Inner Michael » Why the Lightning Rod?

Why the Lightning Rod?

It remains a mystery. I know that the tabloid industry helped it along, but I don’t get it. Why Michael? I know why he was so beloved but I struggle to understand why he was such a polarizing figure. For six months now I have looked into almost every corner of his life, and I still have yet to figure out what was Michael Jackson’s great crime? What was the cardinal sin he committed? He was adored and then he was vilified. The only in-between seems to be indifference. The pointing finger and clucking disapproval was there long before the extortion attempts directed at him regarding children. What made Michael Jackson such a lightening rod?

Maybe his crime was growing up. Remember when they thought that little Michael with the big voice and the amazing dance steps was just so cute? Everybody loved the Jackson Five and later the Jacksons! Everybody loved little Michael! Nobody wanted the little kid with the big talent to grow up. The world wanted him to be little and cute and to wow us with his musical savant-like talent.

It wasn’t when Michael left the Jackson Five because Michael grew into a young man, a twenty something talented and likeable young man. A little gangly still growing into a body- but cute. And sweet. And his singing in “Off the Wall” was fresh and happy and endearing. You can hear the delight of making music in his voice. He smiled a lot, wore his success well. How he loved the spotlight; how it favored him! Then there was the success of Thriller and overnight Michael Jackson was a household name. We loved him after Thriller; we marveled at his project “We Are the World,” “Hands Across America” and embraced him as a favorite entertainer. Thriller became the best selling album of all time. There was Thriller, Beat It and everybody had the jackets.

So when did this all change? Was it with the release of Bad? Was it the bad boy image that the girls seemed to love and did it evoke male territorial and patriarchal jealousy? Was it too much of a change, a shock to see the wholesome little Michael become the buckles-and-leather dark child of music and video? Reinventing oneself is mandatory in show business. Everybody has to have a shtick. Everybody has to surprise, delight or even shock the audience to keep them interested. Michael knew how to get attention—was that it?

Or was it instead, when his Vitiligo skin disease got so bad that it took over most of his dark pigmentation?  At some point, his skin became more light than dark and full body dark makeup was impractical, so the doctor suggested de-pigmentation of the remaining dark skin. It just made more practical sense to lighten the rest of his body because there was no reversing the disease. Did people begin to love to hate Michael Jackson because of his skin color? That’s racism. That’s ugly.

Was it the surgeries? When his face began to change with cosmetic procedures? Actually his first noticeable change came when he embraced vegetarianism. The elimination of meat in one’s diet will create a radical change in the body, from looks to muscle distribution to energy. When his appearance began to change, did we feel we had lost forever the cute little Michael? Did we feel him slipping away from our grasp? Was it that our beloved star was becoming too “Hollywood” for us? It’s so odd that he became the target of so much ridicule; they don’t ridicule Joan Rivers or Joan Collins or any of the other stars who have perpetual “work done.” Why Michael? Cosmetic surgery in the entertainment business is almost essential.

In researching his life, the one thing I have learned about Michael is that he viewed his life and work as a canvas for art. And he saw himself as an instrument of nature. He was constantly perfecting his art. His face, his dance, his dress, his style all were certainly a part of that art. An entertainer’s look is everything. He had a right to do whatever he wanted with his own canvas. It was, after all, his face. We all have that right to create or recreate ourselves. To change our appearance. To do whatever we want with our bodies. Was it pathological? Was Monet pathological? Dali? Rembrandt? Artists paint creative visions on their canvas. Michael Jackson was a perfectionist. His body was his canvas: the music that came through it, his dance, his timing, his message, his stage art, his interaction with his audience and fans, and yes, his face. Michael saw himself as a perpetual work in progress.

“Lookism” is not dead. We still want to see the “beautiful people.” Age and fading looks are a sin especially in American culture. We make major judgments about people because of how they look. Michael was judged all the time about his look. He couldn’t do anything right; nothing about his look was beyond criticism. Did Michael wear our collective intolerance to blemish in his face? Was he a mirror for the collective shadow that demands comfort, some conformity yet innovation and reinvention? He was the consummate shape shifter; was that for our benefit? Did he mirror back our fickleness and intolerance to us?

Was it when he began to wear the mask? Did we speculate as to why the mask? Why a surgical mask? Did we understand that this was the most hunted man on the planet? Michael couldn’t go anywhere. Paparazzi stalked him wherever he went and the tabloids, when they began to crucify him— couldn’t find anything right with anything he did. Any kind of privacy was out of the question for this man. Never did anyone ask permission to take his picture; they just hunted him, climbed his trees and fences, sent helicopters over his house and invaded private moments. And then they began to invent captions for photographs to sensationalize, not to inform. He was a tabloid editor’s dream. The public clamored for more Michael, so the tabloids gave them more and more twisted headlines. Michael couldn’t win. No matter what he did, he couldn’t win. If he donated an oxygen chamber to a children’s burn center, he most certainly was sleeping in one in his home. If he bought Liz Taylor a huge tapestry with her Hollywood face as a gift, he was building a shrine for her in his home. And the elephant man bones? Are you kidding? So whatever he said or did was taken out of context and used to sell dirt rag magazines. Michael was a cash cow for the tabloids and they milked him.

Was Michael’s sin his daring, his boldness? The world is pretty fickle with their affection and attention. “Bad,” Dangerous,” and “HIStory” were necessary attempts to stay fresh and relevant in the industry where attention spans are short—about 3-4 minutes for a song, then on to the next in the shuffle. So each release went even further in the quest to being the spectacle that gets people talking. Michael loved to push the boundaries, to reach the heights and beyond the limits of what had been done before. When it came to his art and work, he was bold. Was that another polarizing feature of Michael Jackson, that he dared to scoff at convention? The more contemporary artists go far beyond unconventional venturing deeply into outrageous. But do they have lasting power? Michael did. He was relevant for decades, because of his daring and his understanding of drama.

Was it when Michael began to be so famous? We didn’t like him getting too uppity? Maybe too uppity for a black person? Too distant from us? Too famous? Was it because he was elusive, shy and didn’t like to give interviews because he felt uncomfortable chatting? Did we want “Michael on demand?” Michael was not an orator. He has said he was only comfortable on the stage, only when making his music. Michael hid his shyness behind that stage persona. Was it because he avoided interviews that we blamed him and resented not having him at our beck and call? Did he owe us his life?

Was it the aura of mystery that surrounded Michael? Did mystery turn sinister? Why and when? The elusiveness and mask contributed to that as did the umbrella. His Vitiligo and the medications to treat the disease made him sensitive to the sun. The umbrella was necessary. I wonder how many of us would take to wearing a mask in public if we found something that we could wear that would cover our faces so that there was nothing to take a picture of. Would we reason that the paparazzi might stop hunting if there was nothing to take a picture of, if the famous face became unavailable? It was a constant invasion, a constant violation of any privacy. How would you handle it? How would I? The mask was to cover a little of the face to dissuade the photographers and give a tiny bit of privacy—someone who had none. I would keep the mask too. But then the mask became the issue. Because he was shy and didn’t like giving interviews, he was labeled a “recluse” which garnered a comparison to Howard Hughes. Then the speculation began that the mask was a germ barrier. Was it sinister? Was he hiding something? No, the mask was to dissuade Paparazzi and to claim just a bit of privacy for the most famous face in the world and forever criticized by the public.

Oh there is no mistaking that Michael knew the value of drama and mystery and he used it to his advantage but the media took it too far. Calling the most recognized man on the planet “Wacko” in a very public forum is just plain meanness. What possible value did that have? None of us can empathize with what that was like because none of us can imagine living our whole lives in a grand fishbowl and being called “wacko” in a very public worldwide forum. None of us can understand what it is like to try to be normal in a circus atmosphere because you are so famous. And we can’t begin to imagine being the target of everybody’s inner shadow. Whatever we disliked the most was projected onto Michael. The collective asked Michael to carry their shadow for them. How to move under those conditions? How to breathe? To be? To love and be loved and be a father raising children? How to live your life?

Was it Michael’s love for animals that made him so strange? Animals give their love unconditionally. They don’t extort you for money or rob you of something you value, or become fickle when slighted, or turn their backs on you or kick you when you’re down. They are simple and innocent. And when treated well they are fiercely loyal. That is something that Michael found lacking in people.

Children and animals. That is what Michael Jackson valued. Both have an innocence that he could relate to. Both are pure and simple, have no agendas and come from the heart. Animals and children don’t manipulate. They just are being. And they let you be. Just be. They haven’t learned to lie or swindle or take advantage of people.

Because we are not wealthy like Michael we cannot imagine the audacity of people who tried to take advantage of a generous humanitarian. We can’t imagine having a friend that we trust only to find out later their only interest was in what we could do for them or give them—money, attention, vicarious fame, status, prestige, or other ways that we try to fill the empty holes where we feel inadequate. Most of us have never had to deal with a perpetual queue of leaches in our lives. Would it make you mistrust  everybody? Would it make you withdraw? Would the betrayal scar you? Would it make you painfully lonely? Can you even imagine it? To be the most famous, visible man in the Universe and be able to trust no one? To never let your hair down because tomorrow whatever you said might be a headline, is just sad.

Was it when Michael began to be really sexy? Was it his sexiness that upset us? Was it his command of the stage? He was maybe too polished? Too much a stellar showman? Michel loved being an entertainer. He loved giving people joy, providing a transcendental experience and taking people places they’d never been before. Performing was Michael’s way of giving, of loving. He lived for the stage. Maybe he only lived on the stage!

Was it because Michael was so humble? We couldn’t seem to grasp that someone with his power and stature in the world could be so humble. Did he contradict our expectations? Did his innocence and humility disappoint us? Did we begin to hate him because we couldn’t hate him? Was it the juxtaposition of Michael that caused our consternation? Was he way too sophisticated for the soft voiced, embarrassed and childlike person he was off stage?  Was it that we couldn’t reconcile the contradiction?

Was it the childhood thing? Were we all so furious at losing our own innocence that how dare he remind us of that pain? Do you remember your first taste of the adult world? Do you remember the moment you realized there was no turning back into the childhood that insulated you from the harsh realities of the world that you were about to inherit? Michael Jackson had a full time job when he was 5 years old. By the time he made his first solo album, “Off the Wall” he was a fifteen year veteran of show business. If you had missed your childhood and you had the resources to recreate it for yourself, would you?

The hours and hours of practice, rehearsals, recording, touring, promoting, being in the limelight precluded having any real life or friends or childhood. Is it any wonder Michael built Neverland to be able to make up for the childhood he lost? He built Neverland because he could. The fifteen plus years of hard work and lost engagement in life brought money—so was Neverland a trade off? Lose your life and you gain a theme park? Then begin to re-live the life you never had while people criticize you for it? Michael used his money to build a magical place for children and his staff hosted children from every kind of background and circumstance. They came to Neverland to escape the harsh realities of everyday demands and life and strife. Was it when Michael built Neverland that we began to hate him? He couldn’t hang out in parks or Disneyland or other places that people go to have fun and for entertainment because the crowds would swarm him or disrupt whatever was going on. So he built a sanctuary of magic to escape the world behind his own gates. Is that reason to resent him? To call him strange and bizarre? To hate him for having things that we want but elude us?

Maybe that’s it—we wanted to slap him hard and say “grow up, the rest of us had to! Why should you be able to escape the harsh realities of the real world?” Was that it? Or were we somehow jealous of what he had? What he had gained? Because he earned it? He traded his life for his fame. Would you be willing to make that trade? Could you take on the burden of everyone’s shadow? Could you bear up under its weight?

Was it because Michael kept pointing out the world’s flaws? The places where the world could be better? Did we resent his constant admonitions because we were too busy with our own lives to care about others? Did he make us feel too responsible? Too guilty?

Was it Michael’s attraction? His magnetism? Did males see him as a rival for the affections of their women? Did Michael make them want a peeing contest? Did he evoke a mark-the-territory mentality?

What made Michael such a lightening rod? And what makes him such a lightening rod still?

Is it because Michael was not afraid to say “I love you?” He said it to every audience he worked with. He said “God bless you” when thanking someone or acknowledging a kindness. Was it because sometimes those tears he cried on stage were real? Oh sure, some of it was shtick but Michael, when deeply touched or emotionally affected, cried real tears. Was that too girly-man for us? Not macho enough? Was it because he wasn’t the hard-edged male but the androgynous charming boy-man? Women loved Michael. Was that a threat? Did that evoke the wrath of the warrior?

What if Michael Jackson precisely met the definition of a true innocent? What if Michael was precisely what Jesus was referring to when he said “like a child?” Were we mad because little Michael dared to grow up and adult Michael didn’t want to? Just what is it about the adult world that is so attractive? Is it the wars? The poverty? The hunger? The cynicism? The way adults treat each other? What is it that would make us want to grow up? Don’t you remember Disney movies, the world of fantasy and magic? Who would want to leave that? For what? Only to inherit a broken world? A world with broken people who are too far out from childhood to remember their own joy and wonder? A world that is full of terrorism and racism and sexism and nationalism and all the other isms that divide people.

It’s not like Michael could change his profession. He was born to entertain. The music didn’t come from Michael, it came through him. He always said it came from God and that is more than obvious in his lyrics. How does one stop that faucet? It’s not like it can be capped off like a well. A calling has its way with you; it’s a force and it’s unstoppable. People forget that Michael was an actor, an entertainer, but first and foremost, an artist. He sculpted out of his creativity; he painted out of the creation impulse. Michael was mistaken for his art. Artists make art. Actors are not the characters they play in the movie; they exact a portrayal which is an art form. They immerse themselves in the character, in the form the art takes. People tend to forget that about Michael. He was a private person with a public persona. He didn’t like to talk that much because he was humble and easily embarrassed. He did not view himself as an orator; he knew he didn’t have the skills. So he performed as a gift to us. And somewhere along the way we threw the gift back in his face. Literally. He was gracious; the world wasn’t.

More than half the volumes that have been written about him since his death showcase a “tragic” figure, a “tragic” life and a failed human being. Is that a thinly veiled confession of personal and collective ineptitude? An admission of personal impotence? There was nothing tragic about Michael Jackson; the tragedy was in how the man suffered at the hands of others—the families whose children benefitted from his generosity and love and then turned on him to gouge him for money, sycophants who surrounded him, the yes-men and women who enabled him, the tabloid industry that destroyed his reputation, the media that hunted him and cornered him like an animal, the doctors who saw dollar signs instead of a human being, the former friends and employees with “tell all” books and interviews financed with blood money, the necrophiliacs who continue to view him through a constructed tabloid lens while feeding off his corpse. No, the tragedy is not Michael; the tragedy is the inhumanity of the world.

The only thing that could explain the amount of shadow that followed Michael around this planet is to understand how much light he embodied and anchored here. It’s a universal law that huge light energy coalesced attracts huge darkness. And whenever we are asked to change the space we are familiar with and comfortable in, we respond as though it is torture. In fact, the chemical reaction in the body mimics torture. Michael likely threatened people who were comfortable, or afraid, or who feel inadequate because he represents in a major way, what he-she-we-they are not. Michael saw the worlds’ needs as a responsibility for all of us. Perhaps we weren’t ready to hear his message.

Michael tried to change the world and recruit us to help him. That is the legacy he leaves this world. He delivered a message and he modeled how it’s done—use whatever means available to lure them in; speak whatever language necessary to be heard; use parable to cloak the message and deliver it with wham! And do all of that with no regard for self. That is selfless sacrifice. And no matter how badly the world treated him, Michael never gave up on us. He was planning to do it again—to come back to bring a little love into the world. To remind us that we need to save this planet and its people. To remind us that we are better than this. That we are the world. To encourage us to do it. We can make a change; we can change the world. Maybe Michael was such a lightening rod because he asked us to wake up. To do something! To look at ourselves, something that’s not always pretty. He asked us to understand that we are the ones we have been waiting for. He wanted to remind us of our inner brilliance just one more time. He wanted to remind us that we are love. We need a reminder. Michael tried all his life to remind us. In fact, he died trying.


  1. Kate Stefany said . . .

    You did it again.. JUST PERFECT! I love you B ! THANK YOU!!
    “Literally. He was gracious; the world wasn’t.”
    “No, the tragedy is not Michael; the tragedy is the inhumanity of the world.”
    “We need a reminder. Michael tried all his life to remind us. In fact, he died trying.”

    Epic words!

    Posted April 27, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Permalink
  2. Anne UK said . . .

    I think it will always remain a mystery as to why Michael should have been treated with such disrespect all his life. He must have been so hurt by actions, innuendos and lies constantly being thrown at him.What more could he have done? – absolutely nothing. When he built Neverland it was a place so full of love. It might have been to have a childhood he missed but it didn’t only benefit him. Thousands of children enjoyed a day there, where their dreams could come true, where they were given free reign to go all over the property. He gave and gave and still holds the record for being the artist supporting the most charities. He supported so many terminally ill children paying medical expenses for parents who couldn’t afford them, visiting sick children in their homes reading bedtime stories to them, opening his home to them. Micheal made sure that one little boy got the liver transplant he so desperately needed. Why didn’t the tabloids report on all of that? He would never have imagined that taking a whole family to live with him, something which he did out of love could end up causing him so much sorrow.

    During the days of the trial you could visibly see the light fade from his eyes. Even though the trial the media could not be trusted to tell the truth about what was happening in the court room one brave reporter wrote a book about it. No publisher would print it; she had to pay to have ot printed herself. Every concert and appearance he would stand tall and deliver his message of love. So who gave the tabloids and his detractors permission to tear this good, loving man to bits? Why didn’t they follow his example? Why even now is he not getting the justice he deserves? Maybe if we knew these answers we would be on the verge of a discovery that would heal the world. He was such a role model but so many have chosen not to see that. It seems goodness is something not to be tolerated in this day and age. Has the human race learned so little in the last two thousand years? I think if Jesus appeared on this planet tomorrow he would be treated the same way.

    Posted April 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Permalink
  3. lmt said . . .

    Barbara, this is such a detailed look at so many aspects of Michael. I guess those who love him and see him for who he really was won’t ever understand the cruelty heaped on him. And where were his defenders? Why weren’t there people who were speaking up for him and against what was happening? Such a lovely, gentle man—I so wish he could know the love that is here for him.

    Posted April 28, 2010 at 2:43 am | Permalink
  4. Suvie said . . .

    My personal research into this man called Micahel jackson began after his death and so did the love for him. When I knew enough about him the first thing I wondered was, “Why do people call him a TRAGIC FIGURE?” Because apart from “what others did to him”…I saw only LOVE and MAGIC and BOLDNESS. It saddnes me that even his fans call him TRAGIC, he was NOT and Barbara thank you for closing the article with that thought.

    Despite the ridicule he encountered he still came back with the planned O2 tour, can you imagine how much difficult it is come back when the world has already declared you a failure? And my heart warms up to think the joy he would have had when the tickets were lapped up in a matter of hours…so the media had really failed to kill the MAGIC. I am very happy that Michael died doing what he loved doing and the last memories of him will be those of triumph. For me, Michael was a warrior of light… one whom the world tried to decimate but he AROSE LIKE A PHOENIX literally!

    Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:10 am | Permalink
  5. Irina said . . .

    People just seem to love tearing down someone they helped build up in the first place. Unfortunately sometimes people can put someone on an impossibly high pedestal knowing that the fall is even longer. But, much to their dismay Michael refused to do them the way off falling right when and were these cowards wanted him to fall.

    He became the victim of a worldwide media witch hunt that demonstrated very clearly how disgusting slander, defamation and extortion are. He said very publicly in the infamous “60 Minutes” that those that accuse of him of these horrible crimes show much THEIR own mindset about sexuality and children. That it simply reflects on the accuser’s mind set more than his. How right he was. Most people couldn’t even understand what he meant, much less the fact that no child was actually safer than WITH Michael Jackson- because he is the one person who never shied away of proclaiming that robbing a child of unconditional love (a birthright!) and acceptance means robbing them of a happy childhood.

    He made himself vulnerable by simply stating “look, I KNOW how much it hurts not being able to look back at a happy childhood”- people love to mistake it as whining and perceive this simple truth as anither “weakness” to hurt him. These extortionists seemed to have learned from the most disgusting movie concepts of all time: Take what someone loves most to hurt them the deepest way possible. Truly vile and disgusting. People just love to project their own dark stuff onto other people and it only reflects back badly onto them.

    Where were all these celebrities, who were at the memorial. in 2005 when people wouldn’t come near him with a 10 foot pole out of fear the witch hunt would be contagious? Thank goodness for the few true friends he has and thank you to those fans who showed him their love and support in person when some of us could do nothing but send him our love and support in thoughts and good vibes. They only that consoles me about his death: that he now can feel the truthfulness of all us- in a way that was not possible before. If he doubted the love in our hearts- it must be rays of sunshine, puppies, rainbows and unicorns knowing how much we miss him.

    Posted April 28, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
  6. Liz said . . .

    Thank you so much, Barbara. I’m speechless… I’m in tears, my heart broken… I cannot agree with you more… I’ve already told you that you nurture my soul with your messages. I thank you from the bottom of my heart because Michael deserves this, to let people know his true essence. Love and peace, Liz

    Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:08 am | Permalink
  7. Suvie from India said . . .

    Lets assume Michael is standing right there in the center and the whole world is surrounding him.

    And now let me assume that I can command the entire humanity, animals, birds and plants…stones, rocks, mountains rivers and oceans.

    “All out there, please stand up and give a thundering STANDING OVATION to this HERO, this LIGHT of god, this INVINCIBLE GENTLE, LOVING caring soul.

    Thank you Michael Jackson for how you lived, what you gave, for what you created, the pain of humanity you felt, our ugliness of character you suffered…for your LOVE…your KINDNESS…your gentleness….your GRACE…thanks for being JUST YOU.”

    A deafining applause follows….clap…clap…clap…clap…clap…clap…and the graceful Michael Bows!

    Posted April 29, 2010 at 4:01 am | Permalink
  8. Greet Boete Belgium said . . .

    I have to take a deep breath after your words Suvie. Tears. Barbara, what you write about Michael is everything I have discovered the last 10 months. You brought it all together and I think there is more to find out. I am afraid much more. Those who are reading this are already fans. How to reach other people? I see it around me. They are not willing to read one article, let alone investigate or read more. But they are willing to swallow every day hours of TV junk. I try to be patient, to show so much love and, some tell me that I have changed. But I don’t know how to awaken them to be curious. I for myself, experience every day the positive influence of knowing Michael; he brings me joy, solutions, forgiveness, patience, love, wisdom every day. I wish others could find that too. Please Barbara, go on, and try to be like him in standing up, pushing the bounderies. You have more recognition than us. You are doing a great job, and I think Michael was the start of making the world a better place. Again, thanks.

    Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink
  9. Dalia from Mexico said . . .

    Barbara, the development of your essay has been very successful and inspiring. You made me cry. Yesterday I was watching a video on you tube where an interviewer that is supposed to be a professional journalist says to Lisa Marie: “why did you marry Michael Jackson; what where you doing? The expression on her face asking the question was as if he were a monster or mentally ill. It’s very sad that the media have come to that degree of aversion against a person who had done them no harm. His only sin was to be out of the ordinary, unique and remarkably humane without hypocrisy and an example of how we should be as humans. Lisa Marie had to respond: “I married a wonderful man” but was limited to just laugh and try to excuse their mistake.” That’s ignorance on the part of two women.

    Posted April 29, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
  10. jeanne said . . .

    Why Michael? He too asked often. Once he was accused of trying to be like Jesus Christ. I remember this was a big controvery and people said: “wacko jacko thinks he is Jesus” and they were offended. In his opus there is a painting of him at the table with those he’d like most to have his last supper with. They are people whom he admired. Michael loved and admired Jesus and he still followed his heart because he knew his heart was pure and he did not worry about what everyone else thought. I am honored to admire someone who like Jesus wants to heal the world. That doesn’t mean I think I am or he was Jesus but it means to honor what Jesus taught and mirror as much as possible this image. And be brave enough to do it openly and publicly. I love Jesus; I love Michael . Knowing I said this out loud am I ready ? Are we ready ? To follow the great ones who speak of love, who want to change the world? Of course there may be pain, but the end result is worth it.

    Posted April 29, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink
  11. Linh Ngo said . . .

    Michael’s great crime was he was the first black entertainer who has millions of white fans, both men and women, who deeply love and respect him. Before Michael there were other talented black entertainers, but Michael was the first one who actually broke the race barrier and until this day I think he is still the only black entertainer who has millions of fans from all races and continents. Racism in the media and the music industry is much worse than it appears. They did their best to turn the public against him yet he remained the most loving and caring soul.

    Posted April 29, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  12. Suvie from India said . . .

    Many Michael admirers have expressed that people around them don’t get “IT.” Michael does not move them. Don’t despair; they are just not “READY”.
    As Barbara says in one of her posts…we who FEEL Michael and his message are the CHOSEN ONES. We have to carry his TORCH, it doesn’t matter if people around don’t understand. Listen to his song CRY from the Invincible album…over and over again. He is really addressing US. Someone said: “it is not a million sheep that will change the world but a few hundred STRONG, LOVING, KIND men and women that will make all the difference.” Let join the latter and leave the sheep to their own instruments. We are Michaels legacy. Let’s start “Michaeling” our good deeds to open hearts like Michael has opened ours. Thank you Barbara. L.O.V.E

    Posted April 30, 2010 at 6:02 am | Permalink
  13. Suvie from India said . . .

    The other day I was reading a book and it had a quote by Rumi that literally FROZE me. See for yourself how really well Michael Jackson lived his life. No further proof is needed.

    “When you die,
    Seek not the earth as your resting place,
    But the hearts of men.”

    Now do you think Michael is really “buried” in Forrest Lawn? Nah… Michael stole our hearts and made it his living throbbing resting place.

    Posted April 30, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink
  14. Suvie from India said . . .

    Michael loved his fans Uri Geller who was once Michael’s friend said: “What I remembered most vividly was Michael’s devotion to his fans. He drew on their love for strength, and his gratitude for their overwhelming affection was bottomless. I remember watching him in a New York hotel room, searching through every drawer and cupboard before he checked out. ‘Have you lost your passport?’ I joked. ‘I don’t want to leave any gifts behind,’ he told me earnestly. He took a soft toy from a paper bag that a fan had decorated with hearts, and clutched it to his chest in a gesture that had become familiar to me — Michael hugged every gift he was given, as though he wanted to absorb the loving energies into his heart. ‘Everything I was ever given, I’ve kept it,’ he said. ‘I treasure them all. It’s the truth — I have packets of M&Ms from 30 years ago, when I was a kid. Some day, I’ll build a museum for it all.'”

    Posted April 30, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink
  15. lea said . . .

    I don’t consider myself as Michael’s fan because I care less about any celebrities personal life or sensationalism but I favorite his music. After Michael gone, memories flash back in my mind about headlines I’ve read about Michael. It was painful. People only realize what we lost after he was taken away from us. I only cherish his music but I never cherish him in person or what he went through for his entire life. This is the first time I express myself about Michael but I’m still lost of words. I still couldn’t believe what I’ve missed.

    Posted April 30, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink
  16. Sue Springer said . . .

    Thank you, again, Rev. B — as always you have nailed it. That reminder that we are all born of light and love, and we need to remember it. Michael always reminded us there is a child inside all of us, a child ready and willing and ANXIOUS to bring us back to Bliss here on earth, to stamp out fear and loathing, and take each other’s hands, if only we would just remember. All his life I was amazed at the strength and courage of this singular gentle soul. No borders, or boundaries, or color, or ideology — just the family of humankind. If we could just remember to love ourselves and each other like he loved all of us. Thank you Rev. B. Love and Peace, Sue.

    Posted May 1, 2010 at 6:36 am | Permalink
  17. marga1961 said . . .

    I got goosebumps Suvie, from your words about Michael in the center and the whole world surrounds him. Beautiful. We FEEL Michael in our hearts. Since Michael passed away I’m much more connected to the planet; I FEEL more in ordinary life. It’s like a discovery. This article from Rev. B. is so true. And Greet, you take the words right out of my mouth, I’m so happy to see that European Michael-fans and followers are touched by him. All for L.O.V.E. Greetings from the Netherlands

    Posted May 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink
  18. MJFan said . . .

    Wow! This is one of the most powerful articles I’ve ever read. Everything you said was everything I have felt for so long. I couldn’t help but cry while reading this. I have shed many a tear since Michael’s death and my heart still aches for him. Why the world, especially here in America, continues to slander and spew such hatred toward such a beautiful human being is beyond me. Maybe one day people will open their eyes and feel remorse for how this man was treated. That’s a lot to hope for. But as you stated, Michael never gave up on us, so maybe we shouldn’t give up on ourselves.

    Posted May 2, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Permalink
  19. Angie said . . .

    You are a master of putting words to ink. As an MJ fan, I appreciate every word written. God Bless you, thank you.

    Posted May 2, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Permalink
  20. Dalia said . . .

    It seems ironic that in the eyes of the media Michael has been more despicable than Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden is respectfully called by his name while Michael is called “Wacko Jacko.”

    Posted May 3, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink
  21. Elizabeth said . . .

    My tears are flowing freely. Flowing for the shadow Michael had to endure and for how the essence of Michael was captured in your words. I just don’t understand America – We had the greatest gift and what did we do? Thank God Michael never gave up on us. Maybe we can help with the unshrouding of who Michael Joseph Jackson really is….a gift from God. Maybe we can help to finish Michael’s task of bringing enough light into the world to push the shadow back. Rev B I love your understanding of this gracious beautiful man and thank you for sharing with us. Peace and love always.

    Posted May 3, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
  22. Julis said . . .

    Michael was an amazing human being. He always spoke about his love for children and his reasons for being childlike. I believe in his vision. When we become adults, the world conditions us and we loose that essence and innocence that makes us love and laugh and appreciate all of God creations. He is indeed living in our hearts and encouraging us to not give up on mankind but to continue to spread a message of L.O.V.E.

    Posted May 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
  23. Jules said . . .

    I just have one thing to say. Michael was a gift from god. I shall live the rest of my life trying to heal the world.
    How I cry reading this. So TRUE!!!

    Posted May 3, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Permalink
  24. Astrid Bjonness said . . .

    Thank you for a beautiful article. You ask the same questions as I have these last 10 months. I cannot understand the hate; it is so painful and I cry every day still. I can feel his pain so badly and I look at the world and find it so far away. The only way is to try to fill your life with so much love you can find in yourself. I found out about Michael only after his death. We must continue to spread the word and hope…

    Posted May 3, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Permalink
  25. stacey pritchett said . . .

    Thank you for posting this,it is really well written.It speaks the truth about Michael and us as well.People who don’t recognize the spiritual side of life won’t recognize Michaels true nature,he was a spiritual man yet he came to us in the flesh to show love.I have actually felt Michaels spirit in me.I won’t go into details now but he really changed my life and i carry him inside of me and he is here to stay,his presence in me is a great gift and i cherish him.He helps me deal with life,he helps me not to stress and he hepls me show love to people like i never have before.Thank you michael ,i love you.

    Posted May 3, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Permalink
  26. keisha said . . .

    I love your article; very beautiful. What makes Michael a lightning rod? I think people took shots at Michael because he was different and someone they wanted to be like. He was the most kind, loving person with a living spirit; he will never be replaced. His love was pure asking nothing in return but love. People did not understand so they targeted him. But he is a peace now.

    Posted May 4, 2010 at 2:05 am | Permalink
  27. LightSvet said . . .

    Another innocent man was crucified for his pure message of ‘Love one another.’ Michael Jackson carried Jesus’ message that love is important, be childlike and innocent, always love. Jessus said on the cross:”It is finished.” but it was just a beginning… Michael announced:”This Is It” but it’s not the end. It’s a promise.

    Posted May 4, 2010 at 7:11 am | Permalink
  28. dinah19691 said . . .

    The world owes him an apology.

    Posted May 4, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Permalink
  29. Isabella Bresci said . . .

    Just perfet, as usual Barbara.
    Another great article.
    The last part really moved me because it is so true…
    “He wanted to remind us that we are love. We need a reminder. Michael tried all his life to remind us. In fact, he died trying.”

    Posted May 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
  30. Carol (NL) said . . .

    Wow, you could not have written words more true! Thank you. The mystery for me will always be how Michael managed to live for so long with all the pain and injustice the world caused him. I don’t think any other human being could’ve stood as strong as he did. What a man!

    Posted May 7, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Permalink
  31. ellis said . . .

    Thank you for this wonderfully written piece.

    Posted May 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink
  32. r.s said . . .

    Hello everyone

    I get really upset over the fact that even after the truth has been revealed about Michael there are still people who refuse to acknowledge that they were wrong and that Mike deserves respect. However, assured that people who were not real fans have left and the TRUE ones have remained. And from what is sounds like….we are many…we are powerful….and we believe.

    Posted May 13, 2010 at 1:47 am | Permalink
  33. Michelle said . . .

    Beautifully written! When I think of Michael, the Disney story of Beauty and the Beast always comes to mind. Michael represented the beauty of the world, and society represents the beast. In the Disney movie, we can clearly see how society, instead of looking in the mirror and fixing what is wrong with themselves, finds it much easier to blame everything on the Beast, and to hunt him down and kill him. Isn’t that what happened with Michael?

    I thank God every day that I am fortunate enough to have seen the real Michael. I saw past the “shtick.” I saw the true Michael, and I accepted him and loved him as is–unconditionally. When people commented rudely on this changing physical appearance, I was simply always happy to see him. I was a fan of his for 40 years, but knew my place as a fan and did not hunt him down, follow him, or torment him. I had respect for his private time off-stage, and was not selfish enough to become his constant shadow, or “demask” him to steal a kiss, when all he wanted was a little personal space. I have compassion for him, and I took the time to learn about all he had gone through in his life because I cared about him. If people took the time to learn what this man had been through, and could possibly imagine going through life the way he has, how could they not have compassion? How could they not love him unconditionally?

    Michael was more than gracious and hospitable when it came to his fans. In life, he gave everything he had to give, and then he asked, “What More Can I Give?” I believe that says it all. Michael will always be number one in my book. He will always be a fantastic role model, and symbol of Gods pure love. I will not allow the ugliness of society to cloud my vision of who Michael Jackson was, nor will I ever be ashamed to admit I love him. I am proud to be his fan, and I feel truly blessed to have shared this period of time with Michael, to know his music and his magic. He was the sparkle, he was the magic, and that for me he will ALWAYS be!

    Posted May 15, 2010 at 7:36 am | Permalink
  34. cynthia said . . .

    Your writings are profound and sincere. Michael Jackson was not a tragic figure, although what we know about him can sadden our human spirits. Michael Jackson’s gifts provided a window into what Hate really looks like, jealousy and greed, all deadly sins to avoid. Maybe your insight is correct, Michael Jackson was a mirror into our own sinful nature, a lightening rod we don’t like what see, so we project our fears/resentments on others, and Michael Jackson was became the target. Michael Jackson was fearless, a warrior, who seemed to understand the nature of man and spoke loudly about being true to oneself. Michael did Michael and for that, I am very grateful.

    Posted May 26, 2010 at 1:05 am | Permalink
  35. gertrude said . . .

    I fervently hope that no one fools themselves for a moment that the malevolence toward Michael and his family is not in-your-face racism. No one had a chance of ever equaling him in stature in any category. If a white guy came along with that kind of genius and attained the level of global domination that Michael did, would there have been an attack on him that even came close to what MJ endured? If Michael had been a white guy and became rich enough and was astute enough to buy the Sony catalog, he would have been revered for his brilliance and remained a role model and someone to emulate for generations to come.

    If he had been a white guy and contracted lupus and a skin disorder that increased his skin’s pigment so he became darker and required all kinds of medical interventions, people would have expressed great sympathy for what he had to cope with, heralded him for his courage in not making an issue of it. This was a lesson to us all that SKIN is not the measure of a MAN.

    They targeted him because he was: madly beloved by every race on the planet, the biggest star and greatest entertainer of all time, an incredible artistic genius, a beautiful soul and example of someone who tried to live the true spirit of Jesus. HE WAS BLACK, he was a leader and a HUGE threat to the status quo.

    And as for his “weird” interesting pets, Michael was a very young guy who loved animals and had a ton of money – what was he supposed to buy himself, a CALICO CAT?

    I’m glad you opened up this discussion. A lot more needs to be said about this blatant scapegoating and attempted ‘ethnic cleansing’ no matter what excuses are used for the lynching.

    Posted May 31, 2010 at 5:51 am | Permalink
  36. Emily said . . .

    The world owes him an apology.

    Posted June 3, 2010 at 2:48 am | Permalink
  37. marialovemj said . . .

    Would the sun become jealous of a light million times brighter than its own? Would the moon envy the luminous density of the sun? Certainly not, for they harmonically co-operate for the well-functioning of the universe. But man… he can become an envious beast of what he practically seeks to find! The ultimate perfection, the noble prince, his generosity, his benevolence, his strength, unstoppable, unlimited LOVE! Mankind,so immature still, got scared of MICHAEL’s glow. Mankind is poorer without him! Generations long after us will see MICHAEL as a light which has just started to glow. To carry on with his legacy is a privilege and fearless pride!

    Posted July 1, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Permalink
  38. Michelle said . . .

    Barbara you hit the nail on the head! When I talk about Michael to other people most of them say: “Oh,he was good up until Thriller; after that his music was not that good and he became so weird”. It just drives me nuts when I hear that! I think some of his best music was after Thriller and most of it is underrated and did not get the attention it deserved. I have had discussions telling people he was evolving as an entertainer and person; he couldn’t stay the same. None of us are the same, we change, why couldn’t he? And because he wasn’t into the sex and drugs and typical pop star life, people thought him weird. You’re right; he could do no right. Such a talented, loving man didn’t deserve the treatment he received.

    Posted September 9, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink
  39. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Thanks, M. The meme is changing. “Immortal” by Cirque du Soleil) captures the hearts of the audience and a shift is visible upon exiting the venue. Spike Lee has now released his documentary showcasing Jackson’s creative genius. Academians are now creating study courses and other works are in progress. And a petition for a full investigation into the 2005 trial was delivered to Santa Barbara supervisors. Hold space for the truth, keep the faith and keep shining. ~B

    And when the light gets dim:

    “To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.”
    “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
    ~Arundhati Roy

    Posted September 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

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