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Raven Woods Huffington Post Article Answer to Radar Online Sham about Michael Jackson’s Child Porn

 THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT MICHAEL JACKSON HAD (AND

DIDN’T HAVE) IN HIS BEDROOM

This is old news from a decade ago, and there is absolutely nothing in those reports that hasn’t already had its day in court.

7/8/2016

By Raven Woods, author, educator pop culture journalist and author of All For Love Blog.

 

 

Last week, as the world geared up to remember Michael Jackson on his seventh death anniversary, a deluge of negative publicity hit regarding allegations of “disturbing” child porn that was supposedly uncovered during the 2003 raid of Neverland, conducted prior to Jackson’s 2004 indictment on charges of molesting a minor. The highly publicized trial in 2005 resulted in Jackson’s acquittal on all fourteen counts. The problem is that the police documents in question and the list of items seized from Neverland are not “new” or “recently unearthed” documents, as some media outlets have mistakenly claimed in an effort to bolster salacious headlines.

These were all items that were entered in court back in 2005 ― items that were well known to both the prosecution and defense and were presented before both Judge Melville and the jury. None of the items seized from Neverland fit the legal definition of child pornography, and in fact many of the items that are currently creating the most media hysteria were not pornographic at all. They were legal art books; a few of them containing some examples of adult erotica, but again, these were not titles that could be in any way deemed as pornographic or even obscene. This isn’t to say that Jackson didn’t own any pornography at all. The truth was that a sizable amount of adult heterosexual pornography had been confiscated in the raid, but Jackson was a grown man and this type of pornography is not illegal to own. In the absence of any hardcore “smoking gun” evidence against Jackson, the prosecution tried desperately to make a case for several legal art books which Jackson owned as part of an extensive library, one that contained over ten thousand titles on art and photography (subjects that were of interest to him as inspiration for his own lyrics and films). These art books, as they were written up and described in the original police reports, were clearly stated as not being pornographic in nature but as items that could “possibly” be used as part of a “grooming” process (however, it is important to note that this was not a claim the prosecution was able to successfully prove in court). Secondly, it has been confirmed via a statement issued by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department that several pages of the document ― which originated with the publication Radar Online-appeared to have been falsified, with images that were never part of the original documents, claiming those images “appeared to have been taken from internet sources.” Since this story spread like proverbial wildfire through the tabloid media ― and even to legit mainstream media who apparently never bothered to fact check either the origin or contents of these documents ― we really must pause to consider how the media operates in spreading such hoax stories on celebrities. We also must ask some hard questions about why better laws are not in place to protect deceased persons-famous or not-from this kind of libel.

 

Court Document Showing The Admittance Of Jackson’s Art Books And Adult Erotica-Proof That All Of The Items Listed In The Report Had Their Day In Court. 

But first, let’s start by busting some of the distorted myths and outright lies that are circulating currently. I have been a dedicated Michael Jackson researcher for seven years. I have thoroughly studied the ins and outs of the 2005 case brought against him as well as the 1993 Jordan Chandler settlement.

The first thing we must address is that the information and descriptions in these reports are NOT new or “recently unearthed” reports ― this is all information that both the prosecution and defense were well aware of in 2004 when the indictment and grand jury process began. In fact, a lot of the current information being touted now was leaked then and circulated in the press after the grand jury hearings, prompting a statement to the media from Jackson’s attorney, which was signed off not only by Mesereau but also the prosecution and Judge Melville, fully acknowledging that no child pornography had been found. This was followed up by an official statement from Jackson himself, in which he specifically addressed the information that had been leaked to the media from the grand jury proceedings. It is worth keeping in mind that the grand jury hearings are a process in which the prosecution is able to present their case in its entirety without the benefit of cross examination, and includes the process of discovery whereby all potential evidentiary items are presented and discussed.

 

Both Thomas Mesereau’s sworn statement and Jackson’s 2004 press statement were in reaction to items leaked to the media from the grand jury hearings, in which the prosecution enters all confiscated and potentially evidentiary items. These “items” included the same art books that have become the source of the current media frenzy. 

Eventually, many of these books were discarded as inadmissible evidence because they were commercially available art books that anyone can purchase legally. Of the titles that were entered as admissible evidence, it was not because they were pornographic but, rather, because the prosecution felt that they might potentially bolster an argument that Jackson “could have” used the books as grooming material and in an attempt to prove some sort of predilection on Jackson’s part for males (since a few of the titles featured artsy photographs of nude males; however, these were generally titles that featured adult erotica of both sexes). The “sadomasochism” books were adult books featuring adult subjects ( Madonna’s “Sex,” for example, was a book that he was known to have shopped for in the early 1990s) and because none of these materials fit the legal definition of child pornography. This left the prosecution in the rather embarrassing situation of having to build a case on Jackson’s adult legal porn collection, which was-let’s just say-healthy, but not that unusual for a single guy. Let’s remember, these people invaded his private quarters, after all. The full list of Jackson’s adult porn that was confiscated in the Neverland raid has been widely available for many years, and consisted of over 1800 images of nude adult women. You can find the full list here. But essentially, this left the prosecution in the rather embarrassing position of trying to build a case of child molestation against a man for whom the only “evidence” they had was issues of HustlerPlayboyPenthouseBarely Legal, and the like ― along with, well, a lot  of art books. The thing you have to keep in mind is that the prosecution never had one shred of what we might call “smoking gun” evidence ― the kind that usually leads to an easy, “case closed” conviction in cases like this. There were no explicit love letters written to any child, no photos of himself or children engaged in sexual acts, no video tapes of himself with children in lewd acts, no taped phone conversations, no online “sex chats” ― in other words, none of the things that can usually lead to an easy conviction in such cases. You have to remember that Jackson was under constant FBI surveillance for over ten years. The reports eventually concluded nothing to be found. A search of over sixteen computer hard drives seized in the 2003 raid revealed nothing except that he occasionally visited a few adult legal porn sites where he liked to log in as “Dr. Black” and “Marcel Jackson.” Juicy gossip fodder, yes. Illegal; no.

In the lack of any such hard evidence, the case essentially boiled down to accuser Gavin Arvizo’s word against Jackson’s. From that point forward, the only hope that district attorneys Tom Sneddon and Ron Zonen had was to construct their prosecution as a character assassination. In their desperate attempt to make “evidence” out of no evidence, the art books were argued (unsuccessfully) as books that “could” fit the definition of what a casebook pedophile would own, and the legal porn was argued to be “grooming material” (an argument that likewise did not persuade the jury, especially after Star Arvizo, brother of Gavin Arvizo, admitted under cross examination that a magazine he had earlier claimed to have been shown by Jackson was an issue that, in fact, wasn’t even published until five months after the date of the alleged incident!).

The problem is that, in the absence of any truly hardcore evidence, it becomes increasingly difficult to try to convince a jury of what someone’s “intentions” are with a particular photo or art book. You can’t second guess what is in someone’s head, or if they are using certain materials ― legal or otherwise ― for sexual gratification. That is getting into the realm of “reasonable doubt” and is not something that can be proven. The only thing a judge and jury can do is to look at a certain piece of exhibited evidence and ask: Is this pornography or is it not? And if it is pornographic, is it legal? Keep in mind that anything that isn’t, strictly speaking, child pornography cannot be held as admissible evidence because it is not criminal ― at least certainly not in the United States ― to own art books or adult legal sex books, no matter how “graphic” the imagery (much of which, also, is being grossly exaggerated in the media reports, but one thing at a time).

The original Radar Online story that ran on June 20th did, in fact, acknowledge that these reports were from 2003 and are not new information, but they slanted their story in such a way that made it seem as though this was somehow “newly leaked” information or as if this was “newly discovered” evidence that somehow ― for whatever unearthly reason ― was never brought to light during the trial. This is simply not true, as all official court documents related to the 2005 case clearly show that these items were well known to both the prosecution and defense. Many of these items were discussed and exhibited before the jury in what came to be known as the infamous “Porn Day” at trial (a day for which Jackson’s very religious mother Katherine chose to sit out). What was left out was simply because it was deemed not pornographic in nature and therefore, inadmissible evidence. Let’s not forget, Michael Jackson was subjected to one of the most overzealous cases of prosecution that an individual could be put through. He had a district attorney who had made it his personal life’s ambition to put him behind bars ― or drive him permanently from Santa Barbara County, which he eventually succeeded in doing. This was a prosecution effort that combed the globe in search of “victims,” evidence, and any witnesses willing to come forth, regardless of credibility, and that spent millions in taxpayer dollars in the process. Granted, Sneddon and Zonen may have had their moments of ineptitude, but one thing they could never be accused of was being unthorough or of committing a half-assed investigation that would have left evidence of actual child pornography overlooked. Indeed, nothing in these reports was overlooked, nor was it withheld. It simply wasn’t child pornography, then or now.

This is an important fact to establish because I think the impression many are getting, from the slanted media reports, is that these items being discussed are some “shocking new bombshell” revelation that has just come to light. That simply isn’t true. This is all old news from a decade ago, and there is absolutely nothing in those reports that hasn’t already had its day in court ― that is, of the items that even made it past the discovery stage. The media is trying to slant the story that way because it makes for more salacious headlines and click bait, but if you read the fine print, most have to own up at some point that these are, in fact, old documents dating to 2003 when the discovery process for the trial was underway. So, nothing new here and nothing that the attorneys, as well as the judge and jury, were not well aware of when Jackson was tried and acquitted in 2005. So the salacious and “creepy kiddy porn” of Michael Jackson’s that is currently being touted all over the media actually consists of nothing more than a few art photography books (all of which can be legally purchased through Amazon). Some of them do fall into the category of adult erotica; however, they are not pornographic and certainly not illegal for an adult to own. They include titles by award winning photographers and authors like Anne Rice, who even wrote the introduction for one of the books (Underworld) that is currently the subject of much of the media fodder.

So the next question…why now? Well, that goes back to the close ties between Radar Online (formerly headed up by The National Enquirer’s Dylan Howard) and the attorneys of Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, as well as a certain traitorous “friend” to the Jackson family, Stacy Brown, who has made a career off of peddling smut to the tabloids. Robson and Safechuck both have civil cases pending against the Michael Jackson estate, and Radar Online has become their ally and willing mouthpiece. We know from the statement released by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department that the documents Radar Online obtained did not come from an official source. Here is the statement as it was released to Vanity Fair and reported in various news outlets, yet everyone who reported on this story seemed to ignore what was most damning in this statement:

Some of the documents appear to be copies of reports that were authored by Sheriff’s Office personnel as well as evidentiary photographs taken by Sheriff’s Office personnel interspersed with content that appears to be obtained off the Internet or through unknown sources. The Sheriff’s Office did not release any of the documents and/or photographs to the media. The Sheriff’s Office released all of its reports and the photographs as part of the required discovery process to the prosecution and the defense.

Many of the media outlets who copied the original story have now updated their information to include this statement. That is at least a step in the right direction, I suppose, but still doesn’t take into account their apparent willingness to run a story that has been blatantly identified by the very authorities who investigated the case as false information.

Let’s look again at that official statement released by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department with the most crucial passages emphasized:

interspersed with content that appears to be obtained off the Internet or through unknown sources

The Sheriff’s Office released all of its reports and the photographs as part of the required discovery process to the prosecution and the defense

The statement also makes it clear that someone other than an official source is responsible for feeding this information to Radar Online ― someone (or someones) who timed this malicious smear campaign just in time to coincide with the remembrances and celebrations of Jackson’s death anniversary ― a time when the emotions of his family, friends, and fans are most vulnerable.

Most damaging to the hoax perpetrators has been the statement issued from Ron Zonen himself, one of the prosecuting attorneys who certainly would have moved heaven and earth to have the “evidence” against Michael Jackson he so desperately craved. Yet even Zonen released an official statement citing the lack of child pornography found in the investigation. As y People:

 

“People” Magazine

Prosecuting attorney Ron Zonen’s statement to “People Magazine” that no child pornography was found in Jackson’s possession. 

Let’s go back to the most important statements given in Zonen’s statement:

“There was no child pornography. There were no videos involving children.”

So what, then, is all the hoopla about? You might be shocked and surprised to know! If one truly examines and dissects the materials and images being discussed, it turns out that not only are all of them from legal sources (art books and such) but that most of the more erotic images are of adults! So…what’s the deal here? It actually seems that a huge media storm is being created over Michael Jackson’s tastes in art and adult erotica. Like I said before: Gossip fodder? Yes, maybe. Evidence of criminal behavior? No.

And Radar Online (or maybe we should say whoever was responsible for “leaking” those documents to them) also purposely tampered with many of those images to make them “appear” more explicit than they actually are, as per this example. On the right is the image as Radar online posted it. On the left is the original image from the book Bidgood by James Bidgood, which is a legal book of adult male photography. On the left is the original image in Bidgood’s book. On the right is the image as it was then “doctored” in the falsified documents. As you can see, Radar Online (or someone) purposely blocked out the crotches so as to make it appear as if the young men in Bidgood’s photo were naked, when in fact they were actually clothed in shorts. But it gets even better!

 

James Bidgood

One of the many ‘doctored” images Radar Online ran in their original 88 page Jackson report before deleting them. 

A few days later, Canadian artist Jonathan Hobin, author of In The Playroom, spoke out to both the Canadian Press and social media about how his work had been similarly used by Radar Online to help falsify the Jackson documents. Hobin’s “American Idol” photo, featured as part of his In The Playroom collection, was a photo featuring a JonBenet Ramsey lookalike dressed in beauty pageant regalia with a noose tied around her neck.

 

Jonathan Hobin

This photo, “American Idol,” featured as part of Jonathan Hobin’s In The Playroom collection, was one of the mistakenly identified photos for which the media had a field day touting as an example of Jackson’s “disturbing photos featuring child torture”-until it was revealed that Hobin’s book had not even been published in 2003

It was a photo that Radar Online ― as well as every other media outlet who picked up the story ― had a virtual field day with as “evidence” of Jackson’s “stockpile of “creepy” and “gory kiddie porn pictures featuring torture of children.” As it turned out, there were three major problems with this screaming headline: 1. The image is part of a legit art collection ― one that has been featured in many of the same media outlets that are now mocking Jackson, including The Huffington Post who ran a very positive feature on Hobbin’s work in 2013.

But it gets even better (or worse, depending on whether you are a “glass is half-full or half-empty” kind of person). 2: In The Playroom was a book published in 2008, which means even if it is legitimate art (and it is!) it is not a book that Jackson could have possibly owned in 2003 at the time Neverland was raided. Which leads us to 3: This image, then, was never part of the original 2003 police reports, and the fact that it was at first included within the original 88-page document released by Radar Online is evidence of the kind of tampering that the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department was referring to.

But the forgery doesn’t end there. The original police reports contained no images at all but only verbal descriptions of the books’ contents.

This means that those images placed into the original 88-page report that Radar Online ran were either planted there by Radar Online or by the persons who submitted those documents. It appears that many of the images inserted, like Hobin’s photo among others, were not even from the titles being claimed in the report but, rather, from related titles of books Jackson did not even own. This would indicate that whoever submitted those reports conducted a sloppy Google search to acquire those images, without bothering to check if the images legitimately came from the titles in question. For example, it has since come to light that several of the more graphic photos that Radar Online claimed to have come from The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes (an art book Jackson did own) were, in fact, from a list of favorite books by art photographer and “Dazed” editor Isabella Burley, who included the book on a list of her five favorite books (the images, it turns out, were taken from those other titles on her list, none of which were books that Jackson owned). You can read more about how that forgery was framed here. This would indicate that  whoever was responsible for “leaking” these decade old documents to Radar Online not only were aware that no such images existed in the original documents but that, also, they were either extremely inept with use of the Google search engine or else were on a deliberate and malicious campaign to falsify those documents with purposely chosen salacious images that would then appear even more salacious when taken out of context.

Interestingly, the persons responsible for this “leak” left an intriguing clue to their identity, which many sharp-eyed Jackson fans were quick to note: Cryptic notes left on Page 25 (which also were not part of the original police report documents) stating that “Zonen is retired and will talk” and listing a current phone number for Gordon Auchincloss (Ron Zonen and Gordon Auchincloss were both prosecuting attorneys for the 2005 Jackson case). These are current notes that have obviously been recently added (Zonen is retired now, but obviously was not back in 2003-04 when these documents were first drawn up). For many Jackson fans, this lends credibility to the idea that this latest smear campaign must have originated with the attorneys of Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, two young men who both have civil cases pending against the Michael Jackson estate.

 

Handwritten notes like these-which were not included in the original police report-may provide a clue as to who leaked the forged documents to Radar Online, and why. 

It is also worth noting that as soon as Jonathan Hobin spoke out to the media, Radar Online’s original 88-page report shrunk by twenty-seven pages to a mere 61-page-report! Clearly, haste was made to scrub the documents clean of those faked photos. And it was only within days of the mysterious vanishing act of those twenty-seven missing pages that a new “distraction” story was planted by long time Jackson family “frenemy” Stacy Brown regarding false and slanderous allegations about Jackson’s nephews. That was an allegation first raised by the prosecution when some “questionable” photos were seized of Jackson and three of his nephews ― Taj, Terryl, and TJ Jackson of the pop group 3T.

 

However, as it turned out, those “photos” in question were actually part of a professional album shoot for 3T’s debut album, Brotherhood, an album Michael Jackson produced. More specifically, as stated, the photos in question were part of the photo shoot for the single “Why” which featured Michael Jackson in a “guest vocalist” capacity. This was a professional photo shoot that was conducted by celebrity photographer Jonathan Exley, and according to Jackson’s makeup artist Karen Faye, who was present for the shoot, was carried out in the full company of hundreds of witnesses who were also present for the shoot. The photos in question are sexy, and undeniably, the intent was to play up the “beefcake” appeal to the group’s mostly young female fanbase. In any case, the concept for the album photo shoot was not Jackson’s. And the fact that the prosecution tried so desperately to even construe an album photo shoot as “evidence” against Jackson should tell you something. It also should tell you a lot about what is happening now, with many of these same items that were so obviously twisted out of context a decade ago now being recycled to provide fresh media fodder.

 

Jonathan Exley

The “Why” Photo Shoot By Jonathan Exley Was Obviously Intended To Play Up The Group’s Beefcake Appeal To Their Female Fanbase

 

Jonathan Exley

This Was The Photo That Initially Raised A Red Flag For The Prosecution — But As It Turned Out, It Was Nothing But Another Still From The “Why” Album Photo Shoot. 

This was not the only incident in which the prosecution had attempted to misconstrue and misappropriate elements of Jackson’s art as “evidence.” On page 73 of the original Radar Online documents, a Polaroid photo depicting two boys from a Hollywood movie set is described as having the inscription “Are You Scared Yet?” and “Ha Ha!” across the bottom. A handwritten note scribbled between the lines of the official report (not present in the original report, and interestingly in what appears to be the same handwriting as the added note on Page 25 above) states that this is a “Code message equating safety to sex-frighten child and get them in bed.” Except there is a huge problem with this theory: As any diehard Jackson fan knows,  “Are you scared yet?” is the famous tagline from Jackson’s 1997 film Ghosts. To attempt to construe this as being anything “other” than a harmless reference to Ghosts is pure speculation. But it is typical of the manner in which the prosecution attempted to build its case against Jackson.

However, these additional notes which were obviously added to the original reports before they were handed over to Radar Online, as were the inserted internet images and several pages of inserted articles relating the drug Percocet to sex addiction. Percocet, a prescription painkiller that gained notoriety following the recent investigation into Prince’s death, was found on the premises during the 2003 raid; however, the original documents make no such claim as attempting to link the drug to sex addiction. Curiously, many of the added pages all bear one thing in common ― the date 1/10/16 ― which would appear to date the time of the forgery to approximately five months prior to the orchestrated timing of their “release” on June 20th.

Unfortunately, the media has become an all too willing participant, creating a skewered picture in which tabloid sensationalism and spotty fact checking are allowed to stand. What’s more, it seems even the words of the actual authorities involved in the 2003-2005 case against Jackson are being ignored beneath an onslaught of “click bait” headlines and grossly exaggerated reporting. Some unscrupulous reporters have even gone so far as to suggest Jackson could have molested his own children ― an utterly absurd and ridiculous claim that has no basis in actual fact, and what’s more, is a particularly cruel and malicious slander against a man for whom his children have never expressed anything other than loving adoration. It is also an inexcusable exercise in emotional cruelty towards Jackson’s children, one of whom is still a minor child and one who has already attempted suicide due to her emotionally fragile state since her father’s passing. I find it even more disturbing that no one has thought to raise the question of ethical media or moral responsibility in all of this. To accuse someone of the possession of child pornography is to accuse someone of a criminal offense ― one that, if the accused person were alive, would be an accusation worthy of a criminal conviction and the permanent label of a sex offender. But a living person can at least take action against such media libel. They can sue for defamation. They can refute the claims. They can defend themselves. The dead have no such redress, and there is something inherently wrong with the idea of bringing such serious accusations against a man who is not here to defend himself-one who had his day in court eleven years ago, and what’s worse, to attempt to retry him in the court of public opinion based on the same circumstantial “evidence” with which the prosecution tried-and failed-to convict him back in 2005.

Where does the insanity end?

Seven years ago, we lost an amazing artist, man, and humanitarian. Recently, in the wake of the tragic shooting in Orlando, people gathered en masse for a candlelight vigil and sang Jackson’s “Heal The World.” From Ferguson, Missouri and Black Lives Matter to recent events in Paris and Orlando, Jackson’s music remains our call to awakening, reminding us of the need to be brought together as a global family. No doubt, with even more recent tragic events that have ignited our nation’s racial divide this week, people will once again turn to Jackson’s music, as they always have, for its power to heal and unite.

Frankly, if the world spent a lot more time listening to the words Michael Jackson wrote, rather than obsessing over what he had in his bedroom, we would be the better off. Jackson’s personal life has already been well dissected. He was put through a grueling and publicly humiliating trial that left nothing to the imagination-his inner sanctity completely ransacked, his most private possessions put up for public inspection; even his own body violated.
Charles Thomson’s excellent 2013 article “One of the Most Shameful Episodes In Journalistic History” is a harrowing account of that trial’s media coverage and the toll it took on Jackson. Sadly, nothing has changed. My point is that there is nothing new here to see. All of this “evidence” was hashed out in court a decade ago. So why is Radar Online so gleefully jumping on this fabricated smear campaign, regurgitating decades old information for which Michael Jackson has long been tried for, and acquitted? Why the need to bait a gullible public into believing that a list of items that was reviewed and dismissed as “evidence” twelve years ago is somehow front page burning news in 2016?

Strangely, perhaps, the first thing I thought of when this story hit was the recently renewed controversy over the Confederate flag. President Obama said that the Confederate flag needs to be retired permanently to a museum, where it can be remembered and viewed as a part of history, but should not be flown as an act of defiance for an ideal that no longer exists. I feel the same way about all of this regurgitated information from Michael Jackson’s trial. Those documents (the real ones, that is) have resided in the Santa Barbara County records’ department for over a decade. They are a part of history, but no longer relevant. The trial ended in acquittal on all fourteen counts on June 13th, 2005, and Michael Jackson died on June 25th, 2009.

But just as there are some individuals who will never accept that the Civil War ended in 1865, so, too, is a faction who will never accept that Michael Jackson was fully exonerated by a court of law in 2005. To this end, they will continue to lie, to rehash and sensationalize old stories, to distort truth and yes, even to fabricate new “evidence” where none exists. I can only see this as a thinly veiled attempt to keep an old battle going that has already long been fought ― and won.

 

Michael Jackson Breaking News: Souls for sale, Shadow on Tap and no Porn at Neverland

I wonder how many times can you  murder a man? How many times can you stab and stab at someone already lifeless and walk on whistling past the graveyard of your own karma? Every year at least twice, there is an attempt on Michael Jackson’s life and he’s been deceased for 7 years. Those attacks occur like clockwork around his birthday and on the anniversary of his death– around June 25 and August 29. At that time you’ll see “fresh” salacious MJ stories pop up on the tabloid websites so they can kill him again. And again.

And so they can MANIPULATE YOU.

Jackson was an innocent man– proven in several attempted and failed grand jury indictments, recantations and cross examinations, countless globetrotting empty fishing expeditions around the world  for supposed “victims”, the tab picked up by taxpayers of Santa Barbara,  a raid by 70 deputies that ransacked his home and turned up nothing unlawful or evidentiary, and twice in a court of law. Yet the flogging continues. Once again “Pedophilia!” made headlines in the places where necrophilia finds appreciation.

Necrophilia is the enjoyment of death and all things related, particularly “getting off” to put it bluntly without censorship, on all things dead– corpses, cold flesh, dissection, vivisection, mutilation of bodies, dismemberment and body parts, dead bodies. It’s just ghoulish and there are those who still “Dine on Michael Jackson’s bones.” (That’s a reference to a stunning poem about how greedy twisted soulless mercenaries feed off him still.)

Right on schedule, as June 25 loomed ever closer, the tabloid monsters arose from their home in the muck (think Thriller Graveyard) to pen once more their salacious click bait in order to feed the human shadow side. Speaking of necrophilia, don’t you wonder how some shade-loving humans already dead inside love to pay over and over to have their shadow innards filled up again and again on tabloid swill? Yes, there are those masquerading as humans who still buy this stuff. The reading preference of intellectuals, it’s not; more like preferred cat box liner. Now internet stepchild, Radar Online published a new and improved hit piece fabrication about how “new” kiddie porn had surfaced at Neverland. This is particularly curious since a choreographer mentored by Jackson who paid for his family’s relocation to the U.S. had an afterthought –and filed a suite against the estate. This after a gushing and gleeful Wade Robson bragged publicly about how he was going to Las Vegas to work on a tribute to the late, great Michael Jackson. Oops, the estate chose another artist– Jamie King– to craft the show and curiously during the AEG v. Katherine Jackson trial when AEG was foundering, Robson “remembered” he was abused by Michael Jackson. That revelation after decades of singing the man’s praises including under oath in court during his 2005 trial that resulted in his exoneration.

Since longtime representative and acquaintance of Michael’s, John Branca claims “I am Michael Jackson now,” what better way to retaliate for being overlooked for the chance of a lifetime to pay tribute to your muse? A lucrative tribute. Since Michael is no longer here and Branca is now the estate, what harm is there in a little retail soul sold to the highest bidder?

Robson’s case was thrown out and reinstated for 2017. Now there are new attorneys. So, expect Jackson to yet again be dragged through the slime of accusation next year.

The definition of “extortion”:
the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats. Synonyms: blackmail, shakedown, exaction. The new attorney sent a letter to the estate that reads like a tabloid story. It was “leaked” to the press. It’s information that is already in the record or already debunked, but to the uninitiated reader, it looks like the attorneys are asking for the release of names of other MJ “victims” and to release other payoff recipients from their confidentiality agreements. It’s an obvious pressure tactic (think extortion) so that the estate will recapitulate and settle out of court as opposed to a jury trial, a civil case and trial by media. But the case could still be thrown out on summary judgment. The only purpose of such a “leaked” letter is pressure and tabloid fodder– all an attempt to extract money through unethical means– the very definition of “extortion.” If there was a real case, with real evidence, there would be no need to draft such a letter whose intended audience is not the estate but the general media.

Interesting too, is that usually when a client finds a therapist who is truly helping, they would not want to move away but stay put and get the therapy needed for stability of their mental health. Interesting in this case how, as soon as the “memory” was disclosed, the client pulled up stakes and moved across the ocean to another state.

The recent “brand new” evidence of porn in police documents surfaced conveniently with impeccable timing.

Except they didn’t.

We’ve seen this over and over as in the Conrad Murray and AEG cases– suddenly Michael Jackson is resurrected once again for your sadistic viewing pleasure serenaded by a chorus screaming “guilt” which you can be sure every news outlet around the world will pounce on, copy and paste verbatim, never pausing to fact-check the story. It’s deliberate and cynical distraction on the part of the attorneys before litigation to “soften up” the public and perhaps a juror or two? Reasonable doubt, you know. Meanwhile the tabloids make money manipulating their audience into clicking the story, buying the “magazine” or taking the soul bait.

What? You don’t think it’s soul bait? Of course it is. Eye candy for the soulless. Karma be damned. Funny thing about the Universe– it likes to even the score. The holes in the soul are visible to whom they need to be; count on it. The human conscience is a strange animal too. It likes to be clear and when it’s not, psychological damage sinks deep and can surface in self sabotage. The walk of shame is not reserved for the morning after, it is the walk through the grocery store queue where bullying gossip lines the gauntlet. You know the one– where you walk your child through weekly getting groceries and making no comment about the bullying all around; your silence is complicity. And your child is watching. The talk of shame is when you speak about a man you don’t know, have never researched, and cavalierly dismissed as subhuman based on the hypnotic suggestion of mercenaries who know you and your tastes only too well and have made millions off a name they never owned, a talent they’ll never equal and whose owner never saw a penny for his humiliation or his humanitarian charities.

The timing of these things is predictable and that makes it manipulative. How many people tried to make their fortunes off MJ– by his coattails or extortion in one form or another? The numbers are legion.

There were two others who would capitulate to the lure of money and its siren song when the deceased who befriended, mentored and bankrolled is not here to look in the eye. They were “Waiting to see what happened with the Robson case.” One is scheduled to be reviewed later this month. Want to wager on the timing of another salacious and slanderous story about Michael Jackson in the media?

Curious that Robson’s “memory” and revelation to his therapist occurred during the AEG trial. Curious that he left the mainland shortly afterward for Hawaii. When people find a good therapist and seek healing, do they usually move away from them?

Convenient that he discovered his abuse before the estate settled all debt and after his self-imagined humiliation in being overlooked for the part of Michael Jackson’s surviving golden boy. There is more than one path to gold for a golden boy. If this is entertainment for you to watch this, so be it. But don’t pretend to know the behind-the-scenes, the real reason for putting the tabloid trash in your path, or for that matter the limits of human greed and shadowy depraved nature.

And speaking of… now comes Conrad Murray with a new book with al kinds of outrageous stories from a doctor who spent few waking hours with Jackson but whose job was to put him to sleep. A doctor who abandoned his post monitoring a major anesthetic being dripped into his one-and-only patient causing his death. Conrad Murray killed Michael Jackson; how is it that someone who committed homicide (an M.D. sworn to first, do no harm’) is publishing a book about the man who died on his watch when he was the only watchman?

This new book by Murray will upset Jackson fans. Fans need to be careful that they are not selling Murray’s book by bringing attention to it. The tabloids know how this works and how fans react. Radar Online set a new record in June when they published the “Porn at Neverland” story.
http://www.nbc12.com/story/32427711/radaronlinecom-sets-new-traffic-records-in-june

A much bigger question still hangs out there– attorneys, filings, condos, and living expenses aren’t cheap. Who is bankrolling a these guys?  People with failed careers, no longer working, who once surrounded wealthy and famous Michael Jackson and who harmed him are profiting off his death.

Necrophilia is profitable these days. Come to the trough and feed your shadow.

Radar Online Sets new record for June 2016

There is a victory dance going on somewhere today…

Robson attorney’s office?
Conrad Murray’s condo?

Certainly at Enquirer and Radar Online offices.

When you click on this stuff you are feeding the beast. And the beast feeds the stories. And the stories feed the storytellers.

Who is paying for this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just asking….

 

SOURCE American Media, Inc.

NEW YORK, July 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — American Media, Inc. (AMI) announced that its Celebrity Network flagship site, Radar Online achieved new traffic highs for the month of June.

The site’s 20 million unique visitors and 153 million page views were up 25% and 8%, respectively, over prior year. Even more important, Radar continues to deliver a highly engaged readership – over 3.3 million users returned to Radar Online at least 200 times during June, with more than 13 million returning at least 3 times per day.

AMI Chief Content Officer and Radar Online Editorial Director Dylan Howard said, “Radar Online continues to break the world exclusive stories that our readers can’t get anywhere else, and these numbers prove it. It’s a testament to our reporters, photo editors, producers and every member of our digital team that Radar Online and the Celebrity Network as a whole – continue to reach new heights. There’s much more to come!”

About American Media, Inc.
American Media, Inc. (AMI) owns and operates the leading print and digital celebrity and active lifestyle media brands in the United States.  AMI’s titles include National Enquirer, Star, OK!, Globe, National Examiner, Soap Opera Digest, Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Flex and Muscle & Fitness Hers.  AMI also manages 10 different digital sites including RadarOnline.com, OKmagazine.com, MensFitness.com and MuscleandFitness.com.  AMI’s magazines have a combined total circulation of 2.1+ million and reach more than 37 million men and women each month. AMI’s digital properties reach an average of 50 million unique visitors and over 350 million page views monthly.

Michael as Mentor, as Inspiration

Seven. It was his number. Has it been that long? Seven years? Most people find 7 lucky, but for him any luck seemed to dwindle the more he grew out of childhood. The only luck Michael Jackson seemed to have was his monumental talent. Even that may have been more lucky for us than for him.’

Michael Jackson’s death was one of those ‘do you remember where you were when you heard…?’ moments. It’s up there with the moon landing, Martin Luther King’s assassination, JFK and Bobby Kennedy, the Challenger Shuttle and Lady Diana moments…  Jackson’s departure rattled the world.

When thrown into the grief process, the first stage is denial—this isn’t happening! We all thought it was a cruel hoax because legends can’t die, can they? Those bigger-than-life icons seem immortal making it hard for our minds to grasp their human vulnerability. David Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali…

But for any of them, I don’t remember the fierce denial and impact that Michael Jackson inspired. ‘No; give him back!’ one grief stricken fan wrote. There were many like that. Many broken hearts. And many more wrote me to tell of their strange experiences—their own reactions and the metaphysical events they encountered. A friend of mine who is a medical and spiritual intuitive woke to find a distraught Michael Jackson in her living room the morning of June 26. She works with Angels and she retrieves them and their messages for her clients. She called upon Michael’s Angel to assist him in his transition. Was that real? Well I can’t discount any of the stories I read from his fans about earthly visitations and strange coincidences. They almost became cliché. And I had a few of my own.

I had an intuitive understanding that his soul was being pulled in so many directions as people tried to hang onto him. Having apprenticed with my Shaman for nearly a decade, I felt uniquely qualified to assist with his transition. I immediately wrote a script for soul retrieval so that he could transition with his soul intact and I called a friend with a recording studio and booked some time to record it. Many fans were able to help collect the shattered pieces of a soul splintered in life and claimed in death by millions hanging on. Together with hundreds of fans, we gathered the soul pieces and said our goodbyes. It was closure for many and it was the right thing to do.

My story and link to Michael Jackson wasn’t usual in that I wasn’t a fan late in his life having lost track of him when single motherhood demanded my attention. “We Are the World” was an anthem in our home as my children learned to tolerate and navigate around an activist mother who fraternized with the enemy—Russians, and who was an impresario of our annual Peace Concerts for Sister Cities. I grew up knowing that we, indeed, are the world when at age 7 (there’s that number again) I had an epiphany that the adults who were in charge of the world were neglecting their stewardship and responsibilities and they needed to DO SOMETHING! I vowed that when I was a grownup, I would do something.

I walked a spiritual path since the eighties and had many teachers along the path to enlightenment—Ram Das, Chopra, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a Sufi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for more than a decade—Shamans: Celtic, Native American, Hawaiian and my Core Shamanism Mentor, shaman and teacher. Those who dedicate their lives as seekers on the path to enlightenment know that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. My teachers along the way showed up precisely when I needed them and always had something important to teach me. But imagine my surprise and consternation when my last teacher showed up in the body of a pop star!

Really, God? You couldn’t send me a nice quiet Buddhist like Thich Nhat Hanh? You send me the most controversial person on the planet—or now off the planet? At this stage of my life? Really? How could you? Then you send me the fans? Hundreds of them? The most hurting people in the world at this moment! How am I supposed to do this? At this mature stage of my life? I should be sitting on a beach with an umbrella drink somewhere!”

I went to see “This Is It” to say my goodbyes. I left the theater shaken. Sometimes there’s a moment when the Universe, like in the Wizard of Oz, opens the curtain long enough for you to see what’s behind it and “This Is It” was that curtain. There was no way to ignore the message. And just to be sure, I was strangely compelled to go back and see it again just to be sure of what I thought I’d witnessed and again many more times after that. I couldn’t refuse. It was clear I was not in control. More kicking and screaming.

I wrote a “Goodbye Michael” article for a magazine that was shared with his official fan club.

“Goodnight, Michael.”
http://onewordsmith.blogspot.com/2009/10/michael-thank-you-for-mirror-gift-from.html#more 

The fans began to write to me. More kicking and screaming. There was so much pain, how could I ignore them? I called my minister and asked for an appointment where I told her what was happening.  She asked if I was going to answer the call. “This is a calling?” I asked, stunned by her question. A call to ministry?

Looks like it to me.” She gave me a copy of her ‘charge to the minister’ and wished me well in my new calling and whatever role awaited me. Deep breath.

Every single person who wrote me—fan or just an observer, shared a similar story that included a sort of awakening and overwhelming grief. There are characteristics of the stages in a spiritual journey. Those stages always include what is called a ‘dark night of the soul’ and a ‘spiritual emergency’ which are the hallmarks of someone ready to awaken to their own divinity and spiritual nature. It became clear to me pretty quickly that Michael Jackson was indeed a teacher; his death awakened people all over this planet. Every one of those who wrote was in the throes of a spiritual emergency. I couldn’t keep up so I started answering them in a blog—I called it “Inner Michael” because they were being called to their inner light. If they could identify with Michael’s light, I knew they would discover their own. It’s not an easy journey and the best I could do was be a touch point.

Some people know their life’s purpose and others don’t even know that they should wonder what their purpose is. Everyone comes here with a life mission which is the real reason they incarnate into a human body.  The whole purpose of life in a body is to push the race forward into eventual enlightenment—the definition of that paraphrased is for the human to advance their soul to a point where they become the best of themselves—they arise to their own divinity so that they can know god. And the god in self. Omniscience and omnipresence means present everywhere, including inside the human. Especially inside the human. In fact, humans are the only life form capable of it. Animals can’t aspire to know their inner maker; that privilege belongs to those made in that image.

All around me hurting people had a huge unanswered question—“why?” I knew the why. I had seen it in the film and in the research I embarked on in an effort to locate more clues to the life of a man who by all appearances, was aware of his purpose, his life mission, and embraced it even as it tore his life apart. Bodhisattvas are those who come into human life knowing they have a mission and stay steadfast to that mission no matter how difficult life’s circumstances are. They will not abandon their mission because part of it is to know enlightenment awaits, but to refuse to ascend to that state of being without bringing the rest of humanity with you. Those who wrote me were supposed to feel what they were feeling. Heartbreak was a necessity. It was part of their life journey to encounter Michael Jackson and to be affected overwhelmingly by his life and his death. Teachers do that kind of thing—make you experience things you would never choose for yourself.

I certainly wouldn’t have chosen the role I played in his death and afterlife. I too tried to run from it. I had graduated from seminary with no idea where or who I would serve, only that I would go where drawn or called. I knew intuitively I would not serve in a church. But I never in a million years would have chosen to be Michael Jackson’s fans’ minister. I’m pretty sure it was destiny as a little over a year before, I had traveled to another seminary to take their course and immersive training in Spiritual Emergency. There’s no question that was a calling—it had that feel to it. But I never could have guessed where it would lead and why the training would be so important. Again, I certainly was not in charge.

One more thing about enlightenment—it’s not what you think. Enlightenment is a state of being that for at this time in human evolution, takes a lifetime of discipline to achieve. Very few have arrived. There are a handful on the planet who are known ascendants that are close. They’re waiting for the rest of us to awaken. Michael Jackson’s death awoke millions. We are all that much closer because of the teachers among us who sacrifice on our behalf.

One thing Michael teaches is that he has never been without abuse in his life. Not as a child and certainly not as an adult. A tortured soul? Yes. By his own hand? No. By destiny. What is the teaching we are supposed to get from Michael Jackson? We are supposed to get filled up on bullying. We are supposed to get sick to death (to death!) of observing, designing, perpetrating, participating or being complacent in the face of torture—of other human beings through words or deeds. We are to get so filled up on it and so sick to death of it that our hearts are irreparably broken; for that is what will make us human—our own broken heart echoed in the broken hearts of others. That is where we find our common humanity. It will make us vow to never bully another human being with the kinds of torture we are so capable of inflicting. Michael Jackson was in life, the most bullied human on the planet; in death, he is still bullied. Are we sick to death of it yet? Has that kind of torture of other humans served its purpose on the planet?

Good. Let’s dance.

I mean that. So did Michael. The best dance we can do is the dance of compassion. The lesson is to learn compassion toward self, toward others, and toward the planet. Defend Michael if you must, but do it with compassion for the ignorance of those who seem “other.” With compassion for the boring, mundane, lifeless and soul-less life they must live until they awaken. Understand what misery that is. Understand the amount of pain it takes to wake up. It often takes great tragedy to wake us from the sleep we linger in and cling to and even then it doesn’t always work. Know that waking always takes a broken heart. Remember your own blissful sleep and know it for the illusion it is; we are here to awaken. We are, after all, walking each other home—to god. Do you want to rest? Or do you want everyone to understand human pain the way you do? That it covers and when torn away, reveals our brilliance! If they understand human pain, they are capable of human compassion. So, let me say that again…

We are all walking each other home.

The day will come when we all share the knowledge and ability of how to comprehend and measure the compassion of a man (person) by what kind of energy or aura he (that person) has. Many people saw a kind of light around Michael—some saw it in his videos, in his face, in his dance, in his music, lyrics, writing, his home—Neverland. That is the light of an advanced being. Some saw it. Some felt it or sensed it or at least felt something unusual. Many who knew him personally called him an angel in the flesh. That’s it—that light.

The time will come when enough of humanity will have reached a stage where everyone will be able to indentify it. It will be like second nature. Then the history that is chronicled will evidence the light. When most of us can see it, all of us will soon be able to know it. Michael’s light will be recognized then. His true nature will be revealed. Want to speed that up? Stop the shadow behavior. Stop throwing shade. Invite everybody into the light. You know something the rest of the world is waiting to discover—the light within. You wouldn’t recognize it in Michael if it didn’t exist in you. In this case it does take one to know one. You do not recognize anything in another that doesn’t live within self. That’s how being human works. And that includes your shade.

I’m not saying it’s easy: I am saying it’s worthwhile. The more you work on it and the faster you go, the closer we all get to that brilliance. Michael said that in so many ways that it would be hard to miss the message. You understand what happens when a human being shows his light to the world and invites others to show theirs. You’ve witnessed it thanks to a skinny little moonwalker. So, which to you prefer? The light within shared with the world, or the darkness within? Brilliance or shadow? Light or shade?

The light at work can still be observed. The work is still with us to partake of whenever we wish.  Pictures and videos and vignettes and stories abound. The man was prolific. The work was global. The gift lives on.

I witnessed this very thing once again just last weekend at the Juneteenth Celebration—the celebration of the end of slavery for African Americans. There was a Michael Jackson impersonator at the local venue and as soon as his music began people gathered but in front of everyone and mesmerized by the movement and the music—were little kids. Every color. Every age. They hugged the stage and didn’t take their eye off the mime who became, for a short time, the embodiment of Jackson. They wanted to touch him, keep the hat thrown during “Billie Jean.” They all wanted to high five him at the end of his songs. Even twice removed they “get” the light.

Eventually they climbed up on stage with him. He did exactly what Michael would have done; he scooped them up and held them, kissed them, hugged and high fived all of them. Nobody in the audience seemed to mind that this persona of Michael Jackson was intimately interacting with their children. That audience knew. I knew. You know.

As for the rest of them out there—their souls want to awaken but it takes heartbreak to crack them open. To break the shell or the armor, to penetrate their minds and loosen their feelings, unbearable pain must visit them. Allowing yourself to have feelings means you have to let in the pain. Think back to how you felt when you heard that Michael was gone… remember how your heart hurt. Your head hurt. Your whole body ached. Remember how you thought your heart would burst? How you couldn’t catch a breath? How hard it was to breathe? They’re afraid of that pain. Know with empathy what it’s going to take for them to wake. Understand why they would avoid it. Know too, that they can’t see in themselves what they can’t see in Michael for you can’t see in another what doesn’t live in you. (Or what you hide from in fear that it is indeed empty in there.) Imagine what a gaping vacuum that is.

People who must believe that others are empty of humanness fear that they, themselves are empty. They take comfort in believing that others are as cynical as they are; their cynicism is a protection from feeling the pain of humanity. They don’t believe in the light because they can’t afford to.

Have the compassion that absolutely knows it’s coming for them. And maybe someday the kindness that comes from forgiveness. That’s fierce compassion. Fierce.

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*Note
If Michael Jackson was/is your mentor and inspired you to do something, start something, contribute to something, create something, join something, donate something, give up something, change something… please write something in the comments and let us know.

Your story may be appropriate for a new publication being planned. More information to follow.

 

 

Michael Jackson’s Child Porn

“Boys Will Be Boys” by James Daly
More than a book review.

In 1975, James Daly published a little book that is one of those books that looks like a children’s book but is written for the child in the adults who happen upon it. It’s a “celebration of the adventurous spirit in every little boy. The definition of a boy graces the back cover… “A Boy is the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket.”

Daly isn’t the author for the “author” is the great artists and thinkers of our time in the life of their poems and quotes illustrated by Daly’s sweet pastel works that have us know the boys and the subject matter with a few brush strokes of romantic realism.

This book, “Boys Will Be Boys” is one of the books cited by Thomas Sneddon as a pornographic collection of boys in various states of undress that was seized in the raid on Neverland to collect evidence of Michael Jackson’s crimes against children.

It was placed into evidence as proof of Jackson’s collection of “child pornography.” I wanted to see what this book was about and what it looked like. And I wanted to see what Sneddon saw in its pages—proof that MJ was a deviant.

The cover is a Daly painting on a background of forest green. It depicts a group of boys cavorting in a swimming hole with one suspended in midair soon to join the rest who are up to their necks in summer play. The boy jumping into the water is shirtless and has cut off jeans on and is barefoot— appropriate impromptu bathing attire. There is no nudity.

The inside cover of the edition I purchased is inscribed to a male and female- James and Wendy from a woman and man signing Uncle somebody. It was apparently given as a gift. Harvest House Publishers in Eugene, Oregon published the book and everyone knows Eugene, Oregon is a very forward thinking eco-community and spiritual place.

A caveat on the copyright page says that the publisher has made every effort to trace the ownership of all poems and quotes that include a few from the Holy Bible published by the International Bible Society and used with permission. The text copyright date is 2004 and the copyright is affixed for Daly’s artwork but no dates are given. There is contact information in case of the reader’s interest in securing prints of the paintings.

The only undressed male child in the entire book is on the page opposite the credits page and it is a boy in a diaper holding a hose and filling an old time washtub with water while a beagle puppy in the tub awaits his bath. In the foreground are a child’s trucks and toys. It’s the kind of scene you might see in any front or back yard in the heat of summer.

The accompanying quote is by Mark Twain and it talks about how every boy has a hankering to go and search for buried treasure.

The next plate is a boy dressed in shirt and overalls pulling a wagon uphill that hosts a stuffed teddy bear in the back. The page has two quotes—from Robert Louis Stevenson and James Thurber. They both speak to what boys will do when they are grown—guard their toys and escape understanding.

The next page is a boy fishing in his secret spot and shows a barefoot boy in bib coveralls and the requisite flannel shirt reeling in what looks to be a perch to add to the string of perch he’s already landed.

The next page has a title “First Meeting” and depicts a boy, again in bibs meeting a young colt face to face. This time the boy wears a cap.

The next plate is a misty blue and shows a boy in bib overalls and long sleeve shirt, with his dog at his side at dusk, perhaps? He is flying a kite while his companion, dressed identically but with a sideways cowboy hat repairs his in the grass nearby.

The next page looks like a children’s version of “Beat It” as two boys dressed in bib overalls and long sleeve shirts face of with jutted chins and clenched fists in front of a barn. One wears a straw hat with brim and the other a captains hat and a slingshot in his pocket.

Page 9 is another misty plate—this time green and features three quotes: one from Louisa May Alcott, another from Vice President Hubert Humphrey and the third from the Holy Bible. Alcott speaks of a young boy’s indifference to girls becoming abject slavery to them a few years later. Humphrey says how each child is an adventure and opportunity for change and the Ecclesiastes Bible verse advises to let your heart give you joy in your youth and to follow the ways of the heart.

The next page features Shakespeare warning of boys with bugs and Bradford Angler speaking of the fun of being a kid. A selection from Horatio Alger’s The Cash Boy about humility and starting a baseball club and electing a leader- if you build it, they will come.

The three boys on the next page, a painting alone, appear to be playing rock, paper, scissors to decide who as the caption says, it the “odd man out.” The three are dressed in bibs, one in slacks with suspenders and all in long shirts, one vest and all in hats. The beagle puppy accompanies them.

Next we see a boy in bibs and long shirt shooting marbles on the ground with his straw hat at his side. Louisa May Alcott’s Jack and Jill excerpt is about children skating and sledding in Winter. The two quotes on the page speak to the remarkableness of children: James Whitehead calls them messages sent to a time we will not see and Aldous Huxley says this:

Children are remarkable
for their intelligence and ardor,
for their curiosity, their intolerance
of shams, the clarity and
ruthlessness of their vision.

Isn’t that exactly what Michael Jackson said about children?

The next page features the title “Close Inspection” and is a painting of a boy in bibs, long shirt and hat examining a Monarch butterfly that just landed on his chest.
Turn the page and find two little girls in pinafore dresses who appear to be looking at a Bible (two columns of verses on the page) under the supervision of an older boy wearing jeans and a flannel shirt—their older brother, maybe?

The next blue dusky plate shows a Huckleberry Finn character raking leaves with his dog and the first quote on that page is by Dr. James Dobson from Bringing Up Boy about the rebellious kid and tells of the tongue-in-cheek definitions of girls and boys—“sugar and spice and everything nice” and “snakes and snails and puppy dog tails.”

George Crabbe’s quote talks about trying to be good but the next quote by Frances Hodges Burnett from Little Lord Fauntleroy is chilling:

But it so happened that nature
had given to the youngest son gifts which
she had not bestowed upon his elder
brothers. He had a beautiful face and a
fine, strong, graceful figure; he had a bright
smile and a sweet, gay voice; he was brave
and generous, and had the kindest heart
In the world, and seemed to have the power
to make every one love him.

The next page is a painting of a boy leaned over on his stomach in a tire swing with a girl at the top of the tire straddling the rope that hangs it from the tree. The boy’s dog is nearby looking upward. Both are fully dressed, however, this plate is a little risqué for… while the boy is studying the ground, the dog appears to be looking directly up the girl’s skirt.

And that peek-a-boo dog is the raciest thing in this little childrens’ book. Boys cavorting carefree with no thought of the heavy responsibilities that will be foisted upon then soon enough as they stand at the threshold of: teenager.

More cavorting. Pimples. Deodorant. Girls. Prom.

For most boys to men, that is. For Michael Jackson this little book would have been an eerie glimpse into “normal male childhood”—something he would never know. “Have you seen my childhood?”

The rest of his seized porn collection would include Playboys and Hustlers and naughty girl movies. For any red-blooded heterosexual male, this would be normal and proof of the masculine libido maturing. It would be fodder for guffaws and locker room back-slapping. For Michael Jackson, those rules don’t apply.

Seems they never will. Now they’re trying to kill him again with newly hyped stories about old news introduced in a courtroom long ago where he was found innocent on 14 (count ’em) charges. How many times to you have to kick a body to prove to yourself it’s already dead? How long will you need to revisit this macabre ritual annually?

But then it’s not any corpse is it; it’s Michael Jackson and anything goes for there is no moral compass for “journalists” when it comes to Jackson, the most prolific artist of the twentieth century and the most famous man in the world who just happened to be black and wealthy—a monumental taboo lest black lives actually– one day– matter.

The annual regurgitation of tabloid swill isn’t an attempt to put it to rest once and for all what and who Michael Jackson really was “so we can admit the truth all move on…” it’s the further mutilation of a corpse. We have already moved on– to loftier thoughts and remembrances. It’s you smut-peddling yellow journalists who seem unable to let go of him. The guilty like to bury their crimes in deep graves with shallow motives. Now comes the yearly attempt to justify the global crucifixion of a man for game and sport and to cover over the guilt of those who marched him to his grave and the complicity of the rest of us. Throw on yet another layer of dirt.

Jackson died because he couldn’t get any rest. He lived with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the relentless bullying he suffered at the hands of those who perpetually and shamelessly used his name to make a name for themselves. They’re still at it. Take a good look at who they are. Criminals often return to the scene of their crime. Sadists revisit the act itself– over and over and over.

Memorial Day Doesn’t Tell A War

I think there are those children who are born to come into the world and change it. When they come into the world, they waken at some point; they know that they have a purpose in this world. They sense that their life is not their own, but belongs to the world. Some would call them Bodhisattvas.

You will find that they have a wide scope of influence. They leverage that influence to bring a message to the world. Michael Jackson was one such influencer. Michael was one of humanity’s greatest and most vocal cheerleaders. May he one day be remembered in a way worthy of his contributions.

May we be worthy of the cheerleading.

Here’s something I’d like to share with you for Memorial Day.

MEMORIAL DAY DOESN’T TELL A WAR
-for somebody who once wore it

I cry today the Memorial.
Highground,*
An empty wind
stirs chimes and hills,
echoes the flood plain
to Southeast Asia.

I smell a country,
taste a soldier’s fear
feel burning straw,
hear a twig,
a mother’s heart,
and a story break
on the six o’clock news.

Sculptured bronze
metal bodies
freeze time
and history
for a nation too easily
forgot the words
“never again.”

A national flag
snaps to attention,
salutes a lonely wind,
and unforgotten war,
a hypnotized people,
an uneasy belief
that fresh new war
can heal another.

It stings like yesterday
twenty-five years later.
A generation of peace
still missing in action,
the human race
still prisoners of war.

Flowers die,
war memories fade
for those who don’t touch it
but the green patch of cloth
placed on the ground
in the center of a Memorial Day wreath
speaks an authentic story,
tells a war.
A somebody once wore it.

* “Highground is the name of a war memorial built on a hill outside Neillsville, Wisconsin. It is a typical bronze casting of soldiers in war but at the back of the monument is a rifle turned upside down (a symbol for peace and “war no more”) and a large set of chimes that ring through valley below when the wind blows. Highground is said to be a place of great healing for veterans and those who have been touched by war.

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As a kid, I always felt that Memorial Day was a little strange—parades and bands, ceremony and picnics. It always felt to me, as if we were holding up war and celebrating it. I never understood what there was to celebrate about war. I saw it more as a failure of the human race. Oh, I understand that it is a way to appreciate those in our armed services and honor the fallen. But it always seemed to glorify war somehow—the statues, memorials, pomp and circumstance. Seems to me we could honor the soldier more by making war obsolete and the dead more by keeping them alive and avoiding war altogether.

Humans are perpetually at war with somebody and governments know that the fastest and most effective way to unite a people or a country is to identify a common enemy. That serves leadership well whether it’s corrupt leadership or noble.

“They can send a man to the moon… but they can’t….” the cliché goes, and there’s some sense in that. Humans have amazing imaginations; just look at what has been accomplished since our cave man and hunter-gatherer days! We can make the darkness light; we can harness or drive non-mammal workhorses and machines; we can build buildings that reach into the sky; we can speak to someone across the globe in the blink of an eye; we can heal the sick and even raise the dead with a defibrillator device that shocks the heart back into operation.

The human brain is more complex and powerful than any computer on earth and in a short history humanity has colonized, industrialized and homogenized—all the while being harmonized in a million tiny chemical and electrical precision interactions that work perfectly in brilliant synchronicity. The human mind has no boundaries and has invented everything you look at, everything you use, everything you know, and everything that goes… The human imagination knows no limits. We are now a global village connected to every other human on the planet. “We can send a man to the moon…”

But we haven’t invented the antidote to war. That’s not a testament to inherent human aggression or intractable violence; that’s a lack of ingenuity and lazy imagination. We can do all those other things; but we can’t imaginatively find a more productive way to solve our differences?

It’s not that there aren’t those who dare to dream, but that there are those who don’t find the dream of peace sexy enough to gain and retain the planet’s best minds or god forbid—the outcome is not wildly profitable. Why is it that every solution, instead of human empathy or shared humanity, begins with testosterone? We’re hard wired for both! In fact, to become violent we must work against our inherent nature. (Goetz, Keltner, & Simon-Thomas, 2010)

We have to invent enemies to have them. We have to invent machines in order to kill with them. We have to invent a reason to commit mass killing in order to do the dirty business. We have to invent something to be ours—like land or resources, philosophies or arguments that truly belong either to the Earth or to God. If we can imagine a man the enemy, we can just as easily imagine him a friend. For he too loves, is industrious, has ancestors, relations and children. He too worries about his family, how his debts will get paid, how he can be safe and live without fear, how he can strengthen his faith in something greater and what kind of person his teenager will turn out to be. He too, wants to stay in his home or homeland and love it; he too has to fight when it doesn’t feel safe; he too will flee taking the path of hardship when it’s safer than from whence he came; he too will brave dangerous water when it’s safer than the land. He too gets weary; he too momentarily forgets why he fights; he too would feel relief if he could just… Put. his. weapon. down.

I’m weary of the cynicism, aren’t you? Don’t you want to stop looking over your shoulder, constantly protecting your place, your space? Don’t you want a neighbor, a boss, a friend, a home, a community, a leader, a president, a world—that is respectful?  Wouldn’t you like to begin every transaction of your life with the premise that all who find themselves in whatever circumstance, are fellow human beings deserving of dignity and worth? Wouldn’t you like the world to employ kindness in default and invent and imagine compassion? Now imagine it spreading round the  world.

It begins with you, with me, with people like us who work toward making this world a better place. Do we endeavor to employ kindness instead of indifference, compassion instead of harshness and judgment? It’s imperative that we look at our own action. Do  your actions fit with the kind of person you think you are or that you aspire to be” Do you meet people where they are? Do you try to find the good in everyone? Are you gracious on social media? Are you are role model or example for other people? Do you employ bullying and tyranny or do you stand up to it? Do you think before you speak or act? Do you include people and make them feel welcome or do you marginalize them? It’s all for love, isn’t it? Love for self, love for others, and for the planet. Are you practicing that kind of compassion? Are you recognizing your own humanity, and the humanity of others

If we all made a commitment to compassion and exercised our kindness muscle, the world would look differently. Compassion is contagious. Try an experiment. Why don’t we all set out in the morning to be deliberately and fiercely compassionate! Keep doing it the whole day and come back here and post how it went.

Here’s why… I want to put that childhood behind me and remember Memorial Day in a different way. Instead of honoring soldiers’ service or their deaths as a consequence of conflict, I want to remember them as soldiers on the way to a future of peace, as partners in history who came before to pave the way to a more compassionate world, compassionate future.

And here’s something else you can do for Memorial Day. Make a donation somewhere that will spread peace and compassion in the world. I work with the Charter for Compassion International. The curriculum “Words and Violence” that was written to honor Michael Jackson and Lady Diana Spencer is hosted at the Educational Institute of the Charter for Compassion International. Michael was a soldier of love. If you’d like to make a donation in Michael’s name as a remembrance, we’ll humbly accept your gift. http://charterforcompassionforms.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=7

One more thing you could do is make “Wellzoo” your homepage and put “Charter for Compassion International” in the blank. http://www.welzoo.com/how-it-works Each time you go online, Wellzoo will be your start page (it’s fun) and each time you open your start page you will be making a contribution to the Charter. Thanks.

Now spread the word. Spread the compassion. Let’s make war obsolete and create a new meaning for Memorial Day so it doesn’t tell war any more.

Blessings.

Prince Would Want us to Love but not Forget Earth Day

Prince would not want us to forget Earth Day.

People all over this planet are donning purple, playing his music and grieving the passing of yet another icon—the one and only Prince. A musical genius by all accounts from friends and musicians in the industry, who could play as many as 20 instruments and mastered the genres of Funk, Rock, R & B, Pop, New Wave, and his own brand of fusion.

Prince was Michael Jackson’s musical “nemesis” back in the day. They were both born in the Midwest and were the same age born only a few weeks apart. The rivalry was real and intense. Michael reached out to Prince to collaborate and Prince was offended. The song? “I’m bad.” Probably not the best choice by Michael for Prince truly was the bad boy of his generation. Prince re-recorded the song with his spin on it and sent it back to Michael with a note that “this is how you should have done it.” Whoa. They never did work together.

Michael was counseled by Kenny Ortega in the run up to his last tour “this Is It” to take it easy and get more rest. Michael answered that he was in the midst of writing a song and like most artists, it was haunting him until done. Kenny told him to put it on hold. Michael believed that God sent his songs and that they were created in the ethers and only plucked and downloaded by those who heard them in their heads, which is precisely how Michael wrote songs—as not the creator but only the scribe. Michael said to Kenny that he couldn’t put it aside as he was in the process of downloading and if he ignored it, “God might give it to Prince.” In an archived interview, Prince too credited something beyond this world for sending his music and remarked that he wrote down lyrics just as they were given to him. Most people would agree that both artists not only were “out of this world” but so was their creativity, persona and art.

Prince’s passing has lit up bridges and landmarks in purple as the world embraces a legacy and says farewell to an icon that for many, represented the soundtrack of their lives. The mourning is worldwide just as it was with Michael. but the Internet is still working; Michael’s death shut it down. Prince was certainly more notorious than Michael and far more controversial; yet Michael was vilified despite being a victim of extortion. And he too, was black. Michael was accused of lightening his skin (in reality, he had Vitiligo) but just today someone (white, of course) claimed Prince was more white than black. What? Are we still having that conversation? It’s racist, of course. Both Prince and Michael were taken advantage of by their respective recording companies and both publicly feuded with them. Seems there is still much to come out about black artists. Anonymous—where are you when we need good hackers to expose a brand of greed rarely recognized? Michael staged a protest and Prince quietly wrote “Slave”on his cheek during a performance. Both were considered enigmas and “mysterious” and “dark.” Prince more dark than Michael in his in-your-face rebellion.

The media will unfortunately detract from the fact that we are in Earth Week and today is Earth Day, something Prince himself would not have wanted. They’ll infuse an inordinate amount of melodrama as they focus on “the last days of Prince” and wait breathlessly for the autopsy, the tabloids salivating at the possibility that drugs were involved. Anything to bring down a powerful and successful black man. Yes, we’re still having that conversation. For Prince, the music was everything just as it was with Michael. I would love to hear the concert behind the pearly gates—Michael, Whitney, Bowie and now Prince.

The man, Prince wanted to be remembered for his music and he couldn’t tell us about his philanthropy because it was against his religion. He had gone so far as to change his name to a symbol (“Love”) so that the companies who represented him, his image and music, could no longer capitalize on the name “Prince” which he felt they used and abused, going so far as to trademark and copyright everything related to him. One day he went so far as to show up in public with the word “Slave” written on his cheek.

In the last decade of his life, he had become a Jehovah Witness. He and Michael had that in common also. As as a Jehovah Witness, he, like Michael, was encouraged to proselytize but to keep silent about his good works. We are about to find out that Prince was a humanitarian and that a lot of his energy and philanthropy was directed at Mother Earth, the inner city and making black lives matter.

He would not want his death to overshadow Earth Day. He was a vegetarian who condemned animal abuse putting in the liner notes for his “Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic” album a message about the cruelty of wool production. He cared about the environment– “there are places that have installed solar panels where they have no idea Prince paid for it,” according to Van Jones.

He worked closely with Van Jones, attorney, CNN commentator and former White House policy advisor, and environmentalist author, who founded Dream Corps, The Dream, Green for All, and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change. Prince was his greatest benefactor.

It’s not well known that Prince was a founder, contributor and benefactor of “Yes We Code,” a program for urban youth that he wanted to pioneer after the death of Trayvon Martin. In partnership with Oakland based organizations, “Yes We Code” launched an interactive website with a powerful search tool that enables users to find local coding education resources and helps users find local events and learn more about coding opportunities. They’ve brought together more than 100 coding practitioners and stakeholders in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and New Orleans. They also partnered with Qeyno Labs to host a Start-Up Weekend hackathon in February 2015, focused on uplifting young African-American men and boys.

“Yes We Code” launched at the 20th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival in July with a youth-focused hackathon and a headline performance by Prince, before a festival audience of 500,000 people. Prince wanted to make a difference in young black lives because he recognized and commented on the racial disparity saying: ‘You know, every time people see a young black man wearing a hoodie, they think, he’s a thug. But if they see a young white guy wearing a hoodie they think, oh that might be Mark Zuckerberg. That might be a dot-com billionaire. It’s because we have not produced enough black Mark Zuckerbergs. That’s on us. That’s on us. To deal with what we’re not doing to get our young people prepared to be a part of this new information economy.'”

The company, “Yes We Code” has posted a photo and message in purple on its website saying, simply, “Thank you Prince.”

In the next few days, we are going to hear more about the humanitarian work of an icon who truly belongs to the world. But as someone who gave such a great gift and who wanted us to remember the music instead of his name, To honor him, you might make a donation in his name. Prince would not want us to forget Earth Day.

Another Famous Moonwalker Now Walks Among the Stars:

Edgar Mitchell and Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was famous for his moonwalk here on Earth but another moonwalker was famous for actually walking on the moon: Edgar Mitchell was another famous moonwalker. Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the last astronaut of Apollo 14, has passed away two days ago on February 4, 2016. Michael Jackson visited NASA and made it known to the agency that if ever there was an opportunity for a lay person to go to the moon, he wanted to be on board the spaceship. A crater on the moon is even named for him.

What most people don’t realize is the the two moonwalkers had a lot in common. Both were cosmologists. Both were undeclared Pantheists. Both were interested in human consciousness.   Both studied it. Jackson thought in global and universal terms and so did Edgar Mitchell.  Jackson used his notoriety and platform to raise consciousness; so did Mitchell. Jackson knew there is more to human beings and humanity and intuitively understood that humans are capable of much more than they presently demonstrate. Mitchell believed that too.

Michael Jackson had a love affair with the Earth. So did Mitchell. Michael felt deeply “We Are One” and he lived it. Mitchell did too. Both these moonwalkers experienced that peak experience the Hindus call Samadhi.

Here’s a tribute to the other moonwalker:

In Memoriam: Edgar Mitchell, ScD, PhD
 by Cassandra Vieten

When he returned from space forty-five years ago, Apollo 14 Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell committed his life to supporting a sustainable future. He worked tirelessly to understand and promote what he viewed as an absolutely necessary collective shift in consciousness. To those of us who knew him well, Edgar was an enthusiastic, loving, dedicated, courageous, generous, and brilliant man who inspired us to be bold in our exploration of the further reaches of human potential, to fearlessly challenge inadequate paradigms, and to carry his spirit of adventure into investigating our inner lives.

Most people know Edgar Mitchell best as an Apollo 14 astronaut and sixth person to walk on the moon. A US Navy Captain, MIT-trained aeronautics engineer, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the NASA distinguished service award, and 2005 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize among many other honors, Edgar Mitchell was a hero in the truest sense of the word.

What fewer people know is that Edgar’s spirit of exploration extended well beyond space travel to his lifelong dedication to increasing our scientific understanding of the nature of consciousness.

Space exploration symbolized for Mitchell what it did for his nation—a technological triumph of historic proportions, an unprecedented demonstration of scientific achievement, and extraordinary potential for new discoveries. What Mitchell did not anticipate was a return trip that triggered something even more powerful. As he gazed at Earth floating in the vastness of space and contemplated the history and hopes of humankind on that lonely blue sphere, he was engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness.

“I realized that the story of ourselves as told by science—our cosmology, our religion— was incomplete and likely flawed. I recognized that the Newtonian idea of separate, independent, discreet things in the universe wasn’t a fully accurate description. What was needed was a new story of who we are and what we are capable of becoming.”

That moment was an epiphany for Mitchell. As an accomplished scientist and engineer, he had grown accustomed to directing his attention to the objective world “out there.” But the experience that came to him while hurtling through space was profound.

“My understanding of the distinct separateness and relative independence of movement of those cosmic bodies was shattered. I was overwhelmed with the sensation of physically and mentally extending out into the cosmos. The restraints and boundaries of flesh and bone fell away. I wondered if Stu and Alan [companion astronauts] were experiencing it as well … Somehow I never felt the urge to ask.”

The experience led him to a startling hypothesis: Perhaps reality is more complex, subtle, and inexorably mysterious than conventional science had led him to believe. Perhaps a deeper understanding of consciousness could lead to a new and expanded view of reality in which objective and subjective, outer and inner, are understood as complementary aspects of the miracle and mystery of being.

That realization sowed the seeds of Mitchell’s next mission. A few years later, in 1973, he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). Edgar was troubled by the prevalence of a dualistic worldview in Western thought and science that separates mind and matter and that typically posits matter as the fundamental basis of reality. Fortunately, the advent of quantum physics provided scientific evidence that challenged this dualistic worldview. Experiments at the subatomic level revealed that (under certain conditions) one particle of matter will instantly “respond” when something happens to another particle, even though the two are separated from each other in space. Edgar interpreted that phenomenon as meaning that “awareness” might be present at an elemental subatomic level.

Building on this notion and affirming a learning, self organizing principle in the universe, he proposed that awareness can evolve through many levels of complexity and that at an advanced stage of complexity, say, at the human level, an aptitude for self-reflective awareness begins to emerge. This includes the capacity to make conscious choices and to be held accountable for how actions affect others and their physical environment. Given the deepening problems of today’s postindustrial society, in which most threats to our society and planet are rooted in how we view the world and the actions we take as a result, learning how to increase people’s consciousness becomes crucial. Edgar, along with many others, maintained that human activity is on an exponential growth curve that cannot be sustained globally under current conditions. He believed that a paradigm shift is underway, but cautioned that the outcome is as yet unpredictable, and survival of humanity on our planet is in question. He believed that the same amount of effort and ingenuity that has been dedicated to the exploration of outer space should be directed toward the investigation of the inner world – our consciousness.

Inspired by Edgar’s vision, over the past four decades, the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) has had a catalytic influence on the frontiers of scientific inquiry. Our investigation into the role of consciousness in healing has significantly contributed to the scientific understanding of how the mind influences health. Our work helped to transform mind-body medicine from a fringe idea into a vital component of virtually all major medical centers in the United States and, increasingly, worldwide. Our original research on the benefits of meditation and compassion sparked the development of new scientific methods and insights into how we can cultivate our highest potentials. Our pioneering scientific work on interconnectedness through time and space has challenged traditional notions of the nature of reality and is now making its way into mainstream physics. Our frontier research into perennial mysteries, including precognition, life after death, the role of intention in healing, and transformative experiences, continues to broaden the range of acceptable topics for scientific inquiry. IONS continues to expand the boundaries of our understanding of ourselves and of reality.

Today, IONS maintains a team of seven scientists dedicated to the study of frontier topics in consciousness, an education team and innovation lab that translates our findings into real-world applications, a global community of 80,000 with nearly 200 regional community groups who meet regularly worldwide, and a transformative learning and retreat center an hour north of San Francisco at which 5000 people per year engage in transformative workshops and trainings.

We honor the life and work of Edgar Mitchell, astronaut, scientist, scholar, and visionary leader, and are proud to carry on his legacy.

 

"We Are One" – Edgar Mitchell 1930-2016 from Institute of Noetic Sciences on Vimeo.

 


Cassandra Vieten, PhD, is President and CEO of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and a scientist at the Mind-Body Medicine Research Group at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute. Dr. Vieten, a licensed clinical psychologist, has been with IONS since 2001, previously serving as its Executive Director of Research.

Portions of this post first appeared in the article “Edgar Mitchell: Cosmic Activist” by Barbara McNeill in the Institute of Noetic Sciences Shift Magazine, Volume 12, 2006.

 

Review and Revolution

In response to reading Those Crazy Michael Jackson Fans…”

http://www.innermichael.com/2010/10/those-crazy-mj-fans-maybe-we-should-listen/

someone just wrote me a comment about Michael and their experience after his passing. I share it because I think it echoes the sentiment of lots of people:

“Hello, this was nicely written. I felt the very things you wrote about, I wasn’t a fan prior to his death and I actually believed that he was guilty and just got away because he had money but when he died I got curious why the world was impacted by his passing. I watched a tribute by one of the music channels in my country and I was truly amazed by the songs and videos. I somehow remembered them from my childhood. I was still a skeptic and I still thought he was a child molester so I went on to read articles written about him, both pro and anti –Michael Jackson and I saw how the claims were ridiculous. I looked for videos of him speaking and found him extremely shy and when he was around children. I saw how careful he was holding them. I started to question the child molester label people put on him though I still think he let the wrong people in his life.

I felt sorry how the man was set up and bullied by the media and i felt that people, especially where he was from, have a bad habit of raising someone up and dragging them all the way down when they got too famous.

I didn’t really know about his charitable works then but when I was watching an interview of the people who met him during his tour to the Philippines in 1996, all they said were good things about the man, how gentle mannered he was, how he was so kind to visit an orphanage and gave ample donation to a hospital, and how kind he was to the hotel staffs.

I guess it’s true that we’ll only realize someone’s worth once they are gone. I am really disappointed how I missed Michael Jackson’s talents when he was still around but I’m glad I became a fan, not just because he created universal music but because he was a kind person who despite all the hardships still remained gentle and forgiving.

I love you Michael and I’m sorry.

 _________________________________________________________

I want to clarify something though… this post was written 5 years ago on October 10, 2010. A lot has happened since then. When I began writing and answering emails about Michael and the sorrow people were feeling, there was a solidarity of grief among the fans. Nothing will change the soul like heartbreak and many fans went on to create amazing projects, start non-profits and donate to children in homage to Michael.

The media was cruel to his memory because first of all, they don’t know the whole story of how the tabloids operated and how they used him for spectacle to sell their publications. They don’t know how a particular cynical reporter used Michael as a platform for her career and to gain recognition setting herself up as an “expert.” The sorry misguided and selfish actions of one person were echoed everywhere and contributed to the destruction of a man and his legacy. She will have to account for her misdeeds when she meets her maker (and Michael.) There is no remorse and no  recognition of what she did. The public did not learn about the real Michael Jackson until his friends and colleagues began to speak up and they tell a much different story than the tabloids.

The tabloid heyday and that era and its bullying will go down in history as a very dark time in human development and evolution.

The fans, of course were upset and angry and very hurt because the media-loid spectacle drove their grief deeper. I and others called for civility and integrity in the behavior of fans and asked them not to stoop to the trashy level of bullying when addressing the ignorant who just repeated the meme created by the tabloids. For the most part, fans were gritting their teeth and being civil, or at least trying to.

That is not the case now and the offenders seem to be “second generation” fans who weren’t original fans and who were not mature. Many Jackson fans are dismayed by this new wave of cruelty because Michael Jackson was anything but cruel and the true fans know that he would want his fans to behave well and be kind even in the face of meanness. Many original fans backed away from the melee created by the oncoming crew of fans because it was too painful. Michael Jackson was a kind, generous, peace-loving soul and he would not want anyone to be cruel on his behalf or in his name because that is who he was. He was known to ask fans to “stand down” so as not to embarrass themselves or tarnish his love for people and his name.

Bullying is a form of terrorism and has no place among those who would pretend to love Michael Jackson or care about his legacy. There is far too much bullying, an ugly and unnatural trait of human nature, at the hands of those who feel justified unleashing their inner brat on anyone they have decided is not worthy of human and humane treatment. And that is precisely what happened to Michael Jackson– dehumanization. Social media is an amazing invention that can bring people together in solidarity to change the world; it should not be a platform for evil and bullying.

Here’s why that is so important: Michael Jackson was a champion for the Earth. Go back and listen to “Earth Song.” Michael is begging for us to come together to save the planet. We can’t do that until we drop our mean girl BS and get on board with saving this world. Deliberately dividing people by creating everyone you don’t know or don’t agree with to be the “Enemy” goes against anything ethical or compassionate or loving– everything the real Michael Jackson was. So if you are doing it, STOP. We are at a critical point in history with a critical mission.

So, I would suggest reviewing some critical material. Then let me know what’s on your mind. Maybe you want to be part of a revolution? A revolution of compassion? A revolution to save the Earth?

 
 

 
 
The Earth needs you to step up. Listen to Michael…

 
 

 
 
What happens next, fans?

 

A Little Latin Jackson

It translated perfectly to Latin. It lost nothing in the translation but indeed gained a kind of unfamiliar joy that made sitting still difficult. Some in the audience couldn’t sit still but jumped up to Salsa in the aisles. If the sitting was difficult, the melancholy was impossible. It was equally hard not to break into a smile from the sheer energy of it.

No, it wasn’t a Latin Mass. And yet maybe it was. It felt like worship. Not of the singer himself, although he is obviously painfully missed, evidenced by the raising of eyes to the heavens as the tribute singers acknowledged a brother, now passed, sometimes addressing him by name. The reverence for the cultural impact of his music in its time was palpable. Michael Jackson is loved. The Festival’s Curator Donald Thoms beamed about the upcoming show assuring the audience “you’ve never heard this kind of Jackson” that Succar says retains classic Jackson with a little Latin spice — it’s all about unity and love.

Tonight Public Broadcasting Corporation’s Arts Fall Festival presented a Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson. It would have been difficult to imagine Jackson’s music Latinized decades ago but now it seems a natural transition and translation. Would Michael have approved? It’s likely; in fact one could almost see him lurking behind the stage curtain listening intently, chuckling and grinning as he realized the rhythms work in many musical “languages.” He would have been tickled, not so much from the obvious nod to his talent and legacy, but from the Latin signature and how it changed the music.

The tribute began with Billie Jean as one wondered initially, how to you Latin-ize an iconic Pop song, so American in its origins in the awkward and easy ballads of the eighties? How do you translate from “dance on the floor in the round” to salsa in the round? Well, they did as they added a layer of richness that adhered like varnish to an emblematic song.

“Smooth Criminal” lends itself more easily to a Latin beat– beats between the already dark anticipation beat of some sort of sleight of hand. Somehow Annie seems more OK. The blasts of the horn section “testify.”

Five years in the making, Tony Succar pulled it off with Jean Rodriguez, Michael Stuart, Angel Lopez, Obie Bermúdez, Kevin Ceballo, Jon Secada, Judith Hill, Jean Rodriguez and Jennifer Peña along with the genius of Sheila E.

How fitting that they chose Judith Hill- not a Latina- to sing Michael’s opus “Earth Song. I’m not sure anyone else could have given it the emotion that it begs and deserves. In concerts it constituted Michael’s most authentic and expansive emotional delivery followed by “Man in the Mirror.” Hill was with Jackson right up until he died. She was part of the cast and crew of “This Is It” This performance and all the rehearsals had to take her right back to the moment when she heard of Michael’s passing. Revisiting grief like that is not easy. She has spoken before of how haunting it was to go back to that stage, suddenly meaningless and empty because it’s shining star was gone. She remembers the boxes. Stunned, she watched them packing up a performance and a life and removing the boxes. Her performance echoed that sentiment. It’s as if she channeled her best pathos of self along with Jackson’s. She certainly would know it. She performed as if her life depended on it, confirming Michael’s eye and ear for new talent and how Michael chose well those new voices and faces to champion toward their introduction to a hungry public. She championed him in that performance as if it was infinitely urgent to return the favor. The score is now even.

Wearing a dress scattered with rainbows, itself a fitting tribute to the world’s most visible humanitarian, she sang directly from her heart as she belted out the tenets of stewardship and responsibility to all life on the planet. It is said that when Jackson, who customarily sang at the studio mic in the dark, roared the chorus of “Earth Song” it sounded like a lament from the very lungs of the planet. Judith Hill conveyed that same deep melancholy that accompanies the act of standing on the edge of something knowing that moment will never repeat itself and should it slip by and into mediocrity or distant memory, the tragic nature of it would live beyond words. Or beyond worlds.

“Black or White” come from those who are brown, was a testament to how iconic that song is. “I ain’t scared of no brother/I ain’t scared of no sheets/ I ain’t scared of nobody… it don’t matter if you’re black or white, red or yellow, or rainbow… It is as if Jackson was reading tea leaves of not just the past but the future and affirming “Black lives Matter;” “All lives Matter.” “We are,” after all, “the world.”

And how would a Jackson tribute be complete without “Man in The Mirror?” The camera, panning the audience, caught sight of thousands of lighters and lights lit not only in memory and tribute, but in solidarity with a man who understood that the world can change when each of us does. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And that is what he lived.

There is something about the sound of congas and a full-bodied horn section behind a Latin singer that amplifies the feeling of grounding and earthy joy that comes through the cultural tradition that is Latin music. It is the mark of a great artist to bring shoes to the story so you can walk in them and understand. But when you bring skin to the story– and make me live inside yours, well then…. I experience.

Michael would be surprised. Michael would be delighted. Michael would be proud. And Michael, living for a bit inside the music… would be something he loved, sought and cherished… “the other.” Michael would be Latino.