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Very Disturbing Trend
on January 23, 2013
It seems that while Sullivan and his friends in the media have succeeded in convincing many that there is some organized "hate campaign" against this book by Jackson fans, it is disturbing that what we are seeing now is a reverse strategy campaign that is just as damaging-and just as unconducive to free speech. Now, all of a sudden, we have a barrage of 5 star reviews, incidentally from many who likewise haven't bothered to read the book. Not all of the negative reviews have been from protective fans and "groupies." Many have been from intelligent, knowledgable readers, whether Jackson fans or scholars, who have studied his life for years-enough to know inaccuracies when they see them, and how to pinpoint what is an obvious and biased narrative on the part of the author.
Many very intelligent reviews, which patiently and laboriously broke down this book's inaccuracies, have now been buried beneath an avalanche of reviews that all sound suspiciously like the same person wrote them.
Look, this is probably not the worst book about Michael Jackson out there but, c'mon. A 5-star book it is not. It does contain many inaccuracies, of which true Jackson aficiandos are able to pinpoint right off the bat. There are certainly far better books-and no, I do not necessarily mean "fan" books or books that are all positive. If anyone wants to know what Michael Jackson the man was like, Frank Cascio's "My Friend Michael" is a far more accurate and honest book. I mean, really, who should be a more reliable source-the people who actually knew Michael Jackson, or a cut and paste journalist who is just stitching together every narrative and every story and every piece about Michael Jackson he has ever read, and throwing it all against a wall to see what sticks?
If the book is changing some people's minds about Michael Jackson, good. But that still doesn't excuse the blatant inaccuracies that have been pointed out, nor does it excuse the media for blatantly ignoring those inaccuracies and accusing those who have thoughtfully pointed them out as having some sort of agenda to destroy this book. Free speech is just that. And anyone-Michael Jackson fans or not-are certainly entitled to express it. In fact, given that Michael Jackson is, after all, the subject of this book, they are especially entitled to express it.
It is a sure sign of a polarizing book when every single rating is either a one or five star review. A pretty good indication that most are acting on nothing but kneejerk reaction, regardless of which side of the fence they are on. If anything, the book probably deserves two to three stars for effort and for some of its more decent aspects, but to award a book with this many flaws and inaccuracies with a five-star rating, as some are doing (I suspect out of spite and nothing more) is just wrong.
The problem that most people who are truly knowledgable about Michael's life have with this book is that it is perpetuating the tabloid caricature myth of him that most of us have come to realize was false-or at any rate, greatly exaggerated. And before anyone starts, yes, I am aware of some of the book's positive qualities. But it begs the question: Should we be content with a half baked product, especially when it seems this particular author has all of the strings, the clout and the "pull" with the media that, unfortunately, many who have written much more well informed books on Michael simply do not have? People who do not know one-tenth of the information that Jackson's greatest fans know about him will praise a book like this, while dismissing those who have actually spent years researching his life as "crazed" or "deranged" fans. While there are no doubt some extreme and overly protective fans, there are also many intelligent, articulate fans who know the facts because they have spent years researching them, and whether some factions like it or not, their opinions do matter. After all, it should be pretty easy to tell a kneejerk review (whether one star or five star)from the thoughtful, intelligent response of someone who has actually read the book-and has found genuine problems with it.
If you have read the book and loved it, fine. I have never been, nor will ever be, an advocate for censorship. I believe that everyone has the right to read a book and to make up their own minds. But to attempt to silence those who have found genuine fault with this book is equally wrong-and disturbing.
The book is definitely not the end all and be all of MJ books, as some are trying to claim. At best, it may have a place on the shelf of discerning readers who may be willing to overlook its flaws for the few kernels of truth it contains. But it is what it is. To try to build it up to anything more is just hot air and hyperbole.