Category Archives: Death and Investigation

MJ’s Death and the Ongoing Investigation

Michael's Notes Reveal: He Was Being LIED To!

Notes3A lot is being written right now about those handwritten notes left by Michael-you know, the ones that Katherine Jackson wants admitted into the trial, and for which AEG are staunchly trying to keep out, claiming they are irrelevant  hearsay.

My first reaction was to question the intentions of both sides. Why would Katherine, who has endured a long and bitter trial to “prove” that AEG recklessly hired Muray, want to admit as evidence a collection of notes in which Michael seemingly admits he wants Murray at his side to administer his “drip?”

Conversely, why would AEG fight to keep such evidence out, when it would seem that this could only bolster their case?

I think those answers become clear soon enough, on deeper inspection. Katherine’s attorneys seem to feel confident that jurors will look past this apparent self-admission for the desire of Murray’s services, to what may be their deeper implications.

On the surface, these notes seem little more than the usual manifestos that Michael liked to write. These kinds of inspirational manifestos were a consistent pattern throughout his life, and I see nothing here that in any way deviates from the same grandiose plans that Michael was laying out for himself as early as 1979.

Notes1

Notes2

Notes4

Notes5

The media, as usual, tends to over analyze everything when it comes to Michael. They will overly scrutinize every phrase for signs of some mental deterioration, or for signs of “desperation”-a very overused word that has popped up in so much of the media coverage of these notes. Somehow, despite all the evidence that Michael was writing these kinds of notes to himself for years, and that it was a practice that had at least partially as much to do with his great success as his talent-and even after being the subject of a recent 60 Minutes episode-the media will continue to view this as “a bizarre practice from a desperate mind,” as well as somehow convincing themselves that each new batch discovered is revealing this practice for the very first time.  The recent New York Daily News article, for example, must have made certain to mention his spelling errors at least a half dozen times-as if anyone edits all of their spelling perfectly when scribbling out a private note that is never intended to be seen by anyone else, anyway!

But in this case, there is, at least, some justification to the use of the word “desperation.” Unlike those similar notes from earlier periods, these do reveal a disturbing distrust of those around him-most importantly, those around him in his final days who were making so many of his business decisions.

The media, for example, will write of his “desperation” with no attempt to answer why he felt the need to write himself a reminder to sign all of his own checks. Or why he was so adamant in his fear and distrust of Thome, a man who we know was in cahoots with Phillips and company throughout the entire proceedings. Or why he states emphatically the need to hire accountants “I trust” and the necessity of meeting them. If we mean “desperation” in the sense that many of these notes reveal the mind of a person feeling cornered and losing control, then yes, they are desperate.

Was Michael In His Final Weeks Being Misled-Either Willfully Or Ignorantly- About The Benefits Of Propofol-Induced Sleep? His Notes Say Yes!
Was Michael In His Final Weeks Being Misled-Either Willfully Or Ignorantly- About The Benefits Of Propofol-Induced Sleep? His Notes Say Yes!

But with all the back and forth haggling from both pro and anti AEG factions, and pro and anti Jackson family factions, and all the media’s psychoanalyzing, it somewhat amazes me that no one has picked up on one of the most blatantly obvious clues revealed by these notes.

In the same note in which Michael insists on needing Murray to provide his “drip” he also says this: “I can’t be tired after procedure, to {sic] important (?), RIM {sic] sleep.”

I am not sure if “important” is the correct word here, since the handwriting becomes a bit illegible for me at that point, and that is why I have put a question mark beside it. But, Michael’s idiosyncratic spelling and penmanship aside, the gist of the message is crystal clear. Michael is saying that the “procedure” Murray performs is important because it will provide him with much-needed REM sleep. He seems genuinely under the impression that no other alternative form of sleep therapy or sleep aid will provide this.

But remember, this is exactly the OPPOSITE of what most real sleep experts claim, and, in fact, was the heart of Dr. Charles Czeisler’s entire testimony back in June:

http://www.allforloveblog.com/?p=8329

You may recall that Dr. Charles Cziesler was the sleep expert witness paid for by the prosecution, who testified that in his expert opinion, it was the prolonged and sustained lack of REM sleep that killed Michael, and that even if Murray had not been negligent on the morning of June 25th, 2009, Michael would have had at best a few more weeks before his body shut down, anyway. It was Cziesler’s testimony that led to such Frankenstein-like headlines as “Michael Jackson May have Been The First Human Being To Ever Go 60 Days Without REM Sleep.” But sensationalism aside, there was more than a bit of truth to the claims. Based on Czeisler’s testimony, and what we know from the symptoms Michael was reportedly exhibiting in his final weeks, it became easy to draw the conclusion that Michael’s body was slowly and painfully shutting down as a direct result of having had no REM sleep in over two months!

I've Increased The Size Of The Note Here So You Can See Where MJ States He Genuinely Believes That Going Under A Propofol Drip Will Induce The Things He Needed Most-REM SLEEP!
I’ve Increased The Size Of The Note Here So You Can See Where MJ States He Genuinely Believes That Going Under A Propofol Drip Will Induce The Things He Needed Most-REM SLEEP!

Now that I have seen the above note, it has opened my eyes to an even more ominous possibility. It seems that Michael had been led to genuinely believe that propofol infusions would, in fact, produce REM sleep-the very thing he was most in need of. But who had been responsible for feeding him that misinformation? Did it come directly from Murray, or earlier doctors? And what about some of the self-proclaimed sleep experts that Michael was seeking in his last months, before turning to Murray?

Could it be possible that a genuine belief in this misinformation cost him his life, as well as weeks’ worth of unnecessary suffering? And what of the person who had convinced him? Ignorance or intentional malice?

Unfortunately, as happens so often, this kind of evidence only raises more questions than it answers. But one thing I feel very certain about after having seen this note.

If Michael genuinely believed he needed propofol infusions in order to get REM sleep, he was being fed a load of bull.

The big question that remains is: Who was feeding him that bull, and why?

And to look at the larger picture, it is very clear to me that AEG is more afraid of what these notes reveal, than any potential boost they might have to their case just because Michael seemed in favor of Murray. I just think there are too many powerful people who fear being put under the scrutiny that they know those notes will invite.

And when the media chooses to focus only on what the notes reveal about Michael’s “troubled/desperate/dark state of mind” (take your adjective pick here) they are playing right into the plan.

With Literally Days To Live...If Michael Was Being Misled And Lied To About Propofol Use, Who Was Doing The Lying-And Why?
With Literally Days To Live…If Michael Was Being Misled And Lied To About Propofol Use, Who Was Doing The Lying-And Why?

Michael’s state of mind, whether emotional or psychological, will always be questioned, while the most important questions raised by evidence such as this will always go ignored.

 

Did Losing The Ability To Dream Kill Michael Jackson?

Ah, The Good Old Days For Michael, When Being Able To Sleep (And Dream) Was No Issue.
Ah, The Good Old Days For Michael, When Being Able To Sleep (And Dream) Was No Issue.

It’s amazing how, sometimes, all the pieces to a puzzle will suddenly fit together when the one missing piece is found. My first thought, as soon as I learned of Dr. Charles Cziesler’s testimony, is that this explains everything. Or, if not everything, it at least-to quote one of my favorite lines from the movie “Almost Famous”-“explains so much.” I have pasted below Alan Duke’s CNN article. Pay attention to the passages I’ve highlighted and underscored, especially when we take into account the symptoms Michael was displaying in the last weeks of his life according to many witnesses. Now, I will say this much, for what it’s worth-I believe at least a couple of those symptoms  have been exaggerated, either by the media or by those who genuinely believed there was reason for alarm when, perhaps, there wasn’t. I will get to those a bit later in the post. However, that still leaves a slew of other symptoms and what has become vastly obvious as a rapid deterioration  of Michael’s health over a two month period. With this being obvious from the reports, but with so little medical knowledge to go on (and so little known about the long-term effects of propofol use) I had began to theorize that perhaps what Michael was suffering was essentially a kind of slow poisoning process, as the toxins from these nightly treatments accumulated in his bloodstream and organs. While under ordinary circumstances, propofol metabolizes quickly, there is simply not enough known about its long-term effects if used consecutively for many nights. “Propofol abuse,” in other words, is still a relatively new concept, although its use as a muder and homicide weapon isn’t unheard of.

Karrie Denise Willoughby Murdered Her Stepfather With Propofol
Karrie Denise Willoughby Murdered Her Stepfather With Propofol

This, for example, was a local case in Alabama that made national headlines (and note Denise Willoughby was charged with capital muder!):

http://www.waff.com/story/12556977/prosecutors-believe-ider-woman-killed-stepfather-for-money

http://www.waff.com/story/12483123/ider-woman-arrested-for-poisoning-step-father

sleep2Now, with what Cziesler has testified, it seems my theory may not have been too far off the mark. Michael, it seems from all indications, was slowly dying as a result of Murray’s nightly “treatment” although I had underestimated the role that a lack of REM sleep was possibly playing in that demise. It may not have been the same as being poisoned, but considering the long term toll that Murray’s nightly regimen was taking on his body-and which, according to Cziesler, would have eventually killed him within the next few weeks, anyway-it could certainly be argued that what was happening to Michael in the last two months of his life amounted to the same thing as being poisoned. After all, according to the Merriam Webster definition, “poison” means “a substance that through its chemical action usually kills, injures, or impairs an organism.” In this case, the substance in question, propofol, was causing poisonous  harm by inhibiting a vital bodily function necessary to survival-sleep. And, in keeping with that definition, I don’t think it is far fetched to refer to Michael’s death as a case of lethal poisoning, in light of Dr. Cziezler’s explosive testimony.

Expert: Michael Jackson went 60 days without real sleep

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 11:15 AM EDT, Mon June 24, 2013
Los Angeles (CNN) — Michael Jackson died while preparing to set a world record for the most successful concert run, but he unknowingly set another record that led to his death.
Jackson may be the only human ever to go two months without REM — rapid eye movement — sleep, which is vital to keep the brain and body alive. The 60 nights of propofol infusions Dr. Conrad Murraysaid he gave Jackson to treat his insomnia is something a sleep expert says no one had ever undergone.
“The symptoms that Mr. Jackson was exhibiting were consistent with what someone might expect to see of someone suffering from total sleep deprivation over a chronic period,” Dr. Charles Czeisler, a Harvard Medical School sleep expert, testified Friday at the wrongful-death trial of concert promoter AEG LIve.

The symptoms documented by e-mails among show producers and testimony from his chef, hairstylist and choreographers included his inability to do standard dances or remember words to songs he sang for decades, paranoia, talking to himself and hearing voices, and severe weight loss, Czeisler said.

“I believe that that constellation of symptoms was more probably than not induced by total sleep deprivation over a chronic period,” he testified.

Propofol disrupts the normal sleep cycle and offers no REM sleep, yet it leaves a patient feeling refreshed as if they had experienced genuine sleep, according to Czeisler.

If the singer had not died on June 25, 2009, of an overdose of the surgical anesthetic, the lack of REM sleep may have taken his life within days anyway, according Czeisler’s testimony Friday.

Lab rats die after five weeks of getting no REM sleep, he said. It was never tried on a human until Murray gave Jackson nightly propofol infusions for two months.

Translating that to a human, Czeisler estimated, Jackson would have died before his 80th day of propofol infusions. Murray told police he had given it to him for 60 nights before trying to wean him off it on June 22, 2009 — three days before his death.

Czeisler — who serves as a sleep consultant to NASA, the CIA and the Rolling Stones — testified Thursday that the “drug-induced coma” induced by propofol leaves a patient with the same refreshed feeling of a good sleep but without the benefits that genuine sleep delivers in repairing brain cells and the body.

“It would be like eating some sort of cellulose pellets instead of dinner,” he said. “Your stomach would be full, and you would not be hungry, but it would be zero calories and not fulfill any of your nutrition needs.”

Depriving someone of REM sleep for a long period of time makes them paranoid, anxiety-filled, depressed, unable to learn, distracted and sloppy, Czeisler testified. They lose their balance and appetite while their physical reflexes get 10 times slower and their emotional responses 10 times stronger, he said.

Those symptoms are strikingly similar to descriptions of Jackson in his last weeks, as described in e-mails from show producers and testimony by witnesses in the trial.

Jackson’s mother and children are suing AEG Live, contending that the company is liable in his death because it hired, retained or supervised Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. They argue that the promoter pressured Murray to get Jackson to rehearsals while failing to get Jackson help despite numerous red flags warning that he was in trouble.

AEG Live lawyers contend that it was Jackson who chose, hired and supervised Murray, and their executives had no way of knowing about the dangerous propofol treatments administered in the privacy of Jackson’s rented mansion.

A very long question

Czeisler was back on the witness stand Friday to answer a question that was asked just as court ended Thursday. Jackson lawyer Michael Koskoff asked his expert what may also be a record-breaker in a trial: a 15-minute-long hypothetical question.

He was asked to render an opinion based on a long list of circumstances presented so far in the trial about Jackson’s condition and behavior, including:

• That Murray administered propofol to Jackson 60 consecutive nights before June 22, 2009.

• That Murray began to wean Jackson from propofol on June 22, 2009, and gave him none of the drug on June 23.

• That a paramedic who tried to revive him the day he died initially assumed he was a hospice patient.

• That show producers reported Jackson became progressively thinner and paranoid and was talking to himself in his final weeks.

• That the production manager warned that Jackson had deteriorated over eight weeks, was “a basket case” who he feared might hurt himself on stage and could not do the multiple 360-degree spins that he was known for.

• That show director Kenny Ortega wrote that Jackson was having trouble “grasping the work” at rehearsals and needed psychiatric help.

• That Jackson needed a teleprompter to remember the words to songs he had sung many times before over several decades.

• That show workers reported the singer was talking to himself and repeatedly saying that “God is talking to me.”

• That Jackson was suffering severe chills on a summer day in Los Angeles and his skin was cold as ice to the touch.

Jackson lawyers revised the question Friday morning after AEG Live lawyers objected to the information about Murray’s nightly propofol treatments, since it was derived only from the doctor’s statement to police after Jackson’s death. The judge previously ruled that statement inadmissible.

Instead, they brought up evidence that Murray ordered more than four gallons of propofol between April and June, which Czeisler said equaled 155,000 milliliters of the drug. An anesthesiologist uses between 20 and 30 milliliters to induce a coma for surgery, he said.

The expert testified that his review of Jackson’s medical records convinced him that the singer suffered a chronic sleep disorder that “was greatly exaggerated” while he was on tour or preparing for a tour.

Jackson died just two weeks before he would have traveled to London for the premiere of his “This Is It” comeback concerts, produced and promoted by AEG Live.

A lecture on sleep

Jurors appeared quite interested as Czeisler lectured them Thursday on his sleep research, including an explanation of circadian rhythm: the internal clock in the brain that controls the timing of when we sleep and wake and the timing of the release of hormones

“That’s why we sleep at night and are awake in the day,” he said.

Your brain needs sleep to repair and maintain its neurons every night, he said.

Blood cells cycle out every few weeks, but brain cells are for a lifetime, he said.

“Like a computer, the brain has to go offline to maintain cells that we keep for life, since we don’t make more,” he said. “Sleep is the repair and maintenance of the brain cells.”

An adult should get seven to eight hours of sleep each night to allow for enough sleep cycles, he said.

You “prune out” unimportant neuron connections and consolidate important ones during your “slow-eyed sleep” each night, he said. Those connections — which is the information you have acquired during the day — are consolidated by the REM sleep cycle. Your eyes actually dart back and forth rapidly during REM sleep.

“In REM, we are integrating the memories that we have stored during slow-eyed sleep, integrating memories with previous life experiences,” he said. “We are able to make sense of things that we may not have understood while awake.”

Learning and memory happen when you are asleep, he said. A laboratory mouse rehearses a path through a maze to get to a piece of cheese while asleep.

The area of a basketball player’s brain that is used to shoot a ball will have much greater slow-eyed sleep period since there is more for it to store, he said. Players shoot better after sleep.

The Portland Trailblazers consulted with him after they lost a series of East Coast basketball games, he said. He was able to give their players strategies for being sharper when traveling across time zones.

He’s worked with the Rolling Stones on their sleep problems, he said. Musicians are vulnerable since they are often traveling across time zones and usually “all keyed up” to perform at night, he said.

Czeisler developed a program for NASA to help astronauts deal with sleep issues in orbit, where they have a sunrise and sunset every 90 minutes.

Other clients include major industries that are concerned about night shift workers falling asleep on the job, the CIA, the Secret Service and the U.S. Air Force, he said.

Jackson lawyers argue that AEG Live should have consulted a sleep expert like Czeisler for Jackson instead of hiring Murray — a cardiologist — for $150,000 to treat the artist.

The trial ends its eighth week in a Los Angeles courtroom Friday. Lawyers estimate that the case will conclude in early August.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/21/showbiz/jackson-death-trial

I should add that there is a video of an interview with another sleep expert on the CNN website from which I took this article, which you can access via the above link. However, I think what she has to say about sleep deprivation and the advice intended for insomniac sufferers “like Michael Jackson” is pretty much useless, since all of the remedies she suggests are only effective for mild case insomnia. While good intentioned, perhaps, she is failing to take into account that Michael had, at some point, tried ALL of these remedies-and nothing had worked. Yes, the use of propofol may have been “beyond the pale,” as she put it. But this was, as most sleep experts have recognized, a “beyond the pale” case of insomnia. It was certainly not one that was going to be solved by a little exercise, or a cup of herbal tea.

Lack Of REM Sleep Means No Dreams-And, Eventually, Death.
Lack Of REM Sleep Means No Dreams-And, Eventually, Death.

One thing that struck me as sad, in a poetic kind of way, is that if we believe Cziesler’s testimony and put trust in his expertise, it all comes down to one, simple truth:

Michael Jackson may have died by losing his ability to dream.

Aside from the rejuvenation and restoration of brain cells and other vital organs, the characteristic most associated with REM sleep is dreaming. As Cziesler noted, it is during this phase of sleep that the subconscious is working out vital memories, helping the brain to process all of the information stored throughout the day, as well as life experiences. From the beginning of time, our ability to dream has always been a source of great fascination and mystery. We now know that it serves many important physical functions as well that are necessary for the maintenance of physical health and mental functioning.

If what we are hearing is true, and Michael had experienced no REM sleep for 60 days, it means that in all likelihood, he hadn’t dreamed in 60 days.

Obviously, I’m playing with this idea on two levels-the physical one, obviously, but also the deeper, more symbolic one. Michael Jackson, whose career owed so much to being one of the greatest dreamers of our time, may have lost that ability in more ways than one.

“You can kill the dreamer, but you can’t kill the dream”-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

However, leave it to another “doctor”-Dr. Conrad Murray-to prove that, just maybe, you can kill the dream as well.
Of course, I have heard that for many years after his 2005  trial, Michael continued to have nightmares about it-and about going to prison. Who knows, perhaps he subconsciously (or even consciously) sought to avoid slipping into that frightful world of dreams. Perhaps that was part of the appeal of propofol, the idea of being able to slip into a peaceful abyss without dreams; without torment. However, that is a tangent for which I’ll be here all day if I allow myself to indulge it. Perhaps for another blog.
To get back to the question at hand, however: Does propofol actually inhibit REM sleep? I did find at least a couple of medical articles that seem to dispute Cziesler’s claims. I am sorry I was not able to make the second a clickable link.
www.researchgate.net/…sleeppropofol…/3deec51a6356cad6e1.pdf
However, this is a passage from that second article. We have to keep in mind that the study of propofol’s effects on sleep patterns has only been tested on rats, not humans, and there are still many mitigating factors that can affect the results of those studies:

In principle, a period of anesthesia might modify the
homeostatic regulation of sleep debt in three ways. For
example, general anesthesia might be a permissive state
that allows normal sleep homeostatic processes to occur.
An anesthetized organism would thus repay sleep
debt built up during previous wakefulness and emerge
less sleep-deprived after an anesthetic than before. Alternatively,
anesthesia might progressively increase sleep
debt in a fashion similar to wakefulness. Prolonged anesthetics
would then induce a sleep-deprived state. Finally,
anesthesia might represent a state unlike either
sleep or waking, in which sleep debt neither accumulates
nor dissipates. Organisms emerging from anesthesia
would then have the same degree of sleep deprivation as
when they were initially anesthetized.

And, from the same article:

Delayed, propofol-induced effects on sleep may also
have altered the interpretation of our results. In humans,
the combination of inhaled anesthetics and surgery results
in initial suppression of REM sleep, followed by a
rebound increase on the second or third postoperative
day.

However, at this point, I was getting a bit confused by the findings. Several medical sources seemed to dispute Cziesler’s claims, giving the impression that anesthesia can produce the same recovery from sleep deprivation as natural sleep:

Anesthesiology. 2004 Jun;100(6):1419-26.

Recovery from sleep deprivation occurs during propofol anesthesia.

Source

Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, The University of Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA. atung@airway.uchicago.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Some neurophysiologic similarities between sleep and anesthesia suggest that an anesthetized state may reverse effects of sleep deprivation. The effect of anesthesia on sleep homeostasis, however, is unknown. To test the hypothesis that recovery from sleep deprivation occurs during anesthesia, the authors followed 24 h of sleep deprivation in the rat with a 6-h period of either ad libitum sleep or propofol anesthesia, and compared subsequent sleep characteristics.

METHODS:

With animal care committee approval, electroencephalographic/electromyographic electrodes and intrajugular cannulae were implanted in 32 rats. After a 7-day recovery and 24-h baseline electroencephalographic/electromyographic recording period, rats were sleep deprived for 24 h by the disk-over-water method. Rats then underwent 6 h of either propofol anesthesia (n = 16) or ad libitum sleep with intralipid administration (n = 16), followed by electroencephalographic/electromyographic monitoring for 72 h.

RESULTS:

In control rats, increases above baseline in non-rapid eye movement sleep, rapid eye movement sleep, and non-rapid eye movement delta power persisted for 12 h after 24 h of sleep deprivation. Recovery from sleep deprivation in anesthetized rats was similar in timing to that of controls. No delayed rebound effects were observed in either group for 72 h after deprivation.

CONCLUSION:

These data show that a recovery process similar to that occurring during naturally occurring sleep also takes place during anesthesia and suggest that sleep and anesthesia share common regulatory mechanisms. Such interactions between sleep and anesthesia may allow anesthesiologists to better understand a potentially important source of variability in anesthetic action and raise the possibility that anesthetics may facilitate sleep in environments where sleep deprivation is common.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15166561

(The free full text of this article is available, btw).

sleep6But then, I found this important article that was published, shortly after Michael’s death, in the July 2009 issue of Science Life. This was an interview with the same experts who conducted the studies linked to above, and thankfully, was written in layman’s terms (make that plain English!) for those of us who aren’t doctors or medical experts. I will link to the entire article, but to save time and space for right now, let’s just excerpt the passage that concerns our present purpose most:

Q: But does that mean that propofol sedation is the same as sleep?

Tung: Propofol sedation is nothing at all like sleep. Sleep is reversible with external stimulation – if you shake somebody, they wake up. Propofol is obviously not like that. Sleep shows a characteristic pattern of EEG behavior, while propofol does not. (For instance, Tung explains, cyclical patterns of REM and nonREM sleep are not observed during propofol sedation, in rats or humans) Sleep, in general, preserves blood pressure and the ability to breathe and propofol does not. They are very different states.

Q: All of your propofol research has been in rats, has there been any research done in humans along these lines?

Tung: No, there has not. It does appear that humans given propofol for prolonged periods do not appear to be sleep deprived when you turn off the drug. No data exist to support the specific use that has been alleged in the Michael Jackson case (using propofol as a treatment for insomnia),. Use to facilitate regular sleep is not at all safe. The benefit is way outstripped by the risk…if there is any benefit.

Nobody is advocating its use outside a hospital for patients that are not critically ill. That is outside the boundaries of currently accepted care.

http://sciencelife.uchospitals.edu/2009/07/31/propofol-a-dangerous-kind-of-rest/

Ah, so now it all starts to make sense, and goes right back to exactly what Cziezler said:

“It would be like eating some sort of cellulose pellets instead of dinner. Your stomach would be full, and you would not be hungry, but it would be zero calories and not fulfill any of your nutrition needs.”-Dr. Charles Cziesler

In other words, a person who goes under with the use of propofol will wake up refreshed, since the anesthesia has mimicked the effects of sleep. For most of us, there are no long term consequences for this effect since our experience with anesthesia is generally limited to surgical procedures, and not as a nightly aid to induce sleep. But now imagine you ate those pellets every night for dinner, for 60 nights or longer. You would continue to feel full, but sooner or later, your weight would be dropping drastically, your muscles would start to atrophy;  your vital organs would start to shut down.
It is a little like anytime we rely too much on a temporary solution to fix what is actually a long-term problem. We know that if an obese person ate those pellets every night for dinner, they would lose weight. But they would also die.
As for being able to dream while under anesthesia, I do know from experience that it is technically possible. I had Diprivan during my appendectomy in 2009. All I remember is that I was talking away to the nurse about my job, and then I drifted into a very fleeting dream that involved Brad Pitt (I kid you not; I can’t think of any better way to pass the time during an appendectomy!). Next thing I knew, I was awake; my inflamed appendix, gone.
So from my own experience, I know it is possible to dream while being under propofol, which might suggest that I must have been experiencing some degree of REM sleep.  However, that isn’t necessarily the case.
The four stages outside of REM sleep are called non-REM sleep (NREM). Although most dreams do take place during REM sleep, more recent research has shown that dreams can occur during any of the sleep stages. Tore A. Nielsen, Ph.D., of the Dream and Nightmare Laboratory in Montreal, refers to this as “covert REM sleep” making an appearance during NREM sleep. Most NREM dreams, however, don’t have the intensity of REM dreams.
Judging by what I experienced, I would say this was a case of NREM dreaming. All I can tell you now is that I know the dream involved Brad Pitt. But beyond that, the details are very fleeting and fuzzy-a good indication that I was not experiencing true REM sleep.
All Experts Agree That This Was A Completely Unprecedented Medical Experiment. Michael Was Used As A Guinea Pig In The Worst Way Possible.
All Experts Agree That This Was A Completely Unprecedented Medical Experiment. Michael Was Used As A Guinea Pig In The Worst Way Possible.

And let’s not forget that Michael was being put under for 60 consecutive days (if we go by Murray’s police report). As Cziesler pointed out, there are simply no other human experiences by which to gauge the effect this would have had on his mind and body. Michael was being subjected to a completely unprecedented medical experiment.

“I have watched him deteriorate in front of my eyes over the last 8 weeks. He was able to do multiple 360 spins back in April. He’d fall on his ass if he tried now,” production manager John “Bugzee” Houghdahl wrote in an e-mail to AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips on June 19, 2009.
Keeping in mind Houghdahl’s email, let’s go back to something Cziesler said about REM sleep-deprived individuals.

“They lose their balance…their physical reflexes get ten times weaker…”

It’s sad to think of Michael Jackson losing his ability to perform his dazzling 360 spins. This was not only one of his signature dance moves, but also his absolute favorite to perform. In Dancing the Dream, he described it thus:

“I throw my head back and a swirling nebula says, ‘Fast now, twirl!’

Grinning, ducking my head for balance, I start to spin as wildly as I can. This is my favorite dance, because it contains a secret. The faster I twirl, the more I am still inside. My dance is all motion without, all silence within. As much as I love to make music, it’s the unheard music that never dies. And silence is my real dance, though it never moves. It stands aside, my choreographer of grace, and blesses each finger and toe.”-Michael Jackson, excerpted from “Dance of Life.”spin

It is even sadder in light of the fact that what Cziesler is referring to is irreversible damage. Brain cells are not an on again, off again switch. Once they are damaged, it is irreparable. As we saw in This Is It, Michael was certainly still capable of being an amazing dancer, but as pointed out in testimony, we don’t see him performing any 360 spins. Many have pointed out that his dancing seemed a bit “off” but I had always just chalked it up to the fact that this was rehearsal footage and that Michael was not dancing full out (to my knowledge, he never did in rehearsals; he didn’t need to). Just as he was always saying, “I need to conserve my throat” he also very seldom pushed himself to full capacity in rehearsal. People who wanted to be nitpicky picked on a lot of things for the wrong reasons. His sidestep glides, for example (or, as some call it, the side moonwalk) look clumsy in the film for a good reason. Look at his feet. He is wearing hard soled street shoes in those segments-shoes with heels, in fact. Not his customary penny loafers, which gave him the much needed agility and traction for those moves. This may also explain why there was no moonwalk in Billie Jean (again, aside from the fact that this was only a rehearsal run through).

Michael's Billie Jean Routine In This Is It. Note That He Is Wearing Hard Soled Street Shoes, Not His Customary Penny Loafers. It's Absurd To Think That This Didn't Impede His Ability To Throw Spins And Moonwalks Into The Number.
Michael’s Billie Jean Routine In This Is It. Note That He Is Wearing Hard Soled Street Shoes, Not His Customary Penny Loafers. It’s Absurd To Think That This Didn’t Impede His Ability To Throw Spins And Moonwalks Into The Number.

Also, there was much unnecessary over analyzing of some of his “manic” looking moves during the Human Nature segment. (Remember when everyone was wondering if “The Penguin” was a new dance move he was planning for the concerts?). I can sum up the truth about those moves in just a few chosen words: It’s called HAVING FUN. In typical MJ fashion, Michael was cutting up and teasing. It may have looked a bit manic, but these were never moves he seriously intended to use.

But again, This Is It can not be relied on as an entirely accurate depiction of what his last rehearsals were like. What we saw was the best of the best, culled over roughly about two nights’ worth of decent performances and a few bits and pieces sliced in from other good moments. When I stop to think about it, it’s really true that we don’t ever see him performing any of his routinely most challenging dance moves. There are no spins, no moonwalks, and only a few clumsily executed glides. Of course, to offset that, we still have a killer Smooth Criminal routine that is spot on flawless, a well executed Thriller routine (in which he does dance full out) and that amazing Beat It segment which required multiple jumps, spins, and falling on the floor-all of which he manages to do as well as the dancers half his age. He also looked very good during the Jackson 5 routine, although here we are talking dance moves he had known intrinsically since childhood, so perhaps that is no surprise.

In short, just because we don’t see these moves in This Is It doesn’t mean that he couldn’t perform them. But that is also no reason to dispute the validity of the eyewitness claims, those like Houghdahl who were witnessing what they specifically described as a measurable physical decline between April and June.

Now, let’s go back to Cziesler’s own words again:

” They lose their balance and appetite while their physical reflexes get 10 times slower and their emotional responses 10 times stronger.”

Many of the witnesses have claimed that Michael exhibited signs of increased paranoia during this period. However, I always take that term “paranoia” with a grain of salt. It’s an overused term; one of the media’s favorite catch phrases when describing Michael’s more extreme fears and anxieties. The bottom line is that much of the time he had damn good reason to be “paranoid,” if that’s what we wish to call it. In my estimation, it cannot truly be paranoia if a person has legitimate and valid reasons to be fearful. Paranoia is a psychological term used to describe exaggerated or imaginary fears and anxieties about being harmed. I don’t think Michael’s concerns were necessarily unfounded ones. But the effects of this slow poisoning could well have been working on his physiological state, making his emotional responses to such stimuli-whether real or imagined-much more intense. You know how we always joke about how overly emotional women are on their periods, due to the hormonal imbalances during that time? Well, take that and multiply it several times over, and I believe you have something very much akin to what Michael was experiencing during those weeks, only the cause was not hormonal, but due to very real and dangerous chemical changes going on in his brain. This would have made any amount of stress almost impossible to deal with (let alone the hugely monumental stress he was being put under with these shows and rehearsals) and any conflict apt to set him on edge, regardless of how serious or petty the actual offense.

“After he got off the phone, he would cry,” Prince Jackson testified. “He would say ‘They’re going to kill me, they’re going to kill me.'”-From Prince Jackson’s testimony.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/26/showbiz/jackson-death-trial

I want to make it clear that I am not in any way trying to diminish or invalidate why Michael may have been making these claims. I am only pointing out that what Prince testified, along with what other witnesses have said, seems to bear out that Michael was in a highly emotional and agitated state throughout these weeks in question, which again is another symptom pointing to Cziesler’s theory that lack of REM sleep was severely affecting his judgement during these weeks. Perhaps Michael did feel they were trying to kill him, but I believe that had he not been hampered by the effects this poison was wrecking on his body and mind, he would have been able to think more clearly and rationally and would have been able to exercise better judgment in how to deal with those pressures.

Prince Described His Father As Excited About The Shows, But Often Emotional Over The Pressure He Was Being Put Under. "He Would Sit And Cry" After Phone Conversations With Randy Phillips. Could Lack of REM Sleep Have Been Contributing To His Emotional Distress?
Prince Described His Father As Excited About The Shows, But Often Emotional Over The Pressure He Was Being Put Under. “He Would Sit And Cry” After Phone Conversations With Randy Phillips. Could Lack of REM Sleep Have Been Contributing To His Emotional Distress?

And what about these reported symptoms?

• That show director Kenny Ortega wrote that Jackson was having trouble “grasping the work” at rehearsals and needed psychiatric help.

• That Jackson needed a teleprompter to remember the words to songs he had sung many times before over several decades.

As Cziesler pointed out, a severely REM-impaired individual, as Michael surely was at this point, would be distracted and unable to concentrate, and certainly memory- impaired. It’s interesting to note that Kenny Ortega was requesting psychiatric help, however, without taking into consideration that there may have been very possible PHYSICAL reasons for this lack of focus. This distinction is important, because the one still carries with it the stigma of Michael’s “issues” having a psychological basis, rather than a physical one-especially when we consider that his physical decline at this point was due to the “care” he was supposedly receiving in order to do AEG’s bidding. This is also why Dr. Cziesler’s testimony is so crucial to our understanding of what was really going on with Michael at the end.

But how much should we really make of the memory issue? I have listened to many live MJ performances-including several from the peak of his career-in which he appears to “scat” his way through hits like “Beat It,” often substituting nonsensical lines in place of the actual lyrics. He would often improvise this way as he shaped the songs (his demos bear this out) and sometimes, in concert, he would fall back on this sort of improvisation. I am sure that Kenny Ortega and those who had worked with him for years would know the difference, but I think it is worth mentioning since we know how the media has always loved to exaggerate these negative reports.

For example, very recently when I was researching for a post about Michael’s tendency to write motivational notes to himself-those notes he would often write on his bathroom mirrors, or would stick in various spots throughout his house-I found this snarky piece from The Daily Mail. Of course, they not only referred to the notes as “bizarre” (even though they were positive and inspirational) but made special mention of what was apparently a “reminder” to include We Are The World in his setlist. Here is the excerpt from that article:

Also included was a reminder about singing his hit ‘We Are The World’ during his show.

The source said: ‘It’s worrying that he had to write reminders about things as obvious as these while he was rehearsing for his tour.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1213133/Michael-Jackson-leaves-bizarre-messages-reveal-state-mind-day-died.html

However, I can assure you there was nothing at all unusual in posting such a reminder! What this article does NOT mention is the fact that We Are The World-despite being one of Michael’s biggest hits-was never a staple of his live shows. It was never a song he routinely performed, in all of the twenty-four years since he had recorded it in 1985 and out of three world tours since. Therefore, the idea that he just might need a post-it sticky to remind himself to insert We Are The World  into his setlist is really not that far-fetched. After over twenty years of performing a live setlist that seldom had few variations, it would make sense that he might have the need to post a reminder that a deviation was planned. Anyone with any familiarity of Michael’s live shows would know this (but, of course, this is typical of the kind of lazy journalism that permeates the profession today; they just assume that their readers would take it for granted that We Are The World was a staple of his live shows. Who’s going to fact check a thing like that unless they are a diehard fan, right?).

I Posted This Pic Just To Lighten The Mood. However, It Comes With A Serious Message. You See, The Media Loves The Image Of Michael As A Basketcase...As Long As They Can Make It Clear That He Was A Basketcase Of His Own Doing.
I Posted This Pic Just To Lighten The Mood. However, It Comes With A Serious Message. You See, The Media Loves The Image Of Michael As A Basketcase…As Long As They Can Make It Clear That He Was A Basketcase Of His Own Doing.

These kinds of stories have been repeated and circulated endlessly, all with the intention of creating a portrait of someone who was a “basketcase” in his last days-but always, a “basketcase” due to his own making.  Seldom have any physical factors, other than addiction and drug dependency, been considered as possible reasons for these symptoms. Again, this is a reason why Dr. Cziesler’s testimony is crucial.

And what about the reported delusions, the ramblings, the comments that “God is talking to me?”

 That show workers reported the singer was talking to himself and repeatedly saying that “God is talking to me.

Well, I stated my feelings on that back when I posted this piece:
To those of us who are very religious and/or spiritual, it can mean something very different to say “God is talking to me” than it may for the average agnostic. My personal belief is that Michael was being called home, and perhaps it was due to his heightened state of emotional awareness during this time that he was attuned to it. But still, we can’t overlook the fact that Michael’s physical condition, after more than 60 days without restorative REM sleep, could have also played a role in creating auditory hallucinations. The symptoms would mimic those of schizophrenia for one, simple reason-it is the same parts of the brain that are being affected. I suppose it is like trying to unravel the mystery of “The White Light” and the hearing of loved ones’ voices when we pass on. Science can-and has-come up with many plausible theories as to why the dying brain experiences these phenomena. Yet, for all the scientific explanations, these things still defy our understanding. Or at least, our complete understanding.
In Michael’s case, two forces were happening inside him simultaneously. While the poison was shutting down brain cells and slowly destroying vital functioning, it was also giving him a sense of heightened consciousness. This is the same phenomenon that happens with the terminally ill, as their spirit selves begin to “disconnect” from their physical selves. I think it is at least one part physical (because the brain is shutting down) but many parts spiritual, and is simply one of those things we will never fully understand-at least, not until we experience it ourselves, and by then, it’s too late to turn back and enlighten those we’ve left behind.
And what about the oft-reported chills and shaking?
 That Jackson was suffering severe chills on a summer day in Los Angeles and his skin was cold as ice to the touch.
This is a symptom that has been reported many times, by many witnesses. But the cause of the chills has usually, invariably, been played out as some sort of drug withdrawal, most notably Demerol.  This was a staple, in fact, of Conrad Murray’s defense:
Karen Faye has been one of those insistent on the fact that Michael was always cold and had chills during his last weeks of rehearsal:

Q. You previously testified on those days Mr. Jackson looked good?

A. I didn’t say he LOOKED good. There’s no way somebody could look good that quickly. His rehearsal was better, sir.

Q. He had better rehearsal o the 23rd 24th but you still thought he was too thin?

A. Absolutely, sir. He was cold, very cold.

On almost all days at the end of June Michael was cold, but on June 19th he was cold like ice cubes:

‘That was the day that Michael was cold like ice cubes, he was shivering and shaking and couldn’t get warm. I got my space heater and put it next to him and wrapped him in a blanket.”

Well, it is interesting to note that Karen Faye’s testimony also seems to support that Michael’s physical deterioration really began in April, the month that Conrad Murray began treating him!

Karen Faye saw Michael in April 2009 and though he was very excited and upbeat she noticed that he was on the thin side. But in those days she still hoped he had time enough to build the body mass.

However the first time Michael came on stage, which was two months later, she saw the difference even from the way he looked in April.

A. At the beginning time frame he seemed happy I was with him, I’d touch him up and he’d seemed relatively normal.

Q. When did it change?

A. Well, I felt the turning point happened when he got on the stage.

Panish: So you told us about the skin and you told us about the weight.

Karen: His eyes were very dry.

Q. Anything else, you told us about him repeating himself?

A. For instance, whenever before he’d get on the stage for a scene. He would say make sure you stand where I can see you and he would say it repeatedly.

http://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/aeg-jackson-trial-days-8-and-9-karen-fayes-sad-thriller-silenced-by-the-press/

I am not so sure, however,  that the repetition should have been a cause for alarm. I am not claiming to know more than Karen Faye, who was with him for almost thirty years. But Michael, from what I gather, had always a slight OCD tendency to repeat things. This was all a part of his well known perfectionism, which I think in itself was a manifestation of it, but in a positive way. (However, the fact that it could also drive those around him a little batty is well documented).karen
I absolutely believe that all of the witnesses who have reported that he was cold to the touch and having chills must be telling the truth. Even Paris said that “Daddy was always cold” and spoke of him sitting by the fire to keep warm. This was reported in LaToya’s book, so take it for what it’s worth. But I believe her, as this also fits into everything else that has come to light since the trial began.
However, I also believe there has been some exaggeration of this symptom, most notably regarding the baggy Ed Hardy outfits Michael wore on his last night of rehearsal. Both fans and journalists have often pointed this out as irrevocable “proof” that Michael must have been freezing during rehearsals. Otherwise, why would someone in their right mind wear a jacket and sweater and layers of clothing to rehearse a demanding dance number, in the heat of an LA summer?
The Baggy, Oversized Ed Hardy Outfits That Michael Wore For The Thriller And Earth Song Dress Rehearsals Have Often Mistakenly Been Cited As Evidence That He Was Freezing During Rehearsals. The True Reason Was Far More Practical, And Humdrum
The Baggy, Oversized Ed Hardy Outfits That Michael Wore For The Thriller And Earth Song Dress Rehearsals Have Often Mistakenly Been Cited As Evidence That He Was Freezing During Rehearsals. The True Reason Was Far More Practical, And Humdrum
But the explanation is actually a simple one. These were, after all, full dress rehearsals-a fact that both the media and many fans (who should know better) conveniently often ignore. If we look back at how Michael routinely dressed for his live performances of Thriller and Earth Song, it’s obvious that both of these numbers always called for multiple layers of heavy clothing. Thriller routinely called for a jacket, even during the full out dance segment, and for Earth Song, Michael typically wore many layers of heavy clothing, including a jacket and sweater. It would make sense that in dress rehearsal, he would want to get a feel for how these items moved; how they felt on his body. And yes, I’m sure those outfits got awfully warm beneath the stage lights. But acclimating himself to those outfits would have been an important part of the rehearsal process.
Michael's Live Performances Of Earth Song And Thriller Called For Many Layers Of Clothing. Acclimating Himself To Performing In These Outfits Would Have Been An Important Part Of Dress Rehearsal.
Michael’s Live Performances Of Earth Song And Thriller Called For Many Layers Of Clothing. Acclimating Himself To Performing In These Outfits Would Have Been An Essential Part Of Dress Rehearsal. It Did Not Mean He Was Freezing.
I guess this is all a way of saying that I do believe there has been some degree of exaggeration in reporting Michael’s symptoms, but on the whole, I believe that when you have this many witnesses who keep repeating the same thing, it has to have some validity.  We know for a fact that concern over Michael’s health and what appeared to many as a striking and obvious decline that occurred over a brief, two month period was a source of concern (not necessarily a concern for him or his well being, but a concern nevertheless).
The reason why Dr. Cziesler’s testimony is so crucial to our understanding of what really happened to Michael Jackson is because, for too long, the media has used these symptoms as an excuse to paint Michael as a “basketcase” in his last weeks. These symptoms have been reported, scrutinized, and analyzed-but until now, with no real validity, insight, or even compassion as to what may have actually been the true culprit behind them. This has given haters like Diane Dimond cart blanch to call him “a basketcase of his own making,” as she did in this USA Today article:

Those who are sympathetic to AEG’s side like to portray a picture of a ruined superstar who created his own tragedy. However, I want to stress again-even though I detest the nasty headlines, the mud slinging, and the turmoil as much as anyone else-that this is why this trial needs to happen. Dr. Cziesler, I am convinced, has supplied a crucial missing piece to the puzzle. We knew Michael was displaying these symptoms, but until now, we had every crazy theory in the book except, perhaps, the simplest one that made the most sense.

Our Banner Image, From The "Beat It" Performance IN TII, Shows A Strong And Confident Michael In One Of The Film's Best Moments, The High Energy Finale Where Michael Outshines Dancers Half His Age. But What Was The Real Story Of What Was Happening To Him Those Two Months? We've Heard A Lot Of Crazy Theories, But The Answer Closest To The Truth May Have Been The Simplest All Along.
Our Banner Image, From The “Beat It” Performance IN TII, Shows A Strong And Confident Michael In One Of The Film’s Best Moments, The High Energy Finale Where Michael Outshines Dancers Half His Age. But What Was The Real Story Of What Was Happening To Him Those Two Months? We’ve Heard A Lot Of Crazy Theories, But The Answer Closest To The Truth May Have Been The Simplest All Along.
Ultimately, what this trial is all about is deciding not who was responsible, but who was most responsible in allowing this to happen. But it’s a comfort now to know that, if Michael was acting and behaving in all these manner of strange and bizarre ways in his last weeks, it wasn’t because of drug withdrawal, or drug use, or mental illness, or any other crazy theory.  It was because he was being systematically poisoned by the very doctor hired to look after him. And in light of Cziesler’s testimony, I don’t know what else you would call a knowing experiment that would deprive him of two months’ worth of REM sleep-a medical necessity for maintaining physical and mental health. And, more than that, a necessity for life itself. This goes much deeper than Michael’s personal choices or demands, and even deeper than negligence on Murray’s part. This is about willful administration of a treatment regimen that would have resulted in death even had it not been for Murray’s carelessness that morning, which merely expedited the process. Are we supposed to believe that Murray, a doctor, knew nothing about this? Did he watch Michael displaying  all of these symptoms, day after day,while willingly continuing this crazy experiment?
Yes. He did.
In a nutshell, it’s the whole reason we’re here. And why Michael is not.
Let’s look again at some of what came from Prince Jackson’s testimony:
Prince said his dad was excited about his upcoming tour, produced by AEG Live, as was he, as he’d only seen him perform once. However, he said his dad would come home from rehearsals upset with AEG’s CEO, Randy Phillips, and his former manager, Dr. Tohme Tohme. “He would cry,” Prince said. “He would say, ‘They’re going to kill me. They’re going to kill me.'” Once, the singer became so enraged that he cursed out Tohme, Prince added. “[And] he never fought. He was too kind to fight,” he said. Prince also added that he was frightened of Phillips, who often spoke to Dr. Conrad Murray to in “hushed whispers.”
What strikes me as most sad about the above passage is that here was Michael, still excited to perform after a lifetime in show business, but with his excitement marred by enormous stress, undue anxiety, fear of, and frustration with those who were in charge and running the show.
Michael, The Little Boy From Gary, Indiana Who Had Dreamed So Big, Began To Die The Day His Dreams Stopped-Literally
Michael, The Little Boy From Gary, Indiana Who Had Dreamed So Big, Began To Die The Day His Dreams Stopped-Literally

The little boy who used to kneel by his bedroom window at night in the little house in Gary, Indiana, dreaming those enormous dreams that had carried him to the pinnacles of stardom, had, in fact, lost his ability to dream.

I am convinced now that, although his body may have survived an additional two months from the onset of Murray’s treatment, Michael Jackson really began to die the night that his dreams died.

That was the day in April of 2009 when Conrad Murray ordered four gallons of propofol-enough to ensure that Michael Jackson would never dream again.

UPDATE: 07/03/13: Another testimony has shed some interesting new light that is somewhat related to this topic. I will comment more when I have time to write in more detail:

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/jacko-abusing-pain-meds-comeback-tour-deal-doctor-article-1.1389683

They Called Him Freak!

This Was Recently Shared On FB. I Saved It Because Jodi Gomes's Sentiments Express A Profound Truth As To Why Those Who Love Michael Continue To Fight For His Total Vindication-And Respect. But How Can The Above Words-And The Word "Freak"-Possibly Describe The Same Human Being? If You Have To Ask The Question...Then Welcome To The Life, and World, of Michael Joseph Jackson!
This Was Recently Shared On FB. I Saved It Because Jodi Gomes’s Sentiments Express A Profound Truth As To Why Those Who Love Michael Continue To Fight For His Total Vindication-And Respect. But How Can The Above Words-And The Word “Freak”-Possibly Describe The Same Human Being? If You Have To Ask The Question…Then Welcome To The Life, and World, of Michael Joseph Jackson!

Strangers came and scorned his joy
With ridicule and banter they tried to destroy
What in their minds was a skillful ploy
With cruel darts they tried to plunder
To suffocate and strangle his innocent wonder
Fighting hard, despite their blunder
Again and again to steal his thunder
Despite their attacks, they could not break
With all their barbs, they could not take
God’s gift of love, which they could not fake
Not knowing his strength of what he sought to seek
They complained aloud and called him a freak-Michael Jackon, Excerpted From Dancing The Dream, “Magical Child Part 2”.

I love a recent comment  I read that said: “AEG promised that things would get ugly. But so far, they are the ones who look like jerks!”

By the way, my title isn’t a typo. I intentionally left out the article “a” just as Shakespeare did in the famous line from Othello.  The line comes when the villain Iago asks Desdemona why she weeps, after having just had a confrontation with her husband. But the chaste Desdemona cannot bring herself to speak the word “whore.” “It abhors me now, that I speak the word.”

So the blunt and far more liberated Emilia does the job for her, effectively explaining all that needs to be said about the cause of those tears. “He called her whore.”

Sometimes I am reminded of the beauty and stark power of Elizabethean verse. By removing the article, the word takes on more significant power as a label. For Desdemona, being called whore was more than just an unfair accusation. It was a label that shook the very core of her self-identity. From that point forward, she would become a vulnerable victim-tormented and subject to doubting even her own innocence. Shakespeare’s play is a fascinating glimpse into the complexities of the human psyche, for as Othello and Desdemona both learn, if one is led to believe something long enough, and convincingly enough, it becomes their truth. Labels have the ability, and the power, to define us-if we let them.

The Power Of A Word. In Shakespeare's Othello. Desdemona Is Destroyed By A Single Word-"Whore."
The Power Of A Word. In Shakespeare’s Othello. Desdemona Is Destroyed By A Single Word-“Whore.”

Here is the write-up that CNN’s Alan Duke did on the story:

Los Angeles (CNN) — A top AEG executive referred to Michael Jackson as “the freak” and another called him “creepy” just hours before their company signed the pop icon to a huge concert deal.

The revelation brought an audible gasp in the Los Angeles courtroom at the wrongful death trial Wednesday and left fans crying.

Jackson’s mother and children are suing AEG Live for what they say was the negligent hiring, retention or supervision of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the singer’s death.

Katherine Jackson watched from the front row as her lawyer questioned AEG Live Senior Vice President and General Counsel Shawn Trell about an e-mail exchange with his boss at parent company AEG.

The Jackson family matriarch began weeping when Trell returned to the witness stand Thursday morning. She left the courtroom and did not return.

“Is it the policy of AEG to talk in derogatory terms about the artist you’re going to do business with?” Jackson lawyer Brian Panish asked.

 “No,” Trell answered.

Panish then showed jurors an e-mail Trell sent on January 28, 2009, to Ted Fikre, AEG’s chief legal officer, letting him know he was about to go to Jackson’s home for the signing of the contract for his “This Is It” concert tour.

“Does that mean you get to meet the freak?” Fikre replied.

Trell responded: “Apparently. Not sure how I feel about that. Interesting for sure, but kind of creepy.”

The e-mail exchange happened less than four hours before Trell and other AEG executives visited Jackson’s Los Angeles home.

“This is a man you hoped to make millions and millions of dollars from?” Panish asked Trell. “Didn’t your mom ever say if you don’t have anything good to to say about someone, don’t say anything?”

Trell earlier testified that he was excited to meet Jackson for the first time and was impressed with his “good, firm handshake.”

“I may not have necessarily agreed with some of the life choices Michael Jackson made, but I certainly had enormous respect for him as an entertainer.”

Most of Wednesday’s session was a dry review of Jackson and Murray’s contracts as AEG Live’s defense team worked to convince jurors that Murray was not hired by the concert promoter. Jackson chose, hired and supervised the doctor, they contend.

Murray signed his contract the day before Jackson’s June 25, 2009, death, but AEG executives and Jackson never put their signatures on it. Jackson lawyers, however, argue he had been already working for two months based on an oral contract.

The Jackson lawsuit contends that AEG Live executives ignored red flags that should have warned them that Jackson was in danger from Murray’s treatment.

The coroner ruled that Jackson died from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, which Murray told police he was using to treat the singer’s insomnia.

Panish — the Jackson family’s lead lawyer — questioned Trell Thursday about his previous testimony that there were no “red flags” to alert AEG executives about Jackson’s declining health.

He showed jurors an e-mail sent to AEG Live President Randy Phillips and Co-CEO Paul Gongaware by “This Is It” stage manager John “Bugzee” Houghdahl on June 19, 2009 — six days before Jackson died.

“I have watched him deteriorate in front of my eyes over the last 8 weeks,” Houghdahl wrote. “He was able to do multiple 360 spins back in April. He’d fall on his ass if he tried now.”

Another Prince

The name of Prince Rogers Nelson — the artist commonly known as Prince — came up when Trell acknowledged that while AEG Live had promoted about 100 tours, it had produced only one other concert tour the size of Jackson’s shows.

When Panish suggested Prince had not had “a very favorable experience” with AEG, Trell said he’d not spoken to him about it.

Panish: “Did you ever try to get a doctor for $150,000 a month for Prince?”

Trell: “No.”

Panish: “And is Mr. Nelson is still alive today?”

Trell: “Yes.”

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/23/showbiz/jackson-death-trial/index.html

For years, the media mocked Michael Jackson and labeled him “freak.” I am not going to get into all of the why’s and how’s of this conspiracy, a conspiracy that determined to knock Michael Jackson down once he became too powerful in the industry-or, more aptly, as a black man who became too powerful. That is all ground that has been covered quite thoroughly in other posts, and by other writers-not to mention, this post would be a million miles long if I got into all the back history.

For A Musical Genius and Iconic Legend To Be Labeled as "Freak" And "Wacko" Remains One Of The Great Tragedies Of Our Time
For A Musical Genius and Iconic Legend To Be Labeled as “Freak” And “Wacko” Remains One Of The Great Tragedies Of Our Time

But it has become one of the great-and sad-ironies of our time that one of the greatest musical geniuses of our time has also been saddled with such a derivative label. While some may point to the personal choices Michael made, nevertheless, the label derived from a deep-rooted desire to knock him from his pedestal. Of this, I am thoroughly convinced, because the media backlash against him began as soon as Thriller became the biggest selling album of all time-or to be more precise, right about the time that his then manager Frank Dileo began planting stories in the press about hyperbaric chambers and the Elephant Man’s bones. While at first intended to simply create a harmless mystique and the idea of an eccentric genius, the strategy backfired. Instead, these stories became like a wildfire that, once started, had no end in sight. It didn’t help that we were seeing Michael’s skin color getting lighter and lighter-with no explanation at the time, and that he was wearing more eyeliner with every subsequent album release (but, hey, it was the 80’s, after all!). All of these factors combined just in time to satisfy the jealous people in the industry who wanted to see him knocked from his throne.

Michael was not only acutely aware of the label, but even began to embrace and own it. Part of his public bravado, as evidenced in songs like 2 Bad, Is It Scary, and Threatened, was to say, “I will proudly be a freak, if that’s what you want/need me to be.” In other words, he was giving us permission to project onto him whatever we desired him to be. In doing so, he was holding up a mirror to ourselves, so that we might see our true human nature-and our driving need to have a scapegoat. “Freaks,” after all, have always served a vital function in our society. They show us the best and worst of who we are.

That Michael was well aware of his public perception as a “freak” is further evidenced in this clip from “Ghosts” in which he literally has a showdown-with himself. It is no coincidence that much of the dialog in Michael’s showdown with The Mayor (who, in turn, is simply Michael under a different guise) revolves around the liberal use of the word “freak” and “freaky.”

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnEmzNYc-1w[/tube]

If you are interested to learn more about “Ghosts” and what this scene perhaps tells us about how Michael viewed the “freak” label, you can read it here:

http://www.allforloveblog.com/?m=201202

Michael once said that he had rhinoceros skin. But despite all the public bravado; despite all the show of having embraced and “owned” the label, there can be no doubt. Labels hurt. Kids learn the power of names, from the time they are old enough to bully on the playground. True, names are not sticks and stones…but contrary to what the nursery rhyme teaches us, they have the power to bruise.

Micheal spoke out publicly many times about the pain and humiliation of these labels, as well as his suspicions of their origins:

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OBUgE6EDFo[/tube]

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

But you might say, well, what can one expect from the tabloids? Sure, the press relished in calling Michael “freak.” But what about the people in the industry who worked with him? Surely we could expect higher standards of human conduct from them? Well, the bombshell dropped last week during the AEG trial. The revelation of the  email exchange between AEG Senior Vice President Shawn Trell and AEG chief legal officer Ted Fickre sheds light on something even infinitely sadder than what Michael had to deal with in the press. It shows the extent of disrespect that Michael had to deal with even from those within the industry-from the very people who stood to make millions off of his talent!

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Sadly, It Had Been The Reality Of Michael’s Life Since Age 5

Sadly, I wish I could say that this was an isolated incident. But it is pretty much the story of Michael Jackson’s life from the age of five. I am not trying to add to the chorus of “poor Michael.” But it is a fact that his entire life became subjected to people who would gladly use him for what they could get out of him, with little to no respect for him as a human being.

Look, I have read all the excuses from the AEG apologists. But I’m not buying them. It doesn’t matter if this was a private exchange and never intended to be made public. When Michael said that Jews were leeches, that was a private, off-the-record remark never intended to be public, either. He was venting in an unguarded moment over some of his acquaintances whom he felt had betrayed him. But it didn’t stop his detractors from ripping him apart over it (yet these are some of the same people who now defend Fickre and Trell’s exchange on the basis of it being a private email!). Michael’s remark may have had some mitigating circumstances, but that still didn’t make it right. And you know what? Nor does the same excuse wash now, with what Trell and Fickre did.  The logic that it was a private exchange, and therefore above reproach, is as ludicrous as trying to defend something stupid that someone might blurt out while drunk by excusing it with  “oh, they were drunk.” Okay, maybe they were under the influence. But as we all know, alcohol only lowers inhibition; it doesn’t plant the thoughts in our heads!

In short, people can offer a lot of excuses. But words-once recorded or in print-are there forever.

In other words, it shouldn’t matter in the least if this was a private email between Trell and Fickre; it doesn’t matter if Fickre was joking; it doesn’t matter if it was never intended for Michael or his family or fans to know the remark was made. It doesn’t even matter if Trell made his comment based on preconceived notions before he met Michael (which he claims to have been the case).

The fact is, none of that matters. The comment was made. And no matter how some try to justify it, it wasn’t right. In fact, it was downright dehumanizing.

And let’s not forget, this is a mere few hours before AEG is set to sign a huge contract with Michael.

I can’t emphasize the sad irony of this enough. Michael would basically spend the last months of his life at the mercy of people who thought of him as “freak.” This isn’t merely a case of, say, two immature, college frat boys having a laugh about a geeky roommate.

Let’s reiterate Panish’s statement again:

“This is a man you hoped to make millions and millions of dollars from?” Panish asked Trell. “Didn’t your mom ever say if you don’t have anything good to to say about someone, don’t say anything?”

And let’s reiterate what stage manager John “Bugzee” Houghdahl stated in his June 19th, 2009 email to Randy Phillips:

“I have watched him deteriorate in front of my eyes over the last 8 weeks,” Houghdahl wrote. “He was able to do multiple 360 spins back in April. He’d fall on his ass if he tried now.”

I believe, as many do, that Michael’s health actually deteriorated from the time Murray began treating him on a daily and nightly basis. Which gets us right back squarely to the heart of what this trial is really all about. Michael’s death was ruled a homicide. So who is responsible? It seems to me that Murray was under just as much pressure as Michael to deliver at all costs-not that this in any way absolves him of his own guilt. But clearly there were strings at work, and someone was pulling them. The picture is emerging that Michael spent his last months bullied and pressured by people who had no respect for him other than as a commodity (and this by no means lets the Jacksons off the hook, either; he was a lifelong commodity to them, as well. But at least they were his family, not a corporate entity whose only personal interest in Michael was to see what “the freak” was like in person, and how much money can “the freak” make for us?).

Michael Shined In His Last, Few Nights Of Rehearsal. But It Seems His Health Had Deteriorated At An Alarming Rate Since April of 2009-Exactly When Murray Began "Treating" Him
Michael Shined In His Last, Few Nights Of Rehearsal. But It Seems His Health Had Deteriorated At An Alarming Rate Since April of 2009-Exactly When Murray Began “Treating” Him

Of course, I will agree on one thing. As many have pointed out, this email exchange only sheds light on the character of a few individuals behind the scenes. It can’t stand as evidence that AEG is responsible for Michael’s death, or that AEG hired Murray-which, after all, is what the jury will have to ultimately decide.

AEG attorney Jessica Stebbins Bina said that the emails served no function except to “embarrass AEG.”

Well, perhaps they should be embarrassed. Perhaps they need to be embarrassed. It doesn’t exactly reflect well on them for the public to know that this is how they privately discuss the entertainers they sign.

AND…

Let’s not forget that there is a valid reason why character assassination is such a vital part of both prosecution and defense strategies. Juries are comprised of human beings, who of course are susceptible to the same prejudices as all of us. Didn’t AEG’s attorneys promise to reveal “ugly things” regarding Michael? I say, turnabout is fair play.

Knowing that AEG executives blatantly disrespected Michael may not determine the company’s guilt.

But it sure succeeds in making them look like a__holes.

Which just may make it seem all the more likely that they held his life in as little regard as they held him.

As for Shawn Trell, after agreeing that Michael was a “freak” and that meeting him was going to be “kind of creepy,” what impression did he ultimately walk away with?

Shawn Trell was questioned by both sides.

“I won’t forget meeting Michael Jackson,” said Shawn Trell.

“He seemed very personable when I met him. I thought it was

very interesting when he got up and met me at the door,” explained Shawn Trell.

https://twitter.com/ABC7Courts

He had also mentioned, as noted, being impressed by his “good, firm handshake” (this doesn’t seem like much, but in the business world, it is everything).

Trell also stated that he had “enormous respect for him as an entertainer” even if he didn’t agree with “some of the life choices he made.” But hmmm. That’s an interesting choice of words. What life choices, exactly? He was never convicted of anything, and didn’t even indulge in most of the wild excesses of so many of the celebrities that I’m sure AEG deals with on a daily basis. It would still seem to me that this was a prejudice based on reputation alone.

Just how badly can words hurt? It was reported that Katherine Jackson left the courthouse weeping on Thursday, and was unable to return. Fans were reported openly weeping in the hallway, saying that animals are treated better. No doubt, these reactions were the culmination of hearing so many painful details, stacked one upon the other. But you know it has to be hard for any mother, especially one who has buried her child, to have to sit and hear him called “freak”

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQzEmelPVa4[/tube]

Trell Described Meeting A Humble Man Who Met Him At The Front Door; Whose Handshake Was Firm; Whose Demeanor And Hospitality Was Every Bit A Gentleman. A Far Cry From The "Creepy Freak" He Expected To Meet.
Trell Described Meeting A Humble Man Who Met Him At The Front Door; Whose Handshake Was Firm; Whose Demeanor And Hospitality Was Every Bit A Gentleman. A Far Cry From The “Creepy Freak” He Expected To Meet.

But it’s not the word itself. “Freak” is, after all, merely a five-letter word. However, its implications have the power to stretch far beyond its diminutive appearance. It says everything about the world that Michael Jackson-one of the greatest musical geniuses of our time- had to live, work in, and face on a daily basis. Somehow, it just shouldn’t be this way.

The interesting thing about trials-barring the fact that they have very serious consequences for those involved-is that they are a lot like watching a really good tennis match. One side serves, and they are off, slinging back and forth until, ultimately, one side comes out victorious. AEG will be working overtime to prove their case, and in the months ahead, they will be unloading every weapon in their arsenal to make Michael out to be the jerk. But right now, they have some tough hurdles to overcome.

I am glad, for his sake, that  Trell had an opportunity to get to know the real Michael Jackson. Like so many (I have heard this same story play out a million times!) he expected to meet a “freak” and instead, met a true gentleman whose decorum and manners left a lasting impression on him.

It would be nice to think that, somewhere in the back of his mind, he regretted those words. It would be nice to think he sent a follow-up letter to Ted Fickre that said, “We may have misjudged the guy.”

In a perfect and ideal world, maybe. But this is the real world, and it is the reality of a world where multi-million dollar deals trump any concerns for human respect, dignity, or even-in some cases-human welfare.

It was the reality of Michael’s world for forty-five years.