This text doesn’t answer the questions of Michael Jackson or solve his crimes, it’s not supposed to. What this text does is bring all of the influences together, from the cultural lenses, backgrounds, socializations, business-scope, and media frenzy to understand the lines that pulled Jackson in various ways. Margo removes the pedestal from his character and brings a telescope to his life—use this lens to see this and that lens to see that.
What is most effective about this work is its brief nature. Jefferson doesn’t presume to understand everything about Michael Jackson or his persona, she doesn’t assume that everything she brings to the table is all there is, all Jefferson does is say these are some influences that need to be taken into account. And with that brief nature, Jefferson is able to pear into some the atrocities associated with his life without recreating actual horror on the page. This was a text that took into account the readers experience before there was ever a mention of trigger warnings. Published back in 2006, Jefferson pioneered a work that wasn’t just about the subject but respected many of the victims involved. As a cultural critic, Jefferson is the author we should all strive to be.
To understand the canon of fame, media, and race relations we are currently stewing within, On Michael, is the book to read. To understand any feather of society, Margo Jefferson is the author to read.