vs. his actions and call them hypocritical, but that’s oversimplifying a very complex issue. As far as Michael’s stance on drugs and casual sex, he wasn’t just making a public stance when he spoke against them; that was really how he felt. As Frank says, Michael detested the typical drug-seeking, groupie-chasing pop lifestyle. He didn’t want to “be” that or to “become that.” He wanted to be a decent role model for young people to look up to. He also  didn’t want to be a cheap womanizer like his father and brothers, and the few times when he gave in to temptation, he wasn’t proud of it.  And also, his very religious upbringing played a large role in shaping his adult character-both for better and worse. I think Michael’s biggest overall problem, perhaps, was that he seemed to have a hard time just letting go and giving himself permission to be human. And when he did, there always seemed to be a measure of guilt which only compounded matters for him. I’ve heard people say he was a hypocrite because he claimed to be a vegetarian, but loved KFC (well, how many of us have ever tried to stick to a healty diet with the best of intentions, only to fall off the wagon sometimes-or even to enjoy an occasional indulgence?). I’ve heard people say he was a hypocrite because he spoke against recreational drug use, yet look at how he died (forgetting that his death had nothing to do with a recreational high, but rather was the culmination of years of pain and seeking ways to numb it). I’ve heard people say a lot of ignorant things, but the truth is, nobody knew that the pressure he put on himself to be perfect was more damning than anything anyone else could do or say. Perhaps the saddest thing of all is that he never seemed to realize that he didn’t have to be perfect for us to love him.

Personally, I think the book does a great job of balancing the idealized Michael Jackson with the human one. Michael didn’t walk on water and he wasn’t God. His bled like everyone else. But there is a very poignant passage in the book which I’ll quote here, since the quoting of brief passages are allowed for review purposes:

Michael’s skin disease, along with his difficult childhood and the molesation allegations, were conditions or circumstances that he did his best to survive, and the plastic surgeries he had on his nose were, like so many of his eccentricities, attempts to exert some kind of control over his own destiny and happiness. Those surgeries didn’t make him normal. And, in many people’s eyes, they didn’t make him beautiful. What they did do was make him Michael.

I bolded that last sentence to make a point. We could say likewise that Michael’s very human flaws didn’t make him good or bad, beautiful or ugly. But they did make him Michael. What emerges from this book is a portrait of a very beautiful, generous, talented, and  intelligent but vulnerable man who had been battering his wings against the iron bars of the gilded cage ever since he was five years old-he had learned how to fight, and how to survive, the only way he knew how. His way wasn’t always the best or most admirable way, but it was his way.

Michael and Frank, Still Friends To The End, Although Michael's legal Problems And The Arvizo Trial Would Drive A Wedge Between Them. They Reconciled, But The Scars Were Slow To Heal.

And it was the totality of this very complex humanity that made him who he was. If it achieves nothing else, I think “My Friend Michael” does a wonderful job of capturing that very complex humanity and allowing us all to get to know the man behind the myth a little better. There were many times while reading this book that I laughed out loud (you have to read all about the midnight excursion of the haunted hotel in Scotland; that part is hilarious); there were also many times that I cried. But most of all, I felt inspired. Through the pages of this book, one gets to know the great friend that Frank had in Michael-and when it’s over, we miss him all over again. We feel the ache of that emptiness; the void that has been left. We are reminded anew of how poorer we are for his loss; but also, how enriched we are for having had him among us for a little while.

ETA: (1/14/12): I thought this might be a cute addition to the review. In the book, Frank mentions that he was with Michael at the Virgin Megastore record signing in 2001. Like most fans, I’ve watched the videos of this very well-known event, but until now hadn’t paid much attention to Frank’s role in it. He was just one of the guys sitting to the side. But knowing what I do now, I was curious so I went back to this video series. Of course, the entire eight-part series is available on Youtube, but the one I chose to highlight here is Part 5. At 3:45, a fan is talking to Michael (they discuss a recent bout with larngytis, among other things) and then he asks, “Is that the famous angel? Angel Frankie?” Then, at both 6:51 and 9:29, you can see Frank and Michael cracking each other up as they exchange a couple of private jokes between them (I suspect they might have been joking around about some of the girls in line). It’s very funny and cute to watch, and you really get a feel for what their relationship was like when you watch them interacting here.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QvcRCoBQnw&feature=related[/tube]

ETA: (4/26/12): A very good interview with Frank about the book:

http://www.edgeonthenet.com/columnists/fame_with_bebe_sweetbriar/reviews/132289/%E2%80%99my_friend_michael%E2%80%99_::_a_personal_look_at_%E2%80%99the_king_of_pop%E2%80%99

Separating The Artist From The Man: Is It Possible?

No One Except A Few, Isolated Idiots Disputes Michael's Musical Genius. But Is It Possible To "Love The Music, Hate The Man?"

Or perhaps the real question is; Should we?

It’s not often that I get inspired to post here just because of an issue someone brings up on a Michael Jackson discussion board, or because of my response to it. But every so often, it happens, and what starts as a routine response inspires me to come here and look into the question further.

Lately, it seems, there has been a lot of discussion about separating Michael Jackson’s music from Michael Jackson, the human being behind it. It’s a debate grounded in a very disturbing reality, but a reality that can’t be ignored. No matter how much sites like mine and the ones listed on the right strive to shed light on the truth of who Michael Jackson was, there will always be people who believe all the savory tabloid stories and, worse yet, believe he was a criminal. Yet they will still listen to his music, usually with some lame rationalization about separating the music from the man. By doing so, however, it’s obvious they are only contributing to their own sense of guilt, rather than allowing themselves to embrace what could be a truly rewarding and fulfilling experience.

There is even one disturbing faction of the hater community trying to encourage fans to embrace the idea of Michael as a pedophile, rather than fighting it. Again, their motto is based on the idea that one can “Love the Artist, Despise The Man.”  You can read more about that particular group and their agenda exposed here:

http://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/haters-real-agenda-and-new-strategy-against-michael-jacksons-fans/

For the moment, I don’t want to veer too off-topic in discussing that group or their agenda, except to say that their agenda is an obvious one. They think that if they can somehow discourage fans from seeking the truth about the allegations, and discourage them from researching, discovering, and spreading  the evidence that supports his innocence, then the world will have no choice but to accept their version of history-which is a version they very desperately need to cling to, for whatever sinister reasons. They would like nothing more than for fans and truth seekers to lay down their arms and give up the fight to expose what was actually done to Michael Jackson-thus, their encouragement of  saying on the one hand, “Yes, it’s okay to be a fan of his music ” out of one side of the mouth, while saying, “We condemn Michael Jackson, The Man” out the other.

Michael Jackson, Most Beloved And Yet, Paradoxically, Most Maligned And Distorted Pop Figure In History

But putting aside the most sinister aspect of Michael’s “human” side-the allegations-there still remains a man who has been the target of endless tabloid accusations. I sat back for a moment just today and realized that over the past week alone, I’ve debated and battled every topic from drug addiction to “skin bleaching” to his sexuality to the never ending arguement over his children’s paternity. And I’m still finishing up Frank Cascio’s book, which I will review here in a few days-a book that has certainly opened its own can of worms insofar as this very complex subject of who “Michael The Man” was-and was not.

Depending on how gullible one is, there are a lot of aspects of Michael The Man one may not agree with. There are a lot of critics, cynics, and even outright haters  who question every aspect of his life and how he lived it, all while still insisting “But I love his music!”

This is my take on it: I think many use that as a sort of justification for continuing to like/enjoy Michael’s music even though they may not necessarily agree with all of the personal choices he made in his life, his lifestyle, or even if they think he committed unspeakable crimes.

I know for myself, there are many artists whose work I enjoy even though I may not necesarily agree with or endorse their personal lifestyles-heck, you could put just about every rock musician whose work I love into that category, not to mention almost every writer! I can, for instance, enjoy Van Gogh’s paintings even though Van Gogh probably wouldn’t have been someone I would have enjoyed hanging out with in real life.

When Life Overshadows Art...Oscar Wilde's Brilliant Work Was Cast Aside By A Media-Frenzied Public. Then As Now, Some Things Never Change

As an English instructor, it’s the same sort of thing I deal with almost daily with the writers we cover in class. I have to deal with student debates about why we should study and revere Ernest Hemingway even though he was a drunk, or Samuel Taylor Coleridge even though he was a drug addict, or Oscar Wilde even though he was gay (yeah, I live in the Bible belt, just for the record!). Perhaps the best answer to that ongoing debate is a quote contained in one of our texts, and it’s one I often refer back to: “If we waited for great art to come from perfect human beings, we would wait a long time indeed. We would be a world devoid of great art.” Indeed, great art comes from imperfection, and often, from a place of darkness (as well as light).  With the last few postings here, I realized I’ve been exploring Michael’s duality and oppositions a lot in the last few weeks. Maybe it’s something in the air, but the more I see discussions like this, the more I realize the importance of embracing that duality. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and all of the major Transcendentalists stressed that the divine within us is not a separate entity from our human flesh and blood.  We cannot separate our divinity from our demons. Yet, every day we live in a world that seeks to do just that! And additionally, insists  that our artists be mopped into corners where they are either demonized or lionized, and their wings clipped accordingly.

Jim Morrison, Who Wrote His Greatest Work Not In a Drunken Stupor, But "In The Clear Light Of Dawn, When The World Was Fresh And Full Of Hope"

I was thinking of something that Frank Lisciandro, a very close friend of Jim Morrison’s, wrote in his book “An Hour For Magic,” of which I still have a very worn and battered copy.  Frank Lisciandro wrote that people often think of Morrison as nothing but a drunk and an addict. But  none of Jim’s greatest work was written while drunk. Instead, his best poems and lyrics were always written, according to Lisciandro, “in the clear, bright light of dawn, when the world was still and full of hope. In these quiet, intense hours he spilled his poems out on the pages of dozens of notebooks…” Art often reflects not just who we are, but what we aspire to be; whoever we are in that  clear and “fresh  light of dawn.” But perhaps in that state we are closest to who we really are. It is not only the moment when we are closest to God, but also most in touch with the light within ourselves.
 

While I have always been personally attracted to art that is born out of darkness, it’s not the darkness itself that attracts me, but rather, the search for that clear dawn in the midst of chaos.  I hear this in so many of the songs from bands and artists I admire. Just for example, I’m also a huge Black Crowes fan (yes, I listen to a lot of music, from many genres!). What I’ve always loved about the work of Chris Robinson, whom I consider one of the most amazing and underrated songwriters of our time, is his ability to always find the redemption and salvation of Sunday morning even in what sometimes seems the blackest of nights, when all hope and love is gone.  

Similarly to Morrison always writing “in the clear light of dawn”, it was during many of those nights when Michael Jackson couldn’t sleep, and would walk out to The Giving Tree to meditate by moonlight, that many of his most well known songs were inspired. What he gave to the world were the songs that often came to him in those moments of midnight clarity.

Michael's Midnight Hours Of Clarity In "The Giving Tree" No Doubt Brought Him Closer To His True Self...Which He Then Converted Into Song

Michael would have understood perfectly the words of Arthur Rimbaud, words written over a hundred years earlier by a youthful poet struggling to deal with his own issues of inspiration and creation:

The Poet makes himself a seer by a long, vast and reasoned derangement of all the senses-every form of love, of suffering, of madness.-Arthur Rimbaud

Arthur Rimbaud, 16, Embarking On The Journey Of Self-Discovery And The Hell That Is Sometimes Creation

Through the years, Rimbaud’s quote has often been misunderstood and misinterpreted as a justification for artistic excess and debauchery (i.e, drug use). But that’s not really what he’s saying at all. He is simply saying that the artist must embrace every aspect of himself; every atom and particle of his joy and suffering, in order to create. If he denies his art the full encompasse of his humanity, then he denies himself.

And if we as an audience deny it, we deny ourselves.

So while I can kind of see how some might feel it is POSSIBLE to separate Michael the Artist from Michael The Man, I think they are doing a disservice to both when they approach it that way. As was pointed out by the poster who initiated the discussion that fueled my inspiration this morning, Michael’s music was inseperable from the man. The qualities in his music that bring us joy; that make us want to get up and dance, come from that inner joy of spirit he brought to it, just as his darker music came from his pain and anguish. Yes, the songs were inseperable from the man who wrote them. 

Michael said of his songs “We Are The World, “Will You be There, “Heal the World, “The Lost Children”-“These are the songs I write because I hurt.”

 

Improvement makes strait roads, but the crooked roads without Improvement, are roads of Genius”-William Blake

One could also look at songs like “They Don’t care About Us,”  “This Time Around,” “Money,” “DS,” etc and hear him say, “These are the songs I write because I’m pissed off and angry, and tired of being pushed around.”

Conversely, one can hear songs like “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough,” “Billie Jean” or “The Way You Make Me Feel” and hear him say, “These are the songs I write because, like you, I know the joy of falling in love, being happy, and wanting to dance!”

Maybe instead of thinking of it as seperation, people should look at embracing art as an extension of both the lighter and darker sides of ourselves; as it reflects the duality of our own humanity, for better or worse.

When We Separate The Art From The Artist, We Are Merely Robbing Ourselves

 

So yes, absolutely, those songs came from the soul of the man. And when we allow ourselves to enjoy them, we are partaking something of that individual’s soul and spirit, whether we like it or not. Enjoying a work of art is like being a desperately thirsty man or woman led to a drinking trough. When we sip that water, we are not only nourishing and replenishing our body, but also ingesting all that it contains. We cannot separate the bacteria from its nourishing qualities; we can only ingest it as it comes, impurities and all. 

This is also true whether we are listening to a song, reading a poem, or gazing at a beautiful (or even a disturbing) painting. If it moves us, it’s because we are being moved by the spirit, the heart and the mind of its creator. In the end, instead of trying to separate The Art from The Human Being, it’s much easier and much more rewarding to simply accept that there is no separation. Rather, art is the bridge that connects us to another human being,more completely than we will ever be at any other time-yes, even during sex or childbirth! I challenge anyone reading this right now to go to your CD collection, or to Youtube or anywhere where you can take a few moments and listen to a Michael Jackson song. Any song at all, it doesn’t matter which one. Go ahead…five, six, seven minutes, however long it takes. If you do this exercise, then congratulations. You have just connected to Michael Jackson’s soul in a way you will never get from any book, magazine, or tabloid story. For those five minutes or so, he has allowed you, the listener, a deeper understanding of him than you will ever get from any other source, even though we still somehow insist that all of these sources can provide us with more understanding of him than than the music itself.

As for whether we choose to accept or reject that connection, that’s a choice only the individual can make. But to accept the idea that we can somehow do both is to spit in the very face of what  art is. Art is a representation of our humanity.  Without humanity, there is no art.

Michael Jackson's Enemies Are LITERALLY One Big, Happy Family: By sanemjfan-Pt 2

Part 2 picks up with more recent photos unearthed of Gavin and Star:

By sanemjfan

Originally posted November 09, 2011

http://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/michael-jackson%e2%80%99s-enemies-are-literally-one-big-happy-family/

Here are photos of Diane Dimond! I looked at her facebook page, and she has some very interesting connections, to say the least!

In the two photos above, you can clearly see that Dimond is friends with two of the “Neverland 5″: Melanie Bagnall and Adrian McManus! You can read more about McManus’s laughable testimony in this post (Bullet point #6), and in this post. (Kassim Abdool, Ralph Chacon, and Sandy Domz are the other “Neverland 5″ members.) They also sold their stories to Maureen Orth and Victor Gutierrez, and you can read this post to see how their lawyer was fined $28,350 for not disclosing their interviews to a judge before their civil trial! Bagnall and McManus are also FB friends as well, as you can imagine!

Here is Dimond and her buddy Zonen. How many journalists remain friends with the lawyers that they cover?

Yes, that’s Jason Pfeiffer in the photo below! The same guy who, along with MJ’s “friend” Arnold Klein, sold a story claiming to be MJ’s gay lover ON THE SAME DAY that Aphrodite Jones aired her documentary on Investigation Discovery! Nikki Allygator debunked that trash in this post!

In the photos below, you’ll see that Dimond is truly being a guardian angel for Star! (She isn’t FB friends with Gavin, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not in touch!) I wonder what type of advice and mentoring she’s giving them?

Here are some additional photos of Dimond’s connections with, Zonen, Palanker, and Stacy Brown:

Zonen and Dimon are on the left, and Stacy Brown is on the right.
Dimond, Zonen, and Palanker.

In the following photos, you’ll see that Stacy Brown is friends with Susan Filan and Dan Abrams, who he worked with while serving as an “analyst” during the trial.

Abrams hosted his own show during the trial, and Susan Filan and Stacy Brown were regular guests. Here is Abrams’ speech from the Harvard Law School seminar in November 2005. (Mesereau spoke there as well.)

Here is Filan’s “closing arguments” for the prosecution at the end of the trial. Try to keep a straight face while watching it! (I’m going to add something for the record here: The act that the prosecution tried to accuse Michael of, of sticking his hands down Gavin’s pants to masturbate him…physically impossible. Trust me, anyone who has ever engaged in a simple, teenage petting session would even know this! The only way it can possibly work is…well, if the other party is completely willing and has their pants open. Otherwise, I’m sorry, no way-Raven).

Here are some photos of Brown’s connection to some of the aformentioned people:

Wow! Dimond is friends with pro-prosection entertainer Susan Filan! What a shock!

If you think that Star or Gavin have an ounce of remorse for what they did, think again! Here is a message he wrote to someone on July 10th, 2009 (from a now defunct account.)

Whew! Based on all of those connections, I think it’s time to update the flowchart from The Veritas Project! It’s waaaayyyy outdated!

See guys? This is post shows what can be accomplished when you use some good old fashioned detective work! Who would have ever thought that I would find recent photos of Gavin? I guess my new nickname should be Sherlock Holmes, huh?

In closing, here is a recent video of Gavin running and hiding like the coward he is (added by Raven):

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uHSUQ_X9LU[/tube]