Celebrating Invincible, Part 4: Threatened!!!

Willa:  This week we’re looking at “Threatened,” a very unusual horror story told from the point of view of the monster, who’s trying to figure out why everyone is so frightened of him.

“Threatened” begins with an introduction by Rod Serling, but it’s more philosophical and psychological than frightening. As Serling says, “Tonight’s story is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction.” He goes on to say, “A monster has arrived in the village,” a typical scenario in horror movies, but then tells us, “The major ingredient of any recipe for fear is the unknown.” So instead of encouraging us to feel fear, as horror movies typically do, he’s asking us to step back and analyze that fear. He concludes the intro with “Oh yes, I did forget something, didn’t I? I forgot to introduce you to the monster,” and we immediately hear Jackson’s voice singing, “You’re fearing me.” Suddenly we realize that he’s the monster. And he’s trying to get inside our heads and understand us.

Joie:  It’s very interesting you should describe the monster that way because that is not the feeling I get from this song at all. It is absolutely told from the monster’s point of view but, I don’t believe he’s clueless as to why everyone is frightened. Just the opposite, actually. He knows why they’re afraid and he likes it. Not only does the monster know exactly what he’s doing but, he enjoys doing it. He is obviously having great fun scaring all of the people.

You should be watching me, you should feel threatened.
While you sleep, while you creep, you should be threatened.
Every time your lady speaks, she speaks to me, threatened.
Half of me you’ll never be, so you should feel threatened by me.

It’s as if he’s celebrating, reveling in the effect he has on those around him. He is something to behold and he knows it and he is taunting those who look down on him and mock him. They are jealous of his beauty, his talent, his power and he throws it in their faces. “You’re fearing me, ’cause you know I’m a beast,” he sings. It’s the kind of trash talking that you hear from sports fans and others about to go into battle on any given court, field, board game or boardroom.

Willa:  Well, Joie, I agree that he was certainly “something to behold!” And I agree this song has a defiant, in-your-face edge to it – “trash talking” is a good description. And it may be that in some ways he enjoyed people’s fearful response to him. But I also think he sees that fear as really dangerous, and he’s trying to understand where that fear comes from.

To me, this is another one of those songs that is directly addressing the current circumstances of his life. The media and a fairly large percentage of the population are treating him like a monster, and he’s exploring the reasons why. As the title suggests, he thinks people see him as a monster because they feel “threatened” by him, but why? What exactly is so threatening to so many people? What are they so scared of?

This to me is the crucial question at the center of “Threatened,” and the answers he suggests are fascinating. I tend to think people were threatened by the way he blurred boundaries of race, gender, and sexuality, but he points to a different source – and he has good reasons. After all, the frenzied media criticism started before he really began transgressing those boundaries. He released “Leave Me Alone,” a funny but defiant response to the media hysteria, in 1989 when his skin was still fairly dark.

Also one of his heroes, Charlie Chaplin, was demonized in the press just like he was – Charlie Chaplin was treated like a monster, a “moral leper,” for more than 30 years – yet Chaplin wasn’t challenging the same kinds of social boundaries Michael Jackson was. We see a similar demonization of Elvis, and Barry Gibb, and Barbra Streisand, and Britney Spears. In fact, we see this sort of mob mentality occurring fairly regularly throughout our history where the press and the public turn against a popular performer in really vicious ways, and I think Michael Jackson is using “Threatened” to both push back against that mob mentality as well as try to understand it.

As we see in the lyrics you cited, he suggests there are deep psychological reasons for these ugly witch hunts, including feelings of inadequacy and jealousy. After all, he’s a sex symbol – “Every time your lady speaks, she speaks to me, threatened” – and a very talented, very handsome, very successful rock star – “Half of me you’ll never be, so you should feel threatened by me.” He’s also a celebrity, and his fame has made him so much larger than life that no one else can measure up, so now there’s an impulse to knock him off his pedestal and cut him down to size.

Joie:  Willa, while I can agree that this song is addressing the usual monsters in Michael’s own experiences, I really don’t think that he’s trying to figure them out at all. That’s not what’s going on here. I don’t believe he is suggesting any kind of reasons for the fear and I don’t believe he’s even asking the question ‘why are you afraid.’ Instead, I feel he’s telling us that he already knows exactly what’s going on. He knows why they’re afraid. And not only is he telling them that he understands it, but he’s letting them know that they’re right. They have good reason to fear him. “I’ve got a spell on you,” he sings. Then he says this:

Your worst nightmare, it’s me I’m everywhere
In one blink I’ll disappear, and then I’ll come back to haunt you

He’s letting them know that he’s not going away. They should feel threatened because they can’t get rid of him. He’s unstoppable. They’ve tried their best – Sneddon, Dimond, the Chandlers, the tabloids – they’ve all tried their best to bring him down and they may have knocked him off his game for a minute but, he’s not done. They didn’t finish him off and now he’s back, better than ever. They can’t silence him, they can’t control him, they can’t reach him… they can’t break him. So, essentially, he is ending this album on the very same triumphant note that he began it on:  by telling all those who tried to stop him that, after all of their efforts and all that he’s been through, he’s still here. They “can’t believe it, …can’t conceive it.” But it is the very reason why they should feel threatened.

The chours of “Threatened” that I cited earlier is the same sort of defiant battle cry that we saw in the opening lines of “Unbreakable.”

Now I’m just wondering, why you think
That you can get to me, with anything
Seems like you’d know by now
When and how, I get down
and with all that I’ve been through, I’m still around

It is the exact same message, just different words. In essence, with Invincible, he has just taken the listener on a journey that has now come full circle. This message – that he is still standing, “steady laughin’, while surfacing” – is so important to him that he felt the need to repeat it at the end of the album. Just to make sure we got it, in case we missed it the first time around:

You should be watching me, you should feel threatened

He sounds glorious on this song, as if he is having the best time recording these vocals. As I said before, it almost sounds as if he is celebrating, and the menacing tone of his voice on this track is laced ever so slightly with pure joy. He clearly enjoys the role of the monster on this song and he’s having fun with it. And I believe he sounds joyful because he is defiantly reminding us that he is still here and his art and his ideas – his love – will forever be unbreakable. They can knock him off that pedestal and try to cut him down to size but, it will never really work. He’s not going away and they should be afraid of that. “Half of me you’ll never be, so you should feel threatened by me.”

Willa:  Wow, Joie, this is so intriguing to me. When we first started tossing around the idea of doing a post on “Threatened” and we each said how much we loved it, I just assumed we saw it the same way and loved it for the same reasons. I can’t believe we saw this song so differently. I really do love “Threatened” – it’s one of my favorite songs on Invincible – but I would never have said it was glorious or joyful or celebratory. But I have to say, I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, and I’m starting to come around to your way of thinking. Before, I was so focused on how horrible it must be to have everyone think you’re a monster, I just couldn’t imagine anything joyful about it. But you’re right, that’s also a pretty powerful position to be in, and he does seem to be “reveling” in that power, as you said earlier. He’s definitely flexing his muscles on this song, and he’s enjoying it. Wow, you’ve really expanded the way I think about this song, and that is so interesting to me.

I still see “Threatened” as an insightful psychological study, though, which is what drew me to this song in the first place. I think he’s exploring the reasons why this ugly mob mentality erupts every so often against popular performers, and the reasons he identifies are fascinating and have to do with the nature of celebrity itself, and that weird double-vision of celebrities being both very familiar to us and yet essentially unknown. You know, the scariest horror movies aren’t about monsters from outer space; they’re about someone or something trusted and familiar becoming alien and scary. The father in The Shining goes insane and attacks his own family. The parents in The Omen are murdered by a son who isn’t really their son. The daughter in The Exorcist is possessed by demons and becomes unknowable. The mother in Rosemary’s Baby discovers her baby is devil spawn. The scariest monsters aren’t Godzilla and King Kong – they’re a favorite doll or teddy bear or the family dog or a parent or child or trusted neighbor when they turn murderous and attack the ones who love them and trust them most.

Michael Jackson was so familiar to us in so many ways. Perhaps most important was his incredible capacity for empathizing with an audience. Over and over, people talk about this deep connection they felt with him. When he sang, you felt like he knew what you were thinking and feeling, and was expressing your own thoughts and emotions back to you. As he sings in “Threatened,” “I’ve got a spell on you,” and he did have a spell on us. We were spellbound by everything he did. And he wasn’t just a celebrity; he was a celebrity who grew up in front of us. We felt like we’d known him since he was a boy. So he seemed very familiar in that sense also.

Plus, he was such a celebrity and so incredibly well known, so there was that kind of familiarity also. As he goes on to sing in “Threatened,” “it’s me, I’m everywhere.” And it’s true, he was everywhere, and he still is. His face, his music, his dance moves, his glove and fedora, his whole iconography – it’s truly amazing, his influence is everywhere. I was watching a Schoolhouse Rock video with my son the other day, the one called “Dollars and Sense,” and suddenly the cartoon character moonwalks past a music store. He’s even in Schoolhouse Rock. You can’t escape him, just like you can’t escape the zombies in a horror flick.

Joie:  Oh, Schoolhouse Rock! I used to love those things. But exactly! That’s the point I was trying to make here. We can’t escape him because he is everywhere. Just like he tells us in this song,  “Your worst nightmare, it’s me I’m everywhere / In one blink I’ll disappear, and then I’ll come back to haunt you.” He knows that his influence is inescapable; he knows that no matter what they try to do to him, they will never be able to fully escape him and so, he taunts them with his words:   “You should be watching me, you should feel threatened.”

Willa:  I agree. But then he grew up and changed, and some people began to wonder if we really knew him as well as we thought. There began to be that deep, unspeakable fear of the familiar becoming alien and “threatening.” Then a man accused him of molesting his son, and that fear exploded. And as he tells us in “Threatened,” we can’t escape that fear because it’s not coming from him, it’s coming from us – it’s within us, within our own minds. It’s “the dark thoughts” inside our own heads:

You’re fearing me, ’cause you know I’m a beast
Watching you when you sleep
When you’re in bed, I’m underneath
You’re trapped in halls, and my face is the walls
I’m the floor when you fall
And when you scream it’s ’cause of me
I’m the living dead, the dark thoughts in your head
I heard just what you said
That’s why you’ve got to be threatened by me

This song just takes my breath away. It seems so brilliant to me on so many levels, with deep psychological insights, especially in the way it captures that complicated mix of fear and familiarity people felt for him.

But before we started talking, Joie, I’d never thought about that fear as a potentially powerful force for him – something he could use to move us in deep psychological ways – and that complicates this all still further. I’ve come to agree with you, it does sound like he’s reveling in that power, and for me that just opens up a whole new way of seeing this song. Wow.

Joie:  Well, Willa, you’ve made some great points about the familiar becoming scary and threatening and I find that all very fascinating. But for me, “Threatened” has always been one of my favorite songs on the Invincible album and from the very first time I heard it, I have always felt that this was a song of triumph and victory. A song of revelry or rejoicing. It’s an exhibition of sorts. ‘Look at me, I am here and I am magnificent!’ That’s the message I get from this song. That is what I hear every time I listen to it. And again, to me, it is a reaffirmation of the very same message we hear on the first song on the album. And to some that may seem like a bit of an ego trip or a bold statement for someone to make but, we’re talking about Michael Jackson here. The very same artist who floated a 32-ft. statue of himself down the Thames River to promote an album. That stunt certainly got people talking, and I imagine that “Threatened” was probably intended to do the same thing.

In his much-anticipated book, Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson, Joe Vogel tells us that Michael had intended on making a horror-themed short film for this song complete with cutting edge special effects but, of course that was scrapped when Sony pulled promotion. So, we’ll never know what he had in store for us with this one but, I’m sure like the song itself, it would have been something glorious.

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About Dancing with the Elephant contributors

Joie Collins is a founding member of the Michael Jackson Fan Club (MJFC). She has written extensively for MJFC, helping to create the original website back in 1999 and overseeing both the News and History sections of the website. Over the years she conducted numerous interviews on behalf of MJFC and also directed correspondence for the club. She also had the great fortune to be a guest at Neverland. She has been a Michael Jackson fan since she was three years old. Lisha McDuff is a classically trained professional musician who for 30 years made her living as a flutist, performing in orchestras and for major theatrical touring productions. Her passion for popular musicology led her to temporarily leave the orchestra pit and in June 2013 she received a Master’s degree in Popular Music Studies from the University of Liverpool. She’s continuing her studies at McMaster University, where she is working on a major research project about Michael Jackson, with Susan Fast as her director. Willa Stillwater is the author of M Poetica: Michael Jackson's Art of Connection and Defiance and "Rereading Michael Jackson," an article that summarizes some of the central ideas of M Poetica. She has a Ph.D. in English literature, and her doctoral research focused on the ways in which cultural narratives (such as racism) are made real for us by being "written" on our bodies. She sees this concept as an important element of Michael Jackson's work, part of what he called social conditioning. She has been a Michael Jackson fan since she was nine years old.

Posted on October 27, 2011, in Michael Jackson and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Thank you so much for all your insights and interpretations of Threatened, a song which I’m just starting to appreciate. I wonder about this line: “Every time your lady speaks, she speaks to me, threatened.” I wonder if you see any racial implications here, thinking about the US’s troubled racial history and how a certain part of the population might find it very troubling that all these young white women were swooning over a Black man? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that Michael addressed racial issues in his songs.

    • That’s an excellent point, and I absolutely think that’s part of it. The history of racism in the US is so interconnected with sex and gender issues, including all those complicated rules and social mores about who’s allowed to have sex with whom, and who’s allowed to be attracted to whom. To me, one of the things that’s so powerful about Michael Jackson’s work is that he recognized the importance of those interconnections so didn’t “just” talk about race, or about sex, or about gender, but almost always addressed all three at once. Look at the panther dance in Black or White. It’s protesting racial oppression in the US, but it’s also very sexual – he’s reclaiming his sexuality – which, for a black American man, is a very powerful political act. So I think you’re absolutely right that a lot of people were “threatened” by his role as the first black teen idol – a black man who was sexually attractive to a lot of white women, including young white girls. That was very threatening.

  2. Your dialog here just seems, to me, to reinforce why MJ was such a great artist: His work can be interpreted many ways, and all of them can be right. Truly great art does this to/for us. It rattles us, makes us consider a variety of viewpoints, and leaves us not only pondering but wanting more. Major Kudos to you both for a great conversation here!

  3. Bravo, Willa and Joie, bravo!! Thank you so much for this intriguing article! As Halloween draws ever nearer, this is the perfect post! I, unfortunately will not be able to celebrate it as I would like, as I have Seussical the Musical practice that night, but we are having an impromptu costume party backstage, and I have been cleared to put this song on the playlist by the seniors.

    I agree with every single last thing you’re saying in this article, I love it! I found it interesting that you said that this is kind of an in-your-face song, because the first time I heard it, I thought it was a little bit more aggressive than I was used to, so I didn’t listen to it much. I came back to it sometime one or two years ago, and it has remained on my list of favorites ever since. I think that the theme is somewhat like that of Unbreakable. “I’m a monster, I’m untouchable, I’m everywhere, and you can’t do anything about it.” “Half of me you’ll never be, so you should be threatened by me.” No one will probably ever match up to his prowess, or kindness for that matter. That might have been a bit of a dig at the press, saying, “You’re mean, you’ll never be half as caring as I am.” I certainly can’t argue with that one.

    On a slightly random note, I just can’t wait for this trial to be over so we can move on to more positive subjects. I think I’ve aged 10 years in the last few weeks. I’ll have gray hairs soon if this isn’t resolved!

    • Hi Emily. I’m really enjoying the image of a bunch of high school kids dancing in costume to “Threatened”! I love that. Hope you have a great time tonight.

  4. I like this blog very much. My congratulations.

    I just have to make a consideration: whenever I listen to Threatened, without relying on the written lyrics you can find everywhere in the Internet, I hear Michael singing “Every time your lady speaks, she speaks OF me, threatened.”
    And to me this makes much more sense than “Every time your lady speaks, she speaks to me” because he is talking to and about someone whose lady has her mind always set on MJ, thus always speaking OF him even if talking to her boyfriend/fiancè/husband.
    Otherwise (“she speaks TO me”) it would mean that the the lady’s man is really Michael.
    I don’t know if I explained myself well, English is not my native language.

    What do you think?

    • Hi Mar. I just listened to “Threatened” and you’re right, it sounds like he’s singing “speaks of me.” And I agree, it makes more sense that way.

      I’m not sure why, but it’s actually fairly common for the lyrics listed in the liner notes to differ somewhat from the words he’s actually singing. It can make things kind of tricky sometimes, especially when you can’t quite make out what the words are. In fact, there are some song segments I’ve played over and over, and I’m still not sure what the lyrics really are. . . .

      • You are right, Willa, Michael had done things like this very often (the most famous of which was the Dom Sheldon / Tom Sneddon one, but back then the lyrics were written wrongly on purpose).
        What are the song’s segments you can’t figure out? Maybe, If you’d like, I can help you, I’m very good when it comes to understand what Michael is saying.

        • Hi Mar. One I’ve been trying to figure out for a while – and it may be impossible – is from “Smooth Criminal.” You know how he uses three different “voices” in this song for different characters/emotions? There’s a part about 8 minutes in where the really high voice begins singing, “I don’t know / I don’t know / I don’t know / I don’t know why.” And then there’s another line after “I don’t know why,” but I can’t make it out.

          Oh, and Joie and I have a long-running debate about “Is It Scary.” (We’re actually working on that song right now for this week’s post.) About 4½ minutes in, Joie hears “Don’t wanna talk about it / I don’t wanna talk about it,” and I hear, “Wanna talk about / I wanna talk about / I don’t wanna talk about / Wanna talk about.” So Joie hears a definite repeated no, “don’t wanna talk about it,” while I think he’s going back and forth – he kind of wants to talk about it, and kind of doesn’t.

      • Willa I can’t reply to your comment below, so I’ll reply to this one instead.

        Regarding Smooth Criminal: that part bugged me for a long time and after I had listened to it countless times I came to the conclusion that Michael sings “I don’t know / I don’t know / I don’t know / I don’t know why, babe/ LET HER BE/ Dad gone it…” almost like it’s an order (or a pray) that Michael addresses to the criminal.
        This interpretation is corroborated by a research I did sometime ago on Michael’s live performances of Smooth Criminal where I have tried to figure out the labial of that part.
        That’s why I’m quite sure that “let her be” is what he is saying.

        Regarding that part of “Is this scary” this is what I hear: “Wanna talk about it? [I] don’t wanna talk about it, I don’t wanna talk about it, [I] ain’t gonna talk about it.” – in square brackets the unspoken part – in which the “a” of “ain’t” is kind of mispronounced and it sounds like the initial of the word “house”.
        So it’s a question he is asking to someone (Wanna talk about it?) and his reiterating answer to let him/her know he really doesn’t want to talk about it.

        Obviously, that’s just what I hear, I could be wrong, of course.

        One more time, sorry for my English.

        • Hi Mar. Wow, you really have investigated his lyrics. That’s impressive.

          So it sounds like you kind of hear what I’m hearing in “Is It Scary,” but you interpret it the way Joie interprets it – as a definite no, don’t want to talk about it. I hadn’t thought about that first “Wanna talk about it” being a question that he answers with “Don’t wanna talk about it.” That’s really interesting.

          In Smooth Criminal, it kind of sounds to me like he’s singing, “I don’t know why / he hurt me.” It seems to me that with that high voice he is adopting the role of Annie and singing her response, and she’s saying she doesn’t know what caused the violence – doesn’t know why he broke into her apartment and attacked her. But “hurt me” sounds very similar to “her be,” which is what you hear, and I really can’t make the words out very well at all. You seem much more confident in what you hear than I do, and you could very well be right. Thanks a lot for sharing this. (By the way, you expressed your ideas beautifully – no apologies needed.)

          • First of all thank you very much for your compliments.
            Somehow I owe it to MJ to “study” his works, it’s all thank to him if I can understand and speak/write in English (even though I’m a bit rusty right now, since haven’t spoke it for a long time): I was 8 years old when I first heard one of his songs (wow, it has been more than 20 years ago…) and I really wanted to understand what he was saying, so I begun to study English.

            I agree with you interpretation that Michael uses different voices to express different emotions (in most of his songs just like) in Smooth Criminal, but could it be that with that high voice he wants to express the despair of being unable to tell Annie why the criminal hit her? It’s like he is saying to her “I don’t why why this happened to you” and then, despaired the same, he says to the criminal “now let her be!”.

            Just my point of view, of course, you could be right too. 🙂

            Thank you both very much for this site, now I’m going to read your knew work.

    • Mar, you are absolutely right here. He is saying ‘she speaks OF me,’ not to me. And we see this very often in his songs where the liner notes are incorrect. Sometimes it is clearly intentional, like on the song D.S. Sometimes, I feel it is simply a misprint.

      • The more I listen to this song and read everyone’s comments, I can’t help but get the feeling that Michael is not only talking about himself, but is speaking of racism in larger terms, that parts of white America are threatened by the presence of Black America. He’s speaking in broader terms when he speaks of “half of me you’ll never be,” and “your worst nightmare, it’s me, I’m everywhere.”

  5. I have just read and re-read your wonderful discussion about “Threatened” also one of my favorite songs from “Invincible”.
    I can understand both of your interpretations and I think they actually can both be true at the same time. I think he was always trying to understand why the media and so many people treated him with such cruelty. What made them feel so threatened by him that they felt they had to try to destroy him. At the same time I think their jealousy also made him more determined, and even defiant, to give them even more reason to feel “threatened”. I love the line that says “half of me you’ll never be so you should be threatened…”.
    I hadn’t really thought about his choice of starting the Album with “Unbreakable” and ending it with “Threatened” but your thoughts on that are really interesting Joie. The themes of both of those songs are so similar. He really wanted us to listen and take notice. How could we not?! Michael’s music always stirs such emotion, feelings and thoughts in me. I have to keep listening over and over because I never want those feelings to go away!
    I loved hearing the small part of “Threatened” that was at the end of the “Thriller” performance in “This Is It”. There was Michael, standing on a stage above all of the ghouls and goblins doing a defiant dance that let them know he was the threatening one, not them. He was in control of all of them!
    Thanks for the Schoolhouse rock memory! Michael’s magic is everywhere! I saw a female tennis player on the Professional tour do a great “Moonwalk” after she had won a match. The announcers even commented that she just did a Michael Jackson move! I loved it!!
    Thanks again for another wonderful discussion.

  6. I don’t say a lot ….coz I’m speechless.
    THANKS for this post

    It’ll take a very long time to understand how big and many-sided Michael Jackson’s talents were.
    He was a really great man!

  7. Sylvia J. Martin, PhD

    Speaking of Michael’s blurring of gender and sexuality I think it’s fascinating that he’s expressing a very predatory masculinlity on the same album that features a love song to his children (“You Are My Life”) – an ode to his joy in being a single father. And “Speechless” features his New Age-y masculinity – sweetly sensitive and in touch with his emotions for an unnamed paramour. While all his albums run the gamut of emotions it seems he is taking the intensity of his multi-faceted masculinity to a new level here, which shows his development not only as an artist but as a person. This album seems supremely personal to Michael.

    And these lyrics (“Your worst nightmare, it’s me I’m everywhere, In one blink I’ll disappear, and then I’ll come back to haunt you”) read posthumously are intriguingly ominous. From flashmobs and statues around the world to his slurred recording played in court to Cirque du Soleil, his bourgeois detractors are slowly yet surely being forced to contend with his “haunting” of the international landscape/ mediascape and his awesome complexity which confounds conventional understandings of youth/maturity, black/white race, and male/female gender performance.

    • Sylvia, I agree completely with your statement that those lyrics in “Threatened” are intriguingly ominous. I felt this very much when listening to the song while Willa and I worked on this blog entry. As we stated here, Michael’s influence is – and I feel will remain – totally inescapable. I can’t think of any other artist from any age who has the kind of reach and influence on our culture that Michael does.

  8. Thanks for this fantastic analysis of a fantastic song! It just made me appreciate “Threatened” I never appreciated it before. Actually it’s one of my favorite songs now!

  9. I agree with yours4ever that you can’t isolate racism from this song – beast, threatened, afraid your woman wants me not you, you’re half the man I am (referring to sexual prowess and size myths), I’m under your bed, in your walls, waiting to ravish you at every turn – these are central themes in the conflict between black and white men especially in America and the driving motivation behind lynching.

    But you also need to break down the Rod Serling monologue and be familiar with the Twilight Zone episodes he chose to draw the words from. When you know the episodes you see the monster is a child who can look at his enemies and think them into oblivion in a cornfield. MJ was a brilliant adult who could access the childlike wonderment, creativity and power of a child – and use it to vanquish his enemies. Yeah, they should be threatened all right.

    His enemies may think they had the last laugh, but MJ knew your LEGACY is what counts. His will be redeemed and they will be cast into historical oblivion as the haters they were. Whatever else they ever achieved will be eclipsed by their association with the unsuccessful attempts to annihilate MJ while his star just keeps getting BIGGER.

  10. I like Joie’s take on the feel of the song because that’s how I feel singing it. Like I’m the spider sitting at the top of the web, not the poor little fearful flies caught in it. Amusing me with their antics which won’t help because you can’t escape me my love. Now come here and feed me. ha ha

    Another way to take the half of me comment is a thumb directly to Sneddon. He’s got all those pics of MJ’s most intimate parts so he knows for a fact that he’s half the man MJ was.Not trying to be crude, but that was a big ole black box on that photo. That amuses me so much imagining Sneddon’s temple veins exploding. He’s trying to convince women that this man doesn’t even like women, but instinctively we all know better. Macho guys don’t even get it. A man who can sing like that, move like that and loves kids is a many women’s ultimate dream guy. Plus he was gorgeous, rich and had Disneyland in his back yard. SIGN ME UP. LOL

  11. Found a video where someone looked at the Twilight Zone episodes used in Threatened. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1My6f6vBXeY

    • Hi AnaisKarim. Thanks for posting this link; what an interesting video that is! Not sure I agree with all the ‘Meet the Family’ stuff in the middle with the cast of Ghosts (mainly the Joseph and Oprah parts) but, the rest of it was fascinating!

      I also liked what you had to say about the ‘half of me’ lyrics in “Threatened” being linked to racism and the size of Michael’s manhood. Never thought of it that way before; you could be on to something.

  12. Happy new year, everyone.

    Here is another fan video for Threatened. I like it very much:

  13. anyone else find it weird that the last line of jackson’s last studio album contains the line ‘could be the end of a particularly terrifying nightmare.It isn’t. It’s the beginning.” , from what i know jackson took extreme care in the ending of his album , like HIStory he begins in scream and ends in smile.

    • Hi kittuandme. Yes! I have wondered about that a lot. And his life did become “a particularly terrifying nightmare” after that, with the 2005 trial and all that followed. btw, that final line comes from an episode of The Twilight Zone, called “In His Image,” that’s really interesting in light of his life as a celebrity and an artist. Here’s a YouTube video someone created that explores those connections:

      I disagree with a number of conclusions the creator of this video seems to be suggesting (such as how he or she interprets the violence portrayed in Smooth Criminal and Moonwalker, the HIStory teaser, and the panther dance in Black or White) but I still found it fascinating.

      For example, it’s really interesting to think about Michael Jackson’s public persona as a dual image of himself that is both him yet not him – that differs in significant ways from his “real” self, the artist behind the creation – just like the scientist and his creation in “In His Image.” And like that Twilight Zone creation, Michael Jackson’s public persona kind of took on a life of its own when it went out into the world, with the tabloids and even the mainstream media turning it into something monstrous – again like the creation in “In His Image,” which becomes something of a monster.

      So as the creator of the YouTube video suggests, it’s really intriguing to think about what Michael Jackson saw in that episode, and why he chose to reference it in such a prominent place at the end of the Invincible album.

      • the video was enlightening, but i still feel like i haven’t understood that song at all, and that short film ghost’s too ,i have read your book too willa, and although your points were well researched i still dont have a clue about that short film, though it is one of my least favs ( i felt the acting was dull and special effects didnt age well.) i really wish someone like armond white reviews it , he seems to be one of the few to connect the public life and mj’s private life in a more respectful tone.

  14. I hadn’t, but that’s interesting, and thanks for the scream/smile reference.

    Nightmare for whom, I wonder.

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