On difficulties to find a publisher to talk about Michael Jackson's work
"As for your book on "Dangerous", you have to give up on the big publishers: they don't support such books, unless you write that MJ is a child rapist and eventually have proof of that. Apart from this nonsense, there is still a conscious (or not) refusal to treat MJ seriously. And, from that perspective, your project is a problem."
No, you are not dreaming. Nor am I. This enlightening warning, this benevolent explanation in the face of the refusals of some of the big names in publishing to which I sent my manuscript, appalled me.
It comes from a very serious author, also a PhD student, sociologist, university professor, who confronted himself with the question with Michael and who ended up, to compensate, by becoming himself editor of his own collection.
This is not a discovery. But to hear it said, to oneself, is something different from reading it in theory and in a generalized way in history books and specialized magazines.
This is not the first time that, through Michael and my work on him, I have come across this kind of situation, which one might think exaggerated or, on the contrary, anecdotal or even mythological.
I don't learn, through him, only about his own production, his philosophy, about myself and the world. I learn, on the ground finally, to cross situations and reactions that he denounced himself and which remain revolting, since repeated and transferred ad libitum to France.
However, I assume. And I will carry this project, as well as the following ones already started, to the end, not only by him, but with him and for him.
So this is what is behind the formula: "your work, although very interesting, does not enter our field of publishing", even though the sign swarms with pseudo-biographies and pseudo-musical books? I am beginning, indeed, to read between the lines with other lights and colors…
For another publisher, however specialized in music and less public, it would be necessary to summarize at least the first 70 pages in one... Really? Dangerous is a complex work. I don't pretend to shed light on all its facets, but I won't sell out 3 years of studies on the subject to summarize its analysis in platitudes and cheap, all-purpose repetitions.
I continue. I wait. I am not in a hurry. But I am delighted to learn. To be enriched by these experiments that make all the difference between theory and practice, between knowledge and experience, and that he gives me to live, no doubt to understand even more deeply a billionth of what his path has been.
Finally, it reminds me of Matt Forger's opinion when I asked him in August 2010 at Westlake if he still saw a future for today's musicians and creators. (Not that I think there is no talent outside of MJ, far be it from me as a musician! But I do think that the combination of talent, time, personalities and market circumstances that MJ has been the actor and beneficiary of are not likely to happen again in today's "industrial" and "sterilizing" climate). He had told me that for him, who continues to produce artists, future talent could only be expressed through small labels and not the major labels. For sure, since the time I've been studying this question from all sides, I've never been able to see, for the moment, any other way out, any other light, apart from this sterilizing and formatted dynamic of subjection not to creativity but to efficiency and financial return, justified by risk-averse and investment policies.
In short... I say to myself that we are finally taking pleasure in keeping the public's head under water. We sell them, through speeches and pedagogical formulas, a "feeling" of freedom and choice, a "feeling" of critical spirit. But how can one be free and critical when one only has access to oriented, erroneous sources, erasing the other possibilities to the point that one does not even imagine that there could be any and that one is persuaded to possess a sharp sense of discernment?
This is a heavy and serious responsibility. I know people, even among the so-called "intellectual" circles, who, to return to my field, will never have an opinion about Michael other than that relayed by the major publishers and the media. "If it's not published, it's not credible"... No, it's just not "validated" for the ready-to-think.
Without tipping over into Jehovist Apocalypticism, it reminds me of some Orwellian and Barjavarian scenarios...
Update 2021: And since Michael was right... What a beautiful lesson he gave me and what emotion to reread these words 7 years later... Perseverance and faith have been able to overcome these difficulties... Thank you to him! The proof in a few pictures......