Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's PTSD Archetypes (Health Series)

THURSDAY NIGHT IS HEALTH CARE CHANGE NIGHT, a weekly Health Care Series (cross-posted at Daily Kos)

A radical change in the social infrastructure of any society must be preceded or accompanied by a change in its consciousness. This week, I will talk about PTSD symbolism in Michael Jackson's music videos as it relates to America's changing collective awareness. Next week, I will discuss our "Thursday Night is Health Care Change Night" panel at Netroots Nation on organizing as a means of healing PTSD.

I particularly want to discuss Jackson's frequent invocation of two powerful archetypes central both to the experience of PTSD, and to the evolution or maintenance of empire: playful Hermes, puer aeternus, child genius, trickster, thief, messenger, god of healing, the lyre and all that is liminal; and the more menacing Dionysius, lychenthrope, trickster, Lord of the Animals, Beast Within.

Beneath the Spin: Michael Jackson and America's Superstardom

I greatly admired Michael Jackson. I admire anyone who's the very best at what they do, and Michael Jackson was definitely that. I remember when I first heard him. He was doing a tune called "Who's Lovin' You?" He was a mere child at the time, but his talent was so fully developed, and he sang with so much emotional maturity, I mistook the high pitch of his voice to be that of a very soulful adult female. Then later when he did "Billie Jean" at the Motown reunion, he seemed to literally defy gravity as he Moonwalked across the stage. So yes, this young man was, without a doubt, one of the greatest entertainers who ever lived.


But Michael's life - that shooting star that dazzled humanity with its awesome display, only to burn out much too soon - threatens to serve as a perfect metaphor for America itself. The story of the United States parallels that of Michael Jackson. It is also the story of a precocious child star that dazzled humanity with its awesome display. The United States is undoubtedly a superstar among nations, but we must not let hubris allow us to forget that among those very same nations, we are nothing more than a precocious child.