Friday, November 10, 2017

#autistichistorymonth: Moonwalker [1988-1989] - Mirror People; Mirror Relations; Mirror Mind; Mirror Gaze; Mirror Stages

The very beginning of Moonwalker - which I caught five minutes into the film - is Man in the Mirror. I remember hearing that song for the first time in 1996 when I listened to a hit radio station - probably within the first three months of that habit, or if not, in early 1997.

There are so many kicks in that tune.

The video, of course, is something else. It has lots of humanitarians and children in it, allying Michael Jackson [1958-2009] with so many causes.

It was great to see Paris Jackson at the Melbourne Cup and in the Birdcage. She went off to Hamilton Island and saw some of Australia's darker history - for example, Lindy Chamberlain and the death of Azaria. Uluru August 1980 when Azaria was 10 weeks old.

The trial gripped/captured so many of us in the later 1980s - around the time of Michael Jackson and his Bad album.

In November 2002 I purchased Evil Angels which had been studied in some schools. John Bryson puts such a humanistic lawyerly gloss on it and we look at the forensics seriously. And also the points of pressure in Australian culture at that time - in the cities, and regionally and rurally.

The Jacksons and the Chamberlains have very similar religious practices.

Of course many Jacksons were/are in the Jehovah's Witness and Michael Chamberlain was a minister in the Seventh-Day Adventists and taught at their theological/divinity school.

What with 500 years since Martin Luther pinned his 99 Theses to the Wittenberg wall...

[and some Geneva financiers were involved too - if I am to reflect on what was in The conversation].

Religion does seem to be one more powerful mirror / reflection through which we look at history and face ourselves [to use the title of a famous school programme in the United States].

We know about Madonna and Catholicism which influenced the young Ciccone through her mother and father and even her stepmother. And the way she moved through Kabbalah and Buddhism in Ray of light. I spent a very pleasant afternoon in part listening to that album or at least some of its singles in 1998.

I seem to remember Timothy Leary and his wonderful computer game / psychological tool Mind Mirror which I played a lot of during 2003 through the Underdogs and again in 2015-16 through the Internet Archive.

And there are several Moonwalker games - one of which was personally authorised by Michael Jackson.

A few years after Jackson's death there was a parody sequel called Return of the Moonwalker.

My first real exposure to the fact there had been a movie was through the World Book Encyclopaedia. It is possible that I might have read en passant through Funk and Wagnalls and its yearbooks especially through the major years of Jackson's career [1984-1998].

HIStory and Blood on the Dancefloor grabbed me from late 1995 to mid-1997.

There are many other moving moments like Ben which is in the early music videos montage which is the second part of Moonwalker. And all the times with the Jackson 5.

If I was pressed about my favourite Jackson 5 song - which I had been in January 1997 - I would say Blame it on the boogie! And over the next five years I blamed all sorts of things on this boogie - and credited it too. Because credit and blame, we were taught, had to be balanced. Was it a false balance, though.

Thinking again about Man in the mirror. The narrator wants to face themselves and be proud of themselves. And to make a change in themselves and through there into the world. So far, so mid-Eighties, right?

And thinking about Leave me alone - that clip where Jackson lashes out at the media and its persistent misconceptions.

A lot of people relate to Jackson through the dancing and try to do the Moonwalk or some similar move. The Moonwalk might be jumping; bouncing; springing as if flying through the moon.

And I seem to remember there was a strong anti-drug message which carried through to how Jackson related to the children and to Mr Big who was Joe Pesci and may have given an early affiliation to Pesci-as-villain.

What? You get to rescue Bubbles the chimp in each level of Moonwalker?

And Glen Ballard - later to co-write so many good songs with Alanis Morrissette - put his hands through Man in the mirror along with Siedah Garrett.

Jackson's main work with the Mirror was to produce it with Quincy Jones.

Good pick, YouTube / MichaelJacksonVEVO - with the image of Martin Luther King. He'd been assassinated some 20 years before Man in the mirror was released.

Watching the Lech Walesa parts.

Here is the xx I dare you where Paris Jackson has been in the last six months.

And to think that in This is it Man in the mirror is the very final song.

I will leave you with two tours from Wikipedia:

Wembley Tour 1988 [16 July]

Bucharest Dangerous Tour Live - many of my good memories of Jackson are from the Dangerous era.

And Moonwalk biography from Wikipedia

Paris still doesn't know the Moonwalk - at least not from Michael.

He did teach her a lot else - in music and life.

One way we learn things is through mirroring and having that mirror reflect back.

And we often relate to people as and through and in mirrors.

A very prominent example of that is how Donna Williams "became" Carol.

There really was a Carol, and she was a country girl who had red hair, and was one of three sisters in an elderly neighbourhood.

The park fence was a very fractured old gate from Donna's perspective.

And Carol took Donna through the park.

It felt like she was going through Carol's world - and she could get there through the mirror.

In Somebody Somewhere there would be a lot of mirror hands.

And she describes her brother Tom in his early 20s as "a white Michael Jackson and just as much under cover". And they talk about art and how hard it is to get through and show through and make it real if it is not already real.

There are a lot of emotional performances - and someone had talked about "bedroom Academy Awards".

Some good parts about Susan, who lost her world when she was 5, and this was not simply due to carelessness. It was due to "finding a friend", so she had said to her mother and to Williams.

And there was Malcolm who in three pages [197 - 200 paperback edition of Somebody Somewhere] goes from many poses - including I think Michael Jackson poses - to finding his real voice and intonation which was relaxed.

A moment before this when Donna Williams travels is at the La Geode in Paris where she finds company in her reflection. This is a good focus to have in the book tour which was gruelling except for Holly Hobby and the Doubleday lot.

[There was a good reason she moved over to Jessica Kingsley in 1998 after she published the Inside Approach textbook - which I recommended with the other textbooks in 2002 to an aspiring Midwestern psychiatrist and language student - and wrote the last long-form autobiography Everyday Heaven].

[And Irene Rose talks more about that reason in the Critical Literary Disability Studies journal when she looks at Autistic autobiography or autistic life narrative in the Thinking about cognitive impairment volume / special issue of 2008].

She finds a dynamism and a stasis in her mirror friend.

Some people find the mirror very external and/or an annoyance.

Many of my relatives are good at mirror-making and mirror-gifting. For example, there was a very shelly mirror.

And Nanna had a wickerbasket/driftwood-style mirror.

And ensuites/dressers were the order of the day.

I keep meaning to copy the epigram; the introduction; some of the Marek letters [I may have said, "So in the book he is Theo Marek ... and you actually studied under him?" and the person I was speaking to talked about the humour and depth of the sessions] and the parts where she meets Olivier and the children.

[Jody and Julie in particular and Michael, the big jolly guy, and Jack who helped Donna go to the toilet and not for chocolate either - it's an example of finding your words through stress, not in spite of it].

I have lots of swimming pool images in my head and the feeling of diving. Social swimming is a big thing - a thing her colleagues didn't realise. And then the love of lakes and rivers.

And how the father and brother both close down their memories at the emotional impact and how the aunt and Donna heal and bond through it.

"People hug people when they are hurt".

So the whole book of Somebody Somewhere is the end of 1990, the whole of 1991 and the beginning of 1992 until about May, which is where Nobody Nowhere came out in hardback.

Mary Thomson was a big supporter of Nobody Nowhere, and Swonnell House is mentioned. And I do not know whether Donna was out in the country - as in Mansfield [north-east Victoria].

And there are some inner-northern-Melbourne locations, including, of course, the park. And she went briefly to Fitzroy High or a politician-teacher was helpful there.

[Williams completed secondary school through adult education in the early 1980s like 1981-ish. Then there was Austudy and then she had those three years at La Trobe studying linguistics and sociology and the honours year was 1985. That was the year she wrote the poem Nobody Nowhere which is the epigraph of the book of that name. It begins In a world full of shadows].

Actually, no it doesn't. Condensing and conflating images - there are windows AND shadows

In 2004-05 there was a Nobody Nowhere website which was all about the book

Are these people just strangers? Visit in 1989 with publishers and Sri Lanka - Cross and Crescent with a red hue

There's a Michael Jackson reference!

Victims is a Boy George song that Olivier liked to listen to especially when he was being/felt like Bettina. He and Donna Williams listen to it through headphones and Walkmen.

No comments: