Inner Michael » The Elephants Know: Earth Day 2013

The Elephants Know: Earth Day 2013

Taking time out from our conversation to honor Earth Day, we remember Michael Jackson’s Earth Song and how he attempted to bring attention to the plight of the planet– from poisoning the air to the extinction of species. No other artist before him couched a plea for planetary stewardship. Jarvis Cocker certainly didn’t get the message and others including the music critics followed his lead.

The mocked him saying “There goes Michael Jackson trying to save the planet again!” And in particular the cynical among them eschewed the line “What about the elephants, have we lost their trust?” Jackson was ridiculed by the cynical for that line and called out for anthropomorphizing a “dumb beast.” Jackson knew about the extraordinary ability of animals to communicate; he studied it.

So how dumb is Jackson? Well, how dumb are his elephant friends?

Prior to the earthquake and Tsunami that devastated Indonesia in 2004, the elephants all headed for higher ground and other animals followed. They were saved from the rising waters.
This story is verified by the wife of a legend. Snopes doesn’t know what to do with it:

Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestsellerThe Elephant Whisperer, bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during US invasion in 2003.

On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died. (62 years old.) He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons and numerous elephants.

Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved man-friend.

A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to get to his South African House.

Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence ‘s passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way:

Walking slowly – for days –Making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house. So, how after Anthony’s death, did the reserve’s elephants — grazing miles away in distant parts of the park — know? “A good man died suddenly,” says Rabbi Leila. Gal Berner, Ph.D., “and from miles and miles away, two herds of elephants, sensing that they had lost a beloved human friend, moved in a solemn, almost ‘funereal’ procession to make a call on the bereaved family at the deceased
man’s home.”

“If there ever were a time, when we can truly sense the wondrous ‘interconnectedness of all beings,’ it is when we reflect on the elephants of Thula Thula. A man’s heart stops, and hundreds of elephants’ hearts are grieving. This man’s oh-so-abundantly loving heart offered healing to these elephants, and now, they came to pay loving homage to their friend.”

Lawrence’s wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over 3 years! But yet they knew where they were going.

The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honoring their friend who’d saved their lives – so much respect that they stayed for 2 days 2 nights without eating anything. Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back.


If you want to know about the intelligence of elephants and understand their culture, read “White Bone” by Barbara Gowdy. You will never look at an elephant in the same way.

If you have not found a way to do something about the planetary crisis, have a Happy Earth Day by looking into:
Union of Concerned Scientists
The Nature Conservancy
or my favorite: The Pachamama Alliance


And you could make a donation to “A Million Trees for Michael”



Michael gets a surprise birthday present:


Earth Song at the Britts:



  1. Robbie M. said . . .

    The idiot that interrupted Michael`s performance was Jarvis Cocker….not Joe Cocker. I cannot imagine Joe Cocker being so unmannerly. Michael adored Joe Cocker`s voice, singing style and music. He is simply one of the best!

    Posted April 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink
  2. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Of course it’s Jarvis Cocker! Thanks for catching that; I love Joe Cocker too; he’s a classic. You know I have been thinking about the Jarvis thing… what artist runs up on stage during a performance, moons the performer and runs amok all over the set of another performer when he/she is in mid-performance? Cocker said afterwards that he was offended by Jackson’s portrayal of a Christ figure. However, when I look closely is appears Cocker was on stage long before that reveal.

    What artist would do that and get away with it? Perhaps only Kanye West and he was severely criticized for it. Taylor Swift was blindsided and stunned. Beyonce was mortified.

    I was also thinking about the many artists who have portrayed Jesus on stage: Ted Neeley in “Jesus Christ Superstar;” the on and off broadway and touring companies that did “Godspell;” even Jim Caviezel in the film “Passion of the Christ.” And there are other Christ-like figures portrayed through out history. And what about “Matrix?” Those are all archetypal portrayals of a messiah figure. No one else was subjected to the treatment Jackson got for his work. Most of the problem, I think, was people fixated on the caricaturization fuled by racism and missed the ART completely. Not an “entertainer.” Not even “the greatest entertainer who ever lived.” ARTIST.

    Posted April 23, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink
  3. Robbie M. said . . .

    I doubt if people like Jarvis Cocker and a whole lot more expected ART to be presented to them. When it was they couldn`t handle it, couldn`t understand it and could never believe that this black man turned white, androgynous and softly spoken as he was, could ever be capable of intelligent creative work that left them all standing dumbstruck at the breadth, depth and scope of what they were witnessing.Far easier to mock, ridicule and lambast. Isn`t that always the case? Belittle someone who you cannot even begin to match for talent and vision. Who today can look back and readily recall anything Jarvis Cocker did? With Michael on the other hand…….enough said! Goodnight from Scotland

    Posted April 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink
  4. gertrude said . . .

    Yeah, it was all about racism. Michael was punished and punished for being the most globally beloved icon of all time while being black, for being without parallel in his field while being black, for having the social conscience to sound the environmental alarm while being black and while so many other “entertainers” and “artists” were diddling with coke etc. instead, for being a Master and a genius while being black, for being better than the white boys while being black, for marrying “the King’s” daughter while being black, and let’s never forget, for buying the catalogue of the 4 “Gods of Rock” while being black. This all being of course, only the tip of the iceberg of what he accomplished while being black.

    And that was one gruesome crucifixion of him we witnessed in 2005, so who better to represent Jesus? Who was not and never will be a Caucasian. Even though, because they are my favorite animal, I’ve known what superior beings elephants are; that story was still astounding. Thank-you, I am adding it to my arsenal of facts proving that elephants are better than we are.

    Posted April 24, 2013 at 5:46 am | Permalink
  5. katiew said . . .

    They were both so beautiful inside and out. Their philanthropy, their simple joy. I love the super soaker video. Two little kids: Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson. How much fun it would have been spending time with the two of them acting like kids. He could be himself with her and she with him. No betrayals.

    And the video of Liz Taylor and the elephant… She was such a little girl at heart so full of life, like Michael. I am so happy that they had each other for comfort and for fun. I read that he and Elizabeth would disquise themselves and go to the moves. I can hear the laughter. MJ had such a sweet and boisterous laugh as did Liz. The world is a sadder place without those two icons.

    Posted April 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink
  6. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Agreed. Have you seen my childhood?

    Posted April 25, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink
  7. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    If you love elephants you will love “White Bone.”

    Posted April 25, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

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