For many years, Michael Jackson wanted to be the voice of the voiceless.. the children.
This blog is a humble attempt to carry his voice to the world.

Before you judge him..
KNOW him!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Michael Jackson in Dr. Khalil Fadel's "Study"

I'm gonna be exactly what you wanna see
It's you whose haunting me
Your warning me to be the stranger in your life
Am I amusing you or just confusing you
Am I the beast you visualised
And if you wanna see eccentrialities
I'll be grotesque before your eyes
~ Michael Jackson

Today is the day to answer to Dr. Khalil Fadel's psycho-analytical masterpiece, which I had referred to in a previous post, "Michael Jackson on Freud's Chaise-Longue: The Genius of a Pathetically Cracked Psyche." Before signing his name on this piece, Dr. Fadel was careful to add "A Study" under its title.

The reasons why I am having problems with this particular article that I decided to discuss it thoroughly were:
1. Dr. Khalil Fadel happens to be one of the most famous psychiatrists in Egypt.
2. Again, I remind everybody that this article was published in a prestigious literary magazine issued in Cairo by Akhbar Al-Youm, which is a major national publishing house and news network.
3. Dr. Fadel insisted on giving his readers the impression that what he wrote should be taken seriously by naming it a study.. which is supposed to be trustworthy and based on facts. Personally, I consider this to fall directly under academic integrity.

Now, what Dr. Fadel, the magazine and its editors seemed to pay no attention to was the fact that the subject of the study being Michael Jackson does not mean in any way that they shouldn't abide by the code of ethics. If you choose to write about anyone it means you must have some substantial data at hand. If you don't, take your time to collect it and verify it. If you fail to do either, the answer is simple.. Don't write about this person! Stick to a subject you're knowledgeable on.

I'm sorry I should be saying that, but it seems that those ABCs got forgotten somehow amid the race to join this mainstream circus.

Pardon me to add one more thing. While trying to link the original article to Dr. Fadel's website, I was shocked to find this disgusting piece 2 shown on the "News and Media" page. This is the kind of stuff he's recommending to his online visitors! Well, I'm still in utter disbelief. I mean, regardless of the poor content and false info presented, the language itself (and by that I mean the wording) used by this Lebanese writer makes his article unfit for publishing anywhere. I'm saying anywhere.. I didn't even mention "decent". Why on earth would a respectable doctor feature a bunch of insults on his website? Does the doc have anything personal against Michael Jackson? Well, I don't think so. Yet even if that was true, we're still left with nothing to justify this oddity. Is this the place he sees fit to declare some personal vendetta?

Anyway let's focus on Dr. Fadel's "study". I'm sorry I'm not providing an English translation of the article, for in doing so I'll be actually doing it a huge favor. I wanted to give those who can't read Arabic an idea of what it is about, but I honestly don't know how to summarize it or extract its main points. If I attempt to do so I won't make any sense. You see, I've read it many times and I just can't figure out what it is all about! I'm serious. Anybody who can help with this is most welcomed to do so.

The thing is too messy. It is like a collate of big words, terminology, complicated imagery, different fragmented ideas, and they are all contradicting each other. The long run-on sentences contain many twists that you can never form a single statement! It is a work of genius, I gotta admit. Such a work is nowadays really IN! It is at the top of the craft of postmodernist research. You just go round and round in aimless circles, putting all the terms that could be relevant (or even irrelevant) to the subject and just create this maze, or rather inferno, that once the reader is thrown inside s/he is just too preoccupied with finding the exit sign! The content thus remains untouchable, with zero attempts to comprehend it. That is to say, it is almost deconstruction-proof.

I gotta confess I was confused. But being determined to write about it, I said I gotta find a path through those bushes. The trick here is that anything can be reshaped. The sentences are like thick gooey bodies that don't have a definite form and together they make a giant lucid knot. That's the stuff I've been trying to learn as a professional, but wasn't motivated enough.

For example, in the introduction, Dr. Fadel poses the question: "Did he [Michael Jackson] ever see a doctor or a psychoanalyst; or did he fear the exposure of his mystery, his secret and the secrets of his success and his appeal to some perhaps?" Well, he doesn't keep his readers wondering for long. It is only a matter of seconds before they find out that this has only been a rhetorical question, for the doctor says later, "But if he had undergone some psychological treatment, would this have helped him? No. Simply because he had created a narcissistic environment with a thousand mirrors, reflecting a thousand images, some of which dive deep into psychologically defensive tactics and absolute resistance, preventing him completely from revealing his inner personal world to anyone in any psychological process."3

I wonder if Dr. Fadel treats his patients in the same way. (Let alone that he never actually intended to pose the question he rose at the beginning, that's why of course he didn't try to find out whether MJ did seek the help of professionals or not.) I mean, does he believe that even those who come to seek his aid are so caught up into their own mirrored shells that nothing he can do might provide the help they've come to ask for in first place? I propose that as a title for his next paper in the next conference he's going to attend: "Psychiatry is Useless". Oh wait! Or was he suggesting that psychiatry is useless with Michael Jackson, and Michael Jackson alone?

In his article, Dr. Fadel compared Michael Jackson to a "white crow" who "has painted his feathers with white paint to become a dove. Yet he neither remained a crow nor became a dove, therefore belonging to nothingness, to borders, to emptiness, with no identity, no knowledge and no affiliation."! WOW! Well, as far as I know Michael Jackson did in fact have some knowledge. He knew "there's no such thing as skin-bleaching."4 And as far as I know, it is true. Now, I was hoping the doctor would enlighten his readers about this breakthrough discovery. How can a crow paint his feathers, doc? Is it scientifically possible? Do you have anything to prove that Michael Jackson had this secret invention? Or did you mean he had some magical powers? To me, this coming from a doctor is exactly like finding a dentist who believes in tooth fairies!

And as usual, people just buy anything the respectable doctor throws into their laps. Here's a letter from a news editor in OTV channel, praising Dr. Fadel's exceptional analytical skills and eloquence. She was particularly fascinated with the above mentioned metaphorical image that she quoted this paragraph in her letter as proof to the doctor's precision in describing certain characters, that according to her "Michael Jackson is Michael Jackson"! I wonder if Ms. Nancy has ever met Michael Jackson in person to be able to make such an assertive statement. But who needs to get to know Michael Jackson when the doctor is in town, right? His study has just verified the existence of the Michael Jackson she's been reading about in the tabloids for many years, and that's good enough. Yeah, after all this is the only Michael Jackson she knows. And thanks to Dr. Fadel for confirming it all, placing that final seal of authority on it. Just like when you know you're watching American Idol the moment you hear Ryan Seacrest's announcement: "THIS is American Idol!" Nancy Ibrahim got hers too: "THIS is Michael Jackson!"

But wait. It is getting more and more absurd. The previous "white crow" thing is but a single poetic element out of a full bouquet in Dr. Fadel's surreal image of the mysterious MJ. He has actually called Michael Jackson a self-destructive mutant "who turned it [his self] into an instrument of a sexual fetish," You can find the term "fetish" written in English in the article. There is no possible misunderstanding here, although I wish there could be. Fetish? I believe Freud himself couldn't have come up with such a verdict, even if Michael Jackson lay on his couch for real. How could you see this fetish, Dr. Fadel? How could you suggest (not assert) its existence without ever seeing the man?

Then he goes on to say "I wonder what he did in his parties with those 12 year-old boys while they slept at his house. Was it pedophilia or a powerful nostalgia for a white childhood?" Seems the doctor doesn't know that both boys involved in the allegations were not white! And he, like everybody else, insists on disregarding the fact that Michael Jackson was acquitted on all counts back in 2005. But who cares? Let his imagination drift off as far as he wants.. Fetish, Pedophilia, Borderline disorder, white crows, mutants, Batmans,.. whatever. This is a short story, right? Oh no, I forgot. It is a study!

A STUDY? You must be kidding me! I really thought it was some piece of poor fiction, especially when he quoted MJ saying, "'Why don't I share your bed, boy? The best thing in the world is sharing your bed with someone.'" Excuse me? Wherever did MJ say that? Dr. Fadel is probably referring to Martin Bashir's interview*, and it is hard to tell whether he actually watched it or only heard about it. He didn't even care to check when he decided to use this "quote" in his so-called "study". That is so strange, and utterly incomprehensible! It is just a click away for God's sake! Go to YouTube. It's there. MJ was talking to Bashir, not to the kid. Couldn't he notice that? This is not making any sense.

Now, people who read something like this know nothing about Bashir or his slanderous documentary to go and check it out. And the doctor did not even bother to mention where he quoted this from! And of course the editor can't care any less. And Michael Jackson is in his grave, so who will possibly care to dig into this? Well, the nosy person that I am does care. I'm sorry, doc. I'm sorry, Akhbar Al-Adab. I'm such an irritating person, I know. But someone has got to say this is wrong! The Egyptian readers should not be treated like a herd of sheep. We deserve a more civilized treatment. We deserve to be taken seriously. Please be up to your responsibilities towards the public. And when you present something to us as a study, it has to be as such. It should abide by the minimal requirements of research ethics and integrity!

Dr. Fadel can sum up whole lives in a single magazine page and people would believe everything he says. This kind of authority deserves to be handled with care and a throbing conscience. Had Dr. Fadel read anything of substance about Michael Jackson he wouldn't have written this article which he displays so proudly on his website! Had he waited to check the autopsy report which confirmed that Michael Jackson was not a "white painted crow", but a HUMAN being who suffered from a skin disorder (not Borderline Personality Disorder) called Vitiligo, maybe he could have shown some sympathy, like that which I now feel towards his patients. Had he not rushed into having his name in print beside the photo of Michael Jackson, he might have used this opportunity to deliver something of value to help thousands understand who the biggest pop icon of our times really was. Again, I only have my extremely wishful thinking to blame for imagining this. When will I realize that mainstream culture will not allow such a thing? Just when will I grow up and become street-smart like all the professionals out there? How would Dr. Khalil Fadel analyze my case? I'm only curious!

*Michael Jackson's actual words in responding to those who think it is not appropriate for him to share his bedroom with children were: "I feel sorry for them, because that's judging someone who really wants to help people. Why can't you share your bed? The most loving thing to do is share your bed with someone." - Living with Michael Jackson: A Tonight Special (2003)

1. Michael Jackson. "Is it Scary
" Blood on the Dance Floor: History in the Mix. Epic, 1997.

2. Harqoth, Omar. "The King of Pop is Dead
" Middle East Transparent ( 9 July, 2009.

3. Fadel, Khalil. "Michael Jackson on Freud's Chaise-longue
" Akhbar Al-Adab. 5 July, 2009: 834. p.31

4. Michael Jackson talks to.. Oprah Live