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On Michael Jackson

 
 
 
 
On Michael Jackson
Author: Margo Jefferson
ISBN 13: 9780307277657
ISBN 10: 307277658
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2007-01-09
Format: Paperback
Pages: 160
List Price: $14.00
 
 

Michael Jackson was once universally acclaimed as a song-and-dance man of genius; Wacko Jacko is now, more often than not, dismissed for his bizarre race and gender transformations and confounding antics, even as he is commonly reviled for the child molestation charges twice brought against him. Whence the weirdness and alleged criminality? How to account for Michael Jackson s rise and fall? In On Michael Jackson an at once passionate, incisive, and bracing work of cultural analysis Pulitzer Prize winning critic for The New York Times Margo Jefferson brilliantly unravels the complexities of one of the most enigmatic figures of our time. Who is Michael Jackson and what does it mean to call him a What Is It ? What do P. T. Barnum, Peter Pan, and Edgar Allan Poe have to do with our fascination with Jackson? How did his curious Victorian upbringing and his tenure as a child prodigy on the chitlin circuit inform his character and multiplicity of selves? How is Michael Jackson s c...

Publishers Weekly

Pulitzer-winning New York Times critic Jefferson collects her meditations on what may be the oddest show-biz figure of all time. "Freaks" is the title of her first essay, and she notes Jackson's attraction to Barnum as well as the strangely apt imagery of his best-known video, "Thriller." Born in 1958 to a bullying father and a mother who was a Jehovah's Witness convert, the youngest member of the Jackson Five quickly became its VIP. Child stars are never "normal," and Jefferson glances at Buster Keaton, Jackie Coogan, Sammy Davis Jr. and, of course, Shirley Temple, the only one of them even more famous than Jackson, unless you count Elizabeth Taylor, Jackson's "best friend," who supplanted Diana Ross as his apparent role model. Jackson, Jefferson believes, is a "sexual impersonator," imitating, at times, a gay man, a white woman, a "gangsta" and a "pop Count Dracula." His bizarre looks and behavior drew literally thousands of cameras to his 2005 trial for child molestation. Jefferson concludes that Jackson may be a "monstrous child," but that he is, to a degree, a mirror of us all. Her slim, smart volume of cultural analysis may remind readers of Susan Sontag's early, brilliant essays on pop culture. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.