March 21, 2010

more on michael jackson, androgyny

I had lunch with the Erskine Peters fellows on Friday and we obviously talked about Michael Jackson. These guys will be discussing the life and legacy of MJ on Thursday, March 25, at 6pm at the Eck Visitors Center (Univ of Notre Dame), and it sounds like it's going to be fun! 

Drawing by Free Lauren Marsella
When the question of MJ's "gender confusion" came up, Marques Redd reminded us that androgyny has had religious and ritual uses in many traditions (of course! ardhanarishvar!) including the Western one: the androgyne in platonic thought was a figure of inner harmony, gaining power through the union of two sexes. Jackson, with his sense (I almost said "intuitive" before "sense" but stopped myself - I don't want to suggest a lack of reason) for the mythological/dramatic was almost certainly going for androgyny's symbolic power. (Redd will be talking about some of the iconography in MJ's videos, thankfully without suggesting that occult symbols prove he was a member of some secret fraternity. I'm intrigued also by the ways in which Jackson's mythological awareness and aesthetic shaped not just his work and image, but also how he constructed his relationship to the world. That's the fangirl in me, yes!)

Of course, the figure of Michael Jackson set into circulation multiple meanings, and its erotics hinged simultaneously on the numinous and the monstrous. I'm writing a paper right now drawing connections between Michael Jackson, Frankenstein's monster, Hoffmann's Sandman, and Mrs. Jarley's Waxworks.


  1. This is a very interesting subject. Especially as Michael was very well read. He had a huge library and in numerous books he had made remarks in the margins.He had read among other literature, Freud, Jung, Waldo Emerson and much more.The Bible of course since childhood and also the Koran(he did not convert)
    and poetry,which was his favourite

  2. Hope you got my previous comment.
    This is a very interesting subject, esp. as Michael was very well read. Just look up"Michael Jackson" the bookworm.I have forgotten my original
    password,but hopefully I can establish a connection with this site.

  3. Just hope you got my 2 previous comments.I find this topic most
    interesting considering Michaels
    complexity,his music and words to his
    songs+he was VERY well read,poetry his favourite, also knew Freud and Jung + much more.

  4. rschildt, this is something I've wondered about - if he was familiar with jung and freud!