Michael Jackson and Military. Did his road lead to Rome too?
Michael Jackson used countless symbols with different meanings during his career, military symbols belonged to them as well. But what did the mysterious Roman statue stand for?
„‚It is with such baubles that men are led.'“ Napoleon has said these words to indicate the significance of the medals with which he regaled his soldiers. This quote was one of Michael Jackson favourites.“Michael Lee Bush 1
Michael was „infatuated with military history“. 2
In the book „48 Laws of Power“ Michael Jackson marked the following paragraph:
„Find an image or symbol from the past that will neatly fit your situation, and put it on your schoulders like a cape. It will make you seem larger than life.“48 Laws of Power von Robert Green“ 3
He commented it with the following words:
„Like me and military – great on armband/ do this find an image“Michael Jackson
Kings and other leaders copied successful PR from former rulers. For example, Napoleon’s painting „Napoleon on the imperial throne“, was a role model for „MJ“ on the royal throne on Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS album cover from 1991. But Napoleon himself took his inspiration from other great military leaders like Louis XIV and the roman emperor Augustus.
Napoleon promoted himself with symbols that were actually reserved for the Church.
Emperor Augustus as a role model for „Napoleon on the imperial throne“?
Napoleon´s portrait on „his imperial throne“ by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres is considered a „faithful imitation of the Augustus portrait“.
Emperor Augustus was a leader as well, he made it to the first „emperor of the roman empire“ and presented himself, for propaganda purposes of course, with selected symbols as the“chosen one“.
When the french Napoleon Bonaparte took the Roman Augustus as a role model, he wanted to be presented as both „divine“ and „imperial“ with the same, old successful methods. Napoleon had not only the posture and folds of the robe, but also the hairstyle of the Roman emperor literally copied on his own statues, which were then erected across the continent.
On Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS cover from 1991 military, Napoleon and manhood are presented on the left side. The right side is reserved for feminity.
Emperor Augustus had his statues erected. Even back then, this was purely for marketing purposes.
And in 1996 the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, also had his statues erected across the continent. Just like Napoleon and Augustus. This also served marketing purposes.
Jackson has a ten-meter statue of the King of Pop floated down the river Thames in 1996 and placed in those cities where he had performed. source BBC report
Emperor Augustus and the month of august
Emperor Augustus probabaly was what history books call „powerful“. But Augustus managed to become somehow immortal, because every time in august, we call his name. The august is by the way also the birthmonth of Michael Jackson. What a coincidence.
Augustus and Napoleon represent power and military. And ambition. Both men were pioneers and leaders.
Augustus, Napoleon and Jackson promoted themselves cleverly as the chosen ones and because of that, it it doesn’t even matter that 2000 years seperated them. More than one of them crowned himself. Higher than the king is the emperor. Napoleon even appointed himself emperor. EMPEROR OF POP? THAT would sound great.
The King of Pop and the mysterious Roman statue 1988, 1991 and 1993
In 1996 it was not the first time Michael Jackson decorated his appearences with military and statues. Even years ago, he placed a statue in his movies: the statue of a Roman figur in a war armor. What is significant in these moments, is the fact, that Jackson’s image as the King of Pop always played in those moments an important part.
Jackson and the mysterious Roman statue 1988 in MOONWALKER and 1991 in BLACK OR WHITE
1988. MOONWALKER: Jackson, who already looks like a „black panther“ here, before he actually turns into one in 1991´s BLACK OR WHITE. Next to Jackson the Statue of Liberty is placed. Close by the statue of the mysterious Roman. source
In 1988 in Moonwalker, Michael Jackson, dressed from head to toe in black, clearly but purely symbolically already bears those traces of the black panther that he later literally embodied in 1991 in BLACK OR WHITE.
In 1988, Jackson is on the run in MOONWALKER and ends up in the a film studio. During his escape, Jackson seeks shelter behind the proclamation of the American Statue of Liberty: „You’re proclamation promised me free liberty“. 7 The statue of the Caesar in war armor, who represents military and power with all its symbols, thereby lines the path of Michael Jackson. This path that ends (prophetically) in a death end.
A roman statue, the Statue of Liberty, Jackson with traces of the Black Panther in 1988
1991. BLACK OR WHITE. Again Jackson shows himself with the American Statue of Liberty: „You’re proclamation promised me free liberty“, 8 The statue of the Caesar in war armor, who represents military and power with all its symbols, thereby lines the path of Michael Jackson. This path that ends (prophetically) in a death end.
The roman staue 1991. The Statue of Liberty and the black panther in BLACK OR WHITE.
At the end of the film Michael Jackson transforms now literally into the figure of the „Black Panther“. Military in form of the Roman statue lines the way of the panther. source
In 1991, Jackson, now light-skinned due to his skin-disease vitiligo is politically blacker than ever before and turned literally into a „black panther“. Once again Jackson, escaped from a prop room of film studio in BLACK OR WHITE. He did the same in 1988 in MOONWALKER.
Also present is the American Statue of Liberty in 1991 as well as in 1988. Behind the promises of the Statue of Liberty, the Afro-American Jackson had already sought protection in MOONWALKER.
„I’m tired of this stuff […] I ain’t scared of no sheets“Michael Jackson 1991 in the song to the short film BLACK OR WHITE. 9
In the accompanying short film, Michael Jackson, in the guise of the „Black Panther,“ hisses at the statue of the Roman representing the military. In 1991, Jackson´s path ends in a dead end, as it did in MOONWALKER in 1988.
In 1999, Jackson explains to the audience the violent scene in the „Panter sequence“ of his short film BLACK OR WHITE. The scene had been censored in 1991:
„I wanted to do a dance number where I can just let out my frustration about you know, injustice, and prejudice and racism and bigotry.“Michael Jackson, 1999. 10
The roman statue in WHO IS IT in 1993
1993. WHO IS IT. The roman statue. source
Jackson´s short film from 1993 WHO IS IT once again deals with (his) career. In WHO IS IT, too, Jackson takes off at the end of the film. Here, as well, he finds himself in a dead end, albeit this time a clearly emotional one. This time, Jackson disappears in a helicopter. The helicopter lands on a helipad that has an „MJJ Production“ logo on it. Again there is the statue of the Roman, which already accompanied Jackson´s departure in MOONWALKER and bLACK OR WHITE: We have the sign of Jackson´s own company, the „MJJ Production“ and all signs are on business.
A Black Panther, the Statue of Liberty, the King of Pop and his fluoride outflow and three times the roman statue. After these observations, the question „why?“ remains.
Michael Jackson, Military, Napoleon and the Triumphal Arches. „Boys are like that“
first.: Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, Paris. source
second.: triumph arch on DANGEROUS source
third: Michael Jackson’s HIStory Teaser, 1995 source
fourth: Michael Jackson’s THIS IS IT, THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US, 2009 source
Whenever Napoleon celebrated successes with his military, he built himself a triumphal arch. So did Michael Jackson.
And the army starts to move.
Some kind of obelisk to mark conquests
„Boys will be boys!“
Augustus used the treasury of Egypt to decorate Rome. Augustus preferred obelisks for his Roman decoration, this epitome of male superiority.
His own, of course.
Napoleon, from the same category of male supremacy, also brought obelisks from Egypt and placed them in Paris.
Napoleon marked his conquests with them.
Michael Jackson, from the same category … also took obelisks and placed them to his left and right at the end of his movie THRILLER, which belongs to the best-selling album of all time.
Michael Jackson marked his conquests with them.
1983. THRILLER. Jackson and male power after his conquest of the girl and the audience source
“ …represents aggression and masculinity. The ancient male symbol was the blade, it’s a basic phallus. It’s still used today on military uniforms.“11
„Yes, and the more penises you have, the higher your rank. Boys will be boys!“
Michael Jackson, Sir Charles Chaplin, military and Napoleon. „Numbers sanctify„. A bizarre fantasy
„Napoleon … He gets praised for all his genocide, whereas Hitler gets called the Devil, which he was. But they both did the same thing. But one was doing it for his country and the other one was too! But a lot of people died with Napoleon. There are statues of Napoleon.„Michael Jackson, 2000. 12
„One murder makes a villain. Millions a hero. Numbers sanctify“Sir Charles Chaplin, 1947. 13
In school books, our children find crimes like those of Napoleon under the keyword victories. Those books taught our children about „successful battles“. The King of Pop, however, saved lives during his reign, sacrificed his time and his money fort it. The images of military used Michael Jackson to pass on the message of peace.
Sir Charles Chaplin, declared by Michael Jackson to be his idol, had planned to make a film about Napoleon. Chaplin’s project finally culminated in 1940 in the portrayal of another megalomaniac: Adolf Hitler. 14, 15
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres‘ fantasy painting of „Napoleon on his Imperial Throne“ was widely rejected by critics even during the lifetime of the tiny Frenchman who had crowned himself. After all, it was probably too much.
„It is a bizarre fantasy but one that perfectly reflects that illusion of inviolability and infallibility, with dangerous megalomania, that was eventually to be Napoleon’s downfall.“Andrew Graham-Dixon. 16
Jackson and „it is with baubles that men are led“ and „one must be a military man in order to govern“
In 1995, Jackson used the medium of film and presented in the HISTORY-TEASER – in the style of Leni Riefenstahl’s „Triumph of the Will“ – military, power and authority that would have made Augustus and Napoleon green with envy. 17 Jackson, who was said to be „quite infatuated“ with military history, thus had a favorite quote attributed to Napoleon of all people:
„it is with baubles that men are led.“Napoleon I 18
Military Jackson wore on and off stage like all other military leaders. Jackson’s choreographies on and off stage are also influenced by military. Jackson’s music is marked by the rhythm of marching. When Jackson learned that even the choirs of angels were said to hold the marching rhythm, he was thrilled:
„For some reason, that fact is almost the best I have learned so far..“Michael Jackson. 19
„one must be a military man in order to governNapoleon I. Bonaparte. 20
Michael Jackson and Military
Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, used images of military in every decade of his unprecedented career:
(pictures from BRACE YOURSELF, DANGEROUS – THE SHORTFILMS, Michael Jacksons HISTORY TEASER from MICHAEL JACKSON HISTORY ON FILM VOLUME I, Michael Jackson JAM from DANGEROUS conzert in Bukarest 1992 DVD. Jackson with soldiers in Africa, Russia, with policemen in Germany (Hamburg), source: YouTube.
And not only with these pictures Michael Jackson somehow satisfied the longing for a hero.
„People used to ask me, like, you always talk about HEAL THE WORLD, why do you need all these soldiers on the stage?’ I said, ‘They’re soldiers of love.’“Michael Jackson, 2003. 21
When Michael Jackson went on a „state visit“ and performed concerts in all the countries of the world, he had military policemen parade to his reception. Remarkably, to this day, they all answered his call and offered Jackson a state reception.
Such a state reception is granted to major country leaders, but how many entertainers?
But when Jackson erected larger-than-life statues of the King of Pop in all the cities where he celebrated the triumphs of his concerts for the 1996 world tour, critics and fans alike attested to his terminal megalomania over this act of Barnum-style self-promotion. Michael Jackson reacted to this criticism with the following words:
„Good! That’s what I wanted! …They fell into my trap. … I wanted everybody’s attention.“Michael Jackson, 1995. 22
When the English director of the HISTORY – TEASER Rupert Wainwright during the shooting of the film indicated to Jackson, that this kind of propaganda could appear conceited, Jackson did not bat an eyelash:
„You have statues of this woman all over the country, right?“Michael Jackson, 1995. 23
„You know, that woman … The Queen …“
- Bush, Michael Lee, Michael Jackson-King of Style – Die Fashion-Ikone, 2012/2013, Inside Edition/Seemann Henschel Verlag, Leipzig, page 21
- Bush, Michael Lee, Michael Jackson-King of Style – Die Fashion-Ikone, 2012/2013, „Michael was infatuated with british tradition and military history., Inside Edition/Seemann Henschel Verlag, Leipzig, page 21
- Greene, Robert, THE 48 LAWS OF POWER, Auktionshaus Bonhams. 1998, A Joost Elfers Production: „take the game further: Find an image or symbol from the past that will neatly fit you situation, and put it on your schoulders like a cape. It will make you seem larger than life.“Michael Jackson wrote the following commentary to this statemanet: „Look/ like Me and Military/Great on arm Band/ do this find an image“, A Penguin Book, https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19036/lot/262/
- Kemp, Martin, Geschichte der Kunst, 2000,2007, DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne, page 66
- Kemp, Martin, Geschichte der Kunst, 2000, 2007, Translation: „This form of government […] made it necessary for the emperor to confront many people with different faces. On the one hand, the emperor was portrayed in Rome in a way that met the traditional expectations of the republican period. On the other hand, the people of the empire were free to form their own conceptions of the emperor, and so they adapted a image of the emperor to their own needs. The possibilities of representing the emperor in the medium of sculpture were flexible, providing a variety of manifestations by responding to different expectations in different parts of the empire“, DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne, page 40
- Lurker, Manfred, Die Botschaft der Symbole In Mythen, Kulturen und Religionen, 1990,Kösel-Verlag Gmbh&Co., Munich, page 150.
- Jackson, Michael, THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US, 15.06.1995, „You’re proclamation promised me free liberty“, HIStory: Past, Present and Future – Book I, SONY Music/ Epic Records
- HIStory: Past, Present and Future – Book I, SONY Music/ Epic Records
- „I am tired of this stuff […] I ain´t scared of your brother/ I ain´t scared of no sheets/ I ain´t scared of nobody.“ The sheets, which were made a topic in this highly political song by Jackson, are these white capes under which the members of the racist, violent organization „KKK“ hide themselves. In1991, the Afro-American Jackson considered it necessary to charge the „Ku-Klux-Klan“ and its burning crosses worldwide. Jackson, Michael, BLACK OR WHITE, 1991.11.26., DANGEROUS – Album „I am tired of this stuff […] I ain´t scared of your brother/ I ain´t scared of no sheets/ I ain´t scared of nobody.“ EPIC Records
- Jackson im MTV-Interview 1999.„I wanted to do a dance number where I can just let out my frustration about you know, injustice, and prejudice and racism and bigotry.“ source
- The DaVinci Code – Sakrileg, November 2006, DVD „Robert Langdon: The ancient male symbol was the blade, it’s a basic phallus. It’s still used today on military uniforms.“ Sir Leigh Teabing: „Yes, and the more penises you have, the higher your rank. Boys will be boys!“ Conversation between the charakters Robert Langdon and Sir Leigh Teabing in „The DaVinci Code – Sakrileg“, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Boteach, Rabbi, Shmuley, „A tragic icon reveals his soul in intimate conversation – The Michael Jackson Tapes“, 25.09.2009, „MJ: I tried to bring out the miracles of live, the children, look into their eyes, our bodies, how it all works just right, this can’t happen on its own, come on, no way. Then there are the questions I have about why we are here and why we are allowed to destroy each other. Because we are the only species who destroys their own. Every species on this planet… I don’t understand how all that injustice takes place. ‘Why didn’t something in heaven stop the Holocaust or some of the great genocides that happen in the world, from the lynchings and slavery, to all the great problems, to Stalin, to…? I hate to say this but Napoleon, too. He gets praised for all his genocide [(Anm.: Kommentar in der Klammer stammt vom Autor Rabbi Shmuley Boteach)I assume Michael means all the wars he caused], whereas Hitler gets called the Devil, which he was. But they both did the same thing. But one was doing it for his country and the other one was too! But a lot of people died with Napoleon. There are statues of Napoleon.“, Vang
- Sir Chaplin, Charles Spencer in „Monsieur Verdoux“, 1947, DVD, 2010, ARTHAUS, STUDIOCANAL
- Sir Chaplin, Charles Spenser, „The Great Dictator“, 15.10.1940, DVD/Arthaus Collection. Director, producer, leading role, music: Charles Chaplin, United Artists,
- Duncan, Paul, The Charlie Chaplin Archive, 20. Juli 2015, TASCHEN Verlag
- Graham-Dixon, Andrew, ITP 240: Napoleon I on His Imperial Throne by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres , 05.12.2004; accessed on 17.08.2015, https://www.andrewgrahamdixon.com/archive/itp-240-napoleon-i-on-his-imperial-throne-by-jean-auguste-dominique-ingres.html
- Jackson, Michael, „Michael JACKSON – HIStory ON FILM – VOLUME II“, DVD. 1997, DVD HIStory TEASER; Director: Rupert Wainwright, MJJ Ventures/Sony Music Entertainment,
- Bush, Michael Lee, „Michael Jackson-King of Style – Die Fashion-Ikone, Bush“, 2012/2013, Inside Edition/Seemann Henschel Verlag, Leipzig, page 21
- Jackson, Michael, „Dancing the Dream – Angel of Light“, 1992/1993, „Angels spend their entire lives, which are forever, spinning around the Creator’s throne, singing His praise. People with keen ears have listened in. The harmonies of the angelic choir are incredibly complex, they say, but the rhythm is simple. „It’s mostly march time,“ one eavesdropper affirmed. For some reason, that fact is almost the best I have learned so far.“ Doubleday an imprint of Transworld Publishers, London/Goldmann Verlag Bertelsmann.
- Napoleon I., https://www.aphorismen.de/suche?f_autor=2745_Napoleon+I.+Bonaparte&f_thema=Herrscher%2C+Herrschen
- Jackson, Michael, MJ-Upbeat.com – (PT 1) – (Speech) – Michael Jackson 45TH Birthday Party, 30.08.2003, “I’d like to thank you for assisting me for bringing justice to Tommy Mattola. This is not a good man. He’s a racist. And he used a lot of other peoples careers to destroy other people’s careers. I won’t name names, but Sony fired him. It was you, it was you who put your heart on the line. It was you who stepped forward to defend someone that you loved. It was you on a worldwide basis, who supported me as my army, my soldiers of love. People used to ask me, like, you always talk about HEAL THE WORLD, why do you need all these soldiers on the stage?’ I said, ‘They’re soldiers of love.’“ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6NHsTbJcRM
- Jackson, Michael, Primetime Live Interview With Diane Sawyer, 1995, „Diane: Well the critics have said that it’s the most „body vein, glorious, self-deaffecation a pop singer ever undertook with a straight face“. Michael: “Good! That’s what I wanted“. Diane: For the controversy? Michael: „Yeah!“ Diane: And they… Michael: „They fell into my trap. Diane: But the people who say that… Michael: I wanted everybody’s attention. Diane: But for the people who say these symbols matter…“, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5xxK7ad-zg
- Cadman, Chris, „Michael Jackson – The Maestro. The Definitive A-Z, Volume I: A-J“, 2013, HISTORY TEASER „Rupert Wainwright felt the gigantic statue was not a good idea. He felt it was perhaps a little too conceited. „I sat beside him and tried to explain that people might see him as a very selfish person, but he looked at me without blinking. ‚You have statues of this woman all over the country, right?‘ replied Michael. ‚What woman?‘ Wainwright asked. ‚You know, that woman … The Queen …‘‚ said Michael.“, Authos OnLine Ltd 2013 Bedfordshire SG19 3 NU, England, page 574 .