Inner Michael » Beyond the Twilight Zone

Beyond the Twilight Zone

Where is Rod Serling when you need him? Serling was the originator of a TV anthology series called “The Twilight Zone.” Serling’s voice imitation can be heard on Michael Jackson’s Invincible Album in Threatened.

Serling’s Twilight Zone series took on contemporary themes and covertly satirized them. Through science fiction, the writers of Twilight Zone took on issues like nuclear war, mass hysteria and cultural biases. With the weapon of innocuous fantasy, Ray Bradbury leveled social commentary at contemporary culture in a way that would not have been acceptable overtly. The series became very popular and obviously caught the eye and imagination of Michael Jackson. Michael was a fan.

In Threatened, in the introduction, “Serling” says that a monster has arrived in the village and will soon be met. This monster can feel every emotion and knows every thought. He also signals a profound truth: “The major ingredient of any recipe for fear is the unknown.” And then he says, his mistake—oops, he forgot to introduce you (the audience) to the monster. So allow me to introduce your monster to you… And of course, the people always require a monster to blame for whatever they won’t take responsibility for personally and collectively. Yes, We are The World but don’t remind us.

Then we hear Michael Jackson singing about how he is made a monster and that he, as a monster, is everywhere. He also says that he is the dark thoughts in your head and that he can hear those thoughts.

Michael is amazing in his wisdom. He was everywhere and he was the visible and easy target for shadow projected by the entire world. He was both light (it’s in his lyrics) and shadow because he represented it for “us.” Amazingly he knew this because he references it lyrically.

He mentions that the monster can be in two places at one time. How many times was he accused of things or reported to be doing something when he wasn’t anywhere in the  vicinity? There are people scripturally and via spiritual abilities, who can do exactly that, however, be in two places at one time. It’s called bi-location. Michael reportedly does it now.

He also “knows what’s in your mind” and that is often true of empaths. Empaths not only feel what other people are feeling when they are near or when their consciousness travels to another location (remember the reference to feeling the oceanic dolphin in Dancing the Dream?) but they do sometimes know what is in other people’s minds. Children who are treated harshly develop those abilities in service of defense and safely. They have another sense at work beyond the usual ones because they need to develop it. They can scan and read the environment and everyone in it. It’s not that they hear it with their “auditory” ears but they hear it in another kind of voice. It is a knowing.

There are people who have a special gift of knowing and Michael was one of them. His knowing and intuition is evident in his work. How else do you explain a young virtuoso of age ten knowing when, where and how to add musical phrases and emphasis in certain areas that color vibrantly a phrase that otherwise would be bland? Michael said: “When someone knows or has the gift they should listen.” It’s a frustration common to geniuses. They simply know. And they know that they know. And they demonstrate that they know but are often asked to demonstrate it repeatedly over a lifetime for those who don’t have that skill. But when someone becomes accepted as a genius or superstar in their chosen field of endeavor, people stop asking for proof of that knowing intuition. And that is a relief for a true genius. Finally they can relax. They can ride on their repertoire and their reputation. 

Did audiences pick up on an unusual ability? An unusual presence? An unusual talent? Maybe. Were they afraid of him? Maybe. What would you guess about that? 

Then we hear Michael explaining that when “every time your lady speaks, she speaks of me” and that “you will never be half of me.” What he is saying is: your girlfriend finds me attractive, sexy and twice the man you are. That is a bold statement to make publicly but it makes sense for there were many men who were threatened by Michael Jackson. And many still are. They didn’t like their women being attracted to a Pop Star who was so famous, beloved and who could mesmerize their women. And we should remember that “back in the day” white men were particularly contemptuous of black men whom white women found attractive. There were contemporary circulating myths about black men related to sexuality, performance and reputation. And back in the day before the day they lynched the N-men for even looking at a white woman. Racist white men do not like to see their women attracted to African American men. Black men bore the moniker “boy” because it was a way to emasculate and dismiss their presence as a threat. So how might they feel about a grown man who presents as a boy and who attracts women of all ages, colors, races, ethnicities and classes all over the world?

So those who would tell you that there is no racist agenda in what happened to Michael Jackson are practicing the old art of denial in order to assuage guilt. The envy of Michael is still evident today. In many men. In many places. They become the haters, the detractors, the critics who mention Michael’s boldness, popularity, his magical hypnotic attraction and sensuality in their pieces that are supposed to be evaluations of music but end up being about anatomy-envy. What do we do when we envy someone’s anatomy? We pick it apart. We attack their appearance. We love to loathe them. These men have no idea their own motives for excoriating Michael with their words but they often sound like sophomoric frat boys with thinly veiled jealousy. And women know. 

Michael knew. Of course he attracted that kind of shadow from envious men. Of course they had to make him into a monster. That is what envy does best. But they will never know, will never get it, for the emotional vacuum is buried so deeply and festers so putridly that it surfaces as righteous indignation, blaming and name calling. How else could the internal darkness be revealed? As a part of self? Surely someone else is guilty for we cannot be; it’s too uncomfortable. So along comes a Michael Jackson who just has to be a (the P-word,) right? How could he be so attractive on his own merit? So talented? So magnetic? How could that kind of magnetism be natural? There has to be something unnatural about that, right? It is imperative to find something wrong with him because to stand it otherwise is just not possible. So he must be doing something dark to little boys! He must emasculate them before they become men, don’t you think? How can this vision of masculinity who is not afraid of his feminine side, not afraid to love fiercely and whom women find attractive, not be some kind of monster! So it becomes important to look for the monster in the man. And guess what you find when you are looking for a witch because it’s important to hunt one?

Yes, they were very threatened by the twenty-first century man. Or maybe even the male of the twenty second century. Perhaps “Neverland” may not be a place as much as it is a time. Maybe it is hidden in the middle of the twenty first century somewhere and yet to be discovered. Let’s hope it’s not as “Serling” said “Never Neverland- that’s the place.”

One important ingredient of a Twilight Zone episode was the unexpected twist at the end and the temporal paradox (you’ll have to look it up because I am not going to spoil the surprise for you.) Rod Serling knew how to do that well and so did Michael Jackson. The episode is not over. We’ll be right back after the commercial message.  

Michael also says in Threatened that it is “judgment night,” an “execution,” a “slaughter,” “the devil” and “ghosts” and the monster is “torture.” And perhaps tortured. We are often tortured by things we struggle to understand but evade us. Michael was that kind of enigma. And as an enigmatic, sometimes it appears to be deliberate. Not only is it a tactic to stay relevant but to create a fog of mystery and make one want to part that fog to see what is really there. To look closely. He talks about a “human presence that you think is strange.” Maybe ahead of your time is a synonym here for strange. It has been exactly that in the past.

“Twilight Zone” is a foggy place between realities, between darkness and light, between what was and what is becoming. It is also an eponym—or a word that has come to have a generic trademark quality. The eponym “Twilight Zone” comes from a television series that showcased many cultural myths and memes that were in need of change. And it used science fiction to create that questioning. Twilight Zone has come to mean something else too—“living in the Twilight Zone” means living in a science fiction fantasy world. In the case of making a monster by conscripting Michael Jackson, it took the form of science fiction in journalism, resulting in a tabloid press crucifixion of a real person. Ironic that journey—from the Twilight Zone to tabloid. It worked well. It served its purpose. For some who have not caught on, it appears to still be working to hide the darkness from themselves.

And at the end of Threatened we hear: “What you have just witnessed isn’t then end of the particularly terrifying nightmare; it’s the beginning. If so, maybe we should stay tuned to the continuing saga of the Twilight Zone and watch for the paradox. I wonder what will happen when the journey “from the Twilight Zone to the Tabloid Zone” no longer works. I suspect that only then will the real episode continue; and of course, the final twist is coming…


  1. jeanne said . . .

    I love the way you dissect the words to the music and translate them. One thing I know about Michael’s music is that his music has a way of meaning what is in your head at the time. And at another time. Whatever is discovered by his music and many meanings, there is no denying that Michael was a master of his words and the way his words played on our minds. Michael lived through his music, his art, and this is obvious. Instead of giving public speeches or rebuttals when media attacked he sang about it. It’sin the music. And if you follow the music you follow his life. There is where the knowledge is. I do as Michael suggested and follow the greats. He was one of them. I see greatness and in that greatness is a lot to be learned by a great teacher .

    Posted December 8, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
  2. souldreamer7 said . . .

    Great post. I have questioned this as well. Thank You Rev. Barbara

    Posted December 9, 2010 at 12:14 am | Permalink
  3. Kim said . . .

    Wow, OK, I was just thinking about “Threatened” today. I was asking myself what TV show was that from? I know the show of course; I’ve watched it, but for some reason I couldn’t remember the name. Something made me decide to pop in here tonight and here it was; the answer to my question. All I can say is Wow. Ok, my apologies for the the digression here; just had to mention that. So once again Barbara, you are on target with this. The more I read and learn, the more I feel like I am living in a science fiction movie, but yet things are becoming clearer– if that makes any sense. Ironically, for those who are detractors who are continuing to try to discredit and ruin Michael’s reputation and legacy, they are doing the opposite. More people are starting to realize who Michael was and what he stood for. During some recent conversations when Michael’s name came up, the opinion has been positive and they didn’t believe what the “media” was saying about him. While there are those who are drinking the Kool-Aid and believe the sensationalism, there are also many people who believe in the real man of who Michael was. I’d say that is pretty ironic for those who tried to invoke the opposite reaction. They probably didn’t expect that there would be a significant outpouring of support. Yes I can also see why Michael was loved by both men and women. He offered all those traits you mentioned; still does. For those who hated or were jealous of Michael, well I think you explained that beautifully. Why couldn’t they just accept him for what and who he was? Why is acceptance so difficult? I know shadow plays a big part of that as you have so eloquently explained before. Thank you. Namaste!

    Posted December 9, 2010 at 5:01 am | Permalink
  4. Dalia said . . .

    Very true Barbara. Michael was incredibly aware of his genius and his role and place in this world. Is amazing the way he shows his reality in the lyrics of the songs. A highly intelligent and brilliant man who never ceases to amaze. It’s incredible his knowledge of situations and how he anticipates the facts, he describes my reality, and knows his power, his strength, much wisdom. The monster is threatening to many. You are an amazing writer Barbara. God bless you always!

    Posted December 9, 2010 at 6:23 am | Permalink
  5. Theresa B said . . .

    I have been thinking a lot this past week about the racism that is at the heart of the persecution of Michael Jackson. Earlier this week, my thoughts were so focused on it and my brain and heart so full that I almost sat down to write about it. And then, here you are writing these words. I do have some faith that the positive voices in support of the truth of Michael Jackson and his life are beginning to turn the shadow back. We just have to keep trying. Thank you Rev. Barbara!

    Posted December 10, 2010 at 3:13 am | Permalink
  6. Suvi said . . .

    It should be some kind of telepathy Barbara… ever since I heard the song Monster I wanted to read something about “Michael Jackson the monster in the mirror” on your website. And the day you posted this post, I came and more than half hoped to read about the topic in my mind and there it was. Its beautiful and painful at the same time. Thank you.

    Posted December 10, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink
  7. Susan T said . . .

    Thank you, Rev. Barbara, for having the courage to address the ugly racial overtones surrounding Michael. He became such a powerful and influential figure in our world and overwhelmingly threatening, especially to powerful “white” men. Those who say horrible things about Michael are extremely jealous of his effect on people from every race, culture and gender. I remember reading something recently regarding the ’05 trial and how certain powerful figures in the community in and around Santa Barbara didn’t really like the fact that this extremely wealthy and successful African American man owned such a valuable expanse of prime land and then went about creating a fairy-tale place of magic for children to enjoy. Some of these people had their sights set on it to develop, i.e. vineyards, etc. It was almost like there were people associated with the DA that were plotting to bring Michael down.

    I’ll never forget the ugly and disrespectful way in which “Mad Dog” addressed Michael’s friend, Chris Tucker, during the trial. He had the unmitigated gall to call him “boy”! When you read hateful and vilifying descriptions of Michael on comment and webposts, it’s so obvious those voices belong to the men you describe here. I wonder, too, that maybe Neverland is a “time” rather than a place. Perhaps it existed, briefly, because of Michael’s creative vision, to be revisited in the future as we evolve and become more connected to our inner selves.

    I especially enjoyed the way you paralleled many aspects of Michael’s’ life to the messages contained in each Twilight Zone episode. This is a very thought-provoking piece and Threatened just resonates on a whole new level now.

    Posted December 11, 2010 at 12:27 am | Permalink
  8. gertrude said . . .

    Thank-you for another great exposition of truth Rev. B. Thank-you for your FEARLESS truth-telling. Michael didn’t just raise the bar, he grabbed the bar and threw it way out past the stratosphere. That’s when the wailing and gnashing of teeth began and that’s when they went for his blood. The sleeping race continues to kill its saviours. And thanks to Michael for throwing the bar to the high place we need to go to. Thank Michael for going there and for HOLDING OUR HANDS while we struggle to rise to it. Thanks to Michael for “THREATENING” us. How badly we need it.

    Posted December 11, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Permalink
  9. eva maria said . . .

    It heales my soul to read all this about Michael. I was and still be so ashamed about how he suffered so hard. His mouth was smiling, but in his eyes, I could see his pain, his
    heart, his soul was crying so much, and he needs our help. I was crying too so much time, I coud feel this pain inside him for all what happened to him in past, for his parents, his brothers and sisters and the most for his wonderful children; they lost their loved father. But I know, God doesn’t makes mistakes, and all media and other vampires, their time will come. And they have to pay much harder prices for all their lies and other faults, for the things they had done to Michael. I believe in god. And Michael is my teacher now. He influenced me to become a better woman. Michaels message still is living inside of millions of our hearts. We will see forward to heal the world, to change. With Michael’s words I will say: “We are the world.” With my deepest love and respect forever and ever, God bless you all. Eva Maria

    Posted December 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

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