Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Aphrodite Jones: Michael Jackson Conspiracy (review)
Author: Aphrodite Jones.
Title: Michael Jackson Conspiracy, with Foreword by Tom Meserau (Mr. Jackson’s defense attorney)
Publication: 2007, Aphrodite Jones Books (imprint of iUniverse), ISBN 978-0-9795498-0-9, 296 pages, hardcover
This book has the a publication company named after the author, which then states that the trade name is an imprint of iUniverse, which does cooperative and self-publishing for authors. This is the first time I have seen an author use their own imprint name and apparently own ISBN sequence. Many iUniverse titles are published as “Writers Club Press” and some are republications from the Author’s Guild.
The book is one of a number of books on famous trials in the past few years. The Michael Jackson trial can be compare to that of OJ Simpson (I have Marcia Clark’s book Without a Doubt, from Viking Press), or the Kathleen Ann Soliah story about a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, who would live under an alias for years (the book is by Sharon D. Hendry, Soliah: The Sara Jane Olson Story, Cable Publishing, 2002); the author presented this at a writer’s conference in Minneapolis in 2003 and commented on the difficulty in getting reviews for self-published books). I have to admit that when I first saw this title on the iUniverse home page, what hit my mind’s eye was “OJ Simpson”, before I noticed the words “Michael Jackson.” I do recall the barrage of talk show hosts (Vicki Jones in Silver Spring MD, “the British Lady”, getting all kinds of speculations from call-ins on OJ’s when it was silly breaking news of the mid 1990s – “What a Mess” one Time issue cover said.
The author here is a well-known crime reporter with a number of other titles. Her thesis here is that the Michael Jackson trial, which ended in acquittal in June 2005, resulted from fabricated charges against the “King of Pop.” The political motives seem to resemble those of Michael Nifong in the Duke lacrosse players case. I would expect that Ms. Jones will write a book about the Duke incident next. (Although the boys will surely be invited to write books on their own.) In these cases, there is a tendency for the police or district attorneys, and then media, to want to jump on a case because of the socially unacceptable appearance created by someone’s behavior, even if not objectively criminal. It is true that Michael Jackson make provocative statements about liking children and sometimes engaged in publicly outrageous behavior (such as in Germany).
In the Michael Jackson case, there were complications created by a documentary film by Martin Bashir, “Living with Michael Jackson: A Tonight Special”. (Review.) There are lots of complications involving the Arvizo family and the cancer patient and minor teen, Gavin Arvizo, and all of the speculations about what might have happened (but apparently didn’t) on the Neverland Ranch. The book goes into journalists’ shield issues, and also gag orders on journalists. The testimony of “Home Alone” star Macaulay Culkin is discussed in detail. The book has two sequences of black and white photos, many at the Neverland Ranch, so numerous as to constitute a “filmstrip.”
I do recall that Michael Jackson did an impersonation of a US Marine at the half-time show at the 1993 NFL Super Bowl, right after President Clinton had been inaugurated and already started trying to lift the ban on gays in the military. Jackson, however, officially is straight. That is what he tells.