Michael Jackson Fans!!!
Michael Jackson's one great and serious love affair was with his fans. A common exchange between Michael and a fan was:
" I love you Michael."
"I love you more."
He wasn't kidding. He meant it. Literally. Lots of entertainers profess to love their fans, but will not go out of their way to be kind or to see them certainly, as a force or a cultural base to change the world. Many rockers have been known to take advantage of vulnerable female fans. Michael had opportunities to do just that but was restrained and respectful of his fans, especially females. Michael seemed to feel not only their love, but their pain in not being able to express their feelings for him with physical closeness. Those feelings were not unrequited.
But Michael seemed to understand that not being able to access the object of adolescent crushes and first loves is exquisitely painful. He was wise to that and able to feel it. Michael frequently dissolved into tears on stage after or during an encounter with a female fan. An exquisitely lonely man, Michael admitted to his pain of separation and described that loneliness to many who knew him. He was one of the most visible people in the world and yet one of the most lonely.
Imagine being in a hotel room in just about any city in the world with adoring fans camped outside your lodgings and not being able to see them, access them, chat with them or have any meaningful interactions. Imagine all that love coming toward you and not being able to access any of it personally, closely, physically or with sexual fulfillment. Michael called himself a gentleman when it came to women and the typical Rocker story exploitations of fans are glaring in their absence. Michael would often hand write multiple copies of notes to fans while in his hotel rooms and sneak downstairs to glimpse his fans who were die hard and camped out silently near and around hotels just to be near him and his energy.
Or he would write them notes that proclaimed that he could feel their love through the walls and would profusely thank them for their love and loyalty. He is known for delivering them himself if it was safe and at other times his security would hand them to fans. Have you ever heard of a Rock star who did that? Michael would often direct his staff to purchase and deliver blankets and pillows to fans who were camped out in the cold overnight. In his concerts in the 80s and 90s Michael would have bodyguards either allow or bring a fan onstage to be with Michael and dance with him while he sang a ballad, often She's Out of My Life. He did this consistently despite confessing that fans sometimes scared him because they tend to forget manners and convention in their frenzied state and they can pull hair and cause bodily harm. What is remarkable is what happened with each of those fans who made it onto the stage to touch him.
Winding their arms around him not wanting to let go, they would vocalize their love for him with I love you, Michael, obvious with lip reading. Many times they sobbed uncontrollably. Sometimes they fainted. One female fan fainted while standing with him on stage and Michael gently lifted her, carrying her across the stage to a bodyguard while he continued to sing. Every time, without fail, Michael would hug female fans genuinely and tenderly while firmly spanning and cradling the back of their head in his hand. Who does that? Only a man who understands women and knows what love really feels like—being held securely and cherished with a simple gesture. Often he would display the chivalrous bowing before the female object of his attention. Michael loved. He loved tenderly. He loved fiercely. Its in his body language. And the one steady object of his adoration was his fans.
At his arraignment before the 2005 trial, he leaped onto the roof of a car to wave to fans and to have his videographer capture their presence and support at a difficult time in his life. Michael had his crew film everything. He was heavily criticized for that gesture. The media categorized it as a circus atmosphere, the judge didn't appreciate it and to those who didn't know Michael like his fans and who didn't know what fans meant to him, saw it as disrespectful to the process and as cavalier and arrogant. That gesture was to thank the fans, acknowledge them and to reassure himself that despite the circumstances, he was still beloved and that fans hadn't deserted him.
Michael's gesture was spontaneous and typical. He gave no thought to how it might be interpreted by the cynical audience and media frenzy that surrounded that trial. In every country he visited, Michael might jump on the roofs of vehicles to avoid the crush of rushing and aroused fans or to give them a better look. But the public had no way of knowing that. Michael's constant and only support during the five month ordeal were his fans and family. The absence of celebrities or friends flocking to support him was jarring. Michael needed his fans and to feel their love in order to withstand the relentless legal and personal assaults on his character during the grueling five months of that trial. He needed their energy to prop him up to withstand the daily barrage of insults and assaults upon his person hood and character.
Fans got him through the trial. Fans and family. I didn't know about Michael Jackson fans until after his death. I supposed he had fans, but I didn't really know them until I began researching about Michael and his life. Michaels fans are all over the world and number in the millions. The Thriller album sold more than a hundred million copies. Like any other celebrity, Michael s fans are steadfast and loyal but there is an element that goes beyond the worldly manifestation of fan clubs for other entertainers.
The exchange between Michael and his fans is, well otherworldly. There is a tone surrounding Michaels fans that is hard to describe. Its as if each of them knows him personally, defends his reputation and his honor at any and every offence or assault, and they are kind and loving people. I began to read their postings as I began researching after his death and it became quickly evident that they all love him and believe implicitly in him and his character through everything that plagued this man throughout his lifetime. They have the facts; they have the evidence to back it all up. Because they follow everything about Michael, they have a context and a history that others are not privy to. Michael Jackson was and still is beloved. Agape? Of course. But he was and is beloved in the spiritual sense of the word. And it was not unrequited. Michaels fans have followed every event of his life; they know every career turn; they know all the albums and lyrics; they have followed press reports about the superstar; they know all the data. But something else defines Michael Jackson fans and I am at a loss to convey in any understandable terms. There is an unusual almost ethereal communication among his fans and his relationship with them was highly unusual.
It is hard to describe and even harder to understand. But there was an element of recognition—a love force or energy, an energetic exchange between Michael and his fans that transcends norms. It couldn't be seen with the naked eye but it was there. Its as if they feel each other. Whatever it is or was, it is a new kind of language that the rest of us don't speak. During the 2005 trial and at other times, Michael Jackson fans were described as rabid or in some way unreasonable. Often they were depicted as being a little or a lot loony but that is simply not the case.
They also were thought to be so enamored and blinded by the star that they abandoned all sense of propriety, reality or reason when it came to anything Michael. But that too, is simply not the case. MJ fans, as they call themselves know the man. They have a kind of advantage over the rest of society in understanding what non-fans and critics saw as eccentricities having simple and plausible explanations. To them it was Michael just being Michael.
Because they know the history and have a fuller context of who Michael Jackson was. They have a mental time line of who Michael was and what he did and there was a deeper understanding than the general public. They don't excuse his behavior or overlook it because there is no need to. They understood that Michael was different and they fully accept that and see it as a grand reason to love him even more. This historical knowledge and time line does make a difference—it places events into a context unavailable to most.
True MJ fans which is a moniker, speak with one voice regarding his character and his interactions with people and particularly with children. They even have a common language. One of the things that stands out when reading comments by his fans is the familiarity of all of them with what they call MJ haters. There is something unsettling and disturbing about the practices of these so called MJ haters. They show up on blogs and postings belittling him, his appearance and his character. They appear to be mostly males, mostly conservative Christians by the language and the slant of their posts, and they have very graphic and explicit damning things to say about his interest in children. They have twisted it into a caricature of thick, dark human shadow.
They don't seem to be aware that Michael Jackson was acquitted of all charges in his much publicized trial. Not guilty does not make for good tabloid fodder or economics and the yellow press milked the publicity in order to sell copy, so it is conceivable that these males actually did not hear or understand that the trial ended with a favorable outcome for Michael. But the peculiarity and specificity of their language is especially disturbing. Its violent.
One has to wonder why these MJ haters as they are called, bother to monitor the Michael Jackson fan areas and take the opportunity to spew a vile brew of accusation, sensation and condemnation toward a man long ago found innocent. Its not unusual to see duplicate postings on several sites, sometimes using the same name and obviously the same author. Those postings smack of sexual arousal, machismo gone rogue and a parallel thread of violence. It is obviously designed to arouse someone, but whom? It appears autoerotic. It does get a reaction.
These comments are often followed by a true Michael fan commenting later to ignore the hater. Apparently the fans have experience with this kind of bating. It is apparent also that no amount of factual intervention will convince the unenlightened. There is something really disturbing about the nature of these entries and how forceful they are.
Freudian theory would suppose that the haters themselves are latent homosexuals who project their hatred of themselves and their closeted sexual identity confusion onto a representative target—i.e. Michael Jackson. Jung would probably say they are displaying their own impotence with a demonstration of jealousy twisted toward a well known man who criticized and lacked machismo, embodied androgyny and sexuality and who aroused the paradox of sexual and maternal feelings in females. That too is evident in the comments by female fans who remark about Michaels body. That has always been true; the sexual awakening in young females often finds a safe and inaccessible target.
And they swoon. It was true for Elvis fans in his day and Frank Sinatra before him. The screaming of Beatles fans illustrates the same phenomena. Michael was beloved everywhere in the world.
No matter where he went, there were throngs of fans who loved Michael. The irony and paradox that stuns is the knowledge that he could not go out into public and interact with those who loved him because he would not be safe. While it is touching to be the target of so much love and adoration, the fame comes at an enormous cost. No privacy. No friends who know you just as Michael and not as Michael Jackson the mega-star. Like any public figure and especially a celebrity, Michael attracted fans that could meet the definition of crazed but they aren't many. I have corresponded with Michael's fans from all over the world and have found them to be thoughtful, dedicated to justice, generous, philanthropic and highly intelligent. They range from children to doctoral candidates.
And almost every one I have interacted with have Michaels ministrations and message in mind—change the world and make it a better place. Love more. And I can tell you from personal experience—they do. Michael Jackson's fans saw in Michael a light. A light, a love and a goodness that was a shroud that surrounded Michaels being. He shone and his love was shimmering. Fans knew it because they could feel it. It was that real and that palpable. And it is because of Michael that they are committed to making the world a better place. Michael was the messenger. His fans now are the message. Watch. Listen. Learn. Meet a Force that means to change the world.
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