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Which side in CULTURE WARS is Michael Jackson on?

December 5, 2020

When the news of Elton John’s story about  Michael Jackson arrived here I was reading the works of Professor James Davison Hunter, the American sociologist who coined the expression “Culture wars” and first used it in his book “Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America” published in 1991.

This groundbreaking book is not online, but I read two others by the same author entitled “Death of Character – Moral Education in an Age without Good or Evil” (published in 2000) and “Is there a Culture War? A Dialogue on Values and American Public Life” (2006).

What was remarkable about my reading is that Elton John’s story was a perfect example of the culture war described by the author – the culture division and even polarization between Michael Jackson and his immediate circle in the entertainment industry, in Hollywood and the media serving the interests of one side only, all of which formed an immensely hostile cultural opposition to Michael Jackson.

CULTURE WAR

The Culture war will help you understand why some people in Michael’s homeland are virtually unable to see his innocence – and not so much because of the total absence of evidence to support those baseless allegations, but primarily due their lack of certain personal traits necessary to understand his character and core moral values.

The problem of these people is that due to the realignment of values that took place in the US several decades ago, their own morals became relative and are now deprived of their commanding character. Instead of convictions these people have preferences and “truth has become a matter of taste for them – all provisional, all exchangeable,” often subject to fashion and certainly having nothing to do with the moral imperatives that existed earlier.

These wonderful people are called progressives.

According to sociologist James Hunter the culture war, raging in the US already in the 1990s, began between the ‘progressives’ and ‘traditionalists’ sometime in the 50s when traditionalism came as an answer to the progressive trends that rose at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then progressivism has scored one victory after another.

To see what progressivism is, you actually need not go further than the beginning of Hunter’s book “Death of Character. Moral education in an Age without Good or Evil” with has an introduction with a telling subtitle “Postmortem”:

“Character is dead. Attempts to revive it will yield little. Its time has passed.

Character is formed in relation to convictions and is manifested in the capacity to abide by those convictions even in, especially in, the face of temptation. This being so, the demise of character begins with the destruction of creeds, the convictions, and the “god-terms” that made these creeds sacred to us and inviolable within us.

Both values and lifestyle as a way of living that reflects the accumulation of one’s values bespeak a world in which nothing is sacred. Indeed, sacredness is conspicuous in its absence.

There is nothing there that one need believe, commanding and demanding its due, for “truth” is but a matter of taste and temperament.

The implications are simultaneously liberating and disturbing. There is unprecedented individual freedom that few would be willing to relinquish. But there is also a license that disparages self-restraint and responsibility toward others.

When the self is stripped of moral anchoring, there is nothing to which the will is bound to submit, nothing innate to keep it in check. There is no compelling reason to be burdened by guilt.

Dostoyevsky had it about right: everything becomes possible – every violence, every deed of corruption, every mockery of justice, every act of indifference – because there are no inhibiting truths.”

Moral anchoring is missing now because what used to be a code of universal moral values has morphed into some relative and individual preferences. James Hunter chronicles this process step by step and shows that it brought about so big a conflict between the progressives and traditionalists that it amounts to nothing less than a culture war.

In plain terms, a culture war is a fundamental conflict over what people see as morally right and wrong and Hunter explains how come the new generations cannot tell one from the other and have no idea what a ‘moral value’ actually is.

To those who claim that they don’t notice any cultural war around them he says that it rarely manifests itself in the open – “it is episodic and, very often, local in its expressions” as it actually runs at the deepest and most profound levels of public life.

“While the American public culture was undergoing a realignment that was generating significant tension and conflict, these antagonisms were playing out not just on the surface of social life but at the deepest and most profound levels, and not just at the level of ideology but in its public symbols, its myths, its discourse, and through the institutional structures that generate and sustain public culture. Thus underneath the myriad political controversies over so-called cultural issues, there were yet deeper crises over the very meaning and purpose of the core institutions of American civilization.”

As a result of these profound antagonisms, by early 2000s America divided into two almost monolithic groups – ‘traditionalists’, who roughly made one fourth of the population and another one fourth, initially called ‘permissivists’ with all others somewhere in between.

James Hunter describes the warring parties as follows:

“Traditionalists see the world as one with fixed moral guidelines while the ideal of permissivists is to see the world that offers individuals greater choice.

Traditionalists are, in terms of their commitment to traditional morality, self-sacrifice, and a belief in absolutes, the most conservative people in America today. The traditionalists are overwhelmingly and conservatively theistic in their religious stances.”

Their opponents are so different that he calls them the inhabitants of a fundamentally different moral universe.

James Davison Hunter

Inhabiting a fundamentally different moral universe are the permissivists”, who make up about 27 percent of the American population [in 2000].

These individuals are perhaps the most secular of all Americans, the most lenient toward traditional morality, the most relativistic toward truth, and among the least self-sacrificial in weighing personal interests against the common good.”

The sociologist does not take sides and stigmatizes neither of the parties.

“The traditionalists attracted to orthodoxy, Hunter has always insisted, cannot be dismissed simply as reactionary or backward looking.

Progressivists had noble ideals of their own, holding a view that “idealizes experimentation and adaptation to any innovation with the changing circumstances of our time.” Their goal was “the further emancipation of the human spirit and the creation of an inclusive and tolerant world.”

Given that James Hunter called it a culture war already in 1991, it means that the fight between conservatives and progressivists reached the stage of a war already 30 years ago. Since then things went only from bad to worse resulting in so deep a confrontation in the US now that it is visible with a naked eye even to outsiders.

And though some American scholars still deny the existence of any culture wars whatsoever, contemporary readers of Hunter’s books unanimously agree that not only did it exist thirty years ago, but it explains very well what’s going on in America today:

  • “The struggle to define America” makes sense of battles over the family, law, politics, art, and education. There are especially bitter battles over God’s place in society, abortion, and same-sex marriage. Explains very well what is going on in America today. Highly recommended reading.
  • This book warned America of the coming storm that would be unleashed by progressives/libs. Still a must read. Very informative.
  • Hunter backs it with chronicles of how the culture war has been conducted thus far. First, he says, we are dealing with core philosophic differences over questions to do with ‘how the world should be.’ Thus, both sides have deep emotions on the said issues. Second, the game is about power – the power to get your policy instituted and your other’s quashed. Third, each ‘side’ operates using somewhat incompatible philosophic assumptions. To the anti-abortion-rights activist, it is a child and abortion is murder. To the abortion rights activist, it is only potential life and prohibiting abortion is denying the mother freedom of person. Where one sees freedom, the other sees either servitude or murder. Incompatibilities like these, says Hunter, will ensure that there will be no satisfactory end to the culture war – just a long, tiring, rhetorically charged, and endless, struggle.

Insightful observers noted already in 2004 that the struggle is not so much about Democrats and Republicans, but about Godly America and Worldly America:

“As Simon Schama said of the election of 2004, “not since the Civil War has the fault lines between its two halves been so glaringly clear. . . . It is time we called those two Americas something other than Republican and Democrat, for their mutual alienation and unforgiving contempt is closer to Sunni and Shia, or Muslim and Hindu. How about, then. Godly America and Worldly America.”

But even that description is not quite correct – the editor’s note to James Hunter’s book stresses that the culture war is surprisingly cutting across even the established religious communities, so that conservatives within each tradition are more likely to share values with conservatives from other traditions than the progressives within their own.

To put it plainly, people divide into ‘progressives’ and ‘traditionalists’ even within one creed and tend to form previously unheard of alliances with other creeds or even secularists:

Unlike the religious and cultural conflict that historically divided the nation, the contemporary culture war is fought along new and unfamiliar lines. Its foundation is a profound realignment in American culture which cuts across established moral and religious communities.

“Culture Wars” presents a riveting account of how Christian fundamentalist, Orthodox Jews, and conservative Catholics have joined forces in a fierce battle against their progressive counterparts–secularist, reform Jews, liberal Catholics and Protestants–as each side struggles to gain control over such fields of conflict as the family, art, education, law, and politics.

There can’t be any doubt that at the moment the struggle between the two sides is much more fierce than at the time when James Hunter wrote his first book. But even then the intensity of the conflict was almost as bad as during the Civil War:

Not since the Civil War has there been such fundamental disagreement over basic assumptions about truth, freedom, and our national identity.  

https://iasculture.org/research/publications/culture-wars-struggle-define-america

Remember that the above was said in 1991, so we can only imagine how deep the culture division is now and how deadly the fight is thirty years after it was first described.

WHICH SIDE WAS MICHAEL JACKSON ON?

Which side of the fight was Michael Jackson on, though he certainly didn’t realize that he was at war with anyone, or to be more precise, that the other side was at war with him?

Well, whether progressives like it or not, the awkward truth about Michael Jackson is that he was a conservative.

Americans noticed it themselves and even ask questions on the web like “Why was Michael Jackson so conservative?”

The most obvious answer to that is that his conservative views were formed by his mother and the Jehovah Witness faith, his hard work since early childhood and his overall upbringing, as well as his natural instinct and phenomenal creativity genuinely regarded by Michael as the Heavens’ gift.

Faith in God was central to Michael Jackson’s character and whether he stayed a Jehovah Witness or not is not even important – whatever changes his faith underwent the moral imperatives that come with it still remained intact.

Self-constraint, responsibility, repentance, seeking constant moral guidance from the above were not just shallow words for Michael Jackson – they were his core moral values which served both as an anchor and a huge restraining force.

Progressives certainly don’t know what this feeling is like.

Well, actually it is all about the set of priorities for oneself – “God first, me second” for a believer and the tranquility he feels when he knows that he is trying hard to live the way the higher power expects him to  –  in contrast to “Me first” for a non-believer accompanied by a feeling that he is his own master and can live his life as he sees fit, and there is virtually nothing to restrain him in doing as he pleases as long as it looks proper to others.

Still not clear?

Well, a true believer cherishes his contact with the higher power and voluntarily submits himself to the moral constraints associated with it. He knows that certain things are simply not done as the human wisdom accumulated in thousands of years is telling him, so in a situation when his instincts tempt him to defy it, he will still resist it and the success of his effort will depend on the strength of his character and faith.

And Michael Jackson had both.

At the age of 15 he was found reading the Bible to the two prostitutes sent to him by his father, so instead of having sex with them he was trying to put them on the road of repentance (the girls were said to have left in tears).

In the 1990s when he was no longer a Jehovah Witness, he still cherished his precious contact with the higher spirit:

  • “For me the sweetest contact with God has no form. I close my eyes, look within. The infinity of God’s creation embraces me” (from Dancing the Dream book).

Long after he formally left the Jehovah Witnesses he still praised the Almighty when he did something right:

  • “When I write something that I know is right, I get on my knees and say thank you. Thank you Jehovah!”

And it was this higher power only that Michael relied on when facing all the bullying and media frenzy in 1993, and when he prayed on his knees with Karen Faye before every court session in 2005.

God was obviously Michael’s only hope and was his usual state of mind, and this is why when Conrad Murray recorded him in 2009 expecting to get some incriminating evidence against MJ, all he heard was that even the half-asleep Jackson still spoke of God and said that it was Him who wanted him to help children.

Being aware that for the progressive crowd God is dead, I realize only too well that Michael’s religious views are a sort of an embarrassment to them, a boring inconvenience they have to tolerate and a joke for those who are doubting his faith and innocence too.

However whether they like it or not, the fact that Michael Jackson didn’t imagine his life without God is still there, and by the way, the progressivists should know that it means that Michael always lived with a feeling that the Lord knew each of his thoughts, and this contributed a lot to his moral self-discipline and capacity for restraint.

Actually, for Michael Jackson restraint was a lifestyle and this shows how silly are the conclusions of some psychologists who claim that since he didn’t go for sex with every groupie it means that he was “asexual” or hiding his true sexuality.

These ignorant observations, same as the shameless child-abuse lies about him, are a million years far from the truth as they simply come from a different moral universe than Michael’s.

THE OTHER WARRING SIDE

You will probably be interested to know that progressivism as a force opposing conservatism is painted by James Davison Hunter in a fairly positive light.

It all started in mid 20th century when the traditional  moral values taught to generations through religious teachings and imposing certain constraints on children to help them self-master their character, gave way to the “progressive” understanding of moral values as the old system began to be criticized for “crushing the souls of children” through religious dogmas.

The progressives meant well as they considered that morality should not be imposed from the outside, but should be developed by the young minds through their own personal feelings, self-understanding and empathy to others.

Almost in no time the place of ministers was taken by psychologists who, as James Hunter puts it, established nothing short of a “psychological regime” as their word became decisive in all public discussion while the voices of philosophers and theologians were muted or non-existent.

“There are sociological reasons why psychology has emerged as the framework for understanding the moral life as well. With theology in all its forms discredited as a public language, psychology has offered a seemingly neutral way to understand and cultivate the best qualities of the human personality.

It is “science” after all, and science, we are inclined to believe, is “objective.”

Please note that it is James Hunter who put the words “science” and “objective” in inverted commas, and due to my somewhat psychological background I even know why. Unlike physics or maths psychology lacks precision and wholly depends on the prevailing social ideas and ideology, and therefore almost any ideological construct can find its confirmation in psychology, at least temporarily.

Whatever the case, under the guidance of psychologists the system of moral education in the US was fully reworked. It began to be centered on the children’s feelings, building their self-esteem and on the concept of accepting oneself no matter what.

Hunter says about it:

“The centerpiece of this orientation has been the emotions surrounding one’s own self-concept and well-being captured in the concept of “self-esteem.” We are told that children who feel good about themselves tend to do well in school, are less likely to take drugs, will be sexually responsible, and will be more tolerant of others.

The self-esteem idea was later repackaged into other terms like “emotional intelligence” for example, however its essence remaining the same.

The psychological regime strengthened from year to year, replacing the old system of teaching moral values and growing dominant in every sphere of public life:

“The influence of psychology on our understanding of moral life has, in turn, had an impact on American culture. To whom do school systems turn when they need counseling for their students, or lawyers when they need “an expert” in court to explain the behavior of criminals, or journalists seeking opinions for a story on juvenile delinquency? We summon the psychologist, the child psychiatrist, the psychiatric social worker. The specialized knowledge of such individuals became the common sense and working wisdom of parents, educators, and policymakers alike.”

It may sound incredible but the system of moral education led by psychologists eradicated the idea of values clarification in principle.

Teachers took pains to avoid imposing moral values on their students – the idea was to let children work them out themselves by learning to be conscious of their feelings, clearly express them and project their own emotions onto others who find themselves in similar situations.

But what initially looked like a good idea quickly turned the previously universal moral values into one’s own personal feelings, relative in comparison to others and certainly not absolute or universal in any way. Each worked out his own values, and their difference began to be seen no better or worse than others – they were ‘just different’.

By the late 1980s, many curriculum publishers and practitioners were going out of their way to distance themselves and their agendas from the very idea of values clarification.

The dominant strategy of moral education in the public schools has continued to frame its pedagogy in the same psychological terms: the importance of feelings as a guide to one’s values, an emphasis on individual choice, the centrality of self-regard or self-esteem to the student’s moral maturation.

Bobby McFerrin: “Don’t worry, be happy  Ain’t got no place to lay your head Somebody came and took your bed Don’t worry, be happy….”

For adults this created a little industry of self-help literature that captured the minds of many by its focus on self-acceptance, which somehow reminded me of the satire in Bobby McFerrin’s song “Don’t worry, be happy”.

As to children here is just some of their psychological advice on how to help kids to become morally mature:

  • “Feeling good” about oneself is seen as one of the ingredients of success, so “talk positively about yourself, accept your likes and dislikes, your strengths and your weaknesses, think of ways to reward yourself” .

  • Caring for ourselves also teaches us how to care for others. If we value and respect ourselves, we are better able to appreciate and respect others.”

  • “At every level it is the child’s feelings that are to be understood and consulted, so it is not that engaging in sex outside of marriage is foolish or morally wrong – it is the fact that it may make the child “feel anxious and worried” that matters.”

  • “If you feel good about yourself you will not need drugs; if ever tempted, you will have the moral wherewithal to resist. To this end, the program helps young people to explore and understand their emotions.”

A more specific example comes from the “Growing up Caring” curriculum:

In framing the moral problem of cheating, Growing up Caring shows a picture of a girl looking over the shoulder of another while taking a test. The caption reads, “Cheating, in any form, is bad for your self-esteem.” The moral argument is not that cheating is objectively wrong because it violates a universal value or principle, but that it lowers one’s self-esteem.

 In the chapter “Caring,” “students are told that “listening to our own feelings and trying to meet our own emotional needs can help us meet the needs of others. Becoming a caring person takes practice, and caring for ourselves can become an ongoing lesson in how to care for others.”

Let me interrupt this sweet narration and exclaim that the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions. It can be only in this crazy context that continuous caring for oneself may be regarded as “a lesson in how to care for others”.

In fact, the worldwide wisdom says exactly the opposite – when you constantly care about your own feelings only, it turns into a lesson in indulgence, egotism and self-gratification.

Even when these mantras are wrapped in a slightly more moral packaging (“Why should you care for another? Because it will make you feel better”) the focus still centers on the benefit for one’s precious self rather than the good of others – in contrast, for example, to the simple and golden religious rule: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”

I can’t believe that this complicated psychological mess focusing on personal feelings could replace the simple sharing of moral wisdom on what’s right and wrong that took the human civilization thousands of years to work out.

In fact, just one parable from the New Testament – the one where a mob wanted to stone an adulteress and Jesus said, “Let him without sin cast the first stone” and all of them slowly dropped their stones and left, can teach the absolute moral values better than all those psychological curricula taken together – justice, mercy, compassion, chastity, the need to restrain one’s urges and aggression, remorse, repentance and much more.

No wonder their novel “don’t worry, be happy” approach to moral education quickly brought its first impressive results. James Hunter describes them as a huge disappointment.

“When the Commission of Values-centered Goals for the District of Columbia Public Schools examined the existing value-centered educational programs in 1987 they noted that “The problems of the district were so serious that the commission recognized that young people increasingly perceive that the pursuit of material wealth is more valuable than honesty, integrity or commitment.”

“The commission also noted that 61 percent of all District babies are born out of wedlock each year, 20 per cent of which were to teenagers, nearly 40 percent of all District children are living in families headed by a single mother who is likely to be raising her children in poverty; and that the District’s drop-out rate was more than 15 percent points over the national rate.”

The Commission concluded thatthe district badly needed to find a way to encourage students to develop a sense of self that goes beyond a preoccupation with instant self-gratification.

Thankfully, Michael Jackson missed out on all those innovations and learned his morals the traditional way – he didn’t attend school due to hard work since the age of 5 and had to educate himself on the road. His main teaching book was the Bible and his favorite classmates were the people who attended the Jehovah Witness gatherings.

  • When I was young, my whole family attended church together in Indiana. As we grew older, this became difficult, and my remarkable and truly saintly mother would sometimes end up there on her own. When circumstances made it increasingly complex for me to attend, I was comforted by the belief that God exists in my heart, and in music and in beauty, not only in a building. But I still miss the sense of community that I felt there — I miss the friends and the people who treated me like I was simply one of them. Simply human. Sharing a day with God.” [ Michael Jackson]

When Michael attended those gatherings he was in his element and his positive experience with these people must have led him to believe that those outside his community were basically no different and shared the same moral ideals – which was a very big mistake.

Michael was unaware that the world around him could have no idea what absolute moral values are and what they believed to be ‘values’ was, in fact, catering to their individual preferences and tastes –  the system which they naturally assumed about all others.

If someone had told Michael that people around him were confusing morals with their feelings and the principle of “caring for oneself”, he would have probably not believed it, same as I couldn’t believe it either when I was reading James Hunter.

Due to Michael Jackson’s innocent unawareness of the fluid moral environment around him, coupled with his own inviolable Jehovah Witness views imbedded in him since as long as he remembered it, he was indeed an alien to others, especially in the very specific atmosphere of Hollywood and entertainment industry he had to circulate in.

He wasn’t at war with these people.

He simply couldn’t understand their ways, same as they couldn’t understand his, and his sincere words about his love for children, for example, had a totally different meaning for them and were interpreted the way their own self-gratification system led them to believe.

And there was no way for the two sides to understand each other. To begin with, none of them were even aware of the huge cultural divide separating them as cultural conflicts like that indeed run too deep for people to realize them. And secondly, what was acceptable for them was unimaginable for Michael, and vice versa.

Fluid morality allows people to experiment to satisfy their wishes and desires and they will still consider themselves good citizens worthy of public praise, while Michael’s strong moral backbone, anchored in his faith, did not allow him to explore or even consider those options.

For people like him what is not right is simply never done, otherwise they will lose their cherished contact with the universe, their creativity, their inspiration, their everything.

Actually it’s useless even to try and explain it. A cultural divide like that is impossible to explain. Anyone who knows what I am talking about will understand it without explanations, while those who were brought up in a different tradition will never understand.

EXAMPLE

The only way for them to probably see is look at an example.

This is why let me recall Elton John again and that piece in his biography where he talks about Lady Gaga as a godmother for his sons Zachary and Elija.  Elton John calls her a “great role model” for his children and says that the boys call her “Gaga mother.”

And all of it would be fine, especially now that Lady Gaga seems to be “the soul of the nation” and a great role model for the whole country, if it were not for one small detail – her close friendship with guru Marina Abramovic who instructs her in art, meditation and “spirit cooking” performances.

In case you don’t know what “spirit cooking” is, here is an example of it presented by Marina Abramovic at the annual Watermill Center benefit in 2013 attended by Lady Gaga to honor her friend and guru.

Below is just one of Abramovic’s installations.

Some say that it is a corpse-like cake, but to me it looks like an immobile live model performing the role of a corpse that is served with hot chocolate or some other brown sauce. Lady Gaga is seen tasting it, while people around her look delighted and amused.

Cannibalistic art events are Marina Abramovic’s favorite.

In 2011 the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) hosted a dinner where Abramovic dressed her guests in lab coats and placed the listless-looking heads of live models into the center holes of dinner tables as well as a naked woman with a skeleton on top of her on one of the tables.

For dessert at that dinner several men brought in two life-size corpse cakes fashioned after the images of Marina Abramovic and singer Debby Harry who sang at the party. The two divas personally cut the hearts out of their cake doubles and served them to their guests.

Those who faced this kind of progressive art for the first time felt perplexed and confused, but regular visitors seemed to enjoy themselves – for example, the Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other elite guests seen in this photo:

Celebrities had their pictures taken beside the corpse-like cake and the only thing some of them were displeased with (for example, the MeToo activist Rose McGowan) was that they had to put white lab coats over their evening dresses.

Gwen Stefani beside the half-eaten cake imitating a corpse

Rose McGowan resented the need to put a lab overcoat

The majority of the guests left the event with mixed feelings. However the media unanimously assured them that this is “art”.

There was only one woman who ventured to voice her concern – and not even about the immorality of the event, but about violating the rights of actors who had to stay lifeless throughout the evening. The media ridiculed her for the baseless complaint as according to their sources the actors didn’t mind, so everything ended just fine.

To add to the overall picture, let me say that Marina Abramovic’s art is in hot demand now – in Munich she presented an opera featuring Maria Callas’s seven scenes of dying on stage from the respective seven operas and Abramovic’s only problem was that the corona virus delayed the premiere.

The review said: “Defying the Odds, Marina Abramović Presents the World Premiere of Her First-Ever Opera in Munich. The artist takes to the stage to die seven times in highly anticipated performance about celebrity, love, and inner crisis.”

Abramovic is also a welcome guest at the Royal Academy of Arts in the UK where she regularly arranges her lovely performances and delivers lectures about her art.

I listened to one and found that among the awards showered on her in almost every major European city she was given a prize for her performance in Venice called “The Balcan Baroque” where she sat on a pile of cow bones for a week 8 hours a day “washing blood from the bones” amid the unbearable stench.

To explain the message of the performance she described the way they kill rats in the Balkans – stronger rats eat the weakest until only one is left, after which they “pull its eyes out” and have it eaten by another rat, and this, according to Abramovic, was “her strongest message for her Balcon Baroque art”.

And you know what? The avid listeners at the Royal Academy of Arts survived the lecture very well. In fact, they even behaved as if this was really art and not a case of extreme moral decay and a sordid celebration of rotten ideas and perversion.

The media invariably speak of Marina Abramovic in glowing terms (a new word in art!) while any normal person will tell you that these freak shows are crossing all boundaries, are sick to the core and border on plain cannibalism.

But how come the media and all these people don’t notice the immorality of what they do?

The reason for that is their moral relativism that doesn’t allow them to see the glaring sickness it really is. Their “progressivism” tells them that it is a way to “explore the boundaries of modern art”, so no one has the right to judge it as morally wrong.

What’s interesting though is that when it comes to Michael Jackson, the same progressive media which only a moment ago fell over themselves to glorify Marina Abramovic, will immediately get on their moral high horse and pick at everything that was Michael – his looks and make-up, his loneliness and isolation, and even his silence at a lunch table with Elton John.

And they will do it unanimously thus betraying their deepest secret – that almost all mainstream media are on the “progressive” side now and therefore antagonistic to Michael Jackson. And not because of his alleged flaws and things he never did, but because of their own cultural agenda and ideology, opposite to his.

Even in his death they still regard him as a threat to the triumph of their progressive ideas due to his fantastic ability to unite like-minded people around him, so we can only imagine how much more hostile to him they were when he was still alive.

How would Michael Jackson feel if by some accident he found himself at a spirit-cooking event arranged by Marina Abramovic?

Would he taste the brown sauce spilled over the corpse-like body like Lady Gaga did or would he flee the event to never come there again?

Would he fall ill and vomit in some bushes?

Would he spend sleepless nights and despair over the monsters human beings are turning into?

There are many options for his possible reaction, but one thing is certain – if Michael had seen that cake he would have been abhorred and disgusted by the decay which is now called “culture” by some people.

And this is apparently why they hate him so much. If the people of the world had a choice between this “progressivism” and Michael Jackson, they would certainly choose Jackson.

Because in spite of all the media efforts to prove otherwise, his views were normal while as regards all those others I am not sure.

52 Comments leave one →
  1. Taj Tabbah permalink
    December 5, 2020 11:40 pm

    This is an exceptional analysis. You so perfectly explain the moral relativism that blinds the mainstream media and detractors who believe admission of sharing his bed can only produce guilty, lustful behaviour,

    It’s extraordinary to think that in the face all evidence to the contrary, there are still those who distrust Jackson’s behaviour; but ultimately their response explains so much more about them than it ever did about Michael.

    What can we conclude? Unfortunately, there are somethings, some people may never understand, never accept, nor ever learn; but In time I hope history will be kinder and future generations might come to understand Michael in a very different way.

    Like

  2. mj4alltime permalink
    December 6, 2020 12:35 am

    Thanks for keeping this going, Helena.

    I hope you’re well and keeping safe.

    Best regards,

    Heather

    ________________________________

    Like

  3. luv4hutch permalink
    December 6, 2020 10:59 am

    Look. Michael was not part of the culture wars. He was completely above that fray.

    Just because his lifestyle was very buttoned-up and, as Kit Culkin once said, “like a Victorian old maid,” did not make him politically a conservative. If he was conservative, it was only in how he lived his life, not the way he viewed the world or was politically. He wasn’t progressive or conservative politically, he was just Michael. The proof is in the fact that that he didn’t support one political party above another, didn’t stump at political rallies or endorse candidates, and in fact, wasn’t focused on politics at all. He was focused on the world at large, on the matters of helping children all over the world, battling bigotry, and environmental support. Michael was not going to talk about budgets, trade deficits, legislation or any of that.

    Further, progressivism does not equal “moral relativism.” In fact, moral relativism is condemned throughout. There’s a difference from saying that morality evolves and is always changing through the ages to saying that it’s relative; because relativism there is an excuse to simply be selfish and egocentric. Progressives also have distanced themselves from the “self esteem buildup movement”, and are focused more on balancing out with reality checks. Things have changed since 1991, and you are trying to scalp progressives with out-of-date information.

    Saying teachers need to pass moral judgment in order for children to learn morals is simply wrong. Because then it’s not teaching, it’s dogma, and often goes hand in hand with hate. Roger Waters of Pink Floyd can personally attest to this, because his schooling in post-WWII England had not only that, but vicious corporal punishment and bullying of anyone who dared to ask questions and not simply passively accept what the teacher said. This is specifically what the song “Another Brick in the Wall Part II” is about, as well as having a generalized statement supporting nonconformity that can apply to any situation.

    Morality is dynamic and is always changing. Your talk of “traditionalist methods” opens the doors to a floodgate of bigotry. Because traditionalists use and have used the “word of God” to justify marital rape, stoning, abusing and/or killing children who disobey their parents, slavery, laying entire cities and their populations to waste, and forced conversion. The Westboro Baptist Church pickets the funeral services of gay people to say they are burning in hell, complete with vitriolic picket signs and even threatening the families of the deceased. They especially did this after the murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998, a young gay man who was stripped naked, beaten viciously to cause internal bleeding, and his nude body wrapped around a barbed-wire fence. Who were the people to point out that this was an absolute disgrace? Why, the progressives, of course. (And Elton John and Bernie Taupin have become lifelong friends of Shepard’s family and wrote the song “American Triangle” in dedication to him. But Elton did cocaine long ago, so he’s evil, right?)

    Many of the people on the side that you say is the good one have shown themselves to be the very evil they rail against. Reverend Jimmy Swaggart led a long campaign against pornography and also said that fellow reverends Marvin Gorman and Jim Bakker had to surrender their credentials for marital infidelity; Swaggart was caught with a prostitute. He made a tearful, over-emotional “confession” on TV called the “I have sinned” speech, but refused to hand over his credentials. Then when he got caught again, this time he wasn’t repentant, saying, “The Lord said it’s none of your business!” Ted Nugent says that he supports family values and says that progressivism is the scourge of society. Yes, let’s take seriously the man who once admitted that he had sex with hundreds of underage girls, adopted a girl so he could marry her so he could have sex with her, and wrote songs entitled “Jailbait” and “I Am A Predator.”

    Yes, Elton had a very strange reaction to Michael, more based on the caricature than reality, but did he say that he hated Michael, that he thought he was the worst human being on Earth? No he didn’t. If anything, he made it sound like he felt sorry for him. Besides, why do you use Elton’s past addiction against him, as if he’s scum that can’t be redeemed, but absolve Michael of his? Because he needed them because of the Pepsi burn? But you admit need turned to addiction. Either both are scum that can’t be redeemed, or both cases were just a case of sickness that needed love and attention to get them back to the other side. Or what about Eric Clapton, someone who had a past addiction to heroin, then moved on to be an alcoholic? Is he irredeemable scum, even though now he runs the Crossroads Centre in Antigua to help addicts?

    Gwyneth Paltrow never claimed to be sweet and innocent. That wasn’t why she said she got upset at Harvey Weinstein’s actions. It had to do with consent. How can you possibly miss this? There are certainly plenty of things to be upset at her about, and spoiler alert, progressives are actually quite embarrassed by her and her GOOP website for her constant exposure of woo instead of science. But this isn’t one thing to be upset about. Besides, BDSM is about consent too. And for the record, the dominant, or top person doing the actions, isn’t the one in charge. The submissive, or receiving party, is. The sub sets the rules for the dom to follow, and if the sub doesn’t like one thing, the dom stops it. And the SNCTM club doesn’t actually think themselves as Godlike or above God, it’s just a theme. They’re not actually serious. And again, it’s only about consensual acts, not anything more. If both parties are consenting and no one is getting hurt, there’s nothing wrong with it.

    Marina Abramovic isn’t actually a cannibal or suggesting that. Besides, how is this problematic when the church will refer to sacramental wafers as the body of Christ and sacramental wine as the blood of Christ. Abramovic is doing exactly the same as here.

    There are also plenty of Godly progressives, as those are not incompatible. Look up Jimmy Carter, Chris Pratt, Martin Scorsese, Kevin Smith, Bono. And if anything, many of them are for more in imitation of Jesus than conservatives are, because they don’t focus on “hating people that aren’t just like me.” In fact, a dyed-in-the-wool progressive, Jackson Browne, wrote this song about Jesus and Christmas that you’d totally agree with:

    Michael was not a messiah, not a missionary seeking to convert people, not full of fire and brimstone. Why are you intent on elevating Michael to be something more than he ever was, and something he would hate you considering him as? And why has this blog devolved from vindicating Michael to being a place to attack anyone simply because “they’re not good and perfect like Michael was?”

    Like

  4. December 6, 2020 3:51 pm

    “If he was conservative, it was only in how he lived his life, not the way he viewed the world or was politically. He wasn’t progressive or conservative politically, etc. etc. ” – luv4hutch

    Exactly, it was only how he lived his life. I never said that Michael was a conservative ‘politically’.
    In fact, the whole of your comment is just a big straw man argument where you constantly attribute to me what I didn’t say and never even intended to say.
    You are arguing with yourself only replacing my thoughts with your own ideas which you then rush to refute.
    And I am just a bystander here amazed to see you fighting your own ideas which you only allege to be mine.

    I hope that your straw man tactics are unintentional and all of it is just due to stereotyped thinking.
    However this blog should have proven to you that it is not about stereotypes.

    Like

  5. luv4hutch permalink
    December 6, 2020 4:04 pm

    I’m not here to argue against you, either, I’m trying to clarify things and help things out. Because you’re flirting with some dangerous and radical territory, the like that modern Internet monsters, particularly those on the alt-right, prey on. I’m trying to be here to keep you from drifting too far from the shore.

    If enough people think you’re crazy, they’ll abandon you in droves and not come back. Not necessarily abandon Michael’s innocence, but you and your work. And they won’t tell you upfront, they’ll just leave without saying a word.

    Like

  6. December 6, 2020 4:33 pm

    “I’m trying to clarify things and help things out. Because you’re flirting with some dangerous and radical territory, the like that modern Internet monsters, particularly those on the alt-right, prey on. I’m trying to be here to keep you from drifting too far from the shore. If enough people think you’re crazy, they’ll abandon you in droves and not come back. Not necessarily abandon Michael’s innocence, but you and your work. And they won’t tell you upfront, they’ll just leave without saying a word” luv4htuch

    I see that now in the West it has also become dangerous to speak one’s mind – same as in my country, only on other subjects.
    So let me, as an outsider, also give you a little piece of advice.

    By trying to silence those with a different opinion and forcing them into self-censorship you are drifting in the direction of totalitarian thinking, and unfortunately the process is going very fast.
    It has taken me somewhat by surprise as I didn’t expect to get out of the frying pan into the fire here.
    So I know all the options, but it won’t stop me from voicing my opinion.

    And by saying that I am trying to help you. We are too much familiar with where you are only heading.

    Like

  7. luv4hutch permalink
    December 6, 2020 4:41 pm

    See, this is what I’m talking about. I’m not silencing you by any means. I’m just trying to help you understand that you’re not achieving anything by painting so many people with a broad brush, castigating them as monsters and “THE REAL PERVERTS WHO GO UNPUNISHED BECAUSE THEY’RE PROGRESSIVE!”

    Lady Gaga is not a monster by any means, but because she happens to attend a party given by someone who makes human-shaped cakes, that must mean she’s a secret Satanic, cannibal, pedophile witch. You may not be saying it outright, but you’re definitely dropping veiled hints like that. You should know that guilt by association is one of the weakest standards to determine wrongdoing, because they aren’t responsible for what their friends do. Just because one person hangs out with another person who may or may not have done something wrong means nil in the scheme of things.

    Case in point. Michael’s name and phone number are in Jeffrey Epstein’s black book.

    Let me make sure you understand this.

    Michael’s name and phone number are in Jeffrey Epstein’s black book.

    Michael’s name and phone number are in Jeffrey Epstein’s black book.

    Michael’s name and phone number are in Jeffrey Epstein’s black book.

    What does that mean? Absolutely nothing, other than clearly, Michael once was at a party with Epstein and talked with him at some point. But because of the standard you use to attack Gaga and imply she’s an evil person who doesn’t deserve to be “Gagamother” to Zachary and Elijah, this standard would say, “Michael and Epstein were buddies! They were in it together!”

    Like

  8. December 6, 2020 5:56 pm

    Too many straw man arguments again, so I will just correct some factual mistakes.

    “Michael’s name and phone number are in Jeffrey Epstein’s black book.”

    Not quite. The telephone numbers were not his, and not even of his associate, but of a friend of his associate – it was a New York number. MJ was seen with that third party just once when he was going up in an elevator to take part in some negotiations. Michael didn’t attend any of Eptstein’s parties and probably never even met him.

    As to Lady Gaga, please leave your straw man arguments to yourself.

    The factual side of the story is that Lady Gaga is very big friends with Marina Abramovic and has been close to her for years. The Internet abides in their pictures together and Lady Gaga taking meditation lessons from her guru. I’ve tried to watch a video of that meditation but couldn’t last more than half a minute. Not that it was that bad, but it was something definitely not to my liking. The comments of those who saw it said that it produced a creepy impresion.

    Marina Abramovic herself looks to me as a psychopath craving for attention and who therefore is ready to cross any boundary in order to be in the center of attention. There are no limits to what she is capable of doing. Her “art” is the manifestation of her deeply sick self and the fact that people fall for her tricks and consider it to be “art” shows that these people are hollow inside and their emptiness can be filled with any filth anyone is ready to put there, and they will still not notice it and will even applaud. All you can do is feel sorry for this “intellectual elite” – they are pathetic.

    Lady Gaga’s long friendship with this woman points to her mindset being the same. I actually shuddered when I saw a picture of her on stage with the words “soul of the nation” on it, because after all those photos with corpse-like cakes she seemed to be tasting, it looked to me that associating her name with the “soul of the nation” was the least appropriate thing to do. Are we supposed to think that this what the soul of American people is like?

    As to their pastime being “satanic” I have no idea. I actually don’t know what it is even supposed to mean.
    It is quite enough for me that the various events these people arrange are immoral, sick and in their very essence are insulting to my soul. I want to keep my soul clean and am sure that Michael wanted to keep his clean too.

    Like

  9. luv4hutch permalink
    December 6, 2020 6:08 pm

    All right, so Gaga and Abramovic are friends. So what? That doesn’t say anything. Again, one person is not responsible and shouldn’t be held responsible for what their friends do, if they themselves aren’t doing it. You still can’t say this proves anything about her.

    I am relieved that Michael never met Epstein. But still, let’s say for argument’s sake that he either did meet him once, or made use of his plane when shuttling to Bahrain and/or Ireland. What does that say about Michael? Not a thing, certainly nothing to establish that he and Epstein were partners in crime. But if this standard is true for Michael, then it’s also true of Gaga. You can’t automatically say someone is guilty of something their friend does, because that’s not how evidence or logic works.

    How can you say that Abramovic’s art is obscene and filthy, when priests refer to sacramental wafers as “the body of Christ”, and sacramental wine as “the blood of Christ.” Or the passages in the Bible where Jesus is quoted as saying so to his disciples. Abramovic is basically doing the same. You can’t be all that shocked, really. It’s “eat me drink me” writ large. If anything, the religious should be right at home.

    When it comes to “the soul of the nation”, it was very true. America’s future and very soul were at stake in this election, an election to determine if America could recover, or exist in name only and be fully turned into a banana republic. That’s what she was pointing out. But you said yourself that you don’t want to bother to learn about American politics, so what does that matter?

    And remember, Michael wasn’t sweet and loving 24/7. Michael was also a shrewd businessman, ruthless, cunning, eager to swoop in for the kill on a deal of his to improve his empire. The thing is that he could turn on a switch, and be whatever the situation needed to be. He can be both the savvy, merciless businessman and the loving, God-fearing disciple wanting to spread love. Likewise, Elton John is both a kind, compassionate, professional person who goes around the world on behalf of his AIDS foundation, and a temperamental hothead that can take his anger out on anything. One can be both things. One is not either entirely good or entirely evil in the real world. Michael was no different. Sure he was good above all else, but to say that he was nothing but is dishonest.

    Like

  10. December 6, 2020 6:46 pm

    “All right, so Gaga and Abramovic are friends. So what? That doesn’t say anything.”

    Their friendship shows that they share the same values. This post is about human values in case you forgot.

    And the fact that Michael was once seen in an elevator with a man whose friend’s telephone was found in Epstein’s black book does not mean that he shared the same values as Epstein’s. All it means is that Epstein had a technical number in his notebook that could enable him to find MJ via some third party.

    “How can you say that Abramovic’s art is obscene and filthy, when priests refer to sacramental wafers as “the body of Christ”, and sacramental wine as “the blood of Christ.”

    I perfectly can. There is no comparison between the above symbolic deeds with Marina Abramovic sitting on a pile of horribly smelling cow bones (for reasons known only to herself) and “picking out the eyes of a rat with a knife” which she explained to be the idea and message of her sitting on those bones.
    Besides all of it being filthy and insane, it is also ridiculous. She is trolling everyone by her mad performances, and the grateful audience gives her prizes for her dark baffoonery! Actually it is “The Emperor’s New Clothes” folktale all over again, only in its horror version.

    This madhouse is what the loss of moral character leads to. James Hunter was right.

    Thank you and good-bye for today. It is 2.45 am here.

    Like

  11. luv4hutch permalink
    December 6, 2020 8:01 pm

    Well, when you are awake, I want you to know this. You don’t have to have the same values as someone else to be friends with them. On the contrary. Differences in opinion and lifestyle haven’t stopped friendships before. So again, you can’t say that Gaga is the same as Abramovic.

    Like

  12. luv4hutch permalink
    December 6, 2020 9:12 pm

    You also skated around my question. Maybe you didn’t understand it fully so I’ll break it down.

    Let’s say for the sake of argument that Michael did meet Epstein. This is NOT me saying that he did, but I’m posing a hypothetical thought experiment here. Again, not me saying it happened, but posing a what if.

    So, what if Michael had met Epstein at a party, or had used his jet in order to head to Bahrain or Ireland? What would that say about Michael?

    The answer is that it wouldn’t say anything, because if such a meeting or relationship had happened, it wouldn’t be enough information to say whether Michael and Epstein used each other to procure victims. You can’t make a judgment to say that someone is guilty of the same thing another person does just because they know that person.

    So, if under this hypothetical, could’ve-happened-but-actually-didn’t situation of Michael knowing Epstein, you can’t judge whether or not Michael did anything wrong, then you also can’t judge whether Gaga is the same as Abramovic. After all, you don’t have to believe the same thing as someone else or the same values as someone else to be their friend. On the contrary, friends can often get in debates about each other’s beliefs and values all the time.

    Simply put, Gaga is not Abramovic, whatever Abramovic is, and she is indeed a good person. Most people, even most people in Hollywood, are good people. To tar and blacken names and reputations in this broad, slanderous and uncaring a manner while simultaneously attacking those who did that to Michael simply does not mix.

    Like

  13. December 7, 2020 5:57 am

    “Simply put, Gaga is not Abramovic, whatever Abramovic is, and she is indeed a good person.” – luv4hutch

    I didn’t say that Lady Gaga is a bad person. She is quite young and in her search of new ways for self-expression she is simply seeking instruction from a person who is only exacerbating her innate instincts and cravings. She is somewhat lost and when she gets older will probably be “found” if she doesn’t go too far to make it irreversible.
    If she had made friends with Michael Jackson, for example (hypothetical situation), she could have found comfort in much cleaner ideals – IF such a friendship had been possible at all.

    Lady Gaga is a modern version of Madonna, and Michael once discussed Madonna in his conversations with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach not meant for the public eye. He said he was sure that she would change her shocking ways if she had children.

    Michael Jackson: I think she likes shock value and she knows how to push buttons on people. I think she was sincerely in love with me and I was not in love with her. She did a lot of crazy things and that’s how that went. I knew we had nothing in common. But I am pretty sure that having a baby has to change you. I don’t know how much she has changed, I’m sure she is a better person than before.

    [ ] I don’t understand a lot of things that go on in relationships and I don’t know if I ever will. I think that is what has hurt me in my relationships because I don’t understand how people do some of the things they do.
    SB: Mean things?
    MJ: Mean things and vulgar things with their bodies. I don’t understand it and it has hurt my relationships.
    SB: So for you love is something very pure?
    MJ: Very pure. It shocked me some of the things.

    SB: Do you find it easier to be closer to motherly figures in your life like Elizabeth Taylor, your own mother, who you always praise, and your sister Janet? You have been around some mean women, as well, who behave in a masculine – aggressive way, like Madonna. You told me -that she can be mean. [ ]
    MJ: In some ways, yes, and some ways, not. It depends on the age. I have seen some women who are very bitter and mean and they become ladies later. They come into their own and they become good people. I have seen it in my brothers’ ex-wives who were horrible. They were like nightmares when they were young. With time and age they become good people. But they were horrible, just horrible. Then with time they just level out, that’s what I like when they become truly good.”

    More about Michael Jackson on his values here: “For Me Love Is Something Very Pure” https://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/michael-jackson-for-me-love-is-something-very-pure/

    Like

  14. December 7, 2020 6:14 am

    “Most people, even most people in Hollywood, are good people.”- luv4hutch

    I am sure they are. Some people definitely are and some are simply caught up in the current trends a la Marina Abramovic. They simply do not realize how much better they could feel if they cultivated within themselves a little bit of clean-thinking.

    “To tar and blacken names and reputations in this broad, slanderous and uncaring a manner while simultaneously attacking those who did that to Michael simply does not mix.”

    You keep interpreting my words in your own very specific way and exaggerating things beyond recognition. You mention “slander” though all I do is providing facts and photos for everyone to assess them on their own. I certainly have my own opinion about these things but Michael Jackson expressed his too.

    By the way, this is what he said about Hollywood in his highly private conversations with Shmuley Boteach:

    SB: (I asked Michael about his celebrity friends. Why could he connect with them more than with noncelebrities?)
    MJ: Yeah, but I don’t really have Hollywood friends. I have a few.
    SB: Why don’t you? Why don’t you hang out with more celebrities?
    MJ: Because I don’t think they are all real people. They love the limelight and I don’t have anything in common with them. They want to go clubbing and afterwards they want to sit around and drink hard liquor and do marijuana and do all kinds of crazy things that I wouldn’t do. We have nothing in common. Remember the line I told you? Madonna laid the law down to me before we went out. “I am not going to Disneyland, okay? That’s out.” I said, “But I didn’t ask you to go to Disneyland.” She said. “We are going to the restaurant and afterwards we are going to a strip bar.” I said, “I am not going to a strip bar.” Guys who cross-dress!
    Afterwards she wrote some mean things about me in the press and I wrote that she is a nasty witch, after I was so kind to her. I have told you that we were at the table eating and some little kids came up. “Oh my God. Michael Jackson and Madonna. Can we have your autograph?” She said. “Get out of here. Leave us alone.” I said, “Don’t ever talk to children like that.” She said, “Shut up.” I said, “You shut up.” That’s how we were. Then we went out again and went to the Academy Awards and she is not a nice person. I have to say it. She is not a nice person.
    SB: Did the people around you feel that it was important to be seen with her?
    MJ: They knew nothing about it. This was totally between her and me.
    SB: So you gave it a chance and it didn’t work?
    MJ: Yeah. I gave it a chance like I try and give everything a chance.
    SB: You basically saw that your values do not match those of most Hollywood people.
    MJ: No, they do lots of crazy things that I am not into and at the time I was with Madonna she was into these books, a whole library of books of women who were tied to walls. She said. “I love spanky books.” Why do I want to see that?
    SB: I think a lot of it is the image. She once said something to the effect that she would much rather read a good book than have sex. I think the other vulgar stuff is part of the outrageous image she tries to cultivate.
    MJ: She’s lying [about preferring to read a book]. I can’t judge. I don’t know if she has changed or if she [is] trying to claim she has changed. [ ] How would you like getting a phone call and she is telling you that she is putting her fingers between her legs. I would say, “Oh Madonna, please.” She said, “What I want you to do when you hang up the phone is to rub yourself and think of me”. That’s the kind of stuff she says. When I see her she says: “This is the finger I used last night”. Wild, out of control.
    SB: But you were raised that all things romantic should have a certain modesty. […] If a woman walks around with all her cleavage showing…
    MJ: Frank loves it. (Michael gestured to Frank Cascio, who was sitting right next to us. We all laughed.) Of course you want to look. I am in love with innocence and I tell Frank that.

    MJ: I don’t like clubs now, I did all that when I was eleven, eight and- going back—nine, eight, seven, six, Fights break out, people throwing up, yelling, screaming, the police sirens. Our father never let us become a part of it other than to perform and leave. But sometimes in having to do that you would get caught up in some of the craziness. I saw it all. The lady who came on right before, when The Jackson’s were little. “And now next, The Little Jackson 5,” was the lady who took off all her clothes. Threw her panties into the audience and the men would grab them and sniff them. I saw all this. Her name was Rose Marie and she put these things on her breasts and moved them around and she showed everything. So when I became sixteen, seventeen and guys would say. “Let’s go clubbing.” I would go. “Are you crazy?” And the guys would be like, “No, are you crazy? We can get girls, we can get liquor.” But I had done that. I did that when I was a baby. Now I want to be a part of the world and the life I didn’t have. Take me to Disneyland, take me to where the magic is.”

    Like

  15. December 7, 2020 7:38 am

    “You don’t have to have the same values as someone else to be friends with them.” – luv4hutch

    With acquaintances yes, but with friends no.
    Common values are a must for a true friendship, it is actually the foundation of it. It manifests itself in what the two friends like and dislike, and everything else. The difference in their values will sooner or later erupt into the open, resulting in these people distancing from each other.
    The longevity of an unlikely friendship based on different values depends on how patient, tolerant and appreciative of each other they are.

    Like

  16. December 7, 2020 8:30 am

    “Let’s say for the sake of argument that Michael did meet Epstein. This is NOT me saying that he did, but I’m posing a hypothetical thought experiment here. So, what if Michael had met Epstein at a party, or had used his jet in order to head to Bahrain or Ireland? What would that say about Michael?
    The answer is that it wouldn’t say anything. You can’t make a judgment to say that someone is guilty of the same thing another person does just because they know that person.
    So, if under this hypothetical, could’ve-happened-but-actually-didn’t situation of Michael knowing Epstein, you can’t judge whether or not Michael did anything wrong, then you also can’t judge whether Gaga is the same as Abramovic.”- luv4hutch

    We certainly cannot make conclusions about people having common values on the basis of an accidental photo of them taken together at some public ceremony, where they could meet quite by chance.
    But the very same photo taken at an exclusive party which both can attend only by joining a secret club speaks of these people sharing the same values.

    It is difficult for me to imagine that Epstein would (hypothetically) provide Michael Jackson with a plane to go to Bahrain, for example, because this kind of a gesture presupposes a certain level of friendship to have already been formed between the two – people rarely throw away big money just to please total strangers.
    Steve Wynn was MJ’s friend and this is why he often allowed Michael to fly on his private plane to Las Vegas. Otherwise he wouldn’t have done it.
    So even hypothetically I cannot imagine Epstein offering MJ his plane to fly to Bahrain – unless Epstein could use that event to his own advantage.

    The place where the plane flies is also important.

    If (hypothetically) Epstein had given Michael his plane to go to Bahrain, it would mean that he gave his helping hand to MJ to just travel from one place to another because the latter couldn’t arrange or afford it on his own for some reason.
    However, if Epstein had flown MJ to his island (hypothetically again) it would mean that both intended to engage in some activities there.
    Of course we cannot rule out that Epstein flew various people to his island just to brag about his house or enjoy the unique landscape there. In this case any conclusion about those visits should be based on the regularity of those visits as this is exactly what points to a certain amount of friendship to have formed between these people.

    Like

  17. December 10, 2020 5:00 pm

    Previously I thought that Marina Abramovic with her cannibalistic corpse-like cakes is the only one in her “progressive” art. But today I’ve come across the news dated September 2019 about cannibalism becoming a serious topic for discussion even among scientists.

    A certain Swedish behavioral scientist suggested that eating human flesh could “combat climate change”. He said that the main impediment to the spread of his idea was the “conservative” taboos that exist from ancient times against consuming human flesh. People should “awaken to the idea” and he – “to not appear overly conservative … he’d be open to at least tasting it”.

    And the people sitting beside him did not even leave their seats? And probably went to have lunch together with him? Has the world got mad or what?

    The NY Post reports:

    Scientist suggests eating human flesh to fight climate change
    September 9, 2019

    Swedish behavioral scientist Magnus SöderlundTV4

    A Swedish scientist speaking at Stockholm summit last week offered an unusual possible tactic in combating global climate change: eating human flesh.

    Stockholm School of Economics professor and researcher Magnus Soderlund reportedly said he believes eating human meat, derived from dead bodies, might be able to help save the human race if only a world society were to “awaken the idea.”

    Soderlund’s argument for human cannibalism was front and center during a panel talk called “Can You Imagine Eating Human Flesh?” at the Gastro Summit, reports the Epoch Times. “Conservative” taboos against cannibalism, he said, can change over time if people simply tried eating human flesh.

    Some of the talking points at the seminar included whether humans were too selfish to “live sustainably” and if cannibalism is the solution to food sustainability in the future.

    When asked during an interview after his talk if he personally would try human flesh, Soderlund said he was open to the idea.

    “I feel somewhat hesitant but to not appear overly conservative … I’d have to say … I’d be open to at least tasting it,” he told Sweden’s TV4.

    He suggested more plausible options such as eating pets and insects.

    Before human meat becomes the next cuisine trend, however, history shows there are potential health risks to cannibalism.

    A tribe in Papua New Guinea practiced eating their dead as an alternative to allowing them to be consumed by worms, according to the Standard. The cultural practice led to an epidemic of a disease called Kuru, also known as laughing death.

    According to the US National Library of Medicine, the disease is caused by an infectious protein found in contaminated human brain tissue. The practice of cannibalism among the people of New Guinea came to an end in 1960.
    https://nypost.com/2019/09/09/scientist-suggests-eating-human-flesh-to-fight-climate-change/

    Is it only the danger of an infectious protein that is capable to stop this madness? Is there anything else left in people which is able to resist it?

    And if this is the price the progressive minds want us to pay for combatting the climate change, isn’t it better to leave the climate alone and let it take care of itself?


    Is it Halloween already? A Swedish scientist has caused a stir by advocating that in order to stem the ill effects of climate changes, humans need to start eating each other. Of course, he’s not calling for all-out cannibalism like it used to be practiced throughout history. Rather he thinks that if we just get over some very obvious taboos, we might consider eating human corpses.

    While talking about the Gastro Summit focused on “food on the future” on Swedish TV, the behavioral scientist and marketing strategist Magnus Söderlund from the Stockholm School of Economics proposed that in order to truly take on the effects of climate change, we must “awake the idea” that eating human flesh should be discussed as an option in the future.

    Söderlund used his tv interview on the State Swedish Television channel TV4 to give a powerpoint presentation entitled “Can you Imagine Eating Human Flesh?” It included such topics as “Is Cannibalism the solution to food sustainability in the future?” and “Are we humans too selfish to live sustainably?”

    The scientist thinks that if people were introduced to human flesh little by little, there’d be enough takers.

    The resistance that humans have to overcome in order to consider other humans food is linked to selfishness, according to the scientist. But as an expert in behaviors, he thinks that people can ultimately be “tricked” into “making the right decisions”.

    Indeed, after Söderlund’s presentation, 8% of the audience raised their hands when asked if they would be willing to try human flesh. The scientist himself is also open to “at least tasting it.”

    And if you’re still not squeamish enough about this whole enterprise, there is a term to take out of this article, called “mannisko-kötts branschen”. That means “the human flesh industry”. Let’s hope it’s not really coming.

    In the meantime, Söderlund plans to hold more seminars on his idea.
    https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/swedish-scientist-eating-humans-climate-change?rebelltitem=5#rebelltitem5

    So now it is considered “selfish” not to eat human flesh? Well, if wrapped in this “moral” packing they will probably be able to even sell the idea! Especially if they introduce people to human flesh “little by little” and “trick them into making the right decisions”.

    Oh, how conservative I now feel! More than ever before. And how refreshing and free the feeling is!

    By the way, does anyone doubt here what Michael Jackson would have said if he had ever heard it?
    Would he be with “conservatives” or “progressives” now?

    Like

  18. luv4hutch permalink
    December 11, 2020 11:05 am

    Six words:

    A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift.

    Like

  19. luv4hutch permalink
    December 11, 2020 11:08 am

    That is what Soderlund is doing. It’s hyperbole, not a serious call to action.

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/9/9/1884377/-Deniers-Get-Worried-About-Swede-s-Suggestion-of-Climate-Cannibalism

    Like

  20. December 12, 2020 1:06 pm

    Dear luv4hutch, likening “A Modest Proposal” satirical essay by Jonathan Swift to the present discussions of a possibility of cannibalism “to combat climate change” is a lie, plain and simple.

    A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. The essay suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food to rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocked heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as British policy toward the Irish in general. In English writing, the phrase “a modest proposal” is now conventionally an allusion to this style of straight-faced satire.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal

    Magnus Soderlund’s proposal and seminars are far from any satire.
    Here is the original Swedish news Google translated into English:

    04.09.2019, 10:53:33
    The proposal on TV4: Eat people to “save the climate”

    Anyone who watched TV4 After Five on Tuesday may have been surprised to say the least. This is where the idea of starting to eat people was presented.
    The feature is about the fair “Gastro summit – about the food of the future” in Stockholm, where the behavioral scientist Magnus Söderlund holds seminars on the possibility of eating human flesh – to “save the climate”.
    – What is it that makes most of us react with disgust instinctively, when talking about eating human flesh to save the climate ?, asks host Tilde de Paula.
    Magnus Söderlund answers:
    – First of all, it is that this person who is to be eaten must be dead.
    One problem may be that killing bodies in general is taboo. In addition, there is criticism of desecrating a dead body. Another explanation, Söderlund says, is that many are “slightly conservative” when it comes to eating things they are not used to, ie for example other people.
    The conclusion is that it can be difficult to get the Swedes to become cannibals for the sake of the climate. According to the researcher, however, it is important from a sustainability perspective to discuss different alternatives for the future.
    https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Ftwnews.se%2Fse-news%2Fforslaget-i-tv4-ata-manniskor-for-att-radda-klimatet

    Like

  21. December 12, 2020 1:54 pm

    “That is what Soderlund is doing. It’s hyperbole, not a serious call to action- luv4hutch

    No, this is only what you and the dailykos article you refer us to claim. Here is their text:

    Deniers Get Worried About Swede’s Suggestion of Climate Cannibalism

    Monday September 09, 2019 • 5:04 PM

    With CNN using its 7-hour climate town hall to parrot the right’s message that fighting climate change means banning burgers, deniers are seeking out the next poison pill to turn people against climate action.
    Instead of telling us what not to eat, according to Breitbart and others, alarmists are going to start controlling what we do eat.
    We have seen the food of the future. Apparently, it is us.

    It all started with a segment on Swedish news, where a behavioral and marketing scientist talked about a seminar he was presenting at a summit on the future of food, which floated the possibility of eating dead people (in addition to insects and pets) to save the climate.
    This was picked up by some fringe outlets, like Shoebat.com and the Epoch Times (yes, that one), and then amplified by ClimateDepot and Breitbart.

    Now, having not been at the summit where the idea was initially presented, and lacking strong connections in the Swedish culinary scene, we can’t say for certain what the deal is with this presentation.
    But we can say with some certainty that no one is seriously consideringly cannibalism as climate action, and would venture to bet that even the scientist making the suggestions, Magnus Söderlund, wasn’t seriously proposing it.

    It’s actually the craziest outlet–Shoebat.com, which is the blog of a man who was (supposedly, but probably not actually) in his words “a radicalized Muslim… involved in terror activity” before turning to pro-Israel advocacy after 9/11 leading to a career of birtherism and islamaphobia on FoxNews–gets closest to what is the most likely answer. In Shoebat’s coverage, it notes that sometimes people float “trial balloons” to begin legitimizing an idea, first introducing it as over-the-top, then seeing how people respond. The blog then goes off the rails, but the interpretation that the Swedish idea wasn’t a literal call to start going Hannibal Lecter is probably right.

    Given that Söderlund is a behavioral researcher who talked about what it would take to move people to behave in more climate-friendly ways, a more reasonable explanation would be that he was using cannibalism as an extreme example as a way to make a rhetorical point, a very common figure of speech known as hyperbole.

    Because, and this would be rather obvious for anyone who isn’t eager to attack alarmists for fun and profit, it’s much more likely that Söderlund was making a point about how hard it would be for people to embrace the last-ditch survival scenario of eating people, versus a much smaller ask that they eat a little less beef. And if you could theoretically entice people to eat people, you could probably get them to eat more plants, too.

    Deniers can rest assured that climate activists aren’t quite ready to start literally eating the rich. Because of course there’s an easier way to avoid having to eat one another to survive the breakdown of society: kick our fossil fuel habit.
    But such a Proposal is apparently just a tad too Modest for some…
    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/9/9/1884377/-Deniers-Get-Worried-About-Swede-s-Suggestion-of-Climate-Cannibalism

    In short, dailykos tells us that Soderland didn’t really mean it and it was just a figure of speech.
    However if you read other sources (not even those ridiculed in the above article), you see that Soderland means it in full seriousness and they have discussed it at least since 2018.

    A Swedish scientist suggested the climate crisis could lead people to consider eating human flesh. It’s not the first time a scientist has suggested the idea.
    Aria Bendix
    Sep 11, 2019, 7:34 PM

    Last week, behavioral scientist Magnus Söderlund posed a controversial question at a seminar in Sweden: Can you imagine eating human flesh?
    As global temperatures continue to rise, Söderlund said in a talk at the Gastro Summit in Stockholm, the consequences for agriculture could cause food to become more scarce, which might force humans to consider alternative forms of nourishment.

    Those sources might include insects like grasshoppers or worms, but they could also include corpses, Söderlund said. By gradually getting accustomed to the taste of our own flesh, he added, humans might come to view cannibalism as less taboo.

    Söderlund, a behavioral scientist at the Stockholm School of Economics, doesn’t research nutrition science or the economics of our global food supply. He studies psychological reactions, like the audible groan from attendees when they were asked whether they’d consider eating a corpse.
    “I’d be open to at least tasting it,” Söderlund later told the State Swedish Television channel TV4.

    The idea of using cannibalism to supplement our food supply isn’t new. In 2018, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wondered if it would be possible to grow meat from harvested human cells in a laboratory.
    Like Söderlund, he called the idea “an interesting test case” that might demonstrate whether humans could overcome the “yuck” factor in order to do something they considered moral, like reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

    But of course, the suggestion of cannibalism is rife with problems. Genevieve Guenther, director of End Climate Silence, a nonprofit that advocates for more representation of climate change in the media, told Business Insider that “to suggest that cannibalism is a solution to climate change is about as bad as climate denial itself.” She added: “I don’t think that it should be even entertained in any seriousness, but exposed as a kind of propaganda that only makes it harder for us to transform the world in the ways that we need to.” [ ]

    Söderlund’s suggestion involves removing flesh from a corpse and serving it to humans, while Dawkins raised the possibility of taking stem cells from a living human, culturing them in a lab, and allowing the mature cells to grow into meat.

    But there are myriad ethical problems to consider with either of these options, of course.
    “The idea that we would be able to administer this in any kind of rational, systemic way is so absurd,” Guenther said. “It would mean our whole culture would descend into barbarism.”

    Plus, there are many more straightforward, less grotesque ways to ensure we have enough food in the future.
    A recent report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that a quarter of all food worldwide is lost or wasted. By improving the way food is harvested, stored, packaged, and transported, the report said, producers could address food shortages. [ ]

    Cannibalism has severe health risks for humans. A fatal disease linked to the practice of cooking dead bodies and eating them at funerals affected members of a tribe in Papua New Guinea until about 2009. But climate change likely drove human ancestors to cannibalism before.
    Still, Guenther said, by the time modern societies ever consider resorting to cannibalism, human society might already be in shambles because of climate change.
    “If we come to the point where we’re looking at human corpses for food sources, we’re going to have larger problems on our hands,” Guenther said. “It will mean that we failed to mitigate the climate crisis.”
    https://www.businessinsider.com/cannibalism-eating-human-flesh-climate-change-2019-9

    – So the idea is not new.
    – It was introduced by “scientists” and has been in public discussion for at least several years.
    – The fact that it has already reached the “pro” and “con” stage means that it no longer shocks anyone, is no longer considered unthinkable and has simply reached the stage of “just” a radical idea.
    – Moreover, while it is universally considered “moral” to look into ways to reduce emissions, somehow it has stopped being immoral to consider cannibalism as an option. Behavioral scientists just “test” people for their psychological reactions. For them it is “an interesting test case” that might demonstrate whether humans could overcome their repulsion in order to do something they consider moral. This way the discussion over morality is turned upside down – the focus of morality is put on reducing gas emissions, while cannibalism is left outside it.
    – The goal of this crooked discussion is “the more you discuss, the less unthinkable it is”.

    All of the above is a perfect example of implementing the Overton Window strategy – the strategy in which ideas undergo the process of public acceptance from the stage of “unthinkable” to “radical”, then to “acceptable”, then to “sensible”, then to “popular” and finally what was initially unthinkable becomes public policy.

    Overton Window

    All of the above also means that your dailykos site is actively promoting this strategy, while the sources ridiculed by it oppose it.

    Like

  22. luv4hutch permalink
    December 12, 2020 5:24 pm

    It’s still only a figure of speech. Progressives do not endorse cannibalism, full stop, no ifs ands or buts. NO ONE is seriously advocating this, climate group websites do not say anything about eating human flesh whatsoever. All they say is “eat less meat and more plants.” That’s ALL they say.

    Moreover, the Overton window has been abused more by the right than the left. The current right-wingers, especially in America, are not true conservatives, because conservatives mean “conserving” something, holding fast to traditions. The modern right-wing has blown past conservatism and now is moving to regressivism, wanting to turn back the clock to undo much social and political progress, particularly regarding civil rights and regulations on corporations. So it is regressives that are in control, and are actually driving the bus, whereas true conservatives have been sidelined for not being “pure” enough; and regressives are the ones fomenting hate, particularly claiming “the left is to blame for everything.” Regressives move the Overton window to make policies that they considered acceptable and moderate now “socialist propaganda.” The Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”, grew from a Republican plan and follows many Republican talking points, and would have been seen as such in the ’90s, but more than a decade later, now are considered “Venezeulan-style socialism,” which it isn’t even remotely close to.

    I can fully accept you having different opinions of me, and I’m certainly not trying to convert you to be a progressive. I want that clear. But what I can’t accept is you thinking that cannibalism is being broached as a serious strategy. It’s not. This is the very definition of fake news. You can’t rail against smears on Michael and his character and idly throw smears of your own on a group of people that aren’t like you. Your actions, at this particular moment, are what Michael was saying when he sings “don’t tell me you agree with me when I saw you kicking dirt in my eye.”

    Like

  23. December 13, 2020 12:27 pm

    “It’s still only a figure of speech. Progressives do not endorse cannibalism, full stop, no ifs ands or buts. Your actions, at this particular moment, are what Michael was saying when he sings “don’t tell me you agree with me when I saw you kicking dirt in my eye.” – luv4hutch

    I’m not kicking dirt in your eyes. I’m kicking your own media in your eyes, and feel sad that the media play the “free-speech” card, dance around the issue and refrain from calling a spade a spade by saying it plain and simple that cannibalism is out of the question.

    In cases like that the media cannot be neutral and report it dispassionately – just as an annual flower show or the like. When readers lack core moral values and their morality depends on their personal preferences and “what they like” (see this post for details), there must be someone who will point to these people the immorality of certain things in their stark reality.

    In fact, the only author who said what should have been said by everyone in this case is KATHERINE TIMPF of the National Review:

    A scientist, researcher, and professor recently suggested at a summit in Sweden that climate change might lead to cannibalism. The scientist, Magnus Söderlund from the Stockholm School of Economics, made the comments during his talk, titled “Can You Imagine Eating Human Flesh?,” as part of the Gastro Summit in Stockholm.

    “I’d have to say . . . I’d be open to at least tasting it,” Söderlund told Sweden’s TV4, according to an article in the New York Post. The seminar dealt with such topics as whether humans were too selfish to “live sustainably” — and whether cannibalism might be the solution, the Post reports.
    Söderlund reportedly also suggested eating pets.

    When I originally saw this story, my first thought was that things seem to have gotten to the point that they are beyond parody. After all, earlier this year, I went into a comedic rant on The Greg Gutfeld Show about the impossibility of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” — jokingly suggesting that, in order to achieve its aims, we would have to “relive the Donner Party.”
    “I don’t want to eat people, Greg, and I don’t want people to eat me,” I said at the time. “AOC, do you want people to eat you?”

    Predictably enough, some covered my comments as if I had made them seriously — making no mention, for example, of the fact that I was on a comedy show, and therefore more than likely making a joke. In fact, at the time, it blew my mind that everyone wouldn’t make this distinction, or that anyone could have possibly thought that I was making these comments seriously. After all, what could be more clearly a joke than suggesting that the logical conclusion of any political belief would be cannibalism?

    I hate to admit it: But, after reading about Söderlund’s talk, I guess I have to admit that I was wrong. What I thought could never be stated except in satire has now been suggested earnestly — and not just by some random lunatic in his mom’s basement, either. Nope. A respected scientist and professor actually, sincerely made this suggestion, and I can’t help but feel like I’m losing my mind.

    Listen up, Söderlund: I’m not going to eat people. Okay? Not now, not ever — and, believe it or not, you are wrong to assume that the only reason I might decline would be that I was worried about the taste. No, the reason I don’t want to eat people is that I’m not f***ing Jeffrey Dahmer, dude. I am not Andrei Chikatilo! See, Söderlund, most people actually have this thing called “some level of basic decency,” and lack this thing called “complete and total depravity,” and that is what would make them not want to eat people — not their concerns about the taste.

    Also, as the New York Post notes, there are also health risks associated with humans eating human flesh. Yep . . . I’m surprised that Mr. Scientist didn’t seem to know this, but eating human flesh can actually cause a deadly disease called “kuru.” The illness, according to NPR, comes not from any sort of pathogen but from a “twisted protein” that causes other proteins in the brain to twist in the same way, ultimately “leaving the cerebellum riddled with holes, like a sponge.”

    Personally — and I may be going out on a limb here — I happen to prefer my cerebellum not to be “riddled with holes.” Just a personal preference, we’re all entitled to our own opinions, but I’d bet that there are at least four or five people out there who would agree with me.

    (Hang on. Before I wrap this up, give me a moment to take the time to convince myself that I am actually not dreaming, that this is real life, and that I actually did just have to resort to a practical, health-and-safety-based argument in discussing whether or not we should be eating each other.)

    Okay, thanks. Anyway, listen: Personally, I happen to be someone who is concerned about climate change and who does think it’s important that we look for solutions to combat it. The thing is, though, we do have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to what sorts of things we should be willing to do — and, I’ve gotta say: Eating people definitely crosses that line for me.

    KATHERINE TIMPF is a reporter for National Review Online. @kattimpf
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/09/scientist-suggests-climate-change-could-pave-the-way-for-cannibalism/

    In my opinion, the above is the only possible answer to Söderlund’s proposal. The only one. And if you think different, you are simply in denial of the current extremely dangerous trends which are at best impassively viewed by the media or are at worst promoted by them and by all those “scientists”.

    And I mean not one, but several trends because the very same thing is being done for pedophilia.

    All the time while the media and some activists have attacked the innocent Michael Jackson, certain “scientists” have used the Overton Window tactics to get the public accustomed to the idea that pedophilia is “okay” if only it does not concern too small children, if the age of consent is lowered, etc. – all this propaganda certainly made in the name defending children’s rights amid claims that “children have the right to choose”.

    But what can the children choose if they don’t even have the idea what those adults are talking about?

    Or is this why adults are filling this gap and now explain to 4-and-5 year olds what sex is?
    Enlightening them instead of leaving them to their innocence?
    All in the name of “love” and educating children of course?

    The Overton Window tactics again and again!

    Like

  24. luv4hutch permalink
    December 13, 2020 12:46 pm

    NO ONE IS GOING TO EAT PEOPLE FOR THE CLIMATE, PROGRESSIVES INCLUDED. FULL STOP. THIS IS NOT AN ACTUAL CALL TO ACTION. IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

    Insisting that this is going to happen or that people are seriously considering it is a lie and a calumny of the most despicable order, because the media is often built to smear progressives over the slightest infraction, while the regressives that have hijacked the Republican Party are never held to account, never made to resign, virtually never prosecuted.

    What is your process for making full posts on this blog? I know that there used to be up to six or seven other people making posts besides you, but they haven’t popped up so much lately. But I haven’t seen an option on this blog to “make blog post/article” on here.

    If I made one and used the contact us option, would you receive it and be open to having it posted here for me to make my case, regardless of whether or not you are convinced?

    Like

  25. luv4hutch permalink
    December 13, 2020 4:05 pm

    Besides, your Overton Window talk happens to be utilized far more by the regressives than the progressives, especially when they shackled themselves to Trump.

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/12/9/2000706/-Republicans-have-done-far-worse-than-just-damage-our-democracy

    For anyone concerned about the future of this country, the last few weeks have been anything but reassuring. Yes, the Trump campaign’s quest to overturn the election results has yielded a string of embarrassing failures, as courts across the country, with virtual unanimity, slapped down dozens of abusive, evidence-challenged, and frivolous lawsuits, even as the legal maneuvers themselves became more farfetched and fantasy-driven. And yes, thus far our legal system has generally held its ground in the face of these politically motivated attempts to twist it off its foundations.

    But as has been pointed out repeatedly, the poison introduced by such toxic abuses of the system doesn’t just disappear. These seemingly scattershot legal trial balloons will leave an impression simply because they move, however invisibly, the infamous Overton window, subtly redefining what type of conduct is and is not tolerable to our society.

    But things are more insidious than that.

    It’s a fundamental principle that American democracy is dependent on fealty to the rule of law, but it’s less acknowledged that the “rule of law” itself is also dependent on something called “truth.” In criminal law, to convict someone of a crime generally requires a finding of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” In civil cases the proof threshold is a lesser one, proof by a “preponderance of the evidence,” or in some cases, “clear and convincing evidence.” All of these formulations are different ways of getting to the truth of the matter at hand. Since there is rarely something as recognizable as an “absolute truth,” such “truths” are, by necessity, approximations: reflections of our best, though imperfect, human efforts to determine what the facts of the matter actually are.

    When these courts threw out or otherwise disposed of the Trump campaign’s lawsuits, nearly all of them referred to the complete absence of any evidence put forward to support them. Still, again and again, even down to the last-ditch filing on Tuesday in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Trump campaign, with either the tacit or full-fledged support of the Republican Party, continued to insist that its bald assertions and arguments should be afforded the same consideration applied to real facts. They continued to insist that their contrived, bare, and hyperbolic accusations of some sinister “plot” against Donald Trump should be treated with the same deference as actual evidence.

    In effect, they asked our legal system, over and over, to agree that 2+2=5, that A=B, that fraud should be assumed and investigated where none could possibly exist. Trump’s team demanded that zero credible evidence should nonetheless lead to a drastic result in their favor, a result that would repudiate the entirety of our democratic-based system of government. In other words, they’ve repeatedly asked the courts to discard truth.

    As long as the courts refused to do that, you’d be forgiven for thinking that everything will turn out okay. But the Trump campaign, and the Republican Party that prop it up, never actually expected these lawsuits to be successful. Their own lawyers, at least the ones employed by genuine, “respectable” law firms knew exactly where they were headed—they were simply being paid (at least in theory) to do a job. Lawyers don’t drive lawsuits—their clients do; in this case, they had a client who desperately wanted to create a narrative. Trump’s vehicle to this goal was to abuse the legal system, something he’s done all his life. It was a narrative that the whole Republican Party would end up buying into: that truth didn’t matter anymore. It was the story they were selling to the 70 million or so Trump voters that mattered. And they counted on their credulous base, snug in its information bubble, to accept exactly what they were being told.

    Jim Small, writing for the Arizona Mirror, diagnosed this dangerous susceptibility on the part of the Republican electorate just after the 2018 midterms. Then, the GOP did a trial run at spinning a false fraud narrative of why and how then-candidate Kyrsten Sinema defeated former Sen. Martha McSally in that state’s 2018 election; how eagerly the Republican rank and file embraced that phony narrative. At that time, Small described their unsettling capacity for willing self-delusion.

    “But they want to believe, with as much sincerity as they’re able to trick themselves into faking, the fantasy that there is fraud, that there is a conspiracy to steal political power away from them, that their political opponents are evil and their time in positions of power will be nightmarish. Facts that refute the lie are instead used as evidence of the conspiracy, and truth-tellers become conspirators.”

    Why?

    Well, fantasies – and nightmares, in particular – are exciting. The day-to-day existence can be mundane: cleaning the litter box, the drudgery of our jobs, doing laundry, and our orderly and peaceful elections. The prospect of a massive evil conspiracy of evil conspirators conspiring to do evil spices things up.

    They’re having fun. They’re enjoying this. It delights them. A make-believe session of feigned indignation over imaginary outrages is a close substitute for emotional fulfillment.

    But after four years, Small’s assessment of Republican voters has become considerably darker, as what once could have been written off as a feigned “distraction” has morphed, outright, into a life-affirming obsession. Writing again this month for the Mirror, Small quoted author Kurt Vonnegut, whose 1962 novel Mother Night examines how the human capacity for self-deception can, if unchecked, ruin entire populations.

    “His warning is a chilling one, laid out in the opening sentences: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

    Republicans have spent four years ignoring and then humoring and then repeating Trump’s vile and utterly false claims that strike at the heart of our democracy. Now, they are demanding exceptional and unprecedented remedies to problems that were fabricated out of whole cloth. …

    They’ve become what they pretended to be.

    What George Packer wrote this week in The Atlantic dovetails completely with that analysis: The myth that Republicans were somehow “stabbed in the back” and betrayed by unseen forces has now taken hold of the Party, and most of its constituents.

    “So a stab-in-the-back narrative was buried in the minds of millions of Americans, where it burns away, as imperishable as a carbon isotope, consuming whatever is left of their trust in democratic institutions and values. This narrative will widen the gap between Trump believers and their compatriots who might live in the same town, but a different universe. And that was Trump’s purpose—to keep us locked in a mental prison where reality was unknowable so that he could go on wielding power, whether in or out of office, including the power to destroy.”

    For his opponents, the lies were intended to be profoundly demoralizing. Neither counting them nor checking facts nor debunking conspiracies made any difference. Trump demonstrated again and again that the truth doesn’t matter. In rational people this provoked incredulity, outrage, exhaustion, and finally an impulse to crawl away and abandon the field of politics to the fantasists.

    For believers, the consequences were worse. They surrendered the ability to make basic judgments about facts, exiling themselves from the common framework of self-government. They became litter swirling in the wind of any preposterous claim that blew from @realDonaldTrump. Truth was whatever made the world whole again by hurting their enemies—the more far-fetched, the more potent and thrilling.

    The consequences of this warped and radical departure from truth are coming into clear focus as the Trump charade careens toward its inevitable endgame. We see the rage building as deluded hordes of armed vigilantes gather to harass and intimidate government servants for doing their job. We see Republican governors taking Gestapo-like revenge on people for speaking the truth in the face of their lies. We see cowed public officials refusing to acknowledge the truth out of fear for their lives. And we see efforts like this shameful document, where elected state officials, who presumably should know better, now feel free to advocate disenfranchising their own citizens as a token of their obedience to Donald Trump.

    Where a political party is subordinate to a cult of personality, with rare exceptions, any deviation from the party line is politically suicidal. Fear of being labelled an apostate or a heretic keeps people in line, because their political survival depends on echoing the dogma spewed by the leader. This is why brutal, dictatorship-style regimes, such as North Korea, for example, do not simply whither away but sustain themselves in perpetuity. In such regimes, truth becomes forever the province of whatever the leader says it is. In such an environment, whatever institutions exist that oppose that made-up “truth” ultimately must run up against the numbers and power of the population so deceived, and ultimately those institutions must either stand or crumble.

    The Trump campaign knew that if it could persuade a single federal or state appellate judge that 2+2 did in fact equal 5, they would have elevated this disregard of truth to a level of respectability which it desperately wants to achieve. They didn’t initiate over 50 meritless lawsuits because they were expecting to win, but because they wanted to game the system in the future. They wanted to work the refs to see what could be achieved in warping truth to their own ends. They know that the inroads already made with our legislative branch of government will only inspire further attempts to co-opt the judiciary, because as any lawyer can tell you, while judges may swear to uphold the law, judicial decisions are often made with a nod toward the undercurrents of society as a whole.

    And they know that if the judiciary succumbs to the abandonment of facts, the final arbiter of truth in this country all but disappears.

    For the next six weeks or so, Republicans can hide behind the excuse that Donald Trump is still the occupant of the Oval Office. As of Jan. 20, they will no longer have that excuse. After that, and in the months that follow, we will all be seeing just how deep this rot runs within the Republican Party, how far they intend to goad their own constituents down this ever-circling rabbit-hole of grievance, and most importantly, whether they have any inclination at all to respond to the urgent needs of the American people. In the midst of an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, to have one political party gamely attempting to dig us out of this abyss while the other remains totally enamored by delusions, lies, and hateful revenge fantasies is simply unsustainable.

    One truth, and one reality, is going to have to win out in the end.

    Like

  26. December 13, 2020 5:37 pm

    “NO ONE IS GOING TO EAT PEOPLE FOR THE CLIMATE, PROGRESSIVES INCLUDED. FULL STOP. THIS IS NOT AN ACTUAL CALL TO ACTION. IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.”- luv4hutch

    I hope not.

    “Insisting that this is going to happen or that people are seriously considering it is a lie and a calumny of the most despicable order, because the media is often built to smear progressives over the slightest infraction”

    Another straw man argument if not a direct lie. I don’t insist that this is going to happen. But if progressives are so afraid to be “smeared” in this connection they should be the first to shout in block letters at scientists who make such proposals and nip the idea of cannibalism in the bud.
    Shout at the media who report this news impassionately, as if it were nothing abnormal. Shout at those who consider it a “hyperbole” though it is obviously not. Tell your supporters that it is not a dirty trick of some “conservatives”, and instead thank these people for being the whistleblowers who alerted you to a big problem.
    Do everything in your power to stop these ideas from spreading and join forces with those who see the same way, be it conservatives, regressives or the like.
    Then your resentment will be believable.
    But accusing me of telling a lie while all I do is providing the reports of your own media is simply beyond the pale.

    Like

  27. December 13, 2020 5:50 pm

    “What is your process for making full posts on this blog? I know that there used to be up to six or seven other people making posts besides you, but they haven’t popped up so much lately. But I haven’t seen an option on this blog to “make blog post/article” on here.” – luv4hutch

    These people are probably tired of having to prove again and again that Michael Jackson was innocent to those who would not listen or unable to understand it. But they are still free to make their posts here. They are welcome if they want to.

    “If I made one and used the contact us option, would you receive it and be open to having it posted here for me to make my case, regardless of whether or not you are convinced?”- luv4hutch

    If you send me your post, I will receive it via ‘contact me’ but I doubt that I will make you an author here. You have never been an unbiased defender of truth about Michael Jackson and I see no point in including you into the list of his supporters.

    Like

  28. luv4hutch permalink
    December 13, 2020 5:55 pm

    We shouldn’t have to go out and denounce it, because it’s supposed to be obvious that it’s hyperbole. It’s supposed to be common sense that “come on, no one is going to go for this, and the idea that anyone believes that we’re advocating this as policy is ridiculous.” It’s supposed to be something you don’t have to go out and explain, like that the sky is blue.

    But apparently, the saying that “common sense isn’t so common” keeps becoming more and more true.

    And for the record, when we find people who express vile sentiments that stand against it, we cut ties with them or often ridicule them.

    For example, progressives, for the most part, do not consider Gwyneth Paltrow a beacon of hope and science. We find her quite snobbish and prissy, an airhead who doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and who frequently puts her foot in her mouth at all times. We ridicule her for GOOP, and her saying “I can’t pretend to be someone who lives middle-class.” We DON’T shame her for kinks, especially when the kink is actually all about consent and not at all abhorrent. We don’t consider her pure and innocent at all, never have and never will. But we support her for speaking out about her experiences with Weinstein. That’s all that happens. The people that take her seriously on everything else outside of acting and her experiences with Weinstein tend to be as empty-headed as she is, and believe things like deodorant causes cancer.

    We don’t have to go out and take a full-page editorial to denounce it, because it’s just like at a restaurant. If they’re bad and the food is bad, you don’t tell the staff or the owners to their faces. You just leave and never come back.

    You assail and attack mainstream media for spreading Soderlund’s statements, but the sources you talk about and use aren’t mainstream. They’re right-wing echo chambers that just preach to their audience at best, sources of hate speech at worst. They’re not credible sources.

    And progressives constantly go against the media for many things: because corporate interests taint and control everything, because right-wing views are presented without question while left-wing speakers are attacked and ridiculed, that climate change is presented as a “debate” when the science is proven, for using clickbait instead of truth, for refusing to call Trump a liar or a racist when he clearly is. Those are extremely important.

    Going out to say “we don’t support cannibalism” is an unnecessary distraction, especially because, again, it’s supposed to be common sense and something everyone understands. When people move to explain things, they just get shouted down, and people pivot to the other side, tone-wise.

    There’s a common saying: “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.” And that applies not just to politics, but a lot of things. This, right here, is the sad truth why many refuse to see the light about Michael. Because you can’t deliver all the evidence in a punchy, ten-second soundbite that encapsulates everything. Because you have to explain, and people tune out.

    Like

  29. luv4hutch permalink
    December 13, 2020 6:06 pm

    I never claimed to be “unbiased.” However, the fact remains is that you’re not unbiased either. You only accept things from your own worldview, you pay attention and lavish praise on those who support your own worldview, and you only accept blog writers of the same worldview, particularly politically and socially.

    That’s not going to win you any favors, and it shoots the movement in the foot. You’ve driven away so many people, just because they aren’t right of center in their beliefs like you, because you implicitly tar them as part of the enemy, this monolithic, hivemind entity that wants to legalize pedophilia when the actions of a few bad apples are nowhere near enough to spoil the barrel.

    The focus of this site is to show the evidence of Michael’s innocence and highlight the motives of those who smeared him, and you veered away from that to tar and feather progressives, as if they were a big reason it happened.

    Newsflash: it’s not, because progressives have never had anywhere near the power you think they have, especially not in the ’80s and ’90s, the years of Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch. And you admit that you don’t even want to bother knowing anything about that. But if you don’t, then you can’t see the fact that what you’re doing is simply turning the mission, the goal, into one twisted of hate and division, the very antithesis of what Michael was and represented.

    When I mentioned how your actions are representative of “don’t tell me when you agree with me when I saw you kicking dirt in my eye,” I was not referring to myself. I can handle whatever you or anyone says about me, but to turn things to a point of us vs. them, that an entire political way of thinking is at fault for what happened to Michael, you are violating his message and desecrating his memory. Michael would be ashamed of tactics like this. It only says “with friends like these, who needs enemies?”

    You’re also giving the Diane Dimonds of the world the ammunition to say that Michael’s defenders are an army of rabid dogs, blinded to the truth, just as fervently as those who say President Obama was not born in America, that the Clintons murdered dozens of people, that microchips are going to be implanted in our bloodstream and that “the Jews run everything and are going to bring about a New World Order.” You make the movement look like unhinged, paranoid conspiracy nuts, because you turn the proof of what can be found, what can be determined about people like Geffen, into something that just isn’t there.

    Like

  30. December 13, 2020 6:50 pm

    “For anyone concerned about the future of this country, the last few weeks have been anything but reassuring. Yes, the Trump campaign’s quest to overturn the election results has yielded a string of embarrassing failures…” -luv4hutch

    Is this is the pamphlet you were going to send me for this blog?
    It is even hilarious how progressives manage to introduce Trump into every subject under the sun.
    But you are again arguing with yourself only – I was not talking about Trump.

    I made a post about the cultural conflict which arose in the US in the last century that turned into a culture war already in the 1990s – when Michael Jackson’s fate was actually decided. Michael’s so-called friends were on the progressive side, while Michael Jackson was definitely a conservative, and at some point the conflict between them apparently erupted.

    No one in his environment understood that Michael was keeping to a strict moral code and inviolable moral constraints bred into him by his mother and the Jehovah Witnesses’ faith, so each and every judged him by their own standards. Since the public and mainstream media have grown steadily “progressive” for the past several decades, no one now sees this huge Michael Jackson’s difference and realizes the motives for his escapism and keeping friends with children.

    The public is confused and throws MJ into one pile with Jimmy Saville and Epstein because they are virtually unable to distinguish an innocent person from real criminals now – mostly because they and MJ are populating different moral universes.

    Unfortunately, this is a problem that cannot be easily solved. The only thing I can probably do is to show Michael Jackson’s difference from his immediate environment, because mere “explanations” don’t work.

    If you consider that all of it is somehow connected with Trump – well, it’s up to you.

    Like

  31. luv4hutch permalink
    December 13, 2020 7:06 pm

    How can I possibly have a good faith argument with you on this when you refuse to address every single point? You ignored everything else I said and zeroed in only certain points. You ignored what I said about Paltrow or why I explained why we shouldn’t need to give a press conference that “we don’t believe in cannibalism.”

    Your statement that Michael was so abhorrent to people, against their “permissive” lifestyles is also absurd and ludicrous. Even for Geffen. He didn’t need to be hating the fact that Michael was heterosexual to smear him. Petty jealousy is a good enough explanation for his action. Your explanation that “they didn’t like his lifestyle” also doesn’t apply because many of these people who you label as such weren’t living libidinous lifestyles at all. If anything, quite a few of them are also monogamous, God-fearing, and having sunny, cheerful dispositions. Some are Democrats, some are Republicans. Does Steven Spielberg live like a modern Casanova? Does Alice Cooper actually eat heads off chickens? (He’s a Sunday school teacher, by the way). You can’t say “not all adults” are the same in one breath, then label all of Michael’s detractors as one and the same, because even then, that doesn’t apply.

    And, when push comes to shove, when a number of people proclaim Godly lifestyles and beliefs, they use it as an excuse to subjugate and abuse others. You don’t need God to be a moral person, in fact, many people live more consistently moral lives without religion, because unlike Michael, they don’t actually live as an imitation of Jesus.

    Like

  32. December 13, 2020 7:11 pm

    “It’s supposed to be common sense that “come on, no one is going to go for this, and the idea that anyone believes that we’re advocating this as policy is ridiculous.”- luv4hutch

    Fine. But why is this beautiful strategy employed for covering everything except Michael Jackson?
    Why has each and everybody picked at Michael Jackson for every little thing he did (and didn’t do)?
    Why did the media lead people believe monstrous things about Michael?
    Why don’t they report the truth about him? The truth about those liars who falsely accused him? The truth about numerous discrepancies and holes in that terrible LN film and in every other accusation against MJ?
    Why do the media exaggerate and propagate lies instead?

    The injustice and media double standards are so glaring that it is mind-boggling.

    Please explain this phenomenon and then I will not ask questions why the media and the public are so coolly reserved about Palthrow, Marina Abramovic, Magnus Söderlund and the like.

    Like

  33. December 13, 2020 7:18 pm

    “when a number of people proclaim Godly lifestyles and beliefs, they use it as an excuse to subjugate and abuse others”

    This world abounds in hypocrites. Many people proclaim Godly lifestyles and beleifs, but very few really live them.

    Michael was the one who lived his faith.
    His doctor in Ireland specifically addressed this issue.
    But even without him we know it.

    Like

  34. December 13, 2020 7:22 pm

    “How can I possibly have a good faith argument with you on this when you refuse to address every single point? You ignored everything else I said and zeroed in only certain points.”

    You have piled up here so many straw arguments that have nothing to do with my views and even this post, that it will take me hours to explain.
    Besides you yourself said that it is useless to explain.
    So I will refrain.

    Good-bye, dear.

    Like

  35. luv4hutch permalink
    December 13, 2020 7:31 pm

    The thinking in the media has often been “we made you and we can break you.”

    This especially happened after the Watergate and the fall of Nixon. Reporters wanted to find new targets to take down, break the stories, win their Peabodys and Pulitzers, get all the accolades. They didn’t necessarily care who it was, just as long at it was someone big.

    Elvis was the next one, when they first started criticizing him just for gaining weight, as if he’d somehow committed a mortal sin by not being young and vibrant forever. Then when the truth about his prescription drug addiction became known, they especially gleefully delighted in reporting on it not with humanity and understanding, but lurid, voyeuristic glee, making it a moral failing and basically making him a joke and not an artist who really mattered.

    Rock Hudson hid his homosexual lifestyle in shame because his reputation was that of a virile, straight leading man and Republicans and the Moral Majority, led by the likes of Jerry Falwell claiming that gays would go to Hell, made it worse, so he especially hid his AIDS diagnosis. It was just luck that his condition leaked while he was still alive, and he basically died feeling “my reputation is over.”

    Freddie Mercury became one of the next targets, because of wanting to focus on what his personal life was, to obsess over whether or not he was gay, and then whether or not he had AIDS. They also couldn’t grasp the fact that Freddie, a wild, uninhabited showman onstage, could be so private and closed offstage, so they treated that as if something were wrong; the fact that critics never liked Queen’s albums and slammed them mercilessly didn’t help either. They took offense at the fact that Queen were so successful and beloved by the public, treated that like an aberration. This only made Freddie even more private, especially when he did learn he had AIDS and Queen announced they wouldn’t tour anymore but wouldn’t say why. Then the fact that Freddie did release a public statement confirming his diagnosis, only to die 24 hours later, really made the press go wild.

    The press focus on Democratic candidate Gary Hart and his apparent sexual peccadilloes made the press no longer hold back any boundaries on politicians, especially Democratic ones, so they focused monomaniacally on Bill Clinton, called him a liar about everything under the sun well before the Lewinsky scandal. Especially so-called “liberal media” like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time magazine, CNN, CBS News, ABC News, NBC News and the recently-launched MSNBC. They all were attacking Clinton viciously, and transferred that to Al Gore during the 2000 campaign.

    Michael Jackson was just one of a handful of targets, but the fact that Michael was shy and quiet, and broke records to have the highest-selling album of all time didn’t translate to them. There was also the implicit anti-black feeling that he was “uppity” for breaking out so much, that he didn’t conform to their standard. The Pepsi burn, the oxygen chamber, the Liz Taylor shrine, Joseph Merrick’s bones, his vitiligo and nose jobs, all of it became grist for the mill; calling him a p-le was just the cherry on top, and they ran with it. While Geffen lit the fuse with his campaign, the media was in many cases just as along for the ride, because in most cases, Geffen’s proxies didn’t have direct connections to that extent to pay everything and everyone off.

    And Michael isn’t the last. Currently, Johnny Depp is the new target, with the Amber Heard allegations basically used as the vehicle to do him in; though in his case, Depp has brought a lot of things on himself with his wasteful spending, obvious drug addiction, and anger problems. He hurts his own case quite much, even though it’s clear if you look from the evidence that he’s a good man who’s been wronged by a parasitic gold digger.

    So in many ways, Michael isn’t that special. And belief in his guilt has no party affiliation, as progressives and conservatives/regressives equally believe in his guilt, just like they will equally believe JFK or 9/11 conspiracy theories. You only notice the right-wing leaning people who believe Michael’s innocence because they conform to your view, and regardless of whether or not they believe, they’re only broadcasting it all to “own the libs” and tweak them. So they’re not real allies, not even allies of convenience.

    Like

  36. luv4hutch permalink
    December 13, 2020 7:43 pm

    P.S. I wrote all that and posted it before I saw your last two responses, so I didn’t write it “to get your attention back.” Just so we’re clear.

    Like

  37. December 13, 2020 7:49 pm

    “Michael Jackson was just one of a handful of targets”

    No. Michael Jackson was and is the most bullied man on earth. The way he is being ill-treated is exceptional and knows no comparisons.

    His difference from the others mentioned in your list is that not a single media outlet has yet reported the truth about Michael Jackson – the million facts proving his innocence that were uncovered by unbiased researchers of allegations against him.

    Moreover, there is even an opposite tendency – when it is no longer possible to ignore these facts the media do everything in their power to mitigate them and sometimes even revise their previous stories about them, pretending that they never said that. Thus the documents proving their earlier false stories mysteriously disappear, the respective sites are closed, etc. etc.

    Examples of this strange game are numerous, so I will not go further.
    Besides, I already said good-bye to you.

    Like

  38. luv4hutch permalink
    December 14, 2020 11:55 am

    First of all, I made my last post before I saw the one where you said “good night”, so I didn’t know that you had.

    Second of all, you’re certainly quite right that when people move to pretend that they never said anything against something or someone, they erase their previous work and close up shop, and it’s certainly quite sleazy to say the least. It’s not fair, remotely. And you’re certainly right that Michael was bullied to the ends of the earth over the smallest thing.

    But “the most bullied person on Earth”, clearly second only to Jesus? Where do you get off? I think figures such as Marie Antoinette, who was bullied by the French from the beginning of her marriage to Louis XVI and referred to as the “Austrian bitch”, and experienced reams of slander, libel, pornographic pamphlets, bawdy limericks and the like up to the French Revolution to the point that she was guillotined, would take great offense to that.

    Same with a lot of others who were bullied to the point of their death. Like Matthew Shepard, beaten to a pulp for being gay, stripped naked and wrapped on a barbed-wire fence. Like James Byrd, Jr., who experienced decades of racism, only to end up attached to pickup truck and dragged across two miles of road until his body flew apart. Like the thousands of young people bullied for being trans, to the point that they commit suicide. What Michael experienced pales in comparison to them.

    And if you only are referring to celebrities within the modern era, as in the period after the year 1900, then Michael still doesn’t fit. That honor goes to the silent film comic Fatty Arbuckle, who suffered false accusations of rape. He was acquitted, but his career was absolutely destroyed and he was never able to work again, his presence from Hollywood virtually obliterated, when prior to the allegations, he was a potential rival to Charlie Chaplin.

    Then there’s Jake Lloyd, who played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, who has been bullied relentlessly by angry fanboys who refuse to accept that fil, and its two immediate sequels as canon or equal to the original trilogy, and blamed him, in particular, for its apparent sins, even though Lloyd was just a boy, doing exactly what George Lucas asked of him. He is now extremely bitter, practically ashamed of his past, destroyed all his mementoes of the film, never acted again, and suffered a breakdown so crippling he’s now currently in a psychiatric ward. All of that, because of fan bullying. And the actors in the Disney era of Star Wars, particularly Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran, have received similar bullying, to the point of removing their social media accounts. Michael never buckled to the pressure like that, he was made of strong stuff indeed, and he never wavered in his convictions that justice would prevail, and it did. He saw it through to the end and continued his creative process to make more music; Lloyd couldn’t hack it and his life is completely shattered.

    And Michael isn’t the only one in which people have never corrected the record, never apologized, never made the truth known. The Clintons are basically treated as guilty for every little thing under the sun since 1992, with the press never mentioning when and where they have been exonerated, and the press absolves itself of its role in creating that perception; particularly in the 2016 election, treating Hillary Clinton as sickly, shrill, unlikable, saddled by scandal regarding emails, when saying nothing about her policy proposals or any of her speeches and rallies, whereas Trump was simply treated like a spectacle and not given any serious analysis or scrutiny. The press bears a great responsibility for Trump’s being installed to an office he did not win, but they have never admitted that.

    They always were happy to blame Obama for everything that he couldn’t achieve, even though it was the Republicans blocking it that was the response for it, not Obama himself. And there were so many focus and attempted scandals about him wearing a tan suit, eating a sandwich with dijon mustard, saluting with a coffee cup. And again, the press has never apologized for any of this.

    But people outside of politics are also quite susceptible. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was wrongfully convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, but when the proof came, the state of New Jersey never apologized, never expunged the record, and still considers him guilty in their books. Most damningly and outrageously, there’s the West Memphis Three, three young men who were accused of killing and mutilating three little boys in a Satanic ritual, but the case was laughably weak; and it attracted attention in the HBO documentary “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills”, as well as two sequels and a Peter Jackson-produced film, “West of Memphis.” DNA evidence exonerated the three, and yet the state of Arkansas didn’t immediately release them or overturn the verdict. The only way they were released was through an Alford plea, which is a legal guilty plea which offers you the chance to maintain your innocence to the public, and the state of Arkansas has never bothered to further investigate. So these three men’s lives are still under the shadow of a crime they didn’t commit, and it was easy to judge them as such because they didn’t fit the ultra-conservative values of the town because they dressed in black, read Stephen King books, listened to heavy metal (particularly Metallica), and and were outcasts in general. Arguably, they’ve been bullied more than Michael ever was.

    And lest you think this is me, shilling just only for the left-of-center, there is someone I’ve ardently defended who is known to be well on the right-wing; Mel Gibson. His 2006 DUI in many ways put his career to a grinding halt, and he became known forever as an anti-Semite in the public consciousness, across left and right alike. His 2010 incident, where he was accused of domestic violence and the angry voicemails and phone conversation were leaked by his former girlfriend, where he seemed to be saying misogynistic and racist statements, seemed to effectively seal his fate. And while he did get his career started again because of “Hacksaw Ridge”, there is something that lingers. And yet, if you look at his 2006 interview by Diane Sawyer, you can see the truth of the situation:

    Furthermore, Gibson has been found to also be suffering bipolar disorder, which a tendency to self-medicate with alcohol can only worsen, so clearly, hatred does not actually exist in his heart.

    So yes, Michael was singled out by the press and treated to a ludicrous degree of attacks and no sense of objectivity that are truly reprehensible. But the point remains, Michael was no one special in that regard. So many people have suffered the same, and suffered worse, than he did. Michael was just another target. Geffen set the frame up, the media were just along for the ride, as he took advantage of what Don Henley said about the media in “Dirty Laundry.”

    “I make my living off the evening news
    Just give me something-something I can use
    People love it when you lose,
    They love dirty laundry

    Well, I coulda been an actor, but I wound up here
    I just have to look good, I don’t have to be clear
    Come and whisper in my ear
    Give us dirty laundry

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em all around

    We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blond
    Who comes on at five
    She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye
    It’s interesting when people die
    Give us dirty laundry

    Can we film the operation?
    Is the head dead yet?
    You know, the boys in the newsroom got a running bet
    Get the widow on the set!
    We need dirty laundry

    You don’t really need to find out what’s going on
    You don’t really want to know just how far it’s gone
    Just leave well enough alone
    Eat your dirty laundry

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re stiff
    Kick ’em all around

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re stiff
    Kick ’em all around

    Dirty little secrets
    Dirty little lies
    We got our dirty little fingers in everybody’s pie
    We love to cut you down to size
    We love dirty laundry

    We can do “The Innuendo”
    We can dance and sing
    When it’s said and done we haven’t told you a thing
    We all know that crap is king
    Give us dirty laundry!

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down”

    Like

  39. December 16, 2020 3:59 pm

    Marie Antoinette, Matthew Shepard, beaten to a pulp for being gay, the silent film comic Fatty Arbuckle, who suffered false accusations of rape, Jake Lloyd, who played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars bullied relentlessly by angry fanboys, Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran, have received similar bullying, to the point of removing their social media accounts, the Clintons basically treated as guilty for every little thing under the sun since 1992, blaming blame Obama for everything that he couldn’t achieve, three young men accused of killing but their case laughably weak, Mel Gibson becoming known forever as an anti-Semite in the public consciousness, Don Henley and his song “Dirty Laundry”. Michael was no one special in that regard. So many people have suffered the same, and suffered worse, than he did. – luv4htuch

    I have only one question to the author of this impressive list. Luv4hutch, do you yourself believe what you are saying? I mean, honestly?
    There are thousands, in fact, millions of people all over the world who are treated unfairly and cruelly by their states, media and the public. If we start enumerating all these victims and for all historic periods too, it will make hundreds and hundreds of millions. Many are suffering even right at this moment.

    But if you take Michael Jackson, even in comparison with them his case is exceptional.

    Some were bullied by their neighbors, some by their fans, some by the people over whom they reigned, some by their political opponents and respective media, some by their spouses during a divorce, some for the things they indeed committed, some were blameless, some at certain points in their lives, some for longer periods – BUT none of them were slandered and bullied by the whole world, on a constant basis, for the most part of his life, and even after it, and the frenzy of it never subsiding.
    None were slandered and vilified by the media in every country and by all nations forced by their media to believe those lies. The sheer scale of Michael Jackson’s vilification is incomparable to anything else. As well as the frenzy and intensity of it.

    Add to it that he was Innocent too.

    Will you find another INNOCENT person who was subjected to the same kind of frenzy ALL OVER THE WORLD for some 30-40 YEARS?

    The honest answer to that will be – no, you will not be able to find anything similar to Michael Jackson’s case.

    So please don’t try to stretch the truth by comparing the fate of a certain Don Henley who was really to blame for the death of a teenage naked girl quickly hushed up the press and his manager David Geffen, with the fate of Michael Jackson who was not to blame for anything at all, but was ruthlessly and methodically run into the ground.

    The most Wiki says about Don Henley’s horrible (really horrible) life-style and the way the media responded to it is this:

    “Henley called paramedics to his home on November 21, 1980, where a 16-year-old girl was found naked and claiming she had overdosed on quaaludes and cocaine. She was arrested for prostitution, while a 15-year-old girl found in the house was arrested for being under the influence of drugs. Henley was arrested and subsequently charged for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He pled no contest, was fined $2,500 and put on two years’ probation. Chiles, who was no longer in a relationship with Henley at the time of the incident, later said, “I was shocked to hear about it. He didn’t have drugs around the house. It was an accident, I’m sure.” The media attention from this incident was primary among the inspirations for the solo hit, “Dirty Laundry.

    I can post here what gossip sites say about what Don Henley really did to those girls, but will refrain.

    Like

  40. luv4hutch permalink
    December 16, 2020 4:07 pm

    Geffen wasn’t Henley’s or The Eagles’ manager. Irving Azoff has been since the mid-’70s.

    And Henley and Geffen were famously enemies, even when Henley was signed to the label. Much of the strain of the relationship is written about on Henley’s 1989 album The End of the Innocence, and Henley let his solo contract expire, waiting a whole ten years, before he made another solo album. So, Geffen was never his friend.

    Like

  41. luv4hutch permalink
    December 16, 2020 4:17 pm

    Besides, Henley and his flaws have always been well-known and he’s been perceived by many as cranky and quite acerbic, he’s certainly not exactly the type that one can really consider a friend. And The Eagles have long been controlled by strong egos, particularly when the late Glenn Frey was also alive.

    You can appreciate the art and not the artist. Henley’s message is still quite prescient and correct, as has been his elaborations in The Eagles’ song “Get Over It.” And his talent is still undeniable.

    Bob Dylan has also been known to be quite a particularly unpleasant figure in his life, especially the way he’s treated his romantic relationships, his blatant chauvinism and his general mercurial nature. That doesn’t change his legacy or ruin it, and his song “Idiot Wind” still holds true, especially in this entire situation. It fits to a T.

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  42. luv4hutch permalink
    December 16, 2020 4:20 pm

    Who’s in charge of the media, whose message is it tailored to? Spoiler alert: not progressives.

    https://pressrun.media/p/the-medias-defining-failure-of-2020

    Like

  43. December 16, 2020 4:50 pm

    luv4hutch, you diverge from the subject. My point was that your list of bullied people was irrelevant as the media coverage of them is incomparable to what they did to Michael.

    P.S. Don Henley was signed to David Geffen’s label, and I used the word “manager” to simplify things. And Geffen was in legal disputes with Don Henley AFTER that incident.

    P.P.S I repeat my question:
    Do you yourself believe what you are saying? Are you honest with yourself?

    Like

  44. luv4hutch permalink
    December 16, 2020 5:02 pm

    I make sure not to delude myself, and I believe this very much.

    Because here’s the thing: yes, what Michael went through was inexcusable. Yes, what Michael went through was unjust and unfair; and yes, they held him to a different standard than many other people.

    But here’s the thing: the press has done that to many other people in the past. Michael wasn’t the first and at this rate he’s not going to be the last. Johnny Depp, as I said, is their main target now. Sometimes, people are just singled out for whatever impenetrable reason, reasons not fully understood, and many of those cases didn’t have a Geffen or the specter of “the big bad progressives” to do it. They were just chosen to be the sacrificial lamb to whatever vanities were driving the world at large.

    And to insist Michael was the most bullied person in the world does no good. The public trying to convince everyone, gaslight them that Michael was walking around with a victim complex, holding himself out as a martyr every step of the way: it followed all the derision about the HIStory album and revealing his honest emotions about the ordeal he’d been through. But Michael never DWELLED in them, he said his piece and moved on.

    With what you and I have mentioned about how Michael lived his values, he especially lived Jesus in the way of “forgive them for they know not what they do.” Even with all he’d been through, especially after 2005, he moved on and worked to pick up the pieces, in Bahrain, Ireland and Vegas. He wasn’t wearing his status as continual whipping boy by the media like a badge of status, or waving it like a flag.

    So to say “he was bullied more than anyone else in recent history” only plays into that, especially as there are many who’ve suffered far worse than Michael ever received.

    Like

  45. December 16, 2020 5:26 pm

    “Even with all he’d been through, especially after 2005, he moved on and worked to pick up the pieces, in Bahrain, Ireland and Vegas.”

    But the media did not move on.
    It isn’t Michael Jackson’s victim status that I focus on – my point of interest and reseach is THE MEDIA and WHY THEY DID IT to him. And don’t tell me that they did it just for money and ratings. No, the media was orchestrated and had an agenda. Anyone who does not see it is in denial and deludes himself.

    Like

  46. luv4hutch permalink
    December 16, 2020 5:37 pm

    I’m not saying they didn’t have an agenda. Of course they did, they did in all the cases I’ve mentioned. But that other than Geffen, you’re not particularly looking in the right place, especially because progressivism had nothing to do with it.

    It can easily be just as simple as the courtiers who plot against the monarch and/or others in their position, and go through a process of triangulation, mind games, flattery and psychological warfare. And why? Oftentimes, the motive can be extremely petty, such as jealousy or saying “if I can’t have this, nobody will.” Progressivism didn’t factor in this; especially since many of the people who’ve criticized Michael tend to be quite diverse politically. And Hollywood, the people who run it, administer it, and many of its onscreen talent, are right-of-center themselves and haven’t suffered in their careers.

    Could it simply be that you’re just looking for patterns where none exist, the same way someone tries to work out a JFK conspiracy, or a UFO/Illuminati/flouride in the water/microchips under the skin unified grand theory that also involves aliens building Stonehenge?

    William Manchester in the book “The Death of the President,” described it as such just on the matter of JFK. If you put 6 million murdered Jews on one side of a scale, and the Nazis on the other, you have a rough balance: greatest crime, greatest criminals. But if you put JFK one side, and Lee Harvey Oswald on the other, it doesn’t match. It just doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t seem weighty enough, or have enough meaning. A conspiracy would do nicely.

    Many of these such theories come abound because we don’t want to accept that order and chaos are the same thing, and oftentimes, there is no greater explanation for an event than “shit happens.” That random chance is often the driving force, and that it’s luck an event went this way and not another.

    Like

  47. December 16, 2020 5:57 pm

    “oftentimes, there is no greater explanation for an event than “shit happens.” That random chance is often the driving force”

    I am not comparing Michael Jackson to Jesus, but you can’t say that what happened to Jesus was just “shit happens” and “a random chance”? No, there was much more to it.
    Same with Michael Jackson. Shit does happen, but when it happens for about 40 years, there is much more to it.

    As to Geffen and progressivism, in very many ways Geffen is progressivism.

    Like

  48. luv4hutch permalink
    December 16, 2020 6:02 pm

    Geffen only PRETENDED to be. He joined the anti-Clinton bandwagon quite thoroughly, and then the anti-Obama one. Lately he’s a Republican, and has especially sidled up to Trump. Geffen has no principles or beliefs other than himself.

    If you want an example of Democratic hypocrisy, a more fitting example is Kevin Spacey; and he was disowned quite thoroughly.

    Like

  49. luv4hutch permalink
    December 16, 2020 6:34 pm

    I didn’t say that what happened to Jesus what “shit happens”, not even remotely. But I said that much of the time, for most things, that is what it is. That’s all I said.

    And Michael’s also not the only one that the media doesn’t leave alone, refuses to let things die. The media never moved on from the Clintons, and still dogs them for everything, including moments that when Clinton and Monica Lewinsky happen to be in the same state, some people will actually say “the affair continues.” Likewise with virtually every scandal. They haven’t been left alone. The Obamas haven’t been left alone. Depp hasn’t been left alone. So on and so forth.

    And again, people like Freddie Mercury have more in common with Michael than you think:

    Like

  50. luv4hutch permalink
    December 24, 2020 1:41 pm

    This Elton’s comments about the making of Rocketman, which definitely shows him in a more nuanced light than yours.

    “I was in the cinema for about 15 minutes before I started crying. Not crying as in the occasional tear quietly trickling down my cheek: really sobbing, in that loud, unguarded, emotionally destroyed way that makes people turn around and look at you with alarmed expressions. I was watching my family – my mum and dad, my nan – in my nan’s old council house in Pinner Hill Road in the late 1950s, singing I Want Love, a song Bernie Taupin and I had written in 2001. I knew it was in the film, but I didn’t know how they were going to use it. Up until that point, I’d kept a discrete distance from the actual process of making a movie about my life. I gave some suggestions, saw a few daily rushes, said yay or nay to some important decisions and met two or three times with Taron Egerton, who plays me. But otherwise I’d kept well away from Rocketman, letting my husband David [Furnish] be my eyes and ears on set every day. I figured it would be uncomfortable for everyone to have the person the film was about lurking around.

    So I wasn’t prepared for the power of what I was seeing. I Want Love is a song Bernie wrote, I think, about himself: a middle-aged man with a few divorces, wondering if he’s ever going to fall in love again. But it fitted life in Pinner Hill Road perfectly. I suppose my mum and dad must have been in love once, but there wasn’t much sign they ever had been by the time I came along. They gave every impression of hating each other. My dad was strict and remote and had a terrible temper; my mum was argumentative and prone to dark moods. When they were together, all I can remember are icy silences or screaming rows. The rows were usually about me, how I was being brought up.

    My dad was in the RAF so he was away from home a lot, and when he got back, he tried to impose new rules about everything: how I ate, how I dressed. That would set Mum off. I got the feeling they were staying together because of me, which just made things more miserable. The best way to escape it was to shut myself in my bedroom with my record collection and my comics, and drift off into an imaginary world, fantasising that I was Little Richard or Ray Charles or Jerry Lee Lewis. I made my peace with it all years ago. They divorced when I was 13, both remarried, which I was happy about, although my relationship with both of them was always tricky. I was closer to Mum than Dad, but there were long periods when we didn’t speak. And my childhood is one thing I’m still sensitive about.

    Even if I hadn’t been, the whole experience of watching someone else pretend to be you on screen, of seeing things you remember happening again in front of your eyes, is a very weird, disconcerting one, like having an incredibly vivid dream. And the story of how I ended up in a cinema, crying my eyes out at the sight of my family 60 years ago, is a long and convoluted one. And it begins, naturally enough, with a naked transgender woman with sparks flying out of her vagina.

    The trans woman was Amanda Lepore, a model, singer and performance artist. She had sparks flying out of her vagina because she was starring in one of a series of films by David LaChapelle I’d commissioned for my show in Las Vegas, The Red Piano in 2004. That was his interpretation of the lyrics of Someone Saved My Life Tonight, a song Bernie and I had written about our pre-fame years, living in a flat in north London with a woman I’d foolishly got engaged to when I was still very confused about my sexuality.

    An actor was dressed as me in full 70s stage outfit sticking his head in a gas oven, homoerotic angels figure-skating with giant teddy bears and Amanda Lepore, naked, in an electric chair, with sparks flying out of her vagina. I loved it: I’d said all along I didn’t want a standard Vegas show, and no one was ever going to be able to call The Red Piano that.

    But it also got me thinking. David LaChapelle’s films were based, very loosely, on my life. I really had staged a completely ridiculous suicide bid that involved sticking my head in a gas oven. Rather than tell my fiancée I’d made a mistake, that was my brilliant plan to try and get out of the wedding. If you were going to make a film about me, that would be the way to do it. Nevertheless, the idea of making a film about my life still seemed like a big IF. For one thing, I’ve been very successful writing songs and soundtracks for films, but I’ve never been very comfortable with seeing myself on a big screen.

    Amazingly, the director Hal Ashby offered me the male lead in Harold and Maude in 1971, but I turned it down: I loved the script, but it seemed like the wrong thing to do at the time. I’ve played myself in a couple of films, none of them exactly Oscar winners: Spice World and a Disney thing called The Country Bears. I suppose my one famous film role was in Tommy, although it didn’t really involve acting, just trying not to fall over while wearing a pair of 4½ft Doc Martens. I initially turned that down, too. They contacted Rod Stewart and I told him to turn it down as well. “I wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole, dear.” Then Pete Townshend from the Who rang me and I felt like I couldn’t say no. Rod was absolutely furious: “You bitch! You did that on purpose!” I’ve obviously spent a significant proportion of my life deliberately trying to annoy Rod Stewart – that’s very much the nature of our friendship – but that time it was completely accidental.

    I’ve never been very interested in looking back at my career. It happened, I’m incredibly grateful, but I’m more interested in what I’m doing next rather than what I did 40 years ago. But that began to change a little the older I got, and I really started to approach things in a different way when I had children. I was 63 when our first son, Zachary, was born, 65 when Elijah came along – and I did start thinking about them in 40 years’ time, being able to see or read my version of my life. I became less conscious about keeping it all to myself. I liked the idea of them having a film and an autobiography, where I was honest.

    So when I decided I did want to go ahead with a film, we commissioned a script from Lee Hall, who I’d worked with on the stage musical of Billy Elliot. It was brilliant. It had moments that were pure fantasy and moments that were really hard-hitting, no punches pulled, like Tantrums and Tiaras, the documentary my husband David made about me not long after we met. Lots of people told me I was insane to allow that documentary to be released, but I loved it, because it was truthful. There are moments in it – and moments in the film – where I’m completely disgusting and awful, but then, at my worst, I was disgusting and awful, and there’s no reason to pretend otherwise.

    But actually making the thing took years. Directors came and went – David LaChapelle was going to do it, but then he decided to focus on his fine art career – before the producer Matthew Vaughn, who I’d met when I had a cameo role in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, suggested Dexter Fletcher. So did lead actors: Justin Timberlake and Tom Hardy were both in the frame before Taron came along. Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating. But I just haven’t led a PG-13 rated life. I didn’t want a film packed with drugs and sex, but equally, everyone knows I had quite a lot of both during the 70s and 80s, so there didn’t seem to be much point in making a movie that implied that after every gig, I’d quietly gone back to my hotel room with only a glass of warm milk and the Gideon’s Bible for company.

    And some studios wanted us to lose the fantasy element and make a more straightforward biopic, but that was missing the point. Like I said, I lived in my own head a lot as a kid. And when my career took off, it took off in such a way that it almost didn’t seem real to me. I wasn’t an overnight success by any means – I’d been slogging around the clubs, making records, writing songs with Bernie and trying to sell them to people who weren’t interested for four or five years before anything big happened. But when it happened, it went off like a missile: there’s a moment in Rocketman when I’m playing onstage in the Troubadour club in LA and everything in the room starts levitating, me included, and honestly, that’s what it felt like.

    I left England in August 1970 more or less unknown. Me and Bernie were so broke, we were sleeping in bunk beds in my mum and stepdad’s spare room. I was making ends meet working as a session musician, playing on anyone’s records. I’d had a little bit of press and a few plays on John Peel for my second album, Elton John – enough that I didn’t see the point of going to perform in America, where literally no one knew who I was. But I came back from the States a month later with American critics calling me the saviour of rock’n’roll. Artists who were just mythic names on the back of album sleeves to me, people I absolutely worshipped, were suddenly turning up in the dressing room to tell me and Bernie they loved what we were doing: Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Leon Russell, the Band, Bob Dylan. I’d also lost my virginity, to a man – John Reid, who later became my manager – and come out as gay, at least to my friends and family. This all happened in the space of three weeks. To say it was a lot to take in is a terrible understatement.

    Understandably, Bernie and I had no idea what the hell was going on – you know, I hadn’t even wanted to be a rock star in the first place, I just wanted to be a successful songwriter – but it just got bigger and bigger over the next few years. I kept a diary the whole time, and it’s inadvertently hilarious. I wrote everything down in this matter-of-fact way, which ends up making it seem even more preposterous: “Woke up, watched Grandstand. Wrote Candle in the Wind. Went to London, bought Rolls-Royce. Ringo Starr came for dinner.”

    I suppose I was trying to normalise what was happening, but the fact was, what was happening to me wasn’t normal. I’m not complaining at all, but there was no way you could prepare yourself for it. I don’t think any human being is psychologically built to cope with all that stuff happening to you that quickly, let alone me, with all my neuroses going back to my childhood.

    In a way, it’s a miracle I didn’t go off the rails before I did. It took three or four years – and my discovery of cocaine – before things started getting out of hand, maybe because I was working so hard that I didn’t have too much time to think about it. I was always on tour or making a new album. Of course, when I did go off the rails, that happened like a missile as well.

    It’s strange, I don’t find it painful to watch those parts of the film. They’re truthful and, unlike my childhood, it was my own fault. No one forced me to do drugs and drink. In fact, more than a few people tried to warn me I was out of control. It took a fairly Herculean effort to get yourself noticed for taking too much cocaine in the music industry of 1970s LA, but I was clearly prepared to put the hours in.

    I gave my diaries to Taron to read when he took on the lead role in the film. He came to my house, we had a takeaway curry and chatted, and I let him see them. I knew Taron was the right man when I heard him sing Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me. I thought it was really important that whoever played me didn’t lip-sync, I wanted them to actually sing the songs, and Taron had already sung I’m Still Standing brilliantly in the animated film Sing.

    But Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me is a really hard song for a vocalist. I know, because I struggled with it myself. When I tried to record it in 1974, the session went incredibly badly: I just couldn’t get it right. Demonstrating my legendary composure and breezy good humour in the face of a crisis, I ended up threatening to strangle my producer Gus Dudgeon with my bare hands, then announced that the song was so terrible that I was never going to release it, and instead was going to give it to Engelbert Humperdinck. Taron, on the other hand, just sang it: no threats of murder, no mention of dear old Engelbert.

    His singing really astounded me. He isn’t doing an impersonation of me, he doesn’t look uncannily like me – although they shaved his head and thinned out his hair to make it look like mine in the 70s, which he hated. Welcome to my world, baby – at least yours will grow back. But he’s like me, he’s captured something of me, just as Richard Madden’s got something of John Reid and Jamie Bell’s got something of Bernie.

    Jamie and Taron have even managed to capture my relationship with Bernie, which is frankly a miracle, because I really have no idea how that works. We were thrown together at random. I had failed an audition for Liberty Records in 1967, and a guy from the label gave me an envelope with his lyrics in it as an afterthought, like a consolation prize. I’m not sure he had even opened the envelope and read the lyrics himself before he did it: I think he just felt sorry for me and didn’t want me to go away empty handed.

    We were very close right at the start of our career together, but we’re completely different people. He comes from the wilds of Lincolnshire, I come from the suburbs of London. He lives in Santa Barbara and he’s literally won competitions for roping cattle. I collect antique porcelain and the only way you’d get me on the back of a horse is at gunpoint. Neither of us can write if the other is in the room. But there’s a weird bond between us that I felt the minute I opened the envelope – I could just write music to his words straight away, without even thinking about it – and it’s lasted over 50 years.

    We’ve had arguments – you don’t want to get him started on the subject of some of my more outlandish stage costumes, or indeed the subject of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, a song he’s loathed from the minute it was finished and continues to loathe to this day – but we’ve never fallen out, despite all the ridiculous crap we’ve been through.

    Outside of my husband and children, it’s the most important relationship in my life, we really love each other and the film captures that. There’s a scene in Rocketman where he comes to visit me in rehab, and that started me sobbing again. It happened just the same way in real life. Bernie was one of the people who tried to tell me to stop doing drugs. I wouldn’t listen until years later, but he stuck by me, he never gave up on me, and he was so relieved and happy when I finally got help.

    He was apprehensive about the film. He read the script and he didn’t like the fantasy aspects of it. “But that didn’t happen, that’s not true” – very Bernie. Then he saw it and completely got it. I don’t think he actually burst into tears, but he was incredibly moved by it. He understood the point of it, which was to make something that was like my life: chaotic, funny, mad, horrible, brilliant and dark. It’s obviously not all true, but it’s the truth.”

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  51. Des permalink
    December 24, 2020 6:02 pm

    My dear friend Helena wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year love and health to you and to everybody around the world and especially Michaels world this man has brought many people together and has plant the seed of love in many people’s hearts the seed that grows in every soil that pure unconditional love that makes you think about others.Thank you for everything.

    Like

  52. December 27, 2020 4:35 am

    Dear Des and all Michael Jackson’s supporters, a happy New Year to you too! Let the coming New Year indeed be happier and bring some light to people of integrity who stand up for the truth. Truth about Michael Jackson and truth in every other way. It will win.
    God’s mill grinds slow but sure.

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