Michael Jackson Is Weird: So Fucking What?

Michael Jackson's BadDear Ulric,

A beautiful thing happened to me this weekend and I thought of you. You’re one of the only people I know who will fully appreciate the magic…

With all the Michael Jackson bashing lately everywhere you look, and I’ll admit that he seems to make it pretty easy, I got to thinking about the music. And how everybody has all of a sudden accepted as fact that Off the Wall is a great album, and that Thriller was a real classic. “And it was all downhill from there,” the story goes, as MJ got weirder and weirder and the headlines started focusing on his skin color and his chimps rather than his music.


Is everyone forgetting Bad? Not that Billboard chart position is any real indicator of artistic merit, but Bad contains FIVE number one singles. That’s a big fucking deal. So anyway, Saturday night I was feeling a little weird. General stomach discomfort, edginess, etc., that I might attribute to the fact that the next day (March 2) was the first anniversary of the death of my mom. So it’s safe to say that I may have been a little emotionally fragile.

My mom loved to watch Michael Jackson dance. Loved it. But the “Thriller” video freaked her out because he looked so ugly and scary. So I would cover his face on the tv with my hand after he turned into a zombie, so she could still watch it. These were the days when we still had MTV in the house, before she called the cable company and paid $10 to have them come out to the house and scramble that one channel. What? You didn’t know the cable company could do that? Well, they can. And they did. Why? Because one time after my mom told me to do the dishes or something, I started jumping around my room, banging my head, and singing, “We’re not going to take it. No! We ain’t gonna take it!” That was the last straw, the glaring evidence that MTV truly was a bad influence on me. Dee Snider, I blame YOU that I missed the entire mid-80s era of music video (1984-1988).

So anyway, I put on the Bad cd (that I bought the day it was released at Believe in Music on Plainfield and 4 Mile—no longer there) into the Bose Wave System (that my mom bought me for my birthday a few years ago), and I listened to our man, Michael Jackson.

I was immediately struck by how cool the synth bass intro to “Bad” was. It’s fucking funky and cool. It has a surprisingly warm, “real” tone for 1987 r&b/pop. “Your butt is mine,” Michael snarled, and I snickered like I did when I was 16 and first heard the line. But then something crazy started to happen. Shamoan! I found myself uncontrollably dancing around the living room and scaring the piss out of my little dogs with all my sweet moves. I was feeling that bass line, I was becoming that bass line, just like Michael told Bashir Whateverhisnameis in that interview, explaining the inspiration of his dancing. I was seriously shaking my ass.

“The Way You Make Me Feel” is a great song too. And I was starting to get tired from the dancing. I’m out of shape. I don’t excercise. What’s the point? So I was starting to sweat a little. But I wasn’t going to stop until I got enough. The force was definitely not stopping.

The author, his friend Ulric, and Michael Jackson in 1990I knew I still had to feed my dogs and let them out before we had to leave, so I skipped ahead to “Man in the Mirror,” the emotional highpoint of the album. Granted, it is a little cheesy sounding. But not nearly as bad as you remember. And sure, MJ is a little more sniveling in the beginning than he needs to be. But man! When those choruses come in and he’s fucking SCREAMING at us, at himself, at God, “You got to! You got to! Make that! You GOT TO! Make That! CHANGE!” I swear to God he conjures all the deep soul of Otis Redding into his voice and you can feel it. You fucking feel it. It’s just so fucking good. And by then I was completely warn out. Drained.

And yeah, he’s an easy target. He’s weird. He’s not normal. The only normal people are people you don’t know well enough to find out what’s weird about them yet. Michael Jackson is not normal. So what? Neither am I. And neither are all these assholes who think it’s okay to be so mean about him. Even if he is mentally disturbed—and I’m not saying he is—since when is it okay for otherwise nice people to make fun of crazy people? We’re all freaks. So fucking what?

My mom and I both read his now out of print autobiography, Moonwalk, on the train while we were traveling around the UK back before I came home from foreign study. At that time in our lives we didn’t really see eye-to-eye on very much, but we both still loved Michael Jackson. And we both felt like we understood him, where he was coming from, what he was trying to accomplish. Later, when he was accused of sexually absuing children, neither of us believed the allegations. And I still don’t believe them. And as for his face, it’s obvious he’s had a terribly overzealous nosejob, but who fucking cares? He’s no freakier looking than Joan Rivers.

I don’t know. But I do know that Michael Jackson’s music can still stir me up and make me feel. And it moves me. Literally. Shamoan!

“If you can feel what I’m feeling then it’s a musical masterpiece / But if you can hear what I’m dealing with then that’s cool at least.”—Beastie Boys, “Pass the Mic.” Michael Jackson makes you feel it.

Love,

Jake

PS – Hey, remember when the Pixies released Bossanova and how amazed we were during the second song, “Rock Music,” when Black Francis started screaming “Shamoan!” just like our man, Michael Jackson? Remember that?

Check out Johnny Loftus’ MJ-bashing from November, 2001: I Wanna Rock with You – Please?

21 thoughts on “Michael Jackson Is Weird: So Fucking What?”

  1. I remember a friend in high school who’s sister had Off The Wall, and one night my friend got a really guilty, hangdog look on his face and said. “Have you ever heard this? It’s really good.” And he pulled out Off The Wall and we listened to it, even though we were both firmly into the Ramones and AC/DC and whatnot.

    We ended up loving it so much, when Thriller came out we couldn’t wait to throw it on the turntable. We dug it that too, until it got popular and you couldn’t (literally) turn on the tv, radio, pick up a magazine or whatever without getting clubbed over the head with MJ. Talk about an invasive media presence! I beat a hasty retreat from Thriller that lasted for years.

    It’s only been in recent years that enough time has passed that I could listen to it again. Maybe I’ll give the unlistened Bad a shot, too.

  2. >But I do know that Michael Jackson’s music can still stir me up and make me feel. And it moves me.

    Rock and roll can ch. . . .

    Nice one.

  3. Nice piece. It’s funny, you don’t see anyone slamming Daniel Johnston, Roky Erickson or Syd Barrett for being nuts. Do you have to sell a certain amount of records before you become a target?

  4. I was a closet Thriller fan, back in the days when all my friends were listening to ACDC and Maiden. And “Bad” isn’t the end of the MJ story anyway. “Dangerous” was a pretty good effort too. I used to use the album to test the limits of my stereo system and annoy everyone in the dorm.

  5. Oh Mixmaster, you forgot the part where you and your friend snuck into his mom’s liquor cabinet and ended up touching each other “pee pees”. Come on and tell the whole story and don’t leave out the part about the pillow fight.

  6. its not so fucking what. The guy is a fucking retard. malesting kids and they sleep in his bed? I don’t get the fans of him or people who don’t care that he is a total wacko. BTW get a picture of when he is white. and he siad that he just changed as a adolecsent. Hes a retard get that rhough your head

  7. Thank you so much for writing what you did. I will be a MJ fan forever. He changed music as we know it. Yes, it is easy to find things to slander someone who has spent literally their whole life in the public eye. That is why he feels the need to keep making these TV specials, he has to constantly defend himself. The man has had some of the top selling albums and that is a fact, you pessimists can’t argue with that. The people who call him a “retard” are the whiney girls who buy every album a boy band puts out because the media has made them into a mass cult. To say the absolute least Michael is an indivual and he isn’t afraid of that…once you can be absolutely secure with yourself you have it made.

  8. Victoria, Chad, Debbie, Jake, all of you guys are right on about Michael. Sure, he does things that no one would even think about doing, but its all about the heart and soul of the person to me. And from what I know, Michael has a kind and loving heart and a strong, everlasting soul.

    Ever since his teenage days (back in the mid-to-lat 70′s), he has used his talent to wow millions and millions around the world. I mean, why the hell do you think Thriller has sold almost 60 million copies worldwide?

    Is it because he’s always in the tabloids? No.

    Is it because he’s a supposed freak? Not even close.

    Is it because no matter what happens, he is, was, and always will be not only a good musical artist, but also an entertainer, dancer, humanitarian, and loving father? Damn right!

    Michael Jackson always knows how to bring light to a dark room, philosophically speaking. His voice, his dance moves, and his way of life is unique and special, despite the constant bashing and slamming of him, and false tabloid reports as well. No singer will ever be as well-known, accomplished, and as passionate as Michael Jackson.

    Oh, to those who hate Michael or feel he is a retard (I’m looking in your direction, Jessica) or fucked up in the head, prove me wrong, people! Just prove me wrong!

  9. Michael Jackson is GREAT. I dont see what all they hype is about him. I don’t really consider him ‘wierd’, but SPECIAL (and I DONT mean retarded, Jessica….). Anyways…I’m REALLY glad someone finally stood up to say something. To all the haters: Michael ROCKS….admit it to yourself.

  10. Michael Jackson is a legend and martin bashir is a fukkin prick whos in hiding in britain because hes hated so much the cunt.

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