Michael Jackson’s Brain and the False Narrative

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Michael Jackson's body buried without the brain? And the great findings to come in the next few weeks? How about the false narrative? Michael Jackson was the sh*(&t of celebrities until he dropped dead very conveniently.  The man had done great in life as a career.  When I took accounting in college, I was told assets are valued on the accounting statements including good will and so on.  However, humans are not stated on any statement in dollar value to an organization because ….  The point is the value of a human existence can be determined in dollars and applied in equations.  Michael Jackson did very well in bring revenues and contributed more than his share to the accounting equations.  Would it not make sense to keep this trend going? He was ready to go on tour at the age of 50.  What if the big folks determined right when he finished and a short while before he dropped dead that his tour would have been a disaster or disappointment.  What if they determined he could not even finish the tour? What about the equations?  How can we let things change the wonderful numbers now and the future? What if the earning potential of his products can be maintained for the future? When Diego Maradonna (wrong spelling?) retired from soccer he said he retired at the height of his success so he would always be popular.  That makes sense and what else was behind his retirement.  But if Michael Jackson could "retire" maintaining his earning potential, the world could be a better place.  Fortunately, Michael Jackson happened to die at exact point when his earning potential could have declined for good.  He maintained his drive till the last second of his convenient death.  Narrative of Michael Jackson? What narrative?  The truth is what fits the needs of those who benefit the most.  Michael Jackson existed as a commercial entity and his relation to the world was carefully defined by the industry.  The only thing that remains is the sales of Michael Jackson products will never ever drop.  The black Elvis is to be remembered as a great entertainer.  Never mind the rest.  Who said Michael Jackson was a human being to think in terms of his feelings, life experiences and flaws? He was a great entertainer and all the big guys are pleased with him in death as in most of his life.  

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from World of Psychology by John M Grohol PsyD

Michael Jackson Buried Without BrainSince the news media seems to be unable to tear itself away from the Michael Jackson story, we learn about every fascinating detail about his life, and his death. Including the details of standard autopsy procedures, as though they were new or bizarre. The latest, of course, is that Michael Jackson’s body is being buried without his brain.

But this is not unusual in an autopsy where the cause of death isn’t certain and the brain is suspected to carry some clues. The brain needs to harden, in order to perform the later slicing needed in the autopsy procedure:

It involves removing the brain from the skull and leaving it to soak in a diluted mixture of formaldehyde and water called formalin. This soaking process usually takes four weeks and the brain genuinely does harden.

Vaughan over at Mind Hacks has the gory details of a brain autopsy.

I sincerely wish the media attention would die down on this story already. Michael Jackson was a talented performer and singer, but he wasn’t Einstein or Michelangelo. I enjoyed his music, but I was sorry to see the tragic turn his life took later in his career.

Josh Visser over at CTV.ca News has an insightful article into Michael Jackson and the “false narrative phenomenon” — how the singer’s death completely changed the story people tell about his life and what they think of him:

But here’s the rub: Three weeks ago, Jackson was seen by most people as a joke at best; or another rich celebrity who got away with horrible crimes, at worst.[…]

But in death, all that changed. The media in particular, and society at large, seemed to develop a mass amnesia — the last 18 years of lacklustre musical output, the criminal allegations and civil judgments, and the just plain weirdness was forgotten.

Why do we paint these stories that only emphasize and focus on the positive in a person’s life, and discounting the negative? Visser has a suggestion:

We do it for our gone-too-young celebrities and politicians, but we also do it for the regular people in our lives — choosing to remember only the good — rather than an accurate portrait of a person.

Indeed, news organizations know they are going to get more traction with their stories about how great a person and entertainer Michael Jackson was, glossing over the later problems in his life, than to paint a more balanced picture of a seemingly troubled individual who had apparent difficulties adjusting to his life and celebrity.

I would also point readers to Maureen Orth’s five investigative journalism articles in Vanity Fair that detailed Michael Jackson’s celebrity life and the difficulties he faced.

In death, we seem to always focus on the positive, perhaps simply out of respect for the deceased. That seems reasonable. But I think a celebrity should be different, especially because they can act as role models for others. I’m certain the same happened when Elvis died, but his death also serves as a warning about the excesses of such celebrity lives. We need to hear about the bad, along with the good, so that we understand the humanity of the person who has left this world.

Because Michael Jackson, in the end, wasn’t just a celebrity or performer — he was a complex and seemingly troubled human being. Understanding that he wasn’t simply a great singer or dancer helps us understand how we are all imperfect… How we lead lives trying to understand how we fit into this world.

And how, sometimes, we fail to do so.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/07/08/michael-jacksons-brain-and-the-false-narrative/

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