Covering Michael Jackson: LA Weekly Archive Reporting on the King of Pop
Over the years, LA Weekly. like any American cultural reporter worth its salt, has devoted much ink to Michael Jackson, most recently during the on-again/off-again Neverland Ranch auction at Julien's Auctions this past spring. Our pals at videothing.com captured the surrealism in all its glory in the clip below.
Jervy Tervalon on the then impending Michael Jackson trial, November, 2003: It's not hard to see Michael Jackson's life as a cautionary tale of what money, fame, an abusive father, and a racist and homophobic society can get you: bleached skin, a discolored penis and now an official charge of child molestation. The world awaits Michael's next move, and as if we are on a death watch, we want him to stand trial in a court of law, confess or even, for a melodramatic end, to kill himself. Then the story of his fall will be finished.
David Ehrnenstein on Michael Jackson, November, 2003: "The standard Afrocentric point of view interprets Michael Jackson as an example of racial self-hatred. Okay, that's one view. But there's another that links up with Michel Foucault's notion that the power structure no longer has to police society because there are already "police" programmed by that society in the brain, which maintains a certain check on behavior. Who am I to criticize Michael Jackson's surgeries as self-hating? That's an essentialist point of view on race. I must respect him and allow him to make any decision he wants to make as to how he's going to reconfigure his self or gender or what have you.
John Powers on Martin Bashir's documentary, Living with Michael Jackson, Feb. 2003: "Early in the program, the 44-year-old star watched film of his 10-year-old self singing 'ABC,' and the canyon dividing the two Michaels was so poignant you might have thought that, despite its superficiality, the show was going to be a sympathetic portrait. Guess again. Living With Michael Jackson didn't teach me anything about Michael Jackson, but it sure taught me a lot about Martin Bashir. What a creep! Working in the self-aggrandizing doc-mode made famous by Nick Broomfield, Bashir spread himself over the movie like oleo -- his voice-overs brimmed with "I," "I," "I." He cajoled and wheedled to get what he wanted, put words in Jackson's mouth (as Slate's Virginia Heffernan shrewdly noted) and then treated the results as a "gotcha."