The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson

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Overview

The essays in The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson consummately demonstrate that writing on popular culture can be both thoughtful and heartfelt. The contributors, who include accomplished music critics as well as renowned theorists, are some of the most astute and eloquent writers on pop today. The collection is made up of new essays written in the wake of Jackson's death, and includes Barney Hoskyns' classic NME piece written at the time of Thriller, and contributions from Ian Penman, David Stubbs, Paul ...

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Overview

The essays in The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson consummately demonstrate that writing on popular culture can be both thoughtful and heartfelt. The contributors, who include accomplished music critics as well as renowned theorists, are some of the most astute and eloquent writers on pop today. The collection is made up of new essays written in the wake of Jackson's death, and includes Barney Hoskyns' classic NME piece written at the time of Thriller, and contributions from Ian Penman, David Stubbs, Paul Lester, and Chris Roberts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781846943485
  • Publisher: Hunt, John Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/16/2009
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of contributors 1

Introduction: MJ, the symptom Mark Fisher 7

1 "And when the groove is dead and gone": The end of Jacksonism Mark Fisher 9

2 Michael Jackson's twenty greatest hits Paul Lester 18

3 The boy who would fly: Michael Jackson (1983) Barney Hoskyns 37

4 He's out of our life: Michael Jackson, 1958-2009 Barney Hoskyns 47

5 Pop utopia: The promise and disappointment of Michael Jackson Steven Shaviro 51

6 " . . . and though you fight to stay alive, your body starts to shiver . . . " Marcello Carlin 63

7 The "King" is dead; long live everything else David Stubbs 69

8 Michael Jackson at the Restaurant Vingtième Siècle Joshua Clover 81

9 Serious joy: Michael Jackson against the spirit of gravity Dominic Fox 89

10 True enough Michael in fifty shards Chris Roberts 96

11 The real abstraction of Michael Jackson Jeremy Gilbert 137

12 The Maharaja of Pop: Michael Jackson and Bollywood Geeta Dayal 150

13 In place of strife: Michael Jackson and the British experience of pop Robin Carmody 156

14 "What about death, again": The dolorous passion of the son of pop Mark Sinker 164

15 "You're just another part of me": Captain EO and the metaphysics of the NGO Evan Calder Williams 188

16 "Stalin's tomb won't let me be": Michael Jackson as despot Owen Hatherley 194

17 A design for life: Making Michael Jackson Charles Holland 201

18 Don't stop 'til you beat it: Michael Jackson at the limit of post-race dialectriffs Suhail Malik 210

19 After pop Tom Ewing 219

20 Glove, socks, zombies, puppets: The unheimlich maneuvers and undead metonyms of Michael Jackson Sam Davies 226

21 The King ofPop's two bodies, or, Thriller as allegory Reid Kane 223

22 And tell sad stories of the death of kings: At the end once again with Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley Ken Hollings 243

23 Michael's labyrinth: A tabloid sublime Alex Williams 261

24 Notes towards a ritual exorcism of the dead king Ian Penman 267

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Some interesting articles, some rather unorthodox

    With the recent passing of Michael Jackson, an avalanche of books have been published that explore the "King of Pop." While most of these are biographies, one, The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson, is an eclectic mix of essays written by various writers involved in the music industry.

    The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson offers a total of 24 essays on just about every aspect of Jackson's life as well as analysis of his songs and dances. Topics range from Jackson and the British experience of pop, Thriller as allegory, Jackson and Bollywood, and the inevitable comparison of Jackson and Presley.

    In "Michael Jackson's twenty greatest hits," we're given the writer's view of Jackson's 20 greatest hits. These songs are presented "in no particular order," which the reader might find annoying. To add to the frustration, the author, Paul Lester, doesn't include "Thriller" in the list (he doesn't like it) but does include a visit to the White House/Reagans and the HIStory statue. Apparently, "hits" implies anything from Jackson's life, not just songs. In "True enough: Michael in fifty shards," author Chris Roberts presents fifty imagined (or are some based on fact? It is unclear.) scenarios involving Jackson. Some are interesting or mildly amusing, while several are bizarre or border on bad taste. Tatum O'Neal wanting to "get it on," with the singer, Jackson working in a lab to discover an elixir of eternal youth, and Jackson being hypnotized by Uri Geller are a few of the odd "shards."

    If you're a huge Michael Jackson fan, this may not be the book for you. It is clear that quite a few of the writers are not admirers of Jackson. I admit to not being a fan but I do recognize the amazing talent Jackson possessed. With that in mind, several statements had me scratching my head in puzzlement. Jackson's music was "lyrically gauche or banal and musically so ordinary and unadventurous" (pg.18), "Much of 'Thriller' seemed clumsy and clichéd" (pg. 18) to "Janet's a better dancer" (pg. 81) are certainly not the prevailing views. These unorthodox claims appear more frequently in the early essays and will undoubtedly have fans screaming in disbelief. Later articles do offer opposing views, "'Thriller' is crisp, urgent and dramatic" (pg.93) which helps to alleviate some of the negative feelings this book may elicit.

    As with any collection of essays, each written by a different contributor, the writing styles vary greatly, from tight, crisp articles to those that wander through various treatise without ever settling on one topic. Several offer quotes, "'I can't go out in the sun,' he admitted to a close friend" (pg. 251) without crediting the source. In the end, it is important to remember, as noted by one writer ("it seemed to me," (pg. 139)) that these essays are primarily the writers' opinions. While it is nice to read a book that isn't a tribute to Jackson, but rather a deeper analysis of his work as seen through the eyes of many authors, there are some atypical ideas presented in this book.

    Quill says: Stick to the articles that analyze Jackson's songs and dances and you may learn a few things about the "King of Pop."

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