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Whose Myth?

We left the last post wondering why Michael Jackson admirers are so loyal, so fierce and so determined about his work and legacy. And we asked the question: Why are some not curious about how this man’s admirers, fans and acquaintances are so loyal to him. And we wondered why someone is not interested in finding out what’s behind that fierce allegiance and that unusual phenomenon.

Some wrote in to address why fans are loyal. I think there is more to it; I think it might go still deeper. Another question needs to be asked. And I’ll leave you to ponder it in this post. This is probably one of those 3 part posts with the deeper questions that need to be looked at from a wider scope. So another question surfaces…

Michael Jackson, had he lived, would have been 55 years old last week. Quite a few things happened on August 29, the anniversary date of his birth. Some people visited his gravesite (see photos,) some were at Neverland hanging out at the entrance. Joe Vogel, author of Man in the Music went to see “Michael Jackson One” Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas and wrote about it in the Huffington Post.

Vogel’s article mentioned how the new show completely refutes the “tabloid caricature” that was so cleverly and systematically built and employed through the last two decades of Jackson’s life to inform and shape public opinion about him, something that reverberates to this day.

Words and Violence, a project   hosted by Voices Compassionate Education contains a case study about Michael Jackson written by a fan. I was the editor for that case and we worked very hard on it. Since then (2009) everything brought forward in that case has proven true including the challenge that the caricature was a deliberate construction by a media that profited handsomely from the use of Jackson’s name, fame and illustrations. Those who personally knew Jackson keep weighing in claiming one after another that The Caricature bears no resemblance to the man himself.

Yet the media ignores these new revelations in favor of any opportunity to continue the fiction that they created and perpetuated for one reason only—it was profitable. It helped them to carry truckloads of cash to the bank. The greatest profiteers are now using that accumulated cash to buy politicians and elections and to thwart democracy itself. It’s dirty money. It was dirty then and it’s dirty now.

The mischief-making continues as tabloids now find new targets like Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift to peddle misery. They target the youth demographic because that is how you guarantee future readers and the continuation of mischief and misery. The consumer is blind to the fact that buying this stuff funds bullying and finances new-and-improved mischief on a nationwide and global scale.

The Michael Jackson case is proof that anyone and anything can be bought—for the right price.  Integrity, loyalty, truth, are all up for sale at the right price. It’s also proof that anyone’s name can be hijacked and held hostage—for profit. Just for the sake of greed. And you thought the Taliban were ruthless? And if you think it’s only celebrities, and that they deserve what they get, you are wrong and you are cynical and contributing to a world where dehumanizing and bullying has become sport. You are layering on more cynicism in the collective mind of the world. And if you are doing it in front of your children; you are teaching them that people can be dismembered for profit—whether that’s money or attention or power. You are teaching them to bully. And, you are caving in to the shadow side of human nature instead of promoting the brilliance (bright shadow) that is everyone’s birthright. Your birthright. There is only one reason to be jealous of the famous—they chose to cultivate their god-given talents as artists and you did not.  They choose to gift humanity with their innate talent and creativity through art—and you do not. Is that on them? Or is it on you?

People do not connect the dots of Michael Jackson then and the media today. Great sums of money went into the pockets of billionaires who now have amassed obscene amounts of cash by heaping misery on and making money off the backs of our most visible artists to fund their personal ambitions—controlling the world by controlling public opinion. The public has been duped. The people have been had. The manipulation is so sophisticated and the line of decency crossed so many times as to be invisible. The line in the sand between truth and  fiction has been so watered down that that the fiction dried to concrete in the minds of the public.

These billionaire financiers are the same people who oppose climate change legislation to protect the environment and the planet, who salivate at the resources and minerals of the indigenous peoples and their lands. These are the same people who think the resources of the planet are on the auction block instead of belonging to us all. These are the same people who pay to get politicians and corporations in their pockets, not to make the world a better place—but for one singular mission alone— greed.

This is so much bigger than Jackson. He is but one example (albeit a big one) of how people’s careers, lives and reputations can be traded, bought and sold for a price. And that seems to be true of much that was written about Jackson—in four years of research, evidence that he was “weird,” “bizarre,” a “freak” or that he groomed children or plotted to use them in unspeakable ways is just not there. What is there, is just the opposite—he was a nice guy whose life was not his own much of the time. He apparently trusted the wrong people who lacked character and who subjugated his best interests in favor of their own.

He was also the target of those who projected their own shadow onto him and of those who kept fueling the fictional scandals in order to line their own pockets and advance their own careers. Lots of people made money off Jackson. And they scramble to cover themselves to avoid naked exposure of their “mistake” or so their deliberate treachery stays hidden.

One day we will call this what it really was and sometimes still is—vampirism and cannibalism. Those who suck the life of others and who tear them limb from limb with flimsy excuses, unexamined assumptions or the projection of their own envy and shadow are cannibals and vampires. One day they will be exposed and there will be nowhere to hide. Meanwhile, expect them to scramble to cover up the truth and their part in this era of bullying as a pastime. They were, after all, the visible role models who brought it to the public—in newsprint and television.

There seems to be little debate about Jackson’s talent as everyone agrees he was the “greatest entertainer who ever lived.” So if he had all that talent and his gift to the world was to showcase it in order to “give people some escapism;” or “take them to places they’ve never been” through his art, it would take a huge well managed machine to pull off a world tour, let alone several of them. He employed an army of people and according to some of his team members, he insisted on feeding them well daily and hosting their families on Sundays. Since he was such a curiosity to the world—a soft spoken and shy guy off stage and a virtual dynamo on it, who wore his stardom with dignity and humility, guarded his private life and relationships as a “gentleman” as his mother had raised him—there were people in his entourages and his life who told tall tales to tabloids for cash payments.

It’s well documented that tabloid-type writers and TV reporters handed out cash for information and the more scandalous the information, the more cash that was offered, and crossed palms. It’s known as “checkbook journalism” and those employed by the yellow press had plenty of cash to hand out. Jackson was a cash cow for the tabloids. Why work for an honest day’s pay when you can make several years’ salaries by selling a tell-all story to a tabloid hack? It’s also well documented that the tabloid industry’s standard practice was to listen in on communications by planting listening devices in hotel rooms, on airplanes and by hacking phone calls. Anything to get a story and sell that story to a gullible public who actually believed it was true. Make no mistake, that industry is not in the business of bringing you light and showcasing human brilliance.

All this manipulation and posturing and jockeying for what, exactly? All this illegal, unethical and immoral behavior by an industry originally designed to bring people the news and trusted to do just that. And why cross these lines of decency and integrity? There’s only one answer to that—for money. Oh and yes, and the power to influence. For what reason?  Greed. Little does the average Joe plopping his money down, know how duped he has been by a clever industry built on creating mischief and misery for the world’s most gifted and recognized artists and then selling that misery to the unsuspecting who don’t know they are also being used—for profit.

What a clever and lucrative scam—to peddle orchestrated misery to miserable people who take pleasure in the scintillating details of manufactured or sensationalized scandal and slander and who will pay to consume that misery at someone else’s expense (usually a celebrity) in order to feel what? Less miserable?

The idea is to help some poor sucker with an uneventful life feel resentful of a celebrity because the celeb is being paid well for their extraordinary talent and has been able to trade that talent for a comfortable lifestyle. So the game is to find ways to feature celebrities and cause resentment and then tear down those celebrities with mayhem so that those harboring resentment can what—feel better? How does that help anybody? How does that feed the spirit, nourish the soul? Uplift humanity? Evolve the race? It certainly doesn’t instruct or inspire consumers of tabloid slag to better their lives by cultivating their own talent and brilliance. Or to cultivate their innate inner brilliance to develop powerful selves and lead a life that’s meaningful.

It does, in fact, keep them fattened and fed on a diet of misery and helplessness and it reinforces their own nihilism. And while they are gleefully witnessing a celebrity get lampooned or worse instead of admired for their talent and the gifts they risk to share with a sometimes fickle and sometimes hostile public, a billionaire tycoon somewhere rakes in the proceeds of the public’s gullibility and stupidity.

The problem in media and its trends today is that many of those coming up in the ranks got training somewhere along the way in the tabloid industry. The media is highly competitive for ratings and rankings, so they feel they must aggressively sell everything—including even “the news” in order to compete for market share. If the news is manipulated to sell it, is it really the news? Is it truth? When the Fox Network and Rupert Murdoch’s attorneys took a case to court against anchors become whistleblowers at their own station who refused to broadcast untruths to the public and refused attempts to pay them off for their silence, Fox broadcasters won the right to lie. The court ruled that the FCC provided “guidelines” not laws, and because it was not a law to tell the truth, they could legally lie to viewers.

Networks break their necks and stumble over each other trying to bring us the “breaking news” and the “exclusive story” when it’s not the un-manipulated truth and nobody cares or remembers by tomorrow who broke what story. The “breaking story” or “exclusive” is a legend in their own minds, a figment of imagination.

All of them used and abused Michael Jackson. All of them. They all cut and pasted stories without vetting them and without researching to find out who the man was really. They failed to deeply investigate his detractors and accusers and examine their motives. In a recent interview with Tom Mesereau on his show, Piers Morgan was discussing the wrongful death trial brought against AEG by Michael Jackson’s family. Morgan asked what was for him, a rhetorical question—“isn’t Michael Jackson in some sense responsible for his own death?”

Isn’t it curious that even though a doctor was found guilty of manslaughter and Michael Jackson is dead, that with some media types, there is a need to still paint him in the worst possible light? Or find him “guilty” of something, yet again? Testimony in the trial has revealed what fans already knew—Jackson implicitly trusted doctors because of their education and their oath to preserve life. He insisted to those who knew him that doctors have years of education and they know what they are doing and are to be esteemed with the utmost respect. Lisa Marie Presley tried to tell him otherwise and so did his second wife, Debbie Rowe.

Regarding the use of Propofol, Jackson told Cherilyn Lee who warned him about the danger of the drug, that ‘as long as he was monitored he was safe.’ Of course he believed that—doctors had used it before to give a man with malignant insomnia some relief. After several days without sleep an insomniac is a desperate man. It was not the best decision on the part of his doctors to start him on that regimen that he came to depend on to get through his tours. The doctors competed over him and their motivation was not his health or best interest; it was the guarantee of their place in his inner circle—for money or vicarious fame. In Murray’s trial it was revealed that he was a name dropper and used Jackson’s name to charm women into his bed. Jackson trusted his doctors and put them on pedestals. Apparently of all the doctors he saw over the years (he travelled the world, after all) only one was trustworthy. And ironically, it was the same one who testified on behalf of Murray—the doctor who killed the one patient he was responsible for while that patient paid him great sums of money to monitor his sleep. Jackson paid dearly and heavily for his trust.

Piers Morgan, who obviously had not followed any of the trial nor read any of the transcripts then made a statement about “but Jackson was known as an entitled, pampered, and spoiled superstar who insisted on getting his own way.” Mesereau, stoic and professional as ever ignored the bait and presented just the facts.

What Morgan and so many others said about Michael Jackson was a product of the caricature that Jan Carlson wrote about so long ago. Piers Morgan was a Fleet Street tabloid editor. What Morgan said and wrote about Jackson was a product of his own imagination and an externalization of Morgan’s own confession—of envy and projection. What it says is that if Piers Morgan was a superstar (he admitted to that aspiration,) he is the one who would feel entitled; he would be the spoiled one and he would expect everyone to bend to his will out of adulation and his status. That statement reveals more truth about Piers Morgan than it does about Michael Jackson. It also reveals his indifference to culpability and to causing pain for a real human being with your words. Words that are proving to be untrue.

Of the people who personally knew Jackson—all of them say over and over how humble, how shy, how generous, how dignified, how spiritual and how magnanimous he was. Those in the inner circle do not describe a tantrum-prone and power-drunk diva at all. They describe a remarkably self-aware and other-aware being who showed care and concern for all those whose lives he touched. At the same time he knew who he was and the genius he inherited—giving the credit always to his creator. He knew his power and fame and he leveraged it to benefit humankind in his lyrics and to contribute financially and emotionally to holding children in esteem as the most precious of the human family.

Those close to him in his inner and outer circles were direct recipients of his generosity and compassion. He made sure his crew was taken care of. He sent his staff out with pillows at night, umbrellas in the rain and pizzas at mealtime, to fans camping outside his home or hotel rooms. He sent generous gifts to those who supported and inspired him—many whom he didn’t personally know. He invited the underprivileged to Neverland and everyone he thought might benefit from revisiting their own inner child. He bought cars for poor families, paid for surgeries for people with no insurance, paid for the funerals of children he never met. And that’s but a sample. The “diva” and guerilla-decontextualized Michael become caricature never existed. The fictionalized Jackson that existed in the mind of a media hypnotized through fascination and indoctrinated via repetition, built the scaffold of that caricature with unexamined (and projected) assumptions. There were hundreds of assumptions that are fictions carried forward and regurgitated by a media in a frenzy back then, and even today, determined to grab their seat on the Michael Jackson gravy train. The name “Michael Jackson” gets attention and the cynical and storied know that.

If Piers Morgan read any of the trial transcripts, he would have discovered a different Jackson and would have been compelled to take a long look at himself and at his past behavior. He would have to examine his assumptions under the magnifying lens of a moral compass and he would have to stand in the pain of his own contribution to that guerilla-decontextualization and perhaps even face a moral or spiritual crisis. He would have to examine himself and that would take some tremendous courage.

Morgan has admitted publicly that he wanted to be a rock star and that he envied those who were. He was a tabloid editor for 3 of those yellow rag newspapers during his career. It was his job to find and peddle scandal and shadow about people like Michael Jackson. And he did his share of stabbing at Jackson and carving him up on the front page. In fact, Morgan did that to hundreds of people for years. Piers Morgan wants to believe that Jackson was that diva he imagines in his mind, that shadow being that he projects. His interview with Mesereau reveals that he is either unwilling or not ready to let go of the fiction that holds the fictional view of his own superego intact.

Morgan is not the only one who has some soul searching to do. There are many who, in the light of what has been revealed and in the reality of the physical and emotional pain Jackson suffered, need to search their souls. The existential crisis that arises from a truthful examination and psychological autopsy of oneself can go one way or the other—it can serve to tighten the defense and resistance to the truth (often triggering illness) or it can marinate the human in their own human capacity to inflict harm and to come out the other side of that soaking in shadow’s fuel and its corresponding scorching examination of self—a better person. Who is willing to bet on which path those guilty will take? It presents the opportunity to change one’s life and undergo a complete makeover. It can exorcise one’s demons, karma and past transgressions. What will those who used up a man until there was no life force left choose?
 
 

Man Behind the Myth from Walking Moon Studios on Vimeo.
 
 
How exactly does it make the world a better place to peddle and foster human resentment, jealousy, lies and greed? That looks more like fostering the seven deadly sins than the redeeming qualities of admirable and capable humans. They certainly aren’t lofty ideals that all humans might aspire to. The capacity to create a spiritually fulfilling life and a kind of transcendental affiliation with all of humanity is the same in everybody. When a life is born, those potentials are born with that life.

Point to yourself. Don’t question that request. Just do it. Stop what you are doing and stand up and understand that someone (me) just asked you to point to yourself. DO it. I’ll wait.

So now that you’re back with me, I want to ask you a question: When you pointed to yourself, where did your finger land? Where did you point? Did you point to your head to indicate your brain? Did you point to your face? Did you point to parts below the belt—to the baser instinctual drive that lives there? No? So where did you point?

My guess is that you pointed to the area somewhere around the region of the heart. When you pointed to “me” you likely pointed at where your heart is housed. You identified “self” with the heart of the human. So if that is the indicator of “me,” “you” and “us,” then why are we spending time and money affirming or cultivating those other areas?

Is it because we have been habituated to it? Are we groomed to gravitate to the baser part of what it means to be human? Or not? Or what? And what now?

* Note: Guerrilla-decontextualiztion is not my idea. It is a brilliantly precise term coined by author and poet Aberjhani who is in the process of writing a book on the subject. My understanding is that it means with a hidden agenda, deliberately degrading someone’s humanity or maliciously attacking credibility in the service of ruin.

** Next stop the what and why and script of the “Man Behind the Myth” Documentary Film

Beloved and Not Forgotten

I marvel at the loyalty of Michael Jackson fans. Here it is more than four years after his passing and still devotees pay their respects to him on what would have been his 55th birthday.

They go to Neverland, to the sites of statues dedicated to Jackson in cities around the world where impromptu shrines are constructed annually on June 25, the anniversary of his death and August 29, the anniversary of his birth. Now they can go to “Michael Jackson One” the Cirque du Soleil permanent show in Las Vegas, the Michael Jackson Cirque Immortal world tour, In the Studio with MJ and other workshops, Spike Lee’s party for Jackson, or visit his gravesite at Forest Lawn.

How is it that this singular figure garners such long standing loyalty and attention? You can no longer attribute it to his charisma and his rock star performances; you can’t say it’s his status as the most famous man in the world; you can’t say it’s because he’s today’s most popular musical icon. You can’t say it’s because he is a “rock star.” He isn’t. He gave his last performance.

You can’t attribute it to his “private theme park in his own back yard” or his “bizarre,” “freaky” or “outrageous” behavior blown out of proportion or fictionalized in tabloid headlines; or to attracting the curious to witness a “train wreck life” or a spontaneous and scandalous “dangle.” He’s no longer with us.

So what is it about this man? What is it about his work? His art? What is it about the skinny little moonwalker that keeps people coming back or loyal or dedicated?

What keeps fans angry and fighting for his reputation and legacy? What sends them into a Twitter frenzy? And why in the world would they still care this much? Four years after his passing!

Not even the eternal flame for Jack Kennedy got this kind of allegiance and homage.

Well, they can’t ALL be crazy. And not one of them says he’s their IDOL as has been reported. He’s not.

So what is it?

Isn’t anyone the least bit curious about this phenomenon?

Why do you suppose that is?

So while you’re pondering that… here’s what’s happened August 29 at Forest Lawn in 2013:

 

  

 

And here’s what happened August 29 at Voices Compassionate Education (formerly Voices Education Project) now partner of the Charter for Compassion at Compassionate Action Network.

The 3rd edition of “Words and Violence” dedicated to Michael Jackson and Lady Diana was published with a brand new section:

Introduction to the 3rd edition: http://voiceseducation.org/node/5981

The New Section on Performing Arts as a medium for communication and education: http://voiceseducation.org/node/5996
(All the new entries are listed at the bottom.)

And… UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Terri Scwartz calls for responsibility in making art for the public: http://voiceseducation.org/node/5982

We think it’s our best work yet.

 

New Edition of Words and Violence Released Today

Today is publication day! It’s finally here- the 3rd edition of “Words and Violence” dedicated to Michael Jackson and Lady Diana Spencer. And we are excited! Since the last edition of “Words and Violence” was published, Voices Education Project became “Voices Compassionate Education,” part of the Compassionate Action Network– a sister project to the Charter for Compassion.

Words and Violence has done a great job of demonstrating bullying and the use of words and language conscripted for harm. We have amassed more than 600 pages of resources in the project that educate. We know words harm. We know they can hurt, even kill. We know what is wrong. We know how to do it wrong.

So, how then, do we do it right? How do we conscript words and language to heal? There are many kinds of language and they can all be used to create that new narrative on the planet.

This brand new 3rd edition features Performance Arts as a catalyst for change, for compassion, for human evolution in “story” conveyed through the force of words, seen through the eyes of art, evoked through the language of movement, witnessed through the magic of film, and heard through the storytelling of “song.” It’s part of the movement toward a new narrative on the planet– one that is compassionate, responsible and deliberately created. WE write the script. WE perform the dance and dramas. WE sing the world into being. WE are the narrators and the narrative.

WE tell the story of the world. The world is a performance! Our performance! It’s the collective performance of humanity, a work-in-progress. The soundtrack of your life is the soundtrack of the planet. What lyrics do you want to sing? What dance do you want to dream? What live play do you want to perform? What motion picture do you want to create the world to be? What song do you want to join to sing the world into being? What new language do you want to create? What new story of the world do you want to tell? Begin it now.

————

Presenting…. the 3rd Edition of “Words and Violence” and its brand new Performing Arts Addition

THE PERFORMING ARTS AS EDUCATOR AND HEALER

Released front page!

Go to www.voiceseducation.org and scroll down to find the 3rd edition.

Be sure to check out the Introduction and the Performance Arts section.

And watch for links at Inner Michael on Facebook!

Happy Birthday!

It’s here! The new edition of Words and Violence!

Today is publication day! It’s finally here- the 3rd edition of  “Words and Violence” dedicated to Michael Jackson and Lady Diana Spencer. And we are excited! Since the last edition of “Words and Violence” was published, Voices Education Project became “Voices Compassionate Education,” part of the Compassionate Action Network– a sister project to the Charter for Compassion.

Words and Violence has done a great job of demonstrating bullying and the use of words and language conscripted for harm. We have amassed more than 600 pages of resources in the project that educate. We know words harm. We know they can hurt, even kill. We know what is wrong. We know how to do it wrong.

So, how then, do we do it right? How do we conscript words and language to heal? There are many kinds of language and they can all be used to create that new narrative on the planet.

This brand new 3rd edition features Performance Arts as a catalyst for change, for compassion, for human evolution in “story” conveyed through the force of words, seen through the eyes of art, evoked through the language of movement, witnessed through the magic of film, and heard through the storytelling of “song.” It’s part of the movement toward a new narrative on the planet– one that is compassionate, responsible and deliberately created. WE write the script. WE perform the dance and dramas. WE sing the world into being. WE are the narrators and the narrative.

WE tell the story of the world. The world is a performance! Our performance! It’s the collective performance of humanity, a work-in-progress. The soundtrack of your life is the soundtrack of the planet. What lyrics do you want to sing? What dance do you want to dream? What live play do you want to perform? What motion picture do you want to create the world to be? What song do you want to join to sing the world into being? What new language do you want to create? What new story of the world do you want to tell? Begin it now.

————

Presenting…. the 3rd Edition of “Words and Violence” and its brand new Performing Arts Addition

THE PERFORMING ARTS AS EDUCATOR AND HEALER

Released front page!

Go to www.voiceseducation.org and scroll down to find the 3rd edition.

Be sure to check out the Introduction and the Performance Arts section.

Happy Birthday!

A Story from Aberjhani and a prelude to what’s coming- TODAY!

A Life Celebrated, A King Remembered

 And a dream shared…

“And I thank you Rev. Kaufmann for maintaining this blessed space.

The dream I referred to was in fact oracular and visionary. Without going into all the details, I will say it involved me and several others engaging in an urban guerrilla fire-fight against shadowy entities/soldiers attempting to take over the city. At one point, my allies and I suddenly float upward and form a line across the city. Upon forming this line, webs of light shoot out from our bodies and form a kind of net over the city. It is what happened next in the dream and what happened years later in my life that made the vision so phenomenal.

HOWEVER, BECAUSE TODAY IS MICHAEL’S BIRTHDAY: If I may, I would like to share the first dream-vision I had of him which let me know that he was no longer just the immensely talented performer who had grown up the same time as I. He had evolved into a world presence of extraordinary social and spiritual consequence: Many years ago I dreamed that I saw MJ in the form of a constellation of stars in the night sky.  As I stared at the beauty of the stars that formed this constellation, they suddenly began to shrink and fell from the sky into an alley. I began spontaneously to pray when I saw Michael Jackson’s glowing human form on the ground.

After having this dream, I found out the next day that MJ had collapsed on stage (I believe in London) the night before, and had to be taken to a hospital. This event changed my awareness of him in a way that causes my pen to sometimes sing along with his voice.  Each time I tell myself I am unlikely to write anything else about him, I end up doing exactly that.  What can I say?

Peace and Blessings,
Aberjhani”

My answer:

I am going to share this further in a new post because of what day this is, and…
We are about to reveal something wonderful in this space today. The finishing touches are in progress as we speak.

What I will say to you is this: after Michael Jackson’s passing, I wrote a review of the film “This Is It” for a magazine. Someone shared it with a Michael Jackson fan club. The next thing I knew, I was getting emails from all over the world asking me to say more about what I wrote and to speak about him more. I answered each letter personally until they became so many that I couldn’t keep up. That is how Inner Michael was born and grew– quite organically, actually.

Fans and others began to write to me of their experiences in his passing from this world. Hundreds of very personal letters came from countries all over the world. Those were very tender and personal and I endeavored to answer every one. I sort of became the minister that fans came to and told their stories of grief and surprise. People who either never knew or liked Michael Jackson, or who lost track of him, suddenly began exploring his life and story. Most were stunned by what they discovered of him and all of them were reeling from the magnitude of grief they felt– for a man they never knew, never knew personally and had no direct connection to their lives.

I heard from all walks of life, from clergy, business people, doctors, attorneys, teachers, professors, journalists…. name any station in life. And I heard from Hollywood.

What I quickly recognized was that Mr. Jackson had, with his sudden and globally recognized passing, ignited a spiritual emergency that was both personal and universal in nature. It reminded me of Lady Diana’s passing and how people were grieving this loss around the world. And this spiritual emergency, ignited by a skinny little moonwalker was sweeping the globe. It had triggered existential crises in every person who wrote me. That prompted my own inquiry into: who was this man who had people weeping in the streets?

You might be surprised to know that you are not the only one afflicted and that many of those stories are similar to yours. Or maybe not.

~Barbara

 

Man Behind the Myth

Michael Jackson One- an interlude

On August 29, Michael Jackson admirers will celebrate the life of a major artist of the twentieth century and Inner Michael will be making its own announcement and celebration in this space on August 29.

Meanwhile, you should know about a global celebration planned by the Michael Jackson estate– recognizing his life and work.

From the estate:
Michael Jackson Fans! – Be A Part of the First Michael Jackson We Are One Worldwide Birthday Celebration, Thursday, August 29, 2013

Share Your Instagram Photos & Videos All Day on Michael Jackson Birthday Global Map

Michael Jackson fans around the planet who are unable to attend the special performance of Michael Jackson ONE (https://www.facebook.com/events/627774083908425/)

in Las Vegas celebrating the King of Pop’s birthday can still participate in an unprecedented global event honoring Michael starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, August 29 during the first ever Michael Jackson We Are One Worldwide Birthday Celebration (http://birthday.michaeljackson.com).

Michael Jackson believed that all humans are unique and equal, regardless of race or culture, and that working together as one will make for a better world. His message was one of unity, harmony and hope. What better way to honor Michael on his birthday than by spreading his message and posting a short video expressing hope for making the world a better place.

This worldwide event begins at the international dateline in the first time zones (Kiribati Island and New Zealand), then rolls around the world before ending at midnight in the last time zones (Hawaii and American Samoa). Fans will have the opportunity all day to create and share their Instagram photos and videos honoring Michael with their ideas for a better world and recognizing this special day.

Throughout the day, a Michael’s We Are One worldwide map will display the thoughts and wishes expressed by fans for a better world, linking together the international #MJWeAreOne as a true global community.

Fans are encouraged to post their Instagram videos and pictures with the #MJWeAreOne hashtag to take part in the international celebration of Michael’s birthday.

URL: http://birthday.michaeljackson.com

Michael Jackson ONE, which premiered on June 29, is a new immersive music experience which is the second collaboration between The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil. The critically acclaimed production is in permanent residence at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The previous collaboration between The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil—the Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour concert experience–was one of the world’s top-grossing tours in 2012 and is now playing to sold-out arenas in Asia.

Since Michael Jackson was a multifaceted artist who strove to fuse together various musical styles and art forms, Michael Jackson ONE is a fitting title for a unifying journey into the creative world of the King of Pop, the genius, the visionary, the One. But it was actually chosen as the show’s title because it expresses Michael’s philosophy of love, hope and peace: “We Are One.

Please note, the site will only go live when the online event starts, at 12 a.m. on August 29 at the international dateline, and will not be live before.

And here’s a little bonus: An interview with Jamie King

Tabloid Taliban III: Guerrilla Decontextualization

People who are in the business of exposing or tearing down other people with words, pictures or their offices of power feel a compulsion to do it. Some even feel a dark kind of “pride.” There are stories that would horrify most of us about tabloid reporters meeting in the pub and slamming back drinks in celebration of their day’s work– the torture and dismemberment of yet another celebrity on the front page. High fives all around!

For some, it’s a game, or it’s a junkie’s addiction to the rush of adrenalin. Occasionally, it is sexually gratifying to demean or destroy another. It satisfies a need to express testosterone that is unregulated or to hide from one’s own impotence. It is that surge of “power over” someone that satisfies an inner emptiness and distracts the psyche from its self-indictment of impotence. Bullies bully because they need to feel adequate, and that drive comes from a deep sense of inadequacy. Wounded people wound other people. Hurt people hurt people.

What do you call it when people are assumed guilty and publicly pilloried before being investigated or lawfully prosecuted?

Well, you don’t call it due process.

What do you call it when people become a personal obsession, are targeted by law enforcement when evidence doesn’t support their guilt, their accusers have a track record of extortion, grand juries have refused to indict them yet are stalked and harassed and eventually maliciously prosecuted?

You don’t call it justice.

What do you call it when humans are held up as less than human, left twisting in the wind and witnessed dying by a gleeful and applauding public?

They called it “public hanging.”

When it involved a black man: “lynching.”

And lynching used to include de-masculating black men by hacking off genitals so that the victim would have no sexuality, no gender and would no longer be a threat to the “gentlewomen” who came to observe and brought their children along to witness the punishment of a wayward black.

What do you call it when children are forced to witness human carnage?

Indoctrination.
Confusion.
Soul loss.
PTSD.
Bullying.
Child abuse.

What do you suppose Southern children felt while growing up in a segregated and racist culture where humans whose bodies were constructed the same, looking just like them, who seemed just as human, whose nannies loved them like or demonstrably more than their mothers, and who attended churches that preached about God but banned people and condemned them for the color of their skin? What do you imagine those children suffered?

What do you suppose today’s children feel when they are forced to walk a gauntlet of tabloids in the grocery store where the people on the covers are publicly bullied and humiliated? Where do you suppose they get the idea to bully someone with words and images and release it on the web for public consumption?

Where do you think their contempt for authority comes from?

What do you call it when humans are splayed for viewing, dismembered publicly, carved up and then served to “consumers” in the tabloids or on the Internet?

Consuming chunks of humans carved up and served up for consumption used to be called what it is: “cannibalism.”

If an industry is profit-driven— and the media is, the rules (written but usually unwritten) that govern it are constructed solely to make money. When there is a moral or ethical dilemma inherent in an endeavor, there are choices to be made: act morally, immorally or amorally. When there is a wide gap between human values and human behavior, dissonance arises. Dissonance is uncomfortable. Within an ethical dilemma there is a lack of ease, an internal agitation until that gap is closed. To silence that internal hum of dissonance, an adjustment becomes necessary. You can’t continue to do what you’re doing without making an adjustment to close the gap. You are compelled to either lower the values or elevate the behavior. Disharmony in the soul is intolerable.

Our insides know the difference between human darkness and human light. We know when we are doing the work of either. So, when an ethical dilemma reaches fever pitch, continuing to do the work of human darkness requires justification. For those who live and work in circumstances that present soul-searching and ethical dilemmas, abandoning the soul means converting to the “dark side.” If one is addicted to the attention a job brings, feels impotent in one’s personal life or wants to hang on to a job, they must justify their behavior in order to silence the dissonance. Tabloid journalism’s culture requires overriding one’s conscience. Because the work involves human beings, then one must dehumanize them in order to keep going. If one is going to continue stalking and dismembering someone, they must dehumanize them in their own minds or find them guilty.

Dying humanizes. Being presented with the reality that one participated in the torture and dehumanization of another who is now dead is unbearably painful. Denial is the only thing that assuages that pain. One must continue to believe in the guilt of the innocent and in denial of any complicity in their demise. Those with pathology of the sociopath or psychopath have no conscience at all and may even applaud the demise of those they stalked because it serves them and their denial and it serves to hide their complicity by reinforcing the guilt of the deceased. Now the offending party is sentenced to a life of running from their own shadow. When the self’s shadow cannot be embraced and assimilated, the only defense is to project it onto others. The cultural abuse of Michael Jackson is evidence of a mass projection of the human shadow onto one man. It’s unprecedented and unduplicated.

It’s all very pathological, this death dealing to humans instead of affirming human life and it’s bright shadow. It is the nexus of human suffering. Whether one, one’s work and one’s life is death dealing or life affirming depends on “perspective” and the perspective that one maintains or in some cases, perpetually defends. The grabbing, justifying, vilifying, and denial is actually the perpetual motion of running from one’s shadow. The illusion is that there is a way to outrun it. It can’t be done for it lives inside us. That, ladies and gentlemen, no matter how it is decorated or how opulent it may look, is called…

Hell.

Hell and heaven are perspectives. Unethical financial moguls must see people and reduce them to “cash cows,” prison guards must see people as “inmates,” rogue cops must see people as “criminals” or “perps.” Fearful racist people must see dark skinned people in hoodies as “up to no good.”

Reducing people to subhuman status helps to make inhumane behavior easy. It worked for the Nazis and Jews in Germany, the Tutsis and Hutus in Africa, the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland— and justifies genocide and war making all over this planet. It keeps dictators in business, populations under control, wealth centralized by class and race, and it justifies racism, classism, sexism, lookism, elitism, jingoism, ageism, privilege-ism, nationalism and all the other dehumanizing isms.

Human pathology in America, where Michael Jackson was born, lives in the DNA, in the history of the country. America was built on genocide (the systematic and sustained killing of the Indigenous– Indians) and the kidnapping and involuntary servitude of Negroid Africans (slavery.) In order to sustain genocide, slavery and mass murder, those targeted must first be reduced to non-human.

When we are dealing with real people and their hearts, souls and emotions, the only way to get through the dissonance that comes with endeavors that are less than honorable or which lack integrity is to dehumanize them and make them “other.” This is a primitive and tribal way to navigate human affairs and, unless you are a Neanderthal, it has no place in modern society. Old attitudes die hard and sometimes generations must pass before the saved up and ancestral inflammatory feelings and resentments of the past are cooled.

How to effectively “otherize” and dehumanize a People:

Label their religion as heresy.

Hate their race.

See their philosophy as “wrong.”

Ridicule their god.

Devalue their culture.

Make them aliens.

See them as “different” or “less than.”

Call their beliefs a lie.

Feel superior.

Create class and privilege and keep them oppressed.

Engage in Guerrilla Decontextualization of the group.

How to “otherize” and dehumanize a singular human being:

Deem them ugly.

Make or call them disfigured.

Repeatedly question their motives.

Humiliate them publicly.

Expose their human follies and foibles.

Laugh at them.

Deride their talent.

Make fun of their values.

Belittle their mission.

Deconstruct their identity and humanity.

Demonize them.

Engage in Guerrilla Decontextualization of the individual.

So what did happen to Michael Jackson? If you understand the internal struggle of the human to be soulful or not, to be ethical or not, to cave in to convention or not, you can grasp what happened to Michael. The perfect storm gathered to make him less than human. The tradition of calling African Americans names and considering them subhuman is still very much alive, and in Michael’s youth it was rampant. Michael drew fire because he was daring, talented and powerful, and much of what he did challenged the establishment and flew in the face of convention. Too powerful for that racist and classist establishment; some saw him as a threat, corrupting the minds of youth.

The music industry has a long tradition of signing artists and then owning their souls. The record company dictated what you sang, what you wore, how much exposure you had, what kind of music you were going to do and how much and how it was going to be promoted. A music icon in the making with a huge audience and a lot of power might challenge long-standing traditions, and would need to be reined in and controlled so that the power structure and tradition didn’t die and the industry stayed in homeostasis. We may never know what was said and done about Michael Jackson in closed-door boardroom sessions.

Jackson bitterly complained about how African American artists were treated, about how he was treated by the industry. He joined a public demonstration against the tyranny of music moguls and their corporate tactics. He spoke openly about the oppression of black artists. And he was punished for it.

The tabloid industry cannot afford to see their targets as real people, so they become “celebs” who are less than human “targets”: fair game and fodder for screaming headlines, ridicule, late-night TV comedians,and gossip magazines online and in print. For tabloid journalists and paparazzi, it is an occupational hazard to view celebrities as human beings. For many in that industry, the rush of the hunt, adrenalin and power, as well as the obscene amounts of cash, dictate their ethics. If that industry had any conscience, it would have changed after Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed while being chased for the “money shot.” Instead of a front-page splash with a juicy story about her love affair, we were presented with breaking news of an impending funeral.

Rogue cops and vigilante justice are still alive and well wherever there are those who seek power and control for personal and pathologically sick gain—whether that is ego, sexual gratification or to fill an empty hole in their souls. The law enforcement industry also has its adrenalin addicts and arrogance and attitudes toward justice, minorities and crime. There are cops who look the other way, cops on the take, cops who plant evidence and cops who lie—and they make every law enforcement individual look bad. A power broker who is white, male, fundamentalist, racist with testosterone and arrogance is more dangerous than any street criminal could ever be.

The treachery and oppression experienced by Michael Jackson for decades has come home to us now. It hit home when Wall Street betrayed us and when Rupert Murdoch was exposed for the treachery of hacking phones for tabloid material. He has since been recorded scoffing at Parliament and will be called back to explain himself.

It is a waking up. We have been in a trance, asleep, unaware and complicit in our own demise. Michael Jackson’s story has become our own. We are waking up and beginning to realize that the love of power kills but the power of love heals.

Michael was the target of three major industries– media, music and law enforcement. And of the worst of the elements that corrupt good people—power and money. And he was an icon— the most famous man in the world— who pushed the boundaries, rattled the teeth of the establishment and crossed the lines of convention. That made some people nervous and enraged others. Michael blurred the lines of race by fixing his nose and “turning white”; he blurred the lines of gender by being a sensitive male and looking androgynous and he crossed musical boundaries. He raised the bar for videos, engineered new sounds and methods, and knew how to use drama— and he did it all publicly and well. And there was no evidence that he was going to fade or go quietly into the night.

He dared to address a lazy world: allowing its children to die without intervention in Third World countries; trashing a planet without conscience; seeing children disappear without alarm; ignoring the growth of gangs without alternatives; killing children in war zones; allowing people to starve and go without water; and behaving in a thousand soulless ways. He said it dramatically in lyrics, in song, in performance, in videos and with words. He called out a world gone silent and limp in the face of responsibility and stewardship for its own culture and problems.

So what’s a culture to do when faced with such a troublemaker? When someone is too popular, too powerful, too talented, too demanding, too avant garde, too loud, too in your face and too larger than life? What are we to do with such an irritant, especially when he’s right?

Silence him.
Vilify him.
Ridicule him.
Make him irrelevant.
Mock him.
Humiliate him.
Nullify him.
Crucify him.
Lock him up.
Hamstring him.
But above all—dehumanize him.

Especially attack his face, for the face holds the recognition, the identity. Attack the way he looks, because it is the self he presents to the world. Take away everything that might reveal his humanity. Then label him a “freak” and dismember him in public for the entire world to see, and make it into a popular game and pastime to delight the masses. No need to worry for there is no harm done, really; he is not human, or is subhuman—a “monster,” an “animal.”

Michael Jackson was a mirror. He reflected everything that was wrong with the culture, with the twentieth century, with the world and with humanity. And when the image reflected back is ugly, nobody—but nobody— is going to love the mirror. Except for those awake or waking.

——————————-

Aberjani explains “guerilla decontextualization” as it relates to Michael Jackson:

Part of the definition of guerrilla decontextualization is the attempt to intentionally misrepresent an individual’s character or intentions for purpose of decreasing any measure of influence or authority they might possess in either public or private circles.

His presence in the world was a powerful ingredient within the overall antidote to the mega-tons of despair that can weigh human souls so far down that for millions (if not billions) life on earth feels more and more like death in hell. His voice remains part of the antidote. That’s antidote as in: anti-hatred, anti-war, anti-ignorance, anti-abuse, anti-oppression, anti-prejudice, anti-bigotry, anti-fear.

Poem for an Olympian

And just to be clear, to speak of Jackson’s voice is to speak of more than the acoustic timbre that radiated like vibrating sunlight from his lungs and heart and throat. It is to acknowledge that quality of genius for giving, living, serving, teaching, loving, exemplifying simplicity, and creating–– that comprised the essence of everything he strived to become.

For millions, the devotion to MJ is less about dedication to the singer per se than it is to the principles which he battled so admirably to embody: generosity of spirit, perseverance, aesthetic beauty, and artistic excellence. If musical entertainment and philanthropy were sports, Jackson would have been an Olympian decorated many times over.

Summer-Song Rhapsody for Michael Jackson
(Aug 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Summertime opened like a myth spun from gold,
delivering your talent through ages of classic genius
to plant the seeds and nourish the beauty
of all the bright wonders that would color your dance.

Is any path so demanding as that of living a miracle?

Like a cosmic gymnast on a beam of uncommon grace,
or a swimmer slicing through waves of childhood tears–
you transformed fortitude into Olympian triumph.
Hid your hard-won treasures inside the hearts of all who loved you.

The more sincere the soul, the heavier the cross endured.

Your voice strung notes like pearls of sky-blue hope
around the trembling throat of humanity’s crimson agony.
Upon the heads of those abused and disinherited
your song placed crowns of inspired revelation.

There is no faith so perilous as faith in love.

Summertime blossomed fields of rose-scented dreams––
and death amplified your sudden absence with new life…
to plant the seeds and nourish the beauty
of all the bright wonders that colored your dance. ~Aberjhani

 
 

How about some new MJ CDs?

( and a few others…)

The Katherine Jackson v. AEG trial has been difficult for Michael Jackson fans and supporters. It has been accompanied by “new” and suspiciously timed “revelations.” And old stories represented as recent “bombshells.” It becomes curious when one considers what might happen if the real truth of the Jackson story is ever revealed. Lots of people stand to lose. There’s enough desperation to go around. When their ship is sinking, pirates might abandon ship but rats scurry…

Meanwhile, supporters and fans white knuckle it yet again. For old fans, this is nothing new; they’ve taken this white knuckle ride for decades. Why the white knuckles? Because they know something the rest of the world doesn’t. Why do they remain steadfast? Because it’s the right thing to do and they want the truth to be told finally… once and for all.

Hold space for it. Holding space is important. When you mentally hold space for truth, you magnetically invite it. When you hold space for it spiritually, you consecrate a place where only the truth can live because lies can’t breathe there. “Keep the Faith” is more than a title.

So… deep breath and let’s invite some angels. It was Michael who said they are attracted by the sound of laughter. Time for some giggles…

And some new CDs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tabloid Taliban part II

Tabloid, Medialoid and Propaganda

Prime Minster:  “Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country, the Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country, the Times is ready by people who actually do run the country, the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country, the Financial Times is ready by people who own the country, the Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

Sir Humphrey: “Prime Minister, what about the people who read the Sun?”

Bernard Wooley: “Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.”  
(The Prime Minister at the time was Margaret Thatcher.)

The average person has no idea just how manipulated she is by media and big money. It’s not just the Michael Jackson story although Jackson is a perfect example. While he’s the poster boy for bullying by the press and by a culture looking for someone to wear their collective shadow for them, it’s a much bigger cultural issue.

Tabloid Culture
There is a fan petition that was released that demands the tabloids cease and desist vilifying Michael Jackson. The six months I spent and the several years since working on “Words and Violence” project that addresses bullying in all forms– from the playground to the media taught me about the power and the ethics of those who peddle tabloid trash. They retaliate against those who question or confront them. There are many stories of retaliation and backlash for a celebrity who dares to challenge them. Johnny Carson was one of the first who dared to criticize, on air, the tabloid press. The very next week he found himself the subject of humiliation and salacious stories. There are no scruples in that industry. There is no decency; there are no ethics. You can’t appeal to the goodwill of someone who has no scruples.

Power, yes. Ethics- none. That is the tabloid story. As a matter of fact, if you have anything resembling scruples you need not apply for work with tabloid TV or print publications. Ethics are not only not employed but those who have them are definitely not employed. If you walk into the newsroom of the yellow press with ethics, you will be ridiculed and sent on your way out the door. In one scene in the dark laboratory where tabloid nauseas gurgitation is manufactured, there is banter and laughter about the “E-word” and how so-and-so is at least not infected with the E-word. “E” is for “ethics.”

You can’t reason with people who have no conscience. Not only do they avoid conscience, but they scoff at those who actually have one. The industry will break the weaker ones with any kind of ethics and burn out those who don’t until they are ashes of their former selves and the person they once were. The corruption is so complete and the adrenalin so addictive, and the slide into depravity so insidious as to be unrecognizable. The corrupted begin to look at the world and everyone in it as corrupt and corruptible– for a price.

The anthem of the yellow journalists: “We take people down; that’s what we do” and that’s a direct quote from someone at a tabloid when confronted about a fabricated story about Michael Jackson by a Jackson acquaintance who hung onto his scruples that were not for sale. The “reporter” was trying to get a father whose sons were mentored by Jackson to say something horrible happened to them. He didn’t cave. But someone who doesn’t have such steadfast principles and who struggles to pay the mortgage is offered enough money to pay off the house, may be willing to bend their scruples. And that happened to Jackson over and over. “You’ll do anything for money” isn’t just a lyrical phrase from a whimsical song. It’s the story of Jackson’s life. Lots of people envy fame and wealth. And if they can’t have it for themselves, they try to get as close to it as possible. Many with that ambition got close to Jackson and many took advantage. Those who wanted his “ear” to promote their own agendas were willing to grease the palms of those close around him and many in or near the “inner circle” were paid handsomely to pitch ideas. There were many hands out willing to take a bribe for access to the inner sanctum.

One of the reasons the stories about Jackson’s private life were so prolific was that scores of people around him had no qualms about making money off his name or goodwill. The average person has no idea how the super wealthy and famous are courted by those easily corrupted or those without scruples. When obscene amounts of money are available to pass hands, corruption is inevitable. Those who cave in to temptation must find a way to excuse their sin, so they justify it to themselves by either dehumanizing the betrayed one or in the case of Michael Jackson, piling on assuming a salacious story is already true so one more on the pile won’t do any harm.

Jackson’s life was unequaled and unparalleled by anyone before him or since. The number of people in his life who either took or were looking to take handouts or who wanted to be seen with him and stand in the reflected glory were legion. He was right when he said “Nobody will ever know what it’s like to have to be me.” He even begged Tom Mesereau, the attorney who represented him in 2005, to not sell him out to the highest bidder. There were people with lots of cash to throw around to insure Jackson’s demise. And there was money to be made off his neglected assets as he fought for his life in prison. Mesereau was right; Jackson in prison would have been a death sentence.

The public was so convinced of his guilt because he was a target for tabloid myths and caricature that many to this day do not know the real story of who Michael Jackson was. The myth so permeated the culture that good people assumed it to be true without any examination of their assumptions. And anyone who is now an advocate is subject to suspicion, ridicule or labels of mental illness. The job that was done on this singular character in modern culture was so thorough, that people will still believe the mythology when it is side by side with the truth. It’s the “fire in the theater” and crowd psychology story. Everybody assumes the crowd is in possession of knowledge and so knows what they’re doing and everybody just follows along.

Speaking of fire, there is a public assumption that “where there’s smoke there’s fire” never suspecting that the smoke is manufactured to make it look like there’s a fire because fire! is a more sexy and exciting story than a watery and lukewarm one.  Who is titillated by a lukewarm piece of gossip? That stuff is intended to bypass the intellect and target the emotions. Fear and dread is more effective in getting attention than is hope. Because of the underlying cynical vibe, nobody expects a real champion anymore. And when one comes along they either dismiss them as phony or suspect a hidden (and profitable) agenda. Even priests cannot be trusted in today’s culture.

Who’s buying the tabloids? It’s not “inquiring minds who want to know” it’s voyeuristic minds. It’s people who will use the misfortune of another to elevate themselves in their own eyes. Tabloids are not written for the educated and discriminating reader; they aim for the lowest common denominator and that aim is deliberately below the belt because “sexy” stimulates sexual excitement in the groin area and adrenalin in the kidneys– arousal is the goal— through sex or outrage or fear. The human sex drive is a base instinct and preservation drive and it’s the strongest there is. Sex sells. That why they drape voluptuous women over the latest model of the “sophisticated” automobile or dress them like a dominatrix– to appeal to the baser and male instincts. They target men because it is theorized that men have more money than women, that cars somehow embellish their manhood and they are usually the primary decision makers in a relationship or family.

If you haven’t noticed or thought about it until now, the headline of this piece and the previous one is a tactical headline designed tabloid style. It is intended to get your attention and to shock and titillate. It juxtaposes two things that are not usually found together or combined. That piques interest and curiosity. The headline intimates that that this “art” and its artists– the tabloid journalists, are terrorists. The question is, are they? If you remember back to when you were first introduced to the Taliban, you’ll remember shock and outrage. You will remember a field formerly used for sports became a place for blood sport. You will remember vivid footage of a woman being easily killed by a Taliban leader execution style with a gunshot to the head. Take a moment to remember that feeling. It felt like a personal assault, an affront to humanity. And what is the feeling you have now when you think “Taliban?” It doesn’t shock you anymore because you have been desensitized over time and now expect depravity. Your original gut wrenching disgust has morphed into something else– something hardened. Shocking depravity somehow transmuted into an expectation. The Taliban systematically executed, in the public square, those who infringed on the “rules” of a terrorist and fascist regime. They literally pointed a gun to the head of people and then in an act of depravity, pulled the trigger. Most of us found our sensibilities rattled and our outrage stirred by such senseless and random violence. Some of the victims were women who had violated some unwritten law of conduct foisted on them by men who were little more than barbarians. We were rattled! We were incredulous and we were deeply offended by the devaluing of human life.

And what of the devaluing of human life in headlines? What about the limb-from-limb very public and humiliating dismemberment that celebrity and public figures face on the front pages of newsstands? What about their life? Career? Children? Remember when terrorists publicly beheaded someone and filmed it live then placed it on the Internet? Remember your shock, disgust and outrage? Is it really so different when the weapons is sharpened words instead of sharpened blades? Words maim just as effectively. They cut out little chunks of human flesh, and de-flesh the human being in the same manner as fish is filleted and the guts exposed.

Consider for a moment, is it really so different with words when they are used as weapons to assault both the humans that they portray and the humans that witness the violence done to them? Does a tabloid point a metaphorical and virtual gun to someone’s head execution style? What is the difference between a public execution with a gun and a public execution with word weapons? It’s violence. It’s just as deadly and maybe more so because we are all downwind of the violence. The effects are subtle over time and subliminal. Every exposure desensitizes us more. Soon the photos are not even of human beings. And every time we walk into the drug store, we are assaulted with these dehumanizing headlines on our way to the pharmacy to secure medicine that keeps or cures us from being sick. Does the irony of that escape you? Does it even register that those headlines are sick and depraved? That they are designed to harm someone who is a real flesh-and-blood human?

Would You Like Some Slander with Those Salad Fixings? Vilification with those veggies? Bullying with Those Bananas?
Food is supposed to be nourishment and sustenance for us and our families to keep us healthy, yet in the very place where we buy food for our health, we are forced to go through a checkout line that assaults us from every angle with human depravity. And we have no choice but to walk through the garish gauntlet of this week’s “freaks” hand picked and deliberately chosen to be publicly dismembered in order to sell a magazine built on human depravity for “entertainment.” It’s a blood sport. If we are seduced and purchase one of those “magazines” or “newspapers,” we are supporting an industry that tears people limb from limb for sport and profit. The ones who are on public display, unfortunate enough to be on the cover this week don’t receive any compensation for their “contribution” which isn’t voluntary. It’s stolen from them. Their privacy and dignity are for sale for our viewing pleasure, the tabloids shout at us at the beginning of the checkout line like circus posters advertising a side show featuring this week’s “freak” du jour.

There was a particularly heinous figure in history who took sadistic pleasure in impaling people on stakes and watching them squirm. He in fact, perfected the practice of impaling live people and doing it in a way that extended their lives the longest possible time and took special pleasure in impaling their children also but always above them on the same stake so that the parent could watch the suffering of their children better. He then ordered his meal be served among the impaled and took great pleasure in eating while listening to the screams of the doomed. It’s a true story about “Vlad the Impaler.”  New WMD- Weapons of Mass Destruction

And if you think it’s only celebrities who are featured and vilified or dismembered, remember what happened to Trayvon Martin’s best friend when she testified at George Zimmerman’s trial. Not only was Rachael Jeantel profiled because of her race, her speech, and her class, but she was ridiculed in the media and in social media. She was a child. She is 19 years old and will be a high school senior next year. She was discriminated against and ridiculed for her speech- a speech impediment that includes and overbite and her “Black English” with Haitian overtones as she is the child of immigrants.

Patsy Ramsey was vilified by the press that claimed she killed her own daughter Jonbennet; both parents were hounded and deemed guilty by the press. They have since been exonerated as there is evidence of an intruder’s footprint that can’t be identified. Pasty Ramsey’s cancer recurred from the stress and she died under the umbrella of suspicion because of law enforcement territorial gesturing and poor crime scene investigation methods. Imagine losing a child, finding her body in that way and then being blamed for her death. The “Olympic Park Bomber” Richard Jewell, the prime suspect was later vindicated but not before the press indicted him and found him guilty. He also died an early death. The “Central Park Five” thought guilty of attacking a jogger spent decades in jail as the victims of overzealous detectives and prosecutors and they too were found guilty in the court of public opinion. Decades later they were exonerated and released from prison. New York was ripe for racial profiling and condemnation and attorneys hungry for publicity and detectives using unscrupulous interrogation methods sealed the fate of young men whose youth was stolen by the misconduct of others– in law enforcement and by a hysterical public. The story is now chronicled in a book and movie; it’s an eye-opening testament to out-of-control fear and the irresponsible use of words.

There are outrageous claims and false accusations that seem to come in waves. In the nineties, we saw an upswing of “repressed memory syndrome” that tore apart families and proved later to be a kind of hysteria that hit the therapy community. Another hysteria unleashed in that same community about the same time was the frenzy about the McMartin Preschool Case and the “prolific” incidence of Satanic Ritual Abuse much of which was later debunked as “Satanic Panic.” It took a decade for the McMartins to be exonerated; they were never guilty of any crimes but were victims themselves of a violent public hysteria.

People are wrongly accused all the time. Investigative and interviewing methods are used indiscriminately or incorrectly. That is not to diminish the very real horror of sexual exploitation of children. But not everyone with an interest in children is sexually aroused by them or a perpetrator. Sexual abuse accusations are particularly heinous and effective in smearing someone’s reputation. Used often by jealous and vindictive spouses, the accusation of child sexual abuse is particularly incendiary in headlines and destroys lives and careers. One in ten accusations of child sexual abuse are false accusations.  In the case of Jackson, his “it takes a village” philosophy for child raising and his exploitation of his superstar status to inspire and encourage sick and underprivileged children to enhance their self worth and esteem was turned into something ugly by the media. In the first case, we know that a mentally ill father tried to extort money from Jackson to bankroll his screenwriter ambitions and there is evidence in a taped phone message of his threat to destroy Jackson if he didn’t comply. In the second case, there is evidence of the mother of the child scripting her children to lie in order to extort J.C. Penny for sexual abuse she suffered while their security was confronting her and the children for shoplifting. Were these accusation leveled against anyone else, they would have been investigated and dismissed. In fact, a department of social workers did investigate and clear the star of wrongdoing. Jackson knew he inspired hope in children; he received their gifts and letters. Many either saw him as a father figure or wished he was their father. His lyrics kept kids alive who would otherwise lose all hope.

The world’s poster boy for exploitation for profit, humiliation for entertainment and bloodsport for fun and profit is Michael Joe Jackson. Many continue to believe the myth and whenever it suits someone’s purpose– either to hide their own profit making at his expense or to distract the public from culpability at a trial or from questionable tactics or legal maneuvering, damning stories surface– either rehashed or new revelations with tired methods. It continues even beyond and into the grave. It’s not an indictment of Michael Jackson, but of human nature and its corruptibility in the face of greed. The problem is that when one sells his soul, it cannot be repossessed. The guilt lives forever in the psyche and the tissues of the Judas betrayer. Guilt erodes and it does so from the inside out.

“News and Truth”- they don’t have to tell you
What passes as “news” today is not your Walter Cronkite model.  News does not have to be true. Fox News organization was reported by whisteblowers and subsequently sued for using propaganda about Monsanto and Bovine Growth Hormone in newscasts; they countersued for the right to lie to the public and won. Newscasters do not have to tell the truth because the FCC rules and ethics are “guidelines” and not “laws” and there is no protections for whistleblowers who lose their jobs by refusing to report false information to the public: So, The Media Can Legally Lie to You.

Much of what we are fed by media on a daily basis is planned, methodical and full of subliminal messages that are designed to appeal to instincts rather than reason, intellect or common sense. Some news channels use fear to motivate viewers because it is a base human instinct. And “shock jocks” whether on radio or TV, are adept at riling up their audiences. When fear and emotions run high, people get riled up and the less discriminating listener or viewer just parrots what he or she is fed by a manipulative media. All for money and power. Propaganda is useful for driving instincts to a destination pre-determined by the propagandists.

The daily routine of the average yellow journalist is to sniff out anything that might make for a “good” story and to then sensationalize or embellish or twist the facts just enough to make it appealing and the darker and sexier, the better. Photos of celebrity targets adorn the walls of the “newsroom” so that everybody understands who is the prey. And at the end of the day, the handiwork is reviewed and applauded and toasted over drinks at the favorite pub. Here’s to another profitable story! Here’s to another celebrity scandal! Cheers! The end to a perfect and productive day is when some famous celebrity becomes the target for ridicule or mocking or worse. It’s high fives all around in the pub after work.

It takes a “special” kind of mind and set of values to pull that off day after day. And it becomes easier and easier the longer one stays in the business. It’s a tainted life with gutter values. There is a desensitization process over time. The targets are no longer human to the tabloid arts and artists; they become “celebs” or in the case of the deceased– “delebs” which stands for dead celebrities. It becomes easy for the unscrupulous “reporter” to embellish or incorporate rumor into fact and claim something like “the FBI files contain…” and simply make it up because there is no way to check the validity of unreleased or closed government files or sealed documents. There is no danger of the truth leaking out, so anything passes as truth because there is no way to verify it. And if the tabloids get caught in a lie, they only need print a retraction but they can do it on the last page in a small paragraph and that serves as legal remedy. Those in the industry actually budget for lawsuits knowing that some of their work will draw litigation. But they also know that lawsuits are costly not just in terms of money, but they cost time– time that is precious to the celebrity who needs to work in order to stay relevant and at the top of his game. Hollywood is, after all, a fickle place. It a place where one day you’re the darling and the next day you’re the Darth Vader of something.

Money and Power Can Buy Your Life, Silence, Elections and Your Mind
Who is the biggest purveyor of tabloid trash? Rupert Murdoch and his Newscorp group. When Murdoch came to Britain from Australia, he brought the “dark side” with him. He bought up all the Fleet Street real estate and set up shop churning out salacious stories about public figures. He declared to his staff that they were to capture the royals in particular and would decide for Prince Charles who his bride-to-be should be and who should take the potential throne beside him. They published a magazine asking “What’s Wrong with Diana?” Charles proposed.

Murdoch courted Diana who tried to play the dangerous game of giving the tabloids crumbs while keeping her personal life private. It didn’t work. She was mocked for everything she did. And she did plenty of humanitarian work across the planet. Diana’s pet project was land mines and raising awareness and funds for the removal of land mines because children were losing limbs. They even mocked her for that. She was portrayed by the tabloid media as an emotional hot mess first with suicidal ideations, emotional breakdowns, bulimia, and every kind of emotional meltdown imaginable.

The Princess and the Toads: Lady Diana and the Tabloids

Diana complained bitterly that there were too many people in her marriage besides her husband: the Queen, Camilla, the press, paparazzi, the royal family and the public. Her private life was never private even after she left the royal family. She became the story du jour when she began seeing Dodi Fayed of the family of hotel barons. The press never left her alone. She was hunted and hounded and one night while being chased by paparazzi, her car entered a dark tunnel in Paris and her life ended. The tabloid editors, in a public display of overwhelming guilt, took responsibility for the tragedy.

Editors Admit “We Created the Climate” that killed Diana

Just recently a “new lover” in Diana’s life was “revealed.” Even in death, she cannot rest or avoid being the new titillating story. This just in! This story breaks just as her son and daughter-in-law celebrate the birth of George who would have been her first grandchild. The media, as usual, never miss an opportunity to capitalize on gossip about a public figure– this one a “deleb.”

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, fared much worse in the tabloids. Married to Prince Andrew, Fergie, at first a beloved figure, was a young bride and recent mother when her husband was called away on duty. A young and inexperienced bride and new mother, she missed her husband and left her baby with a nanny to meet briefly with her absent husband. She was immediately labeled a rebellious royal and poor mother. And the assault by the media began. When she gained weight because of the stress she was called abusively “The Duchess of Pork” on the front pages of tabloids. Her marriage too, ended in divorce.

Many in the royal family and in celebrity circles were victims of Rupert Murdoch’s phone hacking scandal:

“Six years. Six years is how long Rupert Murdoch’s shamed London tabloid, News of the World, hacked into the mobile phones of Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, the much-mocked Duchess of York and mother of two of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren.

The British scandal that began with revelations that Murdoch’s tabloid journalists had hacked into the phones of Prince William and Prince Harry years ago continues to shock, with news today that 144 more hacking victims have joined more than 450 victims who have settled claims with Murdoch’s media empire, News Corp., including payoffs totaling millions in compensation.

Seventeen victims were named and had statements read in court today in London, including actor Christopher Eccleston, singer-songwriter James Blunt, Israeli TV psychic/spoon-bender Uri Geller and actor Hugh Grant, the leading celebrity voice in the ongoing pursuit of illegal tabloid spying on Britain’s royals, celebs, sports stars, journalists and politicians.

According to The Guardian,  which broke the phone-hacking scandal in 2011, the court today heard such phrases as “deeply angry” (Eccleston), “shocked and distressed” (Grant), and “extreme intrusion” (Ferguson) from the statements read by lawyers.

Like other celeb victims of phone-hacking, Grant talked about how the experience led him to distrust friends and family for fear they were leaking to the media. Actor Jude Law, another who settled with News Corp, talked Thursday about the “nightmare” of being illegally hacked in USA Today, describing how he feels “more cynical” now. “It kind of dented my sense of hope in the human spirit,” he told USA TODAY’s Andrea Mandell. “And I’m always a little bit let down by just the appetite we have now to consume utter rubbish in the newspapers and fluff.”  Source: USA Today, Feb 8, 2013

Breaking News- Murdoch Lied
Just recently, it was revealed in a secretly taped conversation, that Rupert Murdoch lied to Parliament and mocked the body of lawmakers for its inquest into his tabloid empire and the hacking scandal. Caught on tape, he wasn’t the least bit remorseful or “humbled” as he claimed during the height of the scandal and his grilling by members of the British governing body over phone hacking and illegal buyoffs of officials and law enforcement in Britain:

Murdoch Headline by HP- tabloid treatment

Reuters Report about Murdoch

Democracy and Freedom Fighters
There are some organizations that are fighting on behalf of people who don’t even know the jeopardy they’re in. Sue Wilson and Free Press work tirelessly to protect the public’s right to the truth on behalf of a public unaware it’s being lied to. Here’s a sample:

“I’ve got good news and bad news. First, the good news. Thanks to you, Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers  won’t be getting their hands on the Tribune Company’s newspapers any time  soon.

Following months of public pressure and activism, the Tribune Company  announced last week that instead of selling its eight papers — including the  Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times — it’s going to turn  its newspaper division into a separate publishing company.

[But] a new wave of media consolidation is changing the local TV landscape. Tribune  just announced a plan to buy 20 TV stations, nearly doubling the number it owns.  Newspaper and TV giant Gannett is also buying 20 stations. And the Sinclair  Broadcast Group has devoured more than 80 stations in the last couple of  years.

These deals will erode the diversity of viewpoints and voices heard in local  newscasts across the country. So Free Press is gearing up to go head to  head with these companies. We’re preparing our legal case to oppose  such acquisitions at the Federal Communications Commission and mobilizing people  in the communities that will be hardest hit.” ~Josh Stearns, Free Press (dot) net.

Sue Wilson’s work can be found at Sue Wilson’s Reports.

The Michael Jackson Estate’s Public Position
I received that statement from the Jackson Estate and John Branca’s office that took me back to the 3 months I spent researching tabloid journalism for articles featured at my “Words and Violence” program a project that addresses bullying in its many forms. The compendium of educational information, a work in progress inspired by Lady Diana and Michael Jackson, has grown to more than 600 pages and is due for release of its 3rd edition in August. Voices is a sister website and division of the Compassionate Action Network and the Charter for Compassion.

Bullying may take place on the playgrounds and in the halls of schools around the world but, in reality, it has a much wider spectrum. Bullying begins at home. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is perpetrated by relatives in the homes of kids although it can be; it means that bullying begins at home. So who are the offenders?

Television and the media.

 To review the statement from John Branca et al and the Michael Jackson Estate:
“We know many fans have been upset by recent tabloid stories in the UK about Michael. In his song “Tabloid Junkie” Michael Jackson sings:  Just because you read it in a magazine or see it on a TV screen doesn’t make it factual.

Sadly, we were recently reminded of just how prophetic Michael’s lyrics were when these disgraceful, stale and discredited stories more than two decades old were published making unfounded allegations about Michael and so-called FBI “files.” It should be no surprise that one of the authors of this rehash has a long history of writing tabloid articles about Michael. It also should be noted that he formerly was a top editor at a scandal-ridden British tabloid that folded following revelations that the phones of celebrities, public figures and even a child murder victim were illegally hacked. Even more unseemly was one press account in which the tabloid’s source was identified as a former investigator whose license was revoked and who also has filed for bankruptcy. He isn’t denying that he was paid to tell these falsehoods, but he is boasting about his pornography career. It goes without saying that this callous and brazen disregard shown Michael’s children, family and fans is beyond reprehensible.Responsible journalists who don’t practice checkbook journalism have thoroughly debunked this disgusting story and its unreliable sources. Showbiz411 titled its story:  “ ‘FBI Files’ Are From People Discredited Long Time ago”

(http://www.showbiz411.com/2013/06/30/michael-jackson-fbi-files-are-from-people-discredited-long-time-ago).

CNN called the London tabloid reports a “questionable” rehash while noting that, “A website can enjoy a sharp spike in traffic — which can translate into advertising revenue — with a sensational headline.”
(http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/03/showbiz/michael-jackson-files)
in describing how media can play fast and loose with the truth to drive viewers or readers to their site.

We believe unethical tabloid journalists and publications spreading falsehoods about Michael for their own selfish reasons are best ignored. Sadly, they hide shamelessly behind a legal shield allowing them to smear those who are no longer with us. As readers abandon them and their businesses collapse, they desperately seek attention and publicity. We don’t believe they deserve it, and are confident that discredited articles such as these vanish quickly and are easily forgotten.

Rest assured that Michael’s legacy is his artistic genius. It’s his humanitarian work that touched millions, and his  global messages of peace.  Most important, Michael’s legacy is his enduring love for his children, his family and his fans.”
 – John Branca and John McClain, Co-Executors, The Estate Of Michael Jackson

http://www.showbiz411.com/2013/06/30/michael-jackson-slimed-by-british-press-heres-the-real-story-from-2005

The Truth is Out There and Though Temporary Lost, It’s On It’s Way Home
This story by Alan Duke appeared at CNN’s website and even cites Diane Dimond saying the story was embellished
http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/03/showbiz/michael-jackson-files

Dimond’s previous story in the Daily Beast:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/01/the-story-behind-the-latest-michael-jackson-bombshell.html

People have asked me what can be done. Being informed is where to begin. Don’t skim this information. Spend some time with it. Get yourself informed about what is going on in the media. We can talk about what to do and how to work on this if you want to. It begins with harnessing the rage for a purpose Then, you get informed. Then you broaden your scope. We can explore how this works and what can be done. Let me know if you’re interested.

Meanwhile, send people to the “Words and Violence” Program at Voices Education Project to learn about Tabloid Journalism- especially the “In Depth Articles” Section and stay tuned for an amazing new 3rd edition. It’s our best work yet.

Tabloids: Modern Taliban? part I

The Michael Jackson fan community is outraged as yet one more old, already debunked and recycled story about harming children makes the headlines in Britain. That’s news to some people, which apparently was the intent of having it show up there– now. But Jackson fans and thoughtful people are not fooled. Questions are being asked about AEG since the public knows the Jackson family is suing his promoter (AEG) for his wrongful death.

AEG said prior to the trial and also in opening statements, that this trial is going to “get ugly.” That was a warning shot fired toward Katherine Jackson. Translation: “Stop this trial before it gets started or you’ll be sorry.”  Looks as if AEG is keeping their word because it’s getting ugly. Prior to this re-hashed and already disproved story’s release by a British tabloid, a “new accuser,” Wade Robson, came forward and appeared on the Today show claiming Jackson violated him. This is the same man who gave sworn testimony in the 2005 trial where Jackson was acquitted on all charges. For twenty years, this same person has gushed about what Michael Jackson meant to him. And now, suddenly remembers his abuse? Robson was, in fact, the star witness for the defense- headed up by Attorney Tom Mesereau. For the inside scoop and truth about the 2005 trial, instead of tabloid hype, see British Journalist Charles Thomson’s Huffington Post article “One of The Most Shameful Episode in Journalistic History” Better yet, Read Aphrodite Jones book: Michael Jackson Conspiracy.

Thomson recently wrote a piece about the new allegations as did Joe Vogel, Jackson music historian and lecturer at University of Rochester, New York  and author of Man in the Music, Sterling Publishers:

Michael Jackson, Delayed Allegations and Witch Hunts: Joe Vogel

The Mirror, the People and The Settlement that Never Was: Charles Tomson

The Mirror Publishes Another Fraudulent Story: A Pattern Emerges, Charles Thomson

 

 

Accuser Robson immediately relocated to Hawaii just after his “new memories” or “new feelings” or whatever term he is using now, after his first story about “repressed memories” collapsed under public scrutiny. Professionals questioned the validity of “repressed memories,” the term used by Robson’s own attorney, uncovered with the help of a “therapist.” Suddenly the story changed and Robson didn’t “recover” the memories, he kept them secret. He kept them secret until Michael Jackson was no longer here and the estate grew from major debt to net worth of a billion dollars. Then Robson made no claims publicly other than to parrot the words of Matt Lauer’s question back to him. Author and body language Craig Baxter debunked Robson’s claim as incongruent with body language as did a psychologist who stated his behavior was inconsistent with a survivor.

Add to those suspicions, Robson’s snub by the estate as producer of Michael Jackson: Immortal Cirque du Soleil touring show and Michael Jackson: One permanent Cirque show at Mandalay Bay as motivation for a claim and the smear against Jackson. Robson was snubbed and overlooked in favor of Jamie King as creative director. He is observed gushing about his upcoming involvement with the show in a Youtube clip and fans wonder if that snub was motivation for extracting a pound of flesh from Jackson’s estate managers.

The most disparaging thing I can think of regarding human nature is that one person’s little ego with an axe to grind can destroy a career, a reputation, a life. In the 1993 extortion case, Evan Chandler wanted Jackson to bankroll his career as a screenplay writer and he wanted to become a partner in an entertainment venture. Jackson refused. So Chandler saw an attorney, talked with a psychiatrist and leveled charges against Jackson for inappropriate sexual conduct with his son. But not before he was recorded threatening that if he didn’t get his way, everybody would be destroyed by a mean and vicious lawyer hungry for publicity. His “take no prisoners” rant included a threat that Jackson would never sell or make another record. Evan Chandler, it turns out, had Biploar mental illness which leads to outrageous out-of-control behavior and psychosis. Chandler took his own life shortly after Jackson’s death.

Meanwhile, Michael Jackson’s life and career were irreparably harmed. The moment those charges were leveled, legitimate or not, Michael Jackson became an immediate embarrassment and liability to Sony staining their reputation as they were attempting to brand themselves as the pride of Japan in a post-war attempt to “save face” for a nation broken and defeated by allied forces. Japan had destroyed its own reputation and the corporate Sony saw itself as Japan’s hope of reclamation and its savior and path back to national solidarity and pride.

It didn’t matter to Chandler that Jackson’s lyrics and work was a message of unification and global stewardship for children, the planet and the human race itself. It didn’t matter to Chandler that Jackson was a kind of cult hero to millions of youngsters growing up in the ghettos while struggling with nihilism. Jackson was someone children looked up to and he was a global champion for their wellness and youth causes.

None of those things mattered to the Arvizo’s either revealed in court as grifters with a history of opportunism and deceit; or to Martin Bashir whose “documentary” bore no resemblance to Michael Jackson as revealed by simultaneous filming by his own staff and who stated after Jackson’s death that he saw no impropriety in Jackson’s relationships with young people; or Diane Dimond, Jackson stalker and “reporter” who favors deviant sex and sexual crimes for material; or the National Enquirer; or Rupert Murdoch and his Fleet Street henchmen; or to Piers Morgan, tabloid editor; or to tabloid Television like “A Current Affair” or “Hard Copy.”

Nobody ever considered what the world was losing, what children were losing, as Jackson was being vilified in the press. Nobody looked at the long term consequences to hamstringing a champion of humanity or the message in his work. None of the former employees who were dismissed for theft or were distrusted because of their own questionable behavior and then summarily dismissed, considered what their retaliation by selling made up stories to the tabloids did to slow the progress of human evolution.

What might have been if Nelson Mandela had not been in jail all those years? Jackson, he said, was his inspiration to keep himself alive in those conditions. What might Lady Diana have accomplished had she not been killed being chased by paparazzi that night in Paris? She was an advocate for children, for the removal of land mines, for peace. What did the world not receive because of her absence? Indeed what might have been if Jackson had not become a target for those willing to peddle salacious smut and filth for profit? The world will never know what these people might have gifted the world if little egos had not run amok.

And now comes Robson with his singular little ego in a money grab. Apparently Robson didn’t factor in Jackson’s teen children. Or didn’t consider that Paris Jackson would attempt suicide after his claim and after being bullied by classmates about her father and her father’s “reputation” as a child molester.

There is a center within the human being that is magnanimous, that shines and demonstrates the highest and finest expression of what it means to be human. That center is what you see when people behave selflessly, heroically, and in the best interest of others or of all humanity rather than from the self interest of the little ego. Those are the humans who pull someone from a burning car, who pile their trucks full of bottled water and race to a natural disaster zone with no thought of themselves but only helping their fellow man. Those are the people who when snubbed or discounted, or dismissed or marginalized in some way STOP TO THINK what impact their actions might have if they strike out or act in anger. They look at the bigger picture and they imagine the worst case scenario and the consequences of their actions BEFORE they allow the ego free rein. They weigh their little ego against the betterment of human kind, the benefits to the planet, the advancement of the species, and they examine the event as a mirror reflecting something back that needs scrutiny and self-reflection.

Mandela, Jackson, Lady Diana, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, the Kennedys… and many other modern day teachers, cultural profits and healers all were inspired by something larger than themselves. They didn’t live from the little human ego; they lived from the heart and gave from the soul. They were guided not by the little ego but by the vastness within that each human carries but few employ. People who push humanity forward or cause it to examine itself serve the whole race; how many times are they brought down by one person acting from the little ego, the shadow within?

Like sharks smelling blood in the water when someone is vulnerable, then come the shadow peddlers, people who make their living exploring, wallowing in, and regurgitating the dark side of human nature– “Throwing stones to hide your hands.”  They not only hide from their own shadow but they deny it so well that they project it onto others. They are those who peddle fear, loathing, jealousy, envy, and use public forums to spill their accumulated sludge. And some consume it unwittingly without understanding the consequence of ingesting all that dark and sexually charged content and how unhealthy it is. Some peddlers don’t even know they are bullies. They are incapable of self-reflection. They peddle darkness because it deflects and brings relief from their own darkness and makes them feel better about themselves.

It’s sad, really and one might almost pity them but for the damage they do to the collective consciousness. Some are unawares of what they do and still others are aware and make heroic efforts to cover up their past treachery. It is those who have the most to lose should the true Michael Jackson story ever emerge. They are busy covering up past sins by creating or supporting any shadow cast in the direction of his legend now that Jackson himself is not here. It’s not a mission to destroy or to make money off him as they did when he was alive and vulnerable, but to kick the corpse and make sure first that he is dead and then, that the lies continue to permeate the culture so they (and their little egos) can stay safe and keep their treachery from ever being exposed. They continue to trash his legacy to protect their own; they need not worry, the truth will emerge and their own legacy will be destroyed– if not now, then after their passing. Their children will have no choice but to live with it just as Jackson’s children have to live with what was done to harm their father. It’s a perfect irony.

Not to be left out of the Michael Jackson frenzy nor miss another opportunity to wade into some sexually charged “material” to “report,” all to deflect from her own interests and lifelong stalking and tabloid coverage of Jackson, Diane Dimond couldn’t resist Jackson yet again. A tabloid-trained reporter for TV and print, she wrote her own pieces about the stories at the Daily Beast where she confirmed the accusations and accuser as potentially credible and did a complete turnabout in a story carried by CNN that challenged the veracity of the stories, she contradicted her own previously published stories at the Daily Beast: “CNN Tabloid Report on Michael Jackson FBI Files Questioned”

Why all the suspicion of deception?

Robson was a 20 year supporter of Jackson. Dimond is tabloid trained and authored a salacious book about Jackson that she still attempts to hawk with every byline. Jackson recognized Robson’s talent as he did so many other child protégés. He in fact, mentored many youth in the arts in which they showed extraordinary savvy. He did that throughout his career. In fact, his latest mentee was Shaheen Jafargholi who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent. When Jackson recognized his rare talent, he invited Shaheen to perform on stage with him during what was to be Jackson’s comeback “This Is It” now chronicled in a movie by the same name. Instead, Shaheen performed at his funeral. There were many young boys that Jackson befriended. And girls. He was after all, a child star himself and who better to know the pitfalls and demands of childhood stardom? Who better to mentor and caution? He often bankrolled the particularly talented because as a child prodigy himself, he recognized genius in others. A gifted one can recognize another. Robson was one of them. In fact, Jackson apparently moved Robson’s family from Australia to the U.S. and got Robson his start in the entertainment industry.

The already discredited story was published on the opening day of Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson One show. So let me see if we’ve got this right..

AEG trial begins and it begins to look bad for AEG, accused of having a hand in the wrongful death of Jackson.
Robson, a frequent AEG employee rolls over and makes an accusation about a deceased Michael Jackson.
Paris Jackson attempts suicide and is hospitalized.
Tabloids run stories about “Michael Jackson’s troubled daughter.”
AEG begins to look more and more shady as Prince Jackson testifies about manhandling by AEG officials.
Sunday People tabloid runs a story debunked decades before about secret FBI files with accusations about Jackson harming children.
Sunday People is owned by The Mirror whose advertising budget is heavily sponsored by AEG.

Hmmmmm

And to further insult the intelligence (if any) of  TMZ’s audience, they “amended” information about Robson’s supposed “breakdown” caused by his memories of Jackson, because the dates didn’t match. Wasn’t that what Tom Sneddon, Santa Barbara District Attoreny did when the “molestation” dates cited  by the Arvizo boy’s father didn’t match the “Living With Michael Jackson” Martin Bashir documentary? Sneddon moved the dates so that the offense occurred AFTER the documentary and ensuing firestorm of criticism occurred? The timeline wouldn’t work so it was amended. Robson’s claims were amended from “repressed memories?” to “brainwashing” and the dates were changed because it was discovered that Robson was still exuberantly gushing about Michael Jackson and anticipated being part of crafting his memorial shows with Cirque du Soleil. His initial claim cited the wrong time to bolster his accusation and “despondency” and the “mental breakdown” suffered over his uncovered “abuse.” Curiously this action follows a downswing in his popularity and ability to get work. His failed MTV show “Wade Robson Project” lasted one season and he was a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance?” for three seasons before being replaced.

Robson follows the tradition of others who want to illegitimately reach into deep pockets. Mary Fischer writes about the Chandler case in 1993 and cites that an unethical attorney can file hundreds of “deep pockets” cases. It’s worth looking at the violation of civil rights when a person is vilified by the media and the presumption of innocence is ignored as it was in the Jackson cases.

Mary Fischer GQ: Was Michael Jackson Framed?

Another thing Robson didn’t factor in to his decision was one that an art and literature historian reminded me is hidden in Dante’s Inferno. Dante Alighieri –usually referred to as “Dante”—wrote the Divine Comedy, of which the Inferno is the first part.  Virgil, the ancient Roman poet—who was much admired in the Middle Ages—is a major character in the Inferno, Dante’s guide. The tome holds a blueprint to Hell. In the blueprint, there are nine circles reserved for arrivals to Hell depending on the egregiousness of their sin. The most egregious sin for hell-comers is the betrayal of a benefactor, which will land the offender in the most painful place in hell or the innermost circle. Betrayal of a generous and beloved mentor elicits a special punishment– the center of hell. It’s not a more furious fire; it’s eternity locked in ice.

Suspicions being raised are a good thing. While it’s not complete vindication, we’ll take it. Why? Because truth has a life of its own. It haunts, it pushes, it beckons. It has a blessed unrest. There is a restlessness. People are starting to question. They are starting to ask the right questions. In death, it seems they are not so quick to pummel as they are in life although if there were truly respect for the dead and sanctity of the mortuary, we wouldn’t be having such a morbid conversation.

People are beginning to notice “coincidences” like the accusations coming in the middle of the AEG-Jackson wrongful death trial. They are beginning to notice that the re-hashed story came at a crucial point in the trial when Jackson’s son testified to the rough treatment of his father and his father’s physician by an AEG official.

People are beginning to understand big money and how it operates in the world and what it can buy. Many believe it bought Robson. And rebuttals to the old “FBI files” rumored story are revealing the treachery of the tabloid Taliban. And people who have never been interested in Michael Jackson before or who had opinions are second guessing that opinion and how and where it might have been formed.

Nobody likes to be lied to. Nobody likes to be called a fool, even by implication. Sometimes all it takes is reasonable doubt. The treachery is becoming more obvious to the discerning. It’s leaving them cold. That doubt now? Well, it’s more than reasonable. It’s icy.