Saturday, July 4, 2009

The King of Pop a book lover?

I was over the shock of the King of Pop's death about...oh...5 seconds after I heard the news. Sorry all but wellreadkitty is not a fan (although as a random aside, I do love Neil Finn's acoustic cover version of Billy Jean). So it is with great surprise that I find myself blogging about him.

But apparently Michael Jackson was an extremely well read man and had a collection of around 10,000 books, according to two recent Los Angeles newspaper articles.

Jackson's attorney Bob Sanger is quoted as saying:

"Michael was extremely well-read…I knew Michael, but I got to know him a lot better at the trial. The judge was doing jury selection, and it was time for break. Judge Melville said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to know that jury service is very, very important.' He's trying to convince people not to have stupid excuses to get out of jury service. All judges do this. He says, 'The jury system is a very time-honoured system. It's been around for 200 years. We're going to take a break and come back in 15 minutes.'

"We stand up and the judge leaves, and Michael turns to me and says, 'Bob, the jury system is much older than 200 years, isn't it?' I said, 'Well, yeah, it goes back to the Greeks.' He says, 'Oh yeah, Socrates had a jury trial, didn't he?' I said, 'Yeah, well, you know how it turned out for him.' Michael says, 'Yeah, he had to drink the hemlock.' That's just one little tidbit. We talked about psychology, Freud and Jung, Hawthorne, sociology, black history and sociology dealing with race issues. But he was very well read in the classics of psychology and history and literature.

"He loved to read. He had over 10,000 books at his house. And I know that because - and I hate to keep referring to the case, because I don't want the case - the case should not define him. But one of the things that we learned - the DA went through his entire library and found, for instance, a German art book from 1930-something. And it turned out that the guy who was the artist behind the book had been prosecuted by the Nazis. Nobody knew that, but then the cops get up there and say, 'We found this book with pictures of nude people in it.' But it was art, with a lot of text. It was art. And they found some other things, a briefcase that didn't belong to him that had some Playboys in it or something. But they went through the guy's entire house, 10,000 books. And it caused us to do the same thing, and look at it."

"And there were places that he liked to sit, and you could see the books with his bookmarks in it, with notes and everything in it where he liked to sit and read. And I can tell you from talking to him that he had a very - especially for someone who was self-taught, as it were, and had his own reading list - he was very well-read. And I don't want to say that I'm well-read, but I've certainly read a lot, let's put it that way, and I enjoy philosophy and history and everything myself, and it was very nice to talk to him, because he was very intellectual, and he liked to talk about those things. But he didn't flaunt it, and it was very seldom that he would initiate the conversation like that, but if you got into a conversation like that with him, he was there."

His lawyer's comments certainly show another side to the man who has fascinated and flummoxed the public all his life. It's certainly not an image that readily springs to mind when you think of the King of Pop. I'm not sure it makes me like him any more but it is nice to hear a little about the real man behind the music, the plastic surgery, the child molestation allegations, the financial troubles and the strange antics that have come to characterise him in the minds of many (myself included).

1 comment:

Café Chick said...

Musicians are an interesting bunch; their heads are not necessarily where everyone else's are. Growing up in a family of them, I've known a few.

Your blog brought to mind a very talented singer who used to sing in one of my father's band. He was very good at his craft and had the ego to match; it wasn't long before no bands wanted to play with him any more. He spent years in musical exile ("writing"), overcame a drinking/drug problem and became a single dad. Many years later, he got in contact with my father. He was still the same person (lots of 'I-trouble'), but he'd taken up reading: NZ history, Maoritanga, music, philosophy ... you name it, he's read it and can tell you all about it! We were really surprised. It's true: you really shouldn't judge a book by its cover.