Tag Archives: Michael Jackson

My 2¢: Behind the Candelabra, by Scott Thorson

I recall watching most of the tv movie (I missed the first 30 minutes) ‘Behind the Candelabra’ and thinking that it would probably be a good book to read. I’m a real sucker for reading the book that a movie/show is based off of. Often times there are many details & explanations glossed over, shortened or left out completely & I’m a detail obsessed person….I like all the information, no matter how mundane it is. (Which explains why I read & basically re-read 100’s of articles when obsessing over something….you never know when you’re gonna happen across some interesting tidbit of knowledge.)

Fortunately for me I was actually able to find the ebook via my local library app (surprising because it’s a relatively “small town” & there doesn’t seem to be a high demand for popular/new books to be added, in real life or ebook form) & put it on my bookshelf. There it sat for 21 days while I neglected it to read other ebooks….I just couldn’t get into the mood to read it. Then the library took it away because my time was up. I still wanted to read it so I re-borrowed it & made myself start it; it took 2 nights but I wasn’t able to read straight through for 2 days.

Overall I liked the book. I’d never buy it, or borrow it again, but it was interesting. I wasn’t a Liberace fan before so of course I only knew what I’d heard throughout my life….he was over the top, extravagant, gay, talented, loaded, famous as all hell. In short, the book doesn’t really reveal any other shocking or interesting personality traits, other than he didn’t let people walk all over him & he could be pretty funny. I especially liked his replies about how he “cried all the way to the bank” (I would post a verbatim quote however I already returned the book before I decided to write this), when asked questions regarding finances or shows or gossip. It would make so much more sense if I could throw in a quote for you.

Anyway, from reading the book you get the sense that Mr. Thorson is a reputable, believable individual. He admits his faults, recognizes his mistakes, and totally owns the fact that he was-and still is, considering he published a tell-all book-a money grubber. He also was forthright about his drug dependency issues, which is commendable however one becomes skeptical when he claims to have overcome them (add to that the fact that one can utilize Google for 30 seconds & read the latest Thorson news….he’s facing 8-20 years for drugs/burglary). I couldn’t help figuring he hadn’t overcome them simply because he so eagerly claimed to. But moving on….

As far as the money goes, I think we all can agree that in a similar position we would do the same ourselves. I wouldn’t go to the lengths of hurting anyone (living or deceased) by what I wrote; if there were things I didn’t want people to know, I would hold them back. Write a book that’s just juicy enough to garner interest which in turn garners money. You kind of get the feeling Mr. Thorson is defending himself prematurely against people’s snide remarks, that he may think it makes him a bad person. Personally I don’t. I’m sure he still has enough real secrets & stories left to write another book however he’s (thus far anyway) decent enough not to. A few things I saw on Google however have made me question his overall truthfulness….I saw a couple of articles where as recently as 2013 he was claiming that he had a 6-7 year relationship with Michael Jackson. What the hell?! This is completely out of left field & (to me) screams “What, wait! Look at me…remember me? I was Liberace’s secret gay lover! I’m in need of money again so listen to this crazy tale…”. I can’t remember the other headlines but I do know they were utterly ridiculous. In Candelabra he mentions several times that he isn’t great with finances & basically blows his money on furs, dogs & coke. Even after the settlement of his “famous” lawsuit against Liberace he claims the majority of the $75,000 went primarily for drugs. So it’s completely plausible to me that he’s trying to get some bucks from the media. Which is fine….if it’s true. Which is less-fine-but-if-you’re-desperate-then-well-okay….if it at least has a grain of truth to it. But making shit up out of thin air just makes you look pathetic, and everyone knows why you’re doing it. I know it’s pointless for me to harp on this but it really kind of ruined the book for me; the whole time I read it I felt like Thorson was being upfront, honest, “doing this thing right”. Then to find out he’s going around spewing lies after the fact….makes me question the book, what was true, what wasn’t, what could be true but how would you know since you can’t rely on the author anymore….

My final 2 gripes are pretty simple. He wasted a lot of pages on a seemingly minute by minute break down of lawyers meetings, actions, court dates, etc. regarding his Liberace lawsuit. Dude, I don’t need to know all that boring minutia. Tell the main points (how it started, what it’s for, what was the outcome) & be done. It wasted my time & the only reason it was in there was because it was his suit against someone else. Pride. Or maybe he needed some filler to round the book out. Either way it was a waste of time. My other issue was no pictures! Now, in all fairness, maybe since it was an ebook the pictures weren’t included or couldn’t be sent….or….something. But other books (every…other…ebook actually) have had them, usually out of order from what the table of contents claims. There is usually a photo section at the very end, after everything else. So it may not be Scott Thorson’s fault but it was definitely a let down. In fact, that’s how I happened across all those other articles because I went looking for pictures on Google. I did find a clip of Liberace’s last interview (with Oprah) & a cute clip of him cooking with David Letterman. I also found pictures of Liberace, of course, which was nice & really solidified the image of extravagance I had in my mind’s eye. It would have been nice to see some personal photos of the two of them though, seeing as how that’s the backbone of the book.

In closing, it’s worth reading if you enjoy biographies, or want a deeper understanding of the movie, or are curious about Liberace. I hope Mr. Thorson can straighten himself out & return to the values he seems to have held once upon a time, and discontinues these bizarre, lame stories. He’s really making himself seem like a bitter, scruple-less old “queen”.

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My Michael Jackson post (years after the fact).

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I would imagine it would be the rare person indeed who could claim nowadays to never have at least heard a Michael Jackson song, younger generations not withstanding of course. Almost all of us have had some contact with his genius whether through a movie, the radio, our own personal music collection, television, books/magazines…somewhere along the way we’ve heard or seen the King of Pop. Having recently read the biography about him by J. Randy Taraborrelli I have renewed my (recurring) mini-obsession with MJ. Don’t get me wrong….I’m not a super fan & I don’t claim to know every factoid about him. I just know what I’ve read/seen & have my opinions on it.
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Michael’s attitude & actions
I’ve heard & read countless times that Michael was the type of person where if an employee/friend/family member told him “no” or wouldn’t get what he’d requested, they’d simply be “out”. He’d stop associating with them or they’d be fired. People were (apparently, according to the biography I read by Tarraborelli) fearful for their jobs. This is completely understandable & completely believable. Michael was treated-quite literally-like a king; he’d become accustomed to a way of life the majority of us will never live & therefore fail to grasp. He probably hadn’t been told “no” more than 8 times since the age of 5….long, long ago he acquired the luxury of people at his beck & call, staff to cater his whims, “handlers” (for lack of a better group term) to foresee & appease his wants & needs. I can understand the mentality of it all, even if I admittedly can’t fully understand what a life like that must be like (on either side of the fence). People were disposable….and that’s not implying Michael was some hateful, spoiled, crappy person who treated others badly (I’ve heard & read the exact opposite so much I’m beginning to wonder if he had a golden heart)….he was, plain & simple, rich as shit; he was free to do what he wanted; if one person wouldn’t do this or that then fine, this person over here will. That’s what I mean by disposable. There would always be someone, somewhere & he knew it.
The reason I flew off on this tangent is because during my mini-obsession I can’t escape the “what if” plague. What if his family would’ve intervened? After his death, everyones (EVERYONES) excuse is that they knew but couldn’t help MJ because he’d either fire them or kick them out of his life. I think we can all agree that most families will get along as well as have fights, stop speaking, be really mad at each other, all that jazz. However family should & usually does find their way back to each other & make up. I know not all families do that, I realize we don’t live in My Little Ponyville or Smurf-land. But the Jackson’s prior history certainly indicates that if there is a disagreement/fight, after some time passes everyone is welcomed back into the fold, hunky-dory. I can’t help but wonder if family-someone who Michael couldn’t get rid off & would eventually make up with-would have succeeded….if they would’ve just pushed & pushed until he went to rehab, then fought & fought to keep him there Do whatever it took. Michael would’ve been mad & resisted, I’m sure….but maybe-just maybe-he’d still be here today.

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Michael, circa 1989

Michael’s appearance
Personally I think the time frame he looked his best was the last couple years of the 80’s. He was just starting his “King-ship” and getting a taste of financial freedom & making his own choices. He had a small amount of plastic surgery & turned out like the photo above. If he would’ve only felt confident enough to stay like that! Instead he had to keep pushing & tweaking, trying to achieve a certain look he had set in his mind. Unfortunately he ended up like this….

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Michael's mugshot, date unknown/after the 90's

…which isn’t even the worst photo but definitely one of the creepier ones. I hate that he felt so insecure in himself that he literally turned himself into this. To be on top of the world financially, career-wise, health wise….yet to feel so badly about yourself that you reduce yourself to an unrecognizable shell. It’s sad, very very sad. Unbeknownst to him, by starting the surgery obsession he opened the flood gates for people & the media to start running their mouth. Then he probably felt the need to continue the surgeries, in a futile attempt to be normal again; all it ended up accomplishing was more negativity.

Michael & molestation

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Michael Jackson & Jordie Chandler

Where to begin with this Pandora’s box? What is there to say–in support of either side–that hasn’t been said a zillion times before? That being considered, I’ll just stick with my personal opinion as opposed to trying to exonerate (or condemn) MJ. Nothing I say will convince anyone anyway, I don’t think…they’d have to research & read & discover just like I did in order to be convinced. For years I have been undecided as to whether or not all of the abuse allegations against him were true…now, after extensive reading, various sources and a better (aka adult) perspective on life, I can safely say that I don’t believe he molested anyone, anytime. It seems quite obvious to me that the Arvizo’s were after money: plain & simple. The Chandler situation seems to be the same way, although it seems like a bigger betrayal because they were much closer than the Arvizo’s. It would take a whole other post to specify each point so I won’t drag that up here. I think Michael was an easy target because he was lonely, insecure, had a soft spot for children (& animals, as many of us non-serial killer people do), was eccentric & rich…very…very rich. The media & the accusers picked up on these traits (though not in that order) and exploited them as long as they could. Today, Jordie Chandler enjoys his millions while living in a penthouse & apparently having a wonderful time shopping with friends…

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Jordie Chandler today; spending his "hard earned" millions with a buddy.

I’m sure the Arvizo’s are also enjoying a largely enhanced lifestyle due to their “hard earned” millions as well. The truth is we will never know the truth. Even if MJ were here today & proclaimed his innocence (like he did before, yes) people wouldn’t believe him. There will always be a divide on this topic because there is no definitive, 100% proof either way. Instances such as this really gnaw at me because I want a firm, fact-backed answer, you know? It all comes down to what you believe & what you don’t believe. I used to lump him in with the majority of the media & society, but after my research I now understand all the different levels of this situation, and of Michael Jackson. I pity the poor man. This may be overdramatic but I truly wish I could rewind time for him & magically fix all the bad in his life….it just seems so unfair, once you absorb all the details (the same details from different sources-that’s what lends credibility to them), that he suffered as he did in so many ways.

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Michael, 1988 Bad Tour, London

R.I.P. Michael Jackson.

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In concert during the glory days.