Brutal Kicks: The Witch Hunt for Michael Jackson

create animated gif

BRUTAL KICKS is about the effects of child abuse on the life and career of Michael Joseph Jackson. In this artwork I re-contextualize the misogynistic theme of my prior work, BRUTAL MYTHS, a web based artwork that I produced in 1996 in collaboration with Marie-José Sat. In this new version, I do not focus on the historic hatred and abuse of women by men in global cultures. I examine
instead, the very specific local instance of Michael Jackson's life to discover the how the abuse that he suffered at the hands of his father Joe affected his whole life and death. In my prior work, about women, I used the seeds of hatred (bitter herbs) to symbolize the effects of men's abuse of women. In this new work, the herbs symbolize the fears that Michael Jackson's father instilled in him through his abusive behavior.

In 1487 Pope Innocent VIII endorsed the Malleus Maleficarum: The Hammer of the Witches – a witch-hunting manual, written by two Inquisition monks. It accused women of destroying men by planting Bitter Herbs throughout the fields. The field soon became a Garden of Herbal Evil where Bitter Herbs germinated Brutal Myths about women because of the fears in the hearts of men.

Under the shadow of Michael Jackson's early death, I am compelled to unearth the methods by which the Bitter Herbs described in our web work, Brutal Myths, infected the life and career of the King of Pop with witchcraft.

"Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee,
And thou shall eat the herb of the field." Genesis 3:18

The wound man toils with herbs that perpetuate myths that ultimately destroy him.

Male fears: The man is not able to hide and control his sexual desire.

"And so he continued that for, like, a lot of the trip. And he kept on saying, 'Tell me when you're ready and I'll do it for you.' Because up till then I had never masturbated or anything. And I had never, ever, indicated to him that I was ready, like, to be masturbated. And I guess that wasn't according to his plans, and so, one time he just reached over and said, 'Okay, just tell me how this feels.' And he put his hand on my—"1.

: The man will not be loved unless he performs deeds to prove himself.

"I remember it very clearly. [Joseph] would never hold me or touch me. I never felt love from him. I wanted to become such a wonderful performer that I would get love back."2.

: The man fears castration because his genitals are exposed and vulnerable.

create animated gif

"He recalled having to run through crowds of screaming girls with his eyes covered by his hands for fear that they would scratch him, and hid in broom cupboards, hoping the throng would rush by and miss him. 'They grab your hair and pull hard and it hurts like fire,' he recalled. 'You feel as if you're going to suffocate or be dismembered'."3.

: The man fears dissolution of Self.

"Escaping his childhood demons had led Michael to recreate himself. Gone was the brown-skinned, broad-nosed youth with an Afro whose natural charisma charmed an audience. In his place was a fragile, doll-like man it was impossible not to stare at in sheer disbelief."4.

: The man fears his desire to seek refuge in his mother's womb.

"Michael saw that Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was critical of him and couldn't handle it. He curled up and got into embryonic position."5.

: The man fears isolation and solitude.

"I needed someone. That’s probably why I had, uh, the mannequins, I would say. Because I felt I needed people, someone, and I didn’t have, I was too shy to be around real people."6.

: The man fears being abducted.

"Michael's father Joseph climbed into his room through the bedroom window. Wearing a fright mask, he entered the room screaming and shouting. Joseph said he wanted to teach his children not to leave the window open when they went to sleep. For years afterward, Michael suffered nightmares about being kidnapped from his bedroom."7.

: The man fears being seduced.

"Michael was traumatized at age 15 when some family members decided that he was old enough to lose his virginity. They brought two prostitutes into his hotel room and locked the door on all three of them. Neither the call girls nor Michael ever discussed the incident, but there is reason to suspect that Michael was still a virgin.8. Even at 17, Michael was still traumatized. As Tatum O'Neal recounts 'He once came to my house and asked to come upstairs because he'd never been in a girl's bedroom before. He sat on the bed, and we kissed very briefly, but it was terribly awkward. For all my passionate crushes on people like Dustin Hoffman, I was just 12 and not at all ready for a real-life encounter. So I said, “I can't.” Michael, who was sweating profusely, seemed as intimidated as I was. He jumped up nervously and said, “Uh, gotta go”'."9.

1. Ian Halperin, Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson (New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2009), 255.
2. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul In Intimate Conversation (New York: Vanguard Press, 2009), 91.
3. J. Randy Taraborrelli, “How Jackson's surgery was a desperate bid not to look like the father he hated”, Daily Mail Online, (Accessed December 1, 2009).
Read more:
4. Unknown Author,“Jacko didn’t want to resemble dad!” Times of India Online, (Accessed December 1, 2009).
5. Campbell Brown Interview with Rabbi Shmuley, Jackson rabbi-friend: Singer was 'a tortured, tortured soul', " website", (accessed December 1, 2009).
6. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul In Intimate Conversation (New York: Vanguard Press, 2009), 74.
7. Unknown Author, “Michael Jackson Early Life” Newsnlidea, (accessed December 1, 2009).
8. Ian Halperin, Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson (New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2009), 116.
9. Tatum O'Neal, A Paper Life (New York: Harper Entertainment, 2004), 99-100.


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hi There I'd like to congratulate you for such a terrific made forum!
thought this would be a perfect way to make my first post!

Laurence Todd
if you're ever bored check out my site!
[url=]luau Party Supplies[/url].

Anonymous said...

Cool story you got here. It would be great to read a bit more about that topic. Thnx for sharing that information.

Anonymous said...

Rather nice blog you've got here. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Truly yours

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Anonymous said...

Glad to greet you, ladies and gentlemen!

We are not acquainted yet? It’s easy to fix,
my parents call me Nikolas.
Generally I’m a venturesome gambler. for a long time I’m keen on online-casino and poker.
Not long time ago I started my own blog, where I describe my virtual adventures.
Probably, it will be interesting for you to find out about my progress.
Please visit my web page . I’ll be interested on your opinion..

Anonymous said...

Good brief and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you seeking your information.

Anonymous said...

hi there, my name is Eva.

found this website and read some great discussion and feedback so decided to join

i am happy to help others and offer advice where possible :)

Anonymous said...

Good brief and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you as your information.

Anonymous said...

Approvingly your article helped me altogether much in my college assignment. Hats off to you post, intention look progressive for the duration of more related articles in a jiffy as its sole of my pick topic to read.

Anonymous said...

Hi all,

my friend told me about this forum so i decided to sign up.

i have some very strong opinions

i hope i get to know you all soon!


Anonymous said...

What's up

I just wanted to say hi to everyone



Anonymous said...


Just saying hello while I read through the posts

hopefully this is just what im looking for looks like i have a lot to read.

Anonymous said...

This is probably the most amazing blogs Ive go through in a quite prolonged time. The amount of info in here is amazing, like you practically wrote the book around the subject matter. Your weblog is great for any individual who desires to comprehend this subject much more. Great things; please maintain it up!

Anonymous said...

Hi Brothers

Seems like may be a wicked forum for me
I am happy to have stumbled upon it.

This made me smile and hopefully after your last post it will do the same for you: To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research. :


Anybody do Jet Engines

Looking forward to a good long stay here!

New Jersey,Cape May Court House

Anonymous said...

each time i used to read smaller posts that also clear their motive,
and that is also happening with this piece of writing which I am reading at this place.

Also visit my web site ... entertainers London

Anonymous said...

My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post's to be just
what I'm looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content for
yourself? I wouldn't mind composing a post or elaborating
on some of the subjects you write related to here.
Again, awesome site!

My web-site - home renovations before and after (