Motown ExNihilo

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R&B Aristocrats Ex Nihilo: Social Graces Berry Mandatory

Michael Jackson had made his hits, recorded his videos before I ever heard of him. That’s how history happens, before anyone is paying attention. Benny Goodman was a decade past his prime before I heard him for the first time: hell, I was just getting born the year he had his famous Carnegie Hall concert. But back to Michael Jackson, or at least to his environs, his penumbra. I have no idea how many hit parades I ignored, I protect my innocence by being mostly blind and deaf, since childhood: I rely on the genius, the saint, the god, to get through anyway, to penetrate and ravish me. Plenty does, plenty doesn’t. In Michael Jackson’s case the “sound” elements of the “music” remained in my deaf zone; it was the visual — his performance, his dance — that dropped my jaw, made me go Whaa! myself a great dancer, ankles on swivels, hips on gimbals, rhythm from the jungle. Then I watched a dozen videos, all old by then, and watched them again.

thanx britannica

That’s background, not yet sketched at K. I don’t believe, not censored in 2007, not in need of resurrection: part of the part that never got jotted yet. And what I itch to say today is also a tangent. I’ve been machinating recently to revisit those videos, spend another week ODing on Michael Jax. Should be easy. I’d rented the videos from a video store, then saw them again via Blockbuster by mail. Now I ask Netflix for a review: and I get a ream of docs on Michael, all crap talking to his mother, his siblings, recording impresarios … interviews with peers … And I was getting ready bail out, to jettison the dreck, when an unexpected army made bivouack in my mind: Jax’s peers from Motown, especially the females: Dion Warwick, Diana Ross, they’re all drilled like debutants, they all walk like they’ve got a book on their head, rehearsing for the cotillion they weren’t born to but are now getting forcce-drafted to.

Queen Elizabeth walks, stands, sits like she’s got a book on her head, and a rod up her ass. So did princess Di. It’s bad for the boys, poor Prince Charles, but it’s worse for the girls. This current ducchess and her sister, they’re got books on their head too, and they’re not from the royal family (except by marriage): only from that same general our-grandfather-bested-your-grandfather class. Berry Gordy changed the world. Overnight he produced a royal population from Detroit riff-raff. Dion Warwick walks, sits, talks, not to mention sings, like she’s been drilled? OK, now: interview her older sister, her mother, her aunts.
I don’t think she’s actually from Motown: let’s say greater Motown (includes New Jersey).

Maxine Powell
was Motown’s Miss Manners
who groomed black pop acts for a largely white record-buying public

I’m reminded of one of my jazz gods whom I loved but who never got quite comfortable on the podium: Sarah Vaughan. Her singing was infected by preposterously artificial pronunciations: like a cop, butchering his English, trying to be “right” — when he doesn’t know what right is: guessing, guessing wrong. She could have used one or two fewer charm school lessons, or maybe one or two more.

I started here blabbing on nouveau manners, the clod practicing palace table setting, but MJ, pk-come-lately to Jax videos exerts its own considerable gravity.

The Chemical Castrati

On the subject of Michael Jackson: I love him, he’s great, superlative! But: But! He’s beautiful, he’s a machine; but he’s androdynous. Maybe he’s about sex; but he isn’t sex. His legs are toothpicks, he looks like a stick insect. Shirley Temple suggested more of puberty than Michael Jackson. So where and why does he wear these stupid costumes? What could be more offensively irrelevant than this over-grown child wearing a silver jock strap on the outside of his pants? When goddam Michael Jackson reaches down and tugs on his jock I want to barf.
For some time I was willing to believe that his parents injected him with something that would stave off puberty: the chemical castrati. Poor little kid. Juvenile millionaires aren’t allowed to grow up. When Michael Jackson grabs his dick, and then two and a sixteenth beats later grabs his dick again, I want to throttle him. I want to sue his handlers in a class action suit.
2014 09 26 I watched an MJ thing a while ago that exclaimed on how “mature” his boy’s voice was? That’s one of many things where published opinions contradict, not match, mine. But then to me nearly all voices promoted on the media have been immature, for decades: except those who artificially mature their vocal chords by gargling with acid. I like Joe Williams’ voice; not Paul McCartney’s voice, Jimmy Rushing’s voice; not Marvin Gaye’s voice.

Now Michael Jackson (and his handlers) do supply him with choice pussy to sing to in these videos. That little Playboy girl in Thrilla was cute. My favorite is the girl in the pencil sheath dress on the street in The Way You Make Me Feel. Mmm! But would that prime taste really respond to M-Jax on a real street in a real city?

Humbert Humbert (and me) was attracted to Lolita when she had no hips, no chest, no ass: most guys want at leat a little ass: but it’s a plus if the girl is utterly immature in other ways. But are there really any female correspondents: adult women who get off on utterly sexless boys? I hear that the girls in the harems loved to fuck the eunuchs, ’cause the eunuchs could fuck and suck: and never come! The cutest little virgin could sit on the face of the eunuch all night long and not only not get pregnant, not be suspected by the shah! but what if the eunuchs really couldn’t get it up? and didn’t want to suck either, had no knack for it? Would the harem denizens really line up for M-Jax: if they hadn’t first seen him on TV?

I loved the video where they use Maxfield Parrish themes. Now that’s first rate sexlessness!

Maxfield Parrish, Daybreak
thanx artpassions

Junior Starmen Memory

I remember seeing Michael Jackson on TV when I was young and he was very young, a child. I also remember Sammy Davis Jr when he was very young indeed. Sammy and Michael aren’t the only ones (among the best for sure). I gotta check on another memory, if I can. I’ve told how I got admitted to Birdland age fifteen by making a fuss when they wouldn’t let me in: too young? blue laws? jazz cursed from the cradle by being sold with alcohol, the society totalitarian-stiffened by blue laws? So, years have gone by, I now really am eighteen, legal to go to Birdland, me the old 18-year-old-Birdland veteran, and one of these kids is in town, recording, and, ten thirty at night, shows up at Birdland, wants a peek before he’s put to bed at the hotel. Frankie Lyman, that’s who it was. But Lyman was local, he didn’t need a hotel.

2014 09 26 I rented NJ once again, saw the pop hits once again, a half dozen of them: and now I’ve had enough, more than enough. First I didn’t know it, then, years after everyone else went bonkers, I went bonkers. But this time I didn’t. It all just annoyed me more than anything else. Show me Fred Astaire all over again. I want a real band, not a drum machine, I want a real dancer, not a mechanical robot.

Poor bastard. His own private, unique genius is in it, but 99% of what he did he was taught to do, Disney Corp spending as much time making up this or that eleven year old as Griffith ever spent on Lillian Gish after puberty.
When I was a kid no one stopped me from watching the porn at the volunteer firehouse (those beer guzzlers didn’t invite me in, but they did leave the door open, didn’t chase me when I showed up); but it wasn’t all over the TV for every kid to saturated himself in every afternoon, all afternoon. These videos aren’t just all immature sex, they’re largely fixated on immature violence: Beat It. Professional dancers, actors, models pretending to stage gang wars. Wonderful kiddie fare.
Note, this anarchist is Not suggesting that such things be regulated: I only want the nature of the universe to regulate things: let all junkies, all smokers, all fat people, all mental defectives starve to death: people who give all their money to hospitals, let them all just drop dead naturally, from the natural toxicity of over-prescribed medicos.

A couple of weeks ago I was dancing at the Legion. I’d just danced two dances in a row with Judy, a recently met favorite, when MJ’s Bille Jean, came on. Judy said as I guided her off the floor, “Oh, Michael Jackson”. And I turned us and guided us right back into a nice lindy. Stupid song, ridiculous unintelligible lyrics, but a good dance tune.

One subject spills into another. Something that kept tapping on my mind as I watched MJ this time, me with my degenerate hearing, trying to guess at any “meaning” the lyrics might have, have to hear them to have a good guess (but all that isn’t necessary: I looked up the lyrics for each song and had thus an official interpretation before me as I tried to watch and listen. A lot of the lyrics are instructions! This stick insect child molester is telling us what to do! We got rid of the priest, we killed God, we ignore the teacher … so our minds are entirely open to whatever the Fortune-500 wants to fill them with! Plus what we chose to stuff ourselves with ourselves: and it’s MJ telling us, “Don’t stop till you get enough.” He grabs his dick, humps his skinny little hips, and tells a world full of ten year old girls to let herself go, melt, “Don’t stop till you’ve had enough”. Don’t worry about your cherry, don’t worry about getting pregnant, don’t worry about AIDS … Trust the state to make us immortal no matter how stupid our behavior.
This lyric is priceless: “It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right / Just Beat It”. Does the US come with any instructions as to how Puritans under Cotton Mather transform into a declaration that it doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right.

I didn’t go to church in the decades when MJ was dispensing this appeal to self-indulgence as wisdom. So I didn’t hear: was there a Savonarola warning us against MJ? There might have been.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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