A Quick Postscript on Citizen Journalism

Willa:  In our last post, D.B. Anderson and I talked about the idea of “citizen journalism.” Just yesterday the Los Angeles Review of Books published a wonderful article, “Dancing with Michael Jackson,” that D.B. calls “citizen journalism at its finest.” Beautifully written by Dr. Toni Bowers, it explores the power of his music, his dance, his message, and his life, and places it all within the context of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. As Dr. Bowers writes:

In the United States, we tend to understand difference as pathology. We are uncomfortable with anyone who exceeds our categories, disturbs our prejudices, or calls the bluff on reigning platitudes. Michael Jackson and his music did all that at once, on many levels. What is most important, though, and should not be forgotten, is that he did it with joy. To dwell over-long on Jackson’s suffering would be to forget his indomitable playfulness and strength of will. The amazing thing is not, finally, how weird Michael Jackson was or how difficult his life was, but how great was his capacity for delight, his generosity, his ability and determination to bring joy to others. Endlessly curious, delighted with people, and thrilled by the beauty of the world, he just had so much fun. He suffered, yes; he faced down and endured painful experiences. But that’s what makes his exuberance so remarkable, and makes the fact that he brought (and continues to bring) pleasure to other people so precious. No matter what, he danced. We need to remember and honor that, and dance along.

I strongly encourage everyone to read Bowers’ article. Here’s a link.

In addition, I just have to share a Reuters article that came out yesterday also. It begins with a video of NATO ministers singing “We are the World.” Here’s a link to that.


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 May 15, 2015, in Michael Jackson and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Not only should we all read this extremely well written article we should post the link up on ALL MJforums and social media available to us as members of his fanbase, it’s up to us to take as much care in presenting these inequiites as HE DID .. … This kind of essay won’t be copy pasted ad nauseum by media .. so its up to us to get it spread across the internet.. Thank you Willa for sending out this notice – Buds

  2. I just read this and came here to post a link, but you beat me to it, Willa. Great article, indeed!

    • anyone know what happened to the vevo account on youtube they seems to have disabled all the comments, which is kind of a dumb idea,is it because of the endless trolling? who’s managing his social media accounts anyway?
      by the way great article..

  3. Great article! I have sent the link out to others and emailed thanks to the author.

    Thanks, Willa. Sooooo encouraging!

  4. Everyone in the world should read this about Michael. I haven’t a better sumation of the man.

  5. Just finished it, very good.

  6. Thank you Willa for this article I agree whole-heartedly with the above comments. Keep dancing!!!

  7. Nina Fonoroff

    Thanks, Willa. It’s a great article. I wrote an extended comment on the LARB blog where it appears.

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