24 April 2009

the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright creepy (king of pop week at m21, part 3)

in our first post about the michael jackson exhibit, we remarked that perhaps they should have sold DSM's at the admission booth (um, folding table), not auction catalogs. one of our favorite commenters, tracy, wondered what a real mental heath professional would say if they toured the exhibit. luckily enough, in addition to being the world's foremost interior decorator, maison21 is a fully licensed doctor of the internets, able to effectively diagnose all physical and mental disorders via the magic of the interwebs (he has successfully diagnosed himself with everything from lyme's disease to parkinson's. unfortunately medical technology has not advanced to the point where tests are able to back up dr. m21's diagnoses, but we are sure given time, the technology will catch up to our genius).

so in today's episode of the king of pop week here at m21, "the ugly", we are going to talk about MJ from a mental health standpoint, most notably dr. maison21's diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. according to the DSM, it takes at least 5 of the following to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder
  1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. believes that he or she is "special"
  4. requires excessive admiration
  5. has a sense of entitlement
  6. is interpersonally exploitative
  7. lacks empathy
  8. is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
  9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
god, that sounds like LOTS of people we know actually, (including ourselves)! you've gotta think you are pretty nifty if your every thought is special enough to blog it, FB it or twitter it, right? (self-reflection is such a bitch, but please, follow us on twitter to find out more!) ;-) the only thing that gives m21 any consolation is he just has the one blog as his outlet of self-admiration- if MJ were a blogger, he'd have like a kajillion: "the king of pop blog", "the best of the king of pop blog", the "moonwalkin' with MJ!" blog, the "MJ really loves the all the little childrens of the world- really!" blog, the "MJ is such a giver- 'cept when he's shoppin' for himself" blog, etc. repeat, ad nauseum...

as usual, we digress, so let's get down to business, shall we? one of the more self-indulgent aspects about the exhibit was the many rooms devoted to MJ memorabilia. now we understand documenting one's career- we do it ourselves, often on this very blog (god there we go again, having stuff in common with MJ. somebody call our therapist, k?). while some of the stuff was pretty legit (the glove, tour costumes, etc.), some was definitely in the wtf? category- like walls and walls covered with cheap-looking plaques made of cd's and foamcore with bogus titles like "outstanding artist award" and "artist achievement award". it also looked as if anytime MJ traveled, someone from his record label would call the local office and scream "break out the hot-glue gun, MJ is comin' for a visit, and you know how he whines if he doesn't get an award. remember- keep it shiny!". one imagines a VP in charge of MJ ass-kissery:


here's a piece of memorabilia we thought kinda encapsulated the whole darn grandiosity complex in a nutshell- a royal robe as befits his outsize sense of self-importance and obsession with being some sort of royalty (we imagine him wearing it to breakfast):
but look up close- velvet and ermine? hardly. more like velour and cheap, tatty hooker fur.

a theme running through MJ's art collection is his view of being a savior to the children of the world. somehow we're missing the logic that backs that up- commissioning a garish painting or 8 foot wide bronze sculpture isn't quite the same as building a children's hospital, or providing money for wells with clean drinking water, or even buying mosquito nets because you've reached one million followers on twitter...
the pied-piper imagery of these works is a bit disturbing too, after the allegations following MJ over the years. somehow, we know he doesn't get the irony...
image via decider

this sculpture is about 6 - 8 feet wide depicting a bare chested MJ (creepy) and dozens of individually sculpted "children of the world". we shudder at the cost to commission this, and also shudder at the self-involvement to do so- if the sculpture was really about the children of the world, like we said- it would be a hospital in an impoverished country.

we thought this 3 foot wide photo perhaps caught a defining moment and cultural shift in american life, and marked our descent into the celebrity-driven, reality-tv obsessed, state of unreality we find ourselves in today: an actor portraying a president, giving an official audience to a pop star playing a king (in sequins, no less). we LOVE it, and in the unreality version of our future, we hope to buy it to hang next to our jeff koons and warhol!


speaking of playing king, there must have been a good dozen large scale paintings of MJ as royalty. some of them actually bordered on cool, but really, even if you have all the money in the world, one would be sufficient, dontchathink?


this one was beyond beyond in the narcissist sweepstakes- a royal triptych, with a self penned poem! fantabulous. you'll want to click on it to fully grasp the profundity of the poem, but allow us to quote one stanza:
i am the dewdrop,
the sunshine,
the storm...

that's it! were changing the name of our blog to: maison21: i am the dewdrop...


this hot mess of a painting was our favorite- once again, you'll have to click to see in it's full beauty, but m21 will try to summarize: we believe it depicts MJ as the inventor of spaceflight (the space shuttle launching in the lower right hand corner, as well as what appears to be a fierce space battle waging over his right shoulder); he is also savior of the endangered earth, represented by the macaw and the monkey family. the rest of it, we can't figure out- the japanese angel-baby shooting death rays with it's eyes at the monkey; jesus appearing to pop out of MJ's boot; and a circa-white diamonds era liz, sitting on Mj's foot (next to jesus, natch). oh, yeah, if you look carefully, the king tut harp appears to be making an appearance in the background. genius.
not to get all heavy on you guys, but m21 felt pretty sad for this man after seeing some of his stuff- obviously there were huge voids in his life that he tried to fill with things, and a self-image he tried to bolster with trappings of grandeur- but somewhere it seems, a line was crossed into madness. maybe because he became so isolated no one would him let him know he crossed the line, or maybe he just went nuts (it happens. a lot). but still, it was all a bit wasteful and sad.

what do y'all think? is dr. maison21 correct in his diagnosis? or is dr. m21 too self-involved to be an impartial judge? ('cuz, yu know, like our opinion of MJ's psyche matters).

next, (and last) in our series to follow: the downright creepy!

15 comments:

Lucinda said...

Thanks for the nightmares!

Lucinda

lady jicky said...

Oh boy where does one start!
I tell you what , if I see one more of those cheesey paintings of MJ I will run screaming by that EXIT sign (how thoughtful).
I do think I saw Tom Cruise looking at that Royal Robe in the background. Mmmmmmm

mary said...

Too much sadness for me - this was someones' little boy...where the HELL was his support system? This is the public demise of a musical genius ...and it could have been prevented.

Tracy said...

So funny (the post) and crazy (the art) I had to read it a couple of times to take it all in!
And forgive me, but I had NO IDEA that you are in fact a Dr "of the internets" and could do the diagnosing yourself or I would have simply asked YOU for YOUR *professional* opinion. :)
We're making fun, but it really is sad, isn't it?, and so obvious that this man had/has REAL problems. What a freak show.

Tracy said...

Oh, and PS...
while I was reading, I was thinking that if this exhibit is to become permanent (or even better and more likely: recorded for posterity as a collectible DVD!), they should consider hiring you as their "Sister Wendy". Something about the style of your glib commentary combined with in-depth analysis made me think of her...

Pigtown-Design said...

that's really scary. i still remember him when he had a nose.

Miss Absinthe said...

Wow. Just... WOW. Never in a million years, even knowing what we know about MJ, would I have thought... so sad. Your comment regarding the pic of him with the Reagans really crystallized that moment and yeah, maybe that is where we are started going wrong... Makes me wonder who else is out there living like this?

maison21 said...

lucinda- you're welcome! sweet dreams! (and wait for the next post- the creep factor is through the roof!)

lady jicky- well, if tommy wants the robes, i'm sure he could afford better. plus there would be the not insubstantial costs of getting them hemmed up about a foot...

mary- i couldn't agree wtih you more- while i make light, the sense of sadness at the exhibition was palpable. all that money spent on all those things, to fill all that emptiness- yet now he's broke. it's a good reminder that while some monsters are genetic abnormalities, most troubled people could have been stopped in their path to monsterhood with better childhoods. and viewing that collection left no doubt for me that michael's obsession with "childhood" is unhealthy at best, predatory at worst.

tracy- see above on the sadness factor- you couldn't have viewed it and come out thinking- "boy, those are the possessions of someone who lived a full and happy life"

as for the doctor of the internets- please feel free to consult with me ANY time you need help with an ailment. my medically abilities include being able to turn the simplest of stubbed toes into a rare genetic abnormality, so i'm sure i could help with find the root cuase of your problems ;-)

and sister wendy is one of the nicest compliments i've ever received- i do so enjoy being compared to a sexless 70 year old woman. JUST KIDDING! i love her, so thank you!

meg- i know poor thing- can you imagine looking in the mirror everyday and seeing the hole where your nose once was, and KNOWING you've done it to yourself?

miss absinthe- i think it's the kind of thing we'll see more and more of, and in shorter and shorter time frames. look at what we witnessed with britney, and are witnessing with lindsay- the same weird dynamic of being denied a childhood and thus never really able to grow up...

CynthiaJay said...

I worked for the law firm that handled the environmentals for Neverland Ranch. Every day, we would say "He's doing WHAT?" Weird and sad.

YSLGuy said...

That really is slightly creepy...and sad....sad and creepy.

Michael Jackson's Thriller was the first casette (Casette? Who remembers those these days) I bought and I thought he was amazing.

maison21 said...

oooooh, cythinajay- i bet you have stories to tell- feel free to use this space!

YSLguy- i'll do you one better- i remember CASSINGLES! i used to have a huge collection of cassette singles, that i would play in my car, over and over again...

but your are right- who really remembers cassettes anyway? they were so betamax ie, not around for long, and never made an impact...

Tracy said...

Ha! I was reading the new comments and you guys talking about cassettes cracked me up! Do you remember trying to fumble those stupid things out of their cases with one hand while you're driving and it flips open and the tape falls out and bounces over onto the passenger side floor and you're scrambling and reaching down below the dash trying to get it with the tips of your fingers because you HAVE to listen to Supertramp NOW! while you're doing 60 in the 45 zone on your way back to school and you know you don't have much time to get it into the player and fast-forwarded to "Breakfast in America" so you can listen to the whole thing before you have to get out of the car and run to class so you're not late again? There is no way that talking on a cell phone while driving is more dangerous than THAT.

nonpareil said...

cheap, tatty hooker fur!!! hilarious!

I totally agree with commenter, Mary. It is the demise of a musical genius, and very sad.

You've totally earned your phd, dr-of-the-internets...

Topsy Turvy said...

I thinked you nailed it with the diagnosis. It's especially sad when you see how serious he is in all of the images - he really takes himself so seriously!!??!! My favorite is the painting of himself leading all the idealized happy children down the path ... to where exactly?

–Lana

tula said...

I actually earned my BA in Psychology, but would have probably have gotten a better (and more fabulous) education had I trained under you, M21.