"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin': MJ in the scholarly literature: a selected bibliographic guide".
Weiner, Robert G.
|Publication:||Name: Journal of Pan African Studies Publisher: Journal of Pan African Studies Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Journal of Pan African Studies ISSN: 0888-6601|
|Issue:||Date: March 30, 2010 Source Volume: 3 Source Issue: 7|
|Persons:||Named Person: Jackson, Michael (American pop singer)|
To say that researchers can find tons of material on Michael
Jackson would be an understatement. Our original goal was to provide
scholars with a guide to printed books, articles, websites and other
online sources that researchers could use as legitimate content. We
wanted to avoid sensationalist works like David Perel's Freak:
Inside the Twisted World of Michael Jackson or National Enquirer type
We felt that type of literature could defeat the purpose of honest scholarly investigation, despite the fact that these materials do tells us something about popular culture and the culture of the icon. We quickly found, however, that there simply was not enough time or space to put together a complete collection of books, articles, websites, etc., on Jackson for academic researchers. We could do a whole reference book on Jackson resources and still not cover it all. Indeed we found a number of M.A. theses and Ph.D. dissertations with Jackson content which we also have left out for the reasons stated above.
We consulted a copious number of articles to select the ones in this guide. We surveyed at least 100 different databases covering a wide range of subject areas from chemistry, music, general and humanities to engineering. The range of places scholars can find Jackson content surprised us. In the end, we chose to focus on articles in the academic literature. Each article in this guide meets at least one of the following criteria:
1) Was the article in a peer-reviewed journal?
2) If not, would it still be of interest to scholars and researchers?
3) Did the article have substantial Jackson content?
4) Is the Jackson content unique?
5) Does the article tell us something about the way we see popular icons including Jackson?
The breadth of Jackson's influence, beyond his just being a pop icon, is truly astounding. This bibliographic guide to the MJ in the scholarly literature just scratches the surface. We do, however, give scholars a place to start exploring the world of the "King of Pop" in academic literature. If nothing else, it illustrates just how pervasive Jackson's impact is.
Berberovic', Sanja. "The Michael Jackson of Two or Three Noses Ago and the Michael Jackson of Today." Jezikoslovlje 8.1 (2007): 27-44.
The title of this article is misleading because only a small portion is devoted to Michael Jackson. The author discusses the characteristics of personal names from a linguistic point of view. After detailed explanations of "figurative meaning" (31), "metonymic mappings" (31), and "partitive restrictive modification" (31) related to proper nouns, the article shifts to discussions about famous people such as: Zinedine Zidane, Saddam Hussein, George Bush, Shakira, Eminem, Shakespeare, and Michael Jackson. Each person is described as having different stages in his or her life that make that person seem like a different individual in each stage. Jackson's stages are characterized by his multiple cosmetic surgeries, his songs at the top of the charts, and his troubles dealing with child molestation charges and the trial. The author makes a point that some view the Michael Jackson of the 1980s as markedly different from the MJ of the 1990s and beyond.
Brooks, Jodi. "Ghosting the Machine: The Sounds of Tap and the Sounds of Film." Screen. 44.4 (Winter 2003): 355-78.
The author looks at the history of Hollywood tap dancing and how that history fits with traditional views of African-Americans and minstrel ideological understanding. Spike Lee's Bamboozled and MJ's Black or White video are analyzed as being different from the traditional mode of tap within Hollywood. Tap is a form of "sound writing" (358). Black or White is seen as a critique of tap's place in film. Brooks focuses on the very last part of the video, which is referred to as the "mute dance." Black or White and Bamboozled ask the viewer to "listen a little more closely to the rhythms and beats of musical entertainment" (378), and thus become more involved with understanding the percussive character of the form.
Burnett, Robert, and Bert Deivert. "Black or White: Michael Jackson's Video as a Mirror of Popular Culture." Popular Music and Society. 19.3 (Autumn 1995): 19-40.
When the Black or White video first appeared on Fox Broadcasting, it caused all kinds controversy due to some disturbing images and words. The authors analyze the video in terms of teaching students about intertextaulity (ie., "relationship between two or more texts showing their presence within a work" (22). The video, which is discussed scene by scene in great detail, was shown to over 500 students to see if they could find intertextual references. At least 50% of the students found other movies, stars, and product references that were familiar to them in Jackson's video. Ultimately Jackson is viewed not as an innovator, but as the "King of Pastiche," just a "mirror" (37) of prevalent culture ideals.
Campbell, Mel. "Say the Unsayable: The Non-Verbal Vocalizations of Michael Jackson." Context: Journal of Music Research. 26 (Spring 2003): 17-26.
The author goes beyond Jackson's lyrics, gestures, and singing vocals, analyzing those nonverbal vocalizations of Jackson's "whoops, yelps, grunts, squeals," etc., and there is a definite, decipherable "Hoo or Ow!" that is indentified with Jackson. The author points out that nonverbal vocalizations have a long history within slave spirituals, but Jackson's vocalizations have little in common with those. We can learn about issues of race, sexuality, and gender by listening more closely to what Jackson doesn't sing.
Carpenter, Serena, Stephen Lacy, and Frederick Fico. "Network News Coverage of High-Profile Crimes during 2004: A Study of Source Use and Reporter Context." Journalism &Mass Communication Quarterly 83.4 (Winter 2006): 901-916.
The purpose of this article is to explore the premise that television news is more concerned with feeding the public's desire for sensational news coverage than following reporting standards for complete and factual information. A 2004 study was conducted to research how four high-profile crimes involving Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Martha Stewart, and Scott Peterson were covered compared to other well-known news stories in 2004. The main focus for the study was to examine the role of the journalists, whether they contacted reliable sources, cited their sources, and provided all viewpoints in their coverage. Results indicate that most coverage of the high-profile crimes was aired in the morning news, and these crimes were covered differently from other important news stories.
Colquitt, Joseph A. "Using Jury Questionnaires; (Ab)using Jurors." Connecticut Law Review. 40.1 (November 2007): 1-51.
While there is not much Jackson content, this article briefly discusses the jurors in the child molestation case. The jurors in the MJ trial wanted to return to their private lives in the same nameless way they were chosen to serve. The article looks at the broader question of juror privacy and juror questionnaires that are sometimes administered during trials from various sources.
Culp, Jr., Jerome Mc Cristal. "The Michael Jackson Pill: Equality, Race, and Culture." Michigan Law Review. 92.8. Symposium: Visions of Equality: The Future of Title VII. (August 1994): 2613-2644.
This is an odd article using Michael Jackson as a metaphor for whiteness. The author sets the article up in three parts 1) a debate between professors, 2) a debate on Crossfire like programs, 3) a written decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Dr. Michael Jackson, educated at Motown University and "now a professor of medical appearance at Hollywood University" (2615), has developed a pill that will turn all African-Americans into Anglos, thus eliminating racism all together. The larger issue is the content of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and its effect on equalization of race. It presents all sides of the coin from equality in the work place to racial identity. The authors' approach is certainly one of the most creative that we've seen.
Davidson, Clive. "Technology: Brain Waves Show that Michael Jackson is No Thriller." New Scientist. 13.1863 (March 6, 1993): 21.
This short piece describes how a cable television company used a brain wave analyzer to gauge viewers' responses to various shows and advertisements. The company found that there were high responses for those watching documentaries, but a Michael Jackson concert produced little response and negligible brain activity.
Dery, Mark. "Cyberculture." South Atlantic Quarterly 91.3 (Summer 1992): 501-523.
Dery examines the "computer-based image processing" (501) used in films such as Terminator 2, Judgment Day and Michael Jackson's short film, Black or White. In Jackson's film, a single being experiences transformations/mutations changing his or her appearance related to gender, race, age, etc. The film intended to promote Jackson's album, Dangerous, but it actually referred to the promotion of worldwide materialism in which humans morph their bodies using current technology. The author believes that Jackson's purpose is to tell his personal story about his self-transformation of his eyes, nose, lips and complexion. Other sci-fi films and creative works related to cyberculture are covered.
Epstein, Debbie, and Deborah Lynn Steinberg. "The Face of Ruin: Evidentiary Spectacle and the Trial of Michael Jackson." Social Semiotics 17.4 (December 2007): 441-458.
This article analyzes the documentary, Michael Jackson's Boys, which aired on British television the week before Jackson's 2005 trial for child molestation. The authors examine all aspects of the documentary using a semiological method, identifying three themes. The main themes center around Jackson's unnatural appearance and the attention and popularity he had, the evidence in the case, and the inhuman treatment of individuals on television. The documentary incorporates numerous close-ups of Jackson's pixelled mug shot and his facial expressions. Its narrative implies his undisputable guilt. Footage from Jackson's music videos, news stories, other documentaries, and television series dealing with crime are included. Throughout the video, music and effects are used to create a sense of danger and fear. Although some of the actual witnesses, the boys that had current or past friendships with Jackson, and Jackson himself denied that any abuse took place, the documentary uses hearsay, insinuations, and assumptions to convince the audience that Jackson is guilty.
Erni, John Nguyet. "Queer Figurations in the Media: Critical Reflections on the Michael Jackson Sex Scandal." Critical Studies in Mass Communication 15.2 (June 1998): 158-180.
Erni discusses the media's representation of the 1993 child molestation case involving Michael Jackson. It focuses on the testimony provided about the child molestation charges, the media's treatments of Jackson, and the questions of innocence in a case of this nature. Implications of "legal, medical, psychiatric, moral, economic, and cultural spheres" (160) and the media's insistence that queer orientation is considered a threat to all young children are discussed. The author includes information about Jackson's live interview with Oprah before the scandal; photographs of Jackson taken for evidence; the relationship between Jackson and Joey Randall, (the minor in the case); and former Jackson employees who were paid for their testimonies.
Favor, J. Martin, "What's a Million Dollars to Michael Jackson." Souls (Spring 2001): 28-37.
The author discusses Ghana Africa's attempt to bring in tourist trade by restoring slave castles as part of its history. While many African-Americans find this distasteful, Africans see it as not only a way to bring in needed dollars, but also as a part of their history that needs to be documented and used. They see stars like Michael Jackson as a valid representation of "Black Americans" and how they exist. Jackson and stars like Eddie Murphy, Michael Jordan, etc., are "black Americans Ghanaians can reach out and touch..."(35) since there are so many representations in movies, compact discs, the Internet, clothing, etc.
Gomez-Barris, Macarena and Herman Gray. "Michael Jackson, Television, and Post-Op Disasters." Television & New Media 7.1 (February 2006): 40-51.
This article discusses the documentary, Living with Michael Jackson, by Martin Bashir, a British journalist, and compares its content to the tension in the U.S. concerning race, gender, family values, and morality. Millions viewed the documentary witnessing Jackson's absurd behavior and conflicting responses to Bashir's intense inquiries. After discussing Jackson's experiences as a child, entertainer, and parent, Bashir moves to questions about Jackson's nose, facial bleaching and other physical transformations. The disturbing information Jackson reveals causes suspicion and concerns about his mental well-being and ability as a parent. In an effort to hold Bashir accountable, Jackson's also staff filmed the interviews. His version was aired on television to support his accusations that Bashir misrepresented him. Although he had objections, Jackson was aware that the media coverage renewed his place in the limelight. But the documentary was very much a false picture of Jackson as material that was not sensationalized was edited out and Jackson had to air his counter documentary, Michael Jackson's Private Home Movies. The Living documentary presented a confusing view of racial and sexual identity in the "neoconservative" environment of America at the time.
Goode, Ian. "Living With Fame: 'Geri' and 'Living with Michael Jackson.'" Social Semiotics 18.2 (June 2008): 177-190.
The author compares two documentaries, Geri by filmmaker Molly Dineen, and Living with Michael Jackson by journalist Martin Bashir. Geri depicts the life of Geri Halliwell, former member of "The Spice Girls," and Living with Michael Jackson is about the famous pop star. Both productions attempt to show differences and conflicts between their public and their private lives. Goode also attempts to show how society exploits celebrity. Detailed explanations of the actual interview questions and responses are provided. Throughout the interview process, Dineen and Halliwell form a bond and a trust. At the beginning of the Jackson and Bashir interviews, there is a strong trust, but as Bashir's approach becomes more invasive and demanding, trust is destroyed. Jackson's responses shift to denial and defense of his facial surgeries and his relationships with children.
Graham-Smith, Greg. "Habeas Corpus: Bodies of Evidence and Performed Litigiousness-the Spectacle of Michael Jackson's Trial." Communicatio: South African Journal for Communication Theory & Research 34.2 (2008): 278-289.
The author examines Michael Jackson's 2005 trial for child molestation. He poses several questions: how the law deals with a person whose body seems barely perceptible; how Jackson depicted himself as the victim; and how the dramatic reenactments of the trial on national television affected the trial. Jackson's bodily changes are a product of technology resulting in a "posthuman" (279) form. His song "Man in the Mirror" may be symbolic of the psychological impact of Jackson's hate for his appearance and why he used plastic surgery. Other speculation indicates that Jackson strived for a futuristic look that paralleled his love of science fiction. Many people wonder how Jackson was found not guilty. In the trial, Jackson's lawyer was able to discredit the accuser's mother, seemingly putting her on trial and leading the attention away from Jackson. Jackson tried to manipulate the trial by appearing sick, heavily medicated, vulnerable, and unstable. Since the judge did not allow news coverage of the trial, two producers used actual transcripts to create a daily drama with actors and legal advisors. This further made the trial seem like entertainment.
Gumpert, Gary, and Susan Druker. "The Fake Trial of Michael Jackson." Television Quarterly. 35.3/4 (Spring/Summer 2005): 26-30.
The authors argue that television cameras should be allowed in the courtrooms whether it is a high profile case or not. During the Jackson molestation trial Judge Rodney S. Melville refused to allow cameras, not wanting to turn the trial into a circus. As a result, E! Entertainment put together its own "fake trial," The Michael Jackson Trial, An E! News Presentation, with actors based upon trial transcripts. But this was not really all that accurate; it provides a false view of the events. There is no constitutional requisite which requires that trials be filmed or photographed, and the E! program was solely for entertainment purposes. For true justice to prevail, perhaps judges should allow cameras to record all trials.
Hills, Matt. "Michael Jackson Fans on Trial? 'Documenting' Emotivism and Fandom in Wacko about Jacko" Social Semiotics 17.4 (December 2007): 459-477.
The author explores the historical view that pop culture fans are extremely emotional and irrational, and that they do not follow the norm. He centers on Michael Jackson's fans and how they were represented in a British documentary, Wacko about Jacko. A research method was developed to study and compare the documentary's script of conversations with the fans, as well as Internet sites that include comments from his fans. The study evaluates how the documentary portrays the fans as overly emotional and how it focuses on individual fans who are infatuated with Michael Jackson to the point of fantasizing sexually and transforming their bodies to imitate him. Participating fans trusted the producers of the documentary to represent them in a positive way, but the author provides evidence to the contrary.
Izod, John. "Androgyn and Stardom: Cultural Meanings of Michael Jackson." The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal. 14.3 (1995): 63-74.
The author places Michael Jackson within the "Jung child archetype" and argues that he somehow represents a "safe" androgynous star. He says that placing MJ in this archetype compares the pop icon to the classical mythology concept of the "the flower boy" like Adonis.
One who presents an androgynous image is less threatening sexually but he is not necessarily less "manly." Much discussion is made of Jackson's own admission that he maintains a childlike lifestyle and of his groundbreaking interview on Oprah in 1993. That Jackson was an adult and performed as an adult is irony that is not lost on the author. Despite the initial child molestation case, many admirers still supported him and ultimately it did not discredit his career and life as much as it could have.
Johnson, Allison. "When a Celebrity is Tied to Immoral Behavior: Consumer Reactions to Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant." Advances in Consumer Research. 32 (2005): 100-101.
This extended abstract argues that Social Identity Theory can help predict how consumers will behave. Consumers' identification with certain stars like Michael Jackson or Kobe Bryant, despite their implications in deviant behavior, will determine how consumers feel about them. For example, those who believe in Jackson's absolute innocence of any legal charges are more likely to continue buying those products that he may endorse.
Johnson, Pamela K. "The Mirror of Michael Jackson." International Review of African American Art. 22.4 (2009): 36-37.
A fitting personal tribute to Michael Jackson after his death, the author describes his influence on her and the King of Pop's influence on popular culture as a whole. She does point out that, at the time the Bad album was released, MJ was looking whiter, and many in the black community felt discarded.
Johnson, Victoria. "The Politics of Morphing: Michael Jackson as Science Fiction Border Text." The Velvet Light Trap32 (1993): 58-65.
This article analyzes Michael Jackson's image as an icon and his use of science fiction in promoting himself as a performer. It poses questions about Jackson's statements that we are basically all alike in apparent contrast to his bodily transformation through technology, resulting in an alien-like appearance. His videos and music display examples of science fiction, space vehicles, and aliens, which may signify no permanent identification with this world. Important points, revealed in the interview with Oprah, show the contradictions of Jackson's statements of admiration for children and making the world a loving place, especially for children, with his suggestive adult gestures in his performances. Jackson's efforts to convince children to follow his messianic lead have many implications, including capital gain.
Kalof, Linda. "Dilemmas of Femininity: Gender and the Social Construction of Sexual Imagery." Sociological Quarterly 34.4 (1993):639-651.
This article describes a study conducted by the author in which participants (ages 13-22) view Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel music video. They respond to three open-ended questions concerning how they perceive the female and male characters in the video. After participants complete the written portion of the questionnaire, they share opinions in group discussions. Results of the study indicate a wide range of different perceptions about the female's sexuality as opposed to no difference about the male's. The research shows that participants make judgments based on their gender and life experiences. Conclusions of the study show the historical view of females as sexual objects to be manipulated is still prevalent.
King, Jason. "Form and Function: Super Stardom and Aesthetics in the Music Videos of Michael and Janet Jackson." Velvet Light Trap 44 (Fall 1999): 80-96.
King explores the function that expensive and elaborate music videos play for re-emerging black artists, Michael and Janet Jackson. The videos' intent is to renew public acceptance of the Jacksons as superstars. King also illustrates that the videos were designed to establish the artists' black identity and culture. Detailed analysis of the music video Scream, the only video in which Michael and Janet Jackson perform together, shows multiple scenes depicting racial and social status. The use of mobilization in the video, leaving earth on a spacecraft, may signify Michael's fears of alienation and an attempt to free himself from the world.
Landman, James H. "Balancing Act: First and Sixth Amendment Rights in High Profile Cases." Social Education. 69.4 (May/June 2005): 182-188.
The right to a fair and impartial trial and freedom of speech are things we take for granted in a free society. But high-profile cases with sensationalist media coverage and "docudramas" presented for the masses about a trial like Michael Jackson's can create a public frenzy and other problems. The jurors in the Jackson case were not always given the privacy accorded to low-profile cases; for example, E-Online had a "Meet the Jurors" section. Gag orders in the Jackson case are also discussed, as is Jay Leno's involvement as a witness in the case. The court called Leno's jokes about the case into question. Leno was allowed to tell jokes as long as they had nothing to do with what he witnessed in the court. Although MJ is only a part of the article, this well-written piece provides an interesting insight into the law and the American judicial system.
Lynch, Christopher. "Ritual Transformation through Michael Jackson's Music Video." Journal of Communication Inquiry 25.2 (April 2001): 114-131.
In this detailed article, Lynch analyzes Michael Jackson's music video Dangerous to determine clues to the meanings embedded in the video's text, music, dance, visual presentation, and narration. Jackson's videos repeatedly reach out to the audience with themes centered on the innocence of children, societal problems, reality or imagination, personal transformation, strength or weakness, and his self-proclaimed call to lead the world to perfect harmony.
Martinec, Radan. "Construction of Identity in Michael Jackson's Jam." Social Semiotics 10.3 (Dec. 2000):313-329.
In this article, Martinec analyzes Michael Jackson's music video, Jam, to determine the development of movements (phases) throughout the video. Movements are tracked using a group of three snapshots of similar movements. Evaluation of four basic themes, and how they develop the participants' identity (foregrounding), are identified. The article includes diagrams and a table.
Melnick, Merril J., Steven Jackson. "Globalization American-Style and Reference Idol Selection: The Importance of Athlete Celebrity Others among New Zealand Youth." International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 37.3/4 (2002): 429-448.
Although there is very little MJ content beyond a few mentions, this article is of interest to scholars studying the icon's cultural influence. The authors found that athletes (and others) tend to identify with popular performers (including Jackson) and their influence goes beyond appreciation and can influence viewpoint and way of life.
Mercer, Kobena. "Monster Metaphors: Notes on Michael Jackson's Thriller." Screen. 27 (January/February 1986): 26-43.
Michael Jackson's Thriller video was produced not as a means for selling the album, but as a celebration of it. John Landis' direction combines his previous work as a horror/comedy director with a kind of narrative structure that many music videos don't have. Much is made of Jackson's comment in the video that he is "not like other guys," as it pertains to his androgynous image. The video for Thriller is analyzed in detail (shot by shot in some cases) and much is made of Jackson's triple role of man, werewolf, and zombie within the video. The video is almost a spoof of the 1950s B-rated horror movies rather than the serious monster films of Hammer and Universal studios. In the video, Jackson is seen as having the same kind of "camp" that previous performers like Little Richard and Screamin' Jay Hawkins had.
Mittell, Jason. "A Cultural Approach to Television Genre Theory." Cinema Journal 40.3 (2001): 3-24.
In this detailed article, Mittell argues the importance of analyzing television genres using a cultural approach. He says that traditional approaches to analyzing genres are maundering, determined by the television audiences, the television industry itself, and contemporary culture. He presents a case study in which three music videos by Michael Jackson, Billy Jean, Beat It, and Thriller, are analyzed. The author includes conclusions that may be generated by currently accepted genre approaches and the questions these approaches may not cover. The analysis of the case study focuses on the effects of the television industry, specifically MTV's limited view on race and rock. He concludes with five basic principles.
Pye, Cory C. "Chemistry and Song: A Novel Way to Educate and Entertain." Journal of Chemical Education. 81.4 (April 2004): 507-508.
This article is the weirdest Michael Jackson related piece we found in the academic literature. The author, a professor of chemistry, argues that using modern songs and reframing them in terms of teaching chemistry is an effective way of getting students to understand difficult concepts. "Billie Jean" was used as a way to teach about Nitrobenzene. The melody was used with the lyrics changed to chemistry language and the author dressed up as Jackson (including trying to do some of his moves). The students responded very positively to this method of teaching.
Reber, Bryan, Karla K. Gower, and Jennifer A. Robinson. "The Internet and Litigation Public Relations." Journal of Public Relations Research. 18.1 (2006): 23-44.
The authors look at the official websites of three high-profile celebrities, Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart, and Richard Srushy, involved in high profile litigation. They analyze the content on MJ's website and press releases related to his child molestation case. In 2003 he launched mjnews.us as the official press room to tell his version of the story. He fired his press agent, hired a new one, and launched mjjsource.com in early 2004. The original website did contain letters and comments from Jackson, but after his firing of his press agent no new content was added. With his new website mjjsource.com, other material not related to the litigation such as biographical material, photos, and information about his music, was added--as well as official statements related to the litigation. It was updated frequently and presented a much more rounded presentation of the performer. The authors do a great deal of scrutiny of all the websites, including numerous charts and mathematical equations.
Ruda, Stephen J. "Lessons from the Michael Jackson Call." Fire Engineering. (October 2009): 126-127.
The captain of the Los Angeles Fire Department Office of Public Information writes about the lessons learned from the Michael Jackson 911 call when he stopped moving/breathing. The author describes the fire department's response to the call and gives practical advice on how to deal with media requests, while also taking Jackson's privacy into account. Those who are celebrities deserve care just as much those who are ordinary folks. Dealing with paparazzi and media needs to be taken into account because it is important to maintain the integrity of the response agency.
Safaer, Joshua. "The Crystal Ball." Performance Research 9.2 (June 2004): 118-131.
An experimental theatre, The Crystal Ball, enlisted notable experts to predict the future of some audience members with regard to their finances, health, and aging. The author centers on aging and the relation to Michael Jackson's lifelong desire to look and live like J.M. Barrie's literary character, "Peter Pan." The author provides details of Jackson's interview with Martin Bashir, which aired in February 2003. In the interview, Jackson talks about his childhood experiences, particularly his longing to play with other children rather than having to work. Safaer also discusses other indications of Jackson's infatuation with Peter Pan, including the creation of "Neverland" as his home, his self-transformation through cosmetic surgery, and his desire to never become an adult.
Silberman, Seth Clark. "Presenting Michael Jackson." Social Semiotics 17.4 (December 2007): 417-440.
In this detailed article, Silberman discusses the manipulation of Michael Jackson's appearances portrayed in his child molestation trial and his Black or White music video. Emphasis is placed on Jackson's attempt to draw public attention and sympathy, even appearing one hour late in pajamas to his trial. A number of sources cited hold the common belief that Jackson is extremely strategic and brilliant in how he keeps re-inventing himself and rejuvenating his popularity. The author points out contradictions of his appearance in his trial: weak, vulnerable, and in constant pain, with his appearance in his Black or White music video: strong, independent, and exhibiting anger and male sexuality.
Sokol, Daniel K. "Hippocrates, Michael Jackson, and Medical Ethics." British Medical Journal. 339 (September 5, 2009): 541.
The case of Michael Jackson's death brings into question medical ethics where the patient is more powerful than the attending physician. It is important for doctors to be cognizant of what they are doing, especially when one's patient is as high profile as Jackson. What is in the patient's best interest?
Stever, Gayle S. "The Celebrity Appeal Questionnaire." Psychological Reports 68.3 Pt.1 (June 1991): 859-866.
This article details a study using "The Celebrity Questionnaire" (859) developed to determine fans' attraction to celebrities. The researcher created the questionnaire with an initial survey of 73 college students registered in a humanities course, followed by further editing of the questionnaire with a group of high school students. Four categories that include 26 descriptive terms were determined for the final questionnaire. A Likert scale was utilized. The final sample consisted of two groups, 367 participants who attended five of Jackson's concerts and 81 college students in a humanities class. Results indicated that three of the four categories showed a strong attraction to Jackson as a socially attractive entertainer and celebrity.
Theroux, Paul. "The Original Neverland: Inside Michael Jackson's Private Kingdom." Architectural Digest. 66.11 (November 2009): 96-113, 163.
Theroux looks at the property that Michael Jackson bought in 1988. It was designed in 1982 by architect Robert Altevers in the Santa Ynez Valley. Jackson renamed the property Neverland after he bought it. Apparently, he kept the original interiors. This article is very photo heavy and provides a nice understanding for scholars wanting to research Jackson's lifestyle and living arrangements.
Tribler, Willis R. "The Defense Philosophy." IDC Quarterly 15.3 (July 2005): 1-2.
In this brief article, the author explores the procedure followed by the prosecution in the child molestation trial of Michael Jackson. Additional charges of serving alcohol to a child and kidnapping were included and may have affected the not guilty verdict. A list of recommended readings is also provided for the reader.
Trussler, Simon. "Peter Pan and Susan: Lost Children from Juliet to Michael Jackson." New Theatre Quarterly 23.4 (November 2007): 380-386.
The author explores the relationship of major literary works including Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare and Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind with J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, all of which deal with childhood innocence and acceptable adult/child relationships. It discusses Michael Jackson's infatuation with Peter Pan, evidenced by naming his ranch "Neverland," posing on the roof of his limousine as Peter Pan just after his arrest for child molestation, and the possibility that Jackson's facial surgery was intended to resemble Disney's Peter Pan character.
Wallace, Michele. "Michael Jackson, Black Modernisms and 'the Ecstasy of Communication.'" Third Text. 3.7 (Summer 1989): 11-12
Wallace looks at various Michael Jackson videos and sees them as a positive way African-Americans are making inroads at helping dissolve racisms. MJ has achieved something on par with Elvis and the Beatles and unknown to black artists before. Wallace gives a post-modernist reading of Jackson as a video artist and calls his performances "Black Modernisms" (13). Jackson's innocuous sexuality and his personal life are less important to understanding the good he has done artistically. The author counterattacks the New York Times' Jon Pareles' negative review of the video Man in the Mirror, regarding it as groundbreaking in its own right. Jackson's performance on the Grammy Awards was also an important milestone. The video Bad is analyzed in detail for its contextualization of race and poverty, as well as its view of male sexuality. The author concludes that Jackson's "cultural discourse" and "energy to engage" an audience are "good" things (22).
Wasserstrom, Jeffery N. "Michael Jackson, Mickey Mouse and the man-who-faced-the tanks." Index on Censorship. 28.5 (September-October 1999): 84-85.
This brief piece discusses the "stardom" of the nameless man who stood in front of tanks during the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 5, 1989. He immediately became the poster boy for t-shirts, speeches, and documentaries. Michael Jackson used his image/video footage on tour while performing "Earth Song" with MJ trying to stop the tanks in front of the screens.
Associate Librarian and Head of Access Services
Texas Tech University, Lubbock Texas
Robert G. Weiner
Associate Humanities Librarian
Texas Tech University, Lubbock Texas
Susan Hidalgo (Susan.Hidalgo@ttu.edu) is an associate librarian and head of Access Services at the Texas Tech University Libraries in Lubbock Texas. Her department comprises the public services of Document Delivery, Circulation, and Stacks Maintenance. The authors would like to thank Document Delivery staff for help in tracking down some of this material.
Robert G. Weiner (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an associate humanities librarian at Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas, and librarian for music, film, theatre, and art. Known as the "pop culture guru" at Texas Tech, he is co-author of The Grateful Dead and the Deadheads: An Annotated Bibliography and editor of Perspectives on the Grateful Dead, Captain America and the Struggle of the Superhero, Graphic Novels and Comics in Libraries and Archives. He has been published in Popular Music and Society, Journal of Popular Culture, International Journal of Comic Art, West Texas Historical Association Yearbook, East Texas Historical Journal. He gives special thanks to his supervisor Laura Heinz for suggesting that he write something related to MJ. Thanks also to my mentor, Susan Hidalgo, for being so wonderful to work with and being so keen about studying MJ. Thanks also Mr. Itibari M. Zulu for being so encouraging and enthusiastic about this project.
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