Inner Michael » A Glance Beyond the Stars: to the Soul

A Glance Beyond the Stars: to the Soul

The first draft of Joe Vogel’s piece for Voices Education Project, that I just read turned me from simply an appreciating reader into a Joe Vogel fan. Joe was invited to become a contributor to the “Words and Violence” curriculum dedicated to Michael Jackson and Lady Diana Spencer.

I didn’t expect Joe to go where he did. I didn’t expect him to have that voice. I didn’t expect him to take on the world or to use that language. He’s more than provocateur in what came from his pen– he is angry (in a very productive way,) sensitive, and ever the teacher, as well as cultural critic as he takes us inside the mind of Michael Jackson and inside the flimsy cultural memes. I was glad to be there. I was glad to know Joe and I was especially glad for his boldness, his ability to slice to the bone of the contention of cultural culpability in the abuse of Jackson.

The piece will live permanently in the archives of “Words and Violence, the education packet that I invited others to help me create in January of 2010 after seeing “This Is It” and shortly after the inauguration of Inner Michael. The 200 page (and growing) curriculum is a work in progress for middle school, high school and college students that addresses the languages of words and images and how they may be used for violence. Words can harm, heal or be neutral.

In the case of Michael Jackson words were employed in a way that has never been seen before nor since. It is a cultural phenomenon that continues even into his “death trial” in 2011. People still want to get inside Michael Jackson– what is that? Joe Vogel speaks about it in his new article being released soon.

I am so pleased Joe Vogel has agreed to be a contributor to Voices. Wait until you see his contribution! Coming soon! You will be able to read it front page at Voices Education Project beginning November 1.

Here is what Joe has to say:

“After nearly five years of research and writing, Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson will finally be officially released in bookstores around the world on November 1, 2011!

My goal for this book was simple: I wanted to write about Michael Jackson, the artist. When I started the book in 2005, nearly every book that had been written about Jackson focused on the controversies of his personal life and were often covered in very reductive, superficial ways. That was what publishers were willing to publish and that, they assumed, was what audiences wanted to read. Even Michael Jackson’s autobiography, Moonwalk, and collection of poems and reflections, Dancing the Dream, had gone out of print and could not be found in bookstores. I remember visiting my local Barnes & Noble in 2006. There were dozens of books on Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain. But there was only one on Michael Jackson: Diane Dimond’s exposé, Be Careful Who You Love.

I wanted to change that.

Michael Jackson loved books. Throughout his life, he visited bookstores and came home with stacks of books. He loved to study and learn from the greats he admired, from Chaplin to Disney to Michelangelo. He aspired to be studied and appreciated in the same way, to be respected as an artist, not a tabloid oddity.

It is my hope that Man in the Music will be a book that does that for Michael Jackson. He deserves it. He is, after all, one of the most culturally significant and artistically unique artists of the past century.

We’ve seen enough tabloid-style books make the bestseller list. Perhaps there are enough of us interested in the “man in the music” to prove that a book of substance can do it too.

Please also check out the premier of a fan-organized effort I have endorsed called Pay Michael Forward to learn about contests, prizes and creative ways readers are sharing Man in the Music.


Very soon you will receive a newsletter from me (if you are signed up for Michael Messages) endorsed by Joe Vogel, that will announce a contest that begins November 1 so stay tuned for lots of excitement.

The contest will feature Joe Vogel’s book Man in the Music from Sterling Publishers. Inner Michael will sponsor a contest for those who are willing to help us push Joe Vogel’s Man in the Music to the New York Times best seller list. I know we can do it! On Monday I will tell you how so stay tuned for that!

The Conrad Murray trial resumes on Monday and here is what I suggest. Do your shadow work- breathe, close your eyes and visualize the best possible outcome for all concerned. Add a huge dose of emotion– a feeling of peace and resolution and completion with this trial. See it with feeling!

One can already see tiny miracles in what has occurred in the trial. Yes, there are those hard to fathom photos passed around the internet and among the unscrupulous. But remember what occurred in the first week- Michael’s own voice telling us how he planned to build a children’s hospital with the proceeds from This Is It.

We heard him when he didn’t know he was being recorded. We heard him in his own voice. We heard him speak of his humanitarian and philanthropic work when there were no cameras running, no one to impress nor convince of anything. We heard him and the world heard him. That may be the most important testimony of this trial. And it said more about guilt and innocence than anything else entered into evidence.

It was a window to his soul. And we were allowed a glance.