Michael Jackson, Super Freak

All the money in the world doesn't change the fact that the self-proclaimed King of Pop doesn't look human anymore. His chin seems to have shifted a bit to one side, and his nose looks like a good hard pinch would cause it to collapse on itself like one of those skinny balloons that clowns twist into animal shapes. And what, pray tell, is someone once accused of child molestation doing wearing gold knee pads on national television? Diane Sawyer's live interview of Michael Jackson and wife Lisa-Marie Presley on Prime Time Live confirmed that isolation and bucketfuls of cash are the stuff that mutants are made of. How else to explain an hour that started off weird and got weirder as Michael described how the lovebirds first met: "I was 17," he squeaked. "And she was seven." But the newlyweds -- who scarcely touched or exchanged eye contact -- couldn't quite get their story straight over the story of their courtship. He said they'd kept in touch since Lisa was a little girl. She said they didn't. Whoops. A spin-doctor might not have been a bad idea. The quintessence of cluelessness, the 36-year-old Jackson claims to be unable to comprehend why anyone would think twice about a child sharing his bed. In fact, he insists, "Nobody wonders when kids sleep over at my house." Well, if they didn't before they sure do now -- what with Lisa-Marie spilling the beans about how those adoring children just "won't leave him alone ... they follow him into the bathroom." You'd think it would occur to someone to lock the door. Thus far, outrageously expensive promotion (a reported $30 million) for HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, has been characterized by remarkably poor judgment by people who really should know better. The deeply disturbing neofacistic trailer for HIStory -- rife with screaming children, fainting girls, marching soldiers, helicopters and explosions -- climaxes with the unveiling of a huge statue of the singer, and a young blonde boy's look of dewy adoration as he shouts, "Michael, I love you" As if that weren't peculiarly creepy enough, the next shot follows a helicopter as it flies through straddled apart legs of the statue -- fairly ambiguous imagery, given the circumstances. Jackson, who clearly craves adulation as much as any junkie needs a fix, has announced a tour of 40-foot statues of himself, starting with one floating down the Thames in Great Britain. Can you say overkill? Putting the two on live TV may have also seemed like a good idea at the time, but it's hard to say which came across worse on camera. Lisa-Marie quickly established herself as a tough, if inarticulate, cookie who'd fit right in at a rundown trailer park. She is not now, nor has she ever been, a brain surgeon. Her quote in the current issue of Vibe magazine, which sports a nearly life-size headshot of hubby on the cover, starts off sweetly enough but quickly degenerates into a convoluted hiss of rag, "Michael is a true artist in every fact of its nature -- extremely aesthetic and very, very romantic. This is who he truly is despite degrading comments made in the past by certain larva ... I can't wait for the day when all the snakes who have tried take him out get to eat their own lunch and crawl back in the holes from which they came. We know who they are and their bluff is about to be called." And poor misunderstood Jackson has written a song called "They Don't Care About Us," with the lyrics, "Jew me, sue me, everybody do me/ Kick me, kike me, don't you black or white me." When questioned by Sawyer, he flatly said this sort of language isn't anti-Semitic. After all, some of his best friends (quadzillionaires David Geffen, David Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and Mike Milken) are Jewish. In a statement to the New York Times, the perennially clueless Jackson protested, "The idea that these lyrics could be deemed objectionable is extremely hurtful to me." And besides, some of his best friends are kikes. In an oddly hilarious snippet of old film toward the beginning of the show, Michael's father denied knowledge of ever making his son nauseous. "I didn't know about any regurgitations. If he did regurgitate, he 'gurgitated all the way to the bank." Nicely put, dad. And at the end of Prime Time Live, Jackson pirouetted about by himself, to the strains of his own voice singing, "No one understands me ... have you seen my childhood?" It was enough to make a person regurgitate all over themselves.

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