So I work in that same beauty salon, I'm chained to the old masquerade
The lipstick, the shadow, the silicone: I follow my father's trade - Leonard Cohen
Michael Jackson may be another example of a celebrity distraction which, upon examination, reveals more about our society's mortal condition than a tabloid could imagine. Almost certainly more than it would dare to describe.
Yesterday, Jackson was ordered to close Neverland for having failed to pay the ranch's 47 employees their salary or insurance since the end of 2005. Unfortunate for the unpaid staff and the abandoned llamas but no surprise. He's moved on since his aquittal, like Gary Glitter did after his 1999 conviction, having departed last June for a Bahrain "vacation" from which he's yet to emerge. ("For the people working at Bahrain's malls, the person covered head to toe in a black veil, gloves and glasses appeared to be a rich, doting Saudi mother.... But why would a woman wear a man's shoes? Why the bodyguards? And why did the person's fluid movements seem so familiar?")
Last week's real Jackson story ran in the New York Daily News, under the snappy banner "Creepy dad was root of all clan's woe, singer sez." The singer was brother Jermaine, and the claims based on the projected outline for his abandoned "tell-all" family story.
Reading that Joseph was a nightmare of a father and sexually abusive towards his daughters is not exactly a "stop the presses" moment. What's new is this:
Jermaine even suggested his father may have set up Michael to be somehow victimized by older men.
He tells how his father would have Michael join in at late-night hotel room meetings with "important business people," and wondered whether "something happened" to Michael at those sessions.
He said he sensed something was wrong because Michael would be sick for days after. "What was Joseph doing?" Jermaine wrote.
This lifts the Jackson family horror show to a whole new order of dysfunction, one that sees parents network with power and trade their children for privilege. This should be a motif familiar to anyone acquainted with the literature of mind control and ritual abuse survivors: the father and first controller, passing his child-victim up the social ladder of abuse in return for status, protection and reward. All that's missing is the element of occult terror. Or maybe not: "LaToya also described being awakened in the night by Joseph wearing a 'monster mask.'"
Perhaps we can take more from this than the suspicion that the Jackson clan had gotten with the program. Perhaps rather the point is that the program exploits pre-existing conditions for abuse which are more common than most suspect. (This is how I tend to think of Ponchatoula's Hosanna Church.) Yet we shouldn't discount the suspicion, either, particularly given some of Michael's paranormal interests and peculiar associations. His close friendship with SPECTRA contactee and channeller of the Nine, Uri Geller, for one instance. (Jackson was Geller's best man in 2001 when he and his wife renewed his vows, the same year Geller is said to have been reactivated as a psychic spy.) His entourage including a "personal magician" for another.
Even if you wanted to, you won't be reading Jermaine's account now. Like every Jackson sibling who's tried to break from Joe, he's climbed down, returned to the fold and scrapped the book, apparently on the strength of Michael's threats to sue. Previously, Michael's given cause for family observers to attribute his grotesque body dysmorphia to a dread of resembling his father. Yet there they were at Jackson's trial last year, hand in hand.
In the big picture Michael Jackson means not very much. But his little picture may be more newsworthy than the news suggests.