SWEETIE, BABY, COOKIE, HONEY…MICHAEL

To those terrific committed fans and friends who read Sweetie, Baby, Cookie, Honey over the past 23 years and particularly those who recently elected to reach out to me, to all of you I say ‘thank you’.

I feel validated because the common theme running through your notes, blogs, and emails IS the “epiphany,” revealing that you actually “got it!” Michael Jackson’s one more commodity to be exploited.

That’s the whole point of my 1986 “trashy novel of sex, drugs, rock and roll” (thanks for that quote, Oprah) and the “smarmy vulgarity and corruption in the underbelly of the music business” (courtesy of “Billboard’s” reviewer) and the temptations of the music industry, a greedy industry which inevitably produces psychological and creative drying out.

Pressures of an unforgiving record company demanding what they call more “product.” Pressures of unforgiving managers and promoters, (for more dates and more commission), pressures from an unforgiving demanding fickle public, pressures from ever-changing musical styles and pressures not to age in show biz ’cause that reminds us that we can age too…and do.

Aging is perceived as decaying and stars must be “glam” cryogenically frozen in time to always be stars and look like stars because we worship them. If they live long enough, “stars” are reduced to hiding, caricatures of themselves, celebrities who wear baseball caps to meld & evaporate in the supermarket or overuse cosmetics and surgical illusions as a form of self-delusion…. If they’re really lucky…they die…and die before their time…before they shrivel. But still the public wants desperately to see Farrah Fawcett as a shriveled cancer-ridden corpse, no matter how unseemly that may be. That’s the “biz” — and that’s us, folks.

There’s the “OMG” factor. Well of course it’s “sudden” but surely none of it is unexpected. What could have been unexpected about Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison or Elvis Presley? The absolute guaranteed certainty after death (even John Lennon) falls into step with what currently is happening. ALL of the deceased were worth more dead than alive.

Here’s the deal: there are two independent predictable trajectories of increasing frenzy which are interdependent.

The first is the music industry and ancillary businesses rushing to create any piece of memorabilia whether or not authentic, whether or not licensed, whether or not royalty bearing in an effort to exploit the tragedy…speaking with respect in hushed tones, but ultimately raising the level to a pitch of a Carney barker at a circus, hustling the crowds into a side show, pitching an audio time capsule of an original record, the compilation of recordings, video moments, out-takes, rehearsals, (many of which the artist themselves would never ever want the public to ever hear or see!). There’s the tickets, the scalpers, the memorials, the concert tributes, the endless additional memorials, the effort to “out do” Princess Di, the effort to “out-build” a Graceland from a Neverland, to drive the recordings into repackaged, money machines, just like the artist spent his life, being a money machine being used and exploited by others, desperately trying to surround himself with anyone with a moral compass but never knowing a difference and in the end, seeming to choose charlatans, sycophants and so called professionals, people whose prescription pads are buyable, just like their souls, for a price. Why do they do it? “Well, if I didn’t do it, someone else would”! A specious argument for acts which are indefensible.

The second trajectory are the fans (and the press) … the audience which interfaces with the industry’s greed and avarice. You have a home run when you put them together. In death, the bad guys rush to embark on a gold rush, to tap the mine, but the gold rush can not score unless there’s a market for the gold. And that’s when the global “fans” come-a-running.

Mass media exhibits, second-by-second, how the global public has a fetish, which is a necrophilia-by-proxy…loving in death someone who they never actually knew. They become emotionally wrought, suffering, crying and sobbing. In these painful economic times the “fans” are oblivious to their children’s needs, their rent or bills, but willing to max out yet another credit card on those t-shirts, posters, tickets, bus-rides and R.V. trips to camp out in nowheresville, just so they could take a telephoto, digital picture and email it to their friends standing next to the Neverland gates…while thousands around them do the same, turning the sight of the deceased’s retreat and his privacy into a modern day Lourdes.

Oh yes, this definitely is a circus, but more of the Fellini-esque, Dali-esque grotesque style, and tragic. Rock stars are definitely worth more dead than alive Sweetie, Baby, Cookie, Honey, so to those of you who got it and told me,…thank you again.

As to Mister Jackson, watch carefully.

Michael’s ever crushing debt will be eradicated. Michael already has a new value to his estate. The Internal Revenue Service will have a fascinating time. Michael’s net worth on date of his death is paltry, compared to 1 year from now! 5 years from now…..think billions…. Think of the future income stream from the records from his record royalties, the mechanical royalties, the performance royalties the synchronization licenses. Think about inflated value of anything and everything he touched at auctions!

How many so called “authentic white glove(s)” will we see auctioned at the Swiss auction houses of Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London and Dubai and Tokyo and Hong Kong and New York? Days after his death his estate’s economics were already different, otherwise surrogate mommies and sperm donors would not be descending, the caring family that had begged him for “reunions” so they too could make a buck, have all come forward lovingly.

Shame on those who only a few years ago joined the mobs & dissed this little Peter Pan, tortured creature for his lightened skin, who wrenchingly turned himself into a Madame Tussaud’s wax figure… Those of you who spoke without any caring, feeling, empathy or compassion when he stumbled…and now try to be one more TV talking head speaking reverently about him you are, each of you, a disgrace…. He was a “credit” to his race, and those hypocrites are a “debit” to the human race, rushing to get a taste of his fame and glory by reflected association.

So the answer is “NO!” To all of you who asked me, the answer is still “no.” No part II sequel, no second Sweetie, Baby, kind-off book inside of me….it ain’t necessary. I said it……TWENTY-THREE YEARS AGO!!! and now you’ve, seen it, touched it, felt it, as it unfolds before you every hour, every day.

Sadly you will see this again. It is inevitable.

Webmaster’s Note: To see Freddie’s predictions coming true, click on the link: “Jackson Blog Coming True!” that appears near the top of the column on the right. It opens in a new window or tab, so just close it to return here.

18 Responses to “SWEETIE, BABY, COOKIE, HONEY…MICHAEL”

  1. Tanya says:

    Dear Mr. Gershon,
    I read your book in ’87 and everytime a celebrity mysteriously passes… I always recall your theory… I can’t help but believe in the ‘conspiracy’, especially where celebrities are concerned. I also can’t help but wonder about the celeb’s that are being ‘bled’ while they still breathe… Hannah Montana, Brittany Spears come to mind. I think it tragic what greedy, fiends fans can be. I don’t expect another book on the same topic. However, I wonder if ‘fans’ even realize how they contribute to the inevitable…
    T
    p.s. I agree with the demise of a celebrity to be ‘not so simple to solve’. I do believe they are enabled by those concerned and perhaps, once the star becomes a ‘liability’ they don’t receive the same ‘protection’ and ‘care’ they may have once received… Marylin Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith… Likely when the ‘beast’ is no longer tameable they require being ‘put down’?

  2. Freddie says:

    Annie, I have no idea who killed Michael.  But it would appear to me that it is not “simple”.
     
    Was Mama Cass’s cause of death choking on her vomit?  Was it her self-destructive, over-eating, pill taking lifestyle or a superficial society that embraced Michelle Philips’ looks and left Mama Cass to be admired for her voice?
     
    What demons possessed Jim Morrison?  Kurt Cobain?  Jimi Hendrix?  Or Janis Joplin?
     
    They appear to have all self-destructed.  It definitely appears that Elvis was on the same course and that Michael was on that course as well.
     
    The subtext of your question is really “Who are all of the enablers?”  All of those people who make it easy for the star or turn a blind eye or benefit during the life of the self-destructive artist or even benefit more on their demise – and that is part of the system.
     
    I don’t know what it takes to “stop the destruction of our entertainers” as you posted your question.  I really don’t.  But I don’t think it will stop.  I think it will go on.  It is both saddening and maddening.

  3. AnnieRUOK says:

    —and the puppet master comes out from the fog.

    Freddie … exactly who killed Michael ? Will anyone ever know? What would it take to stop the destruction of our entertainers.

  4. Freddie says:

    hey ken;………………….. thanx for your comments………. sorry if you learned from first hand experience about the underbelly of
    show biz …(which ain’t socko boffo whammo as promised by… Variety speak… ) 
    I’ve seen your TV shows….and you have a special gift of gab, sublimating yourself to the interviewee and not imposing your own charismatic personality. You are always so well prepared and so unpredictable in the angles you take to reveal the subject without embarassing them….
    thanx for being a sweetie fan………………..
    freddie g

  5. Ken says:

    I’m a “Sweetie Baby Cookie Honey” devotee, and honestly, one of the first thoughts I had when MJ passed was, “How horrible. But how great for his record label, creditors, managers, etc.” Terrible, but true. After reading your book several years ago I have become very aware of how slimy the entertainment biz can be and it’s unfortunately been proven once again. Excellent and insightful blog entry!

  6. Freddie says:

    ANSWER TO MR. LEVY
    IT’S PART OF A MORAL DECAY, SIR…… IT HAS INSINUATED ITSELF INTO OUR SOCIETY……. THE END…. VIZ: HAVING MONEY…. JUSTIFIES ALL…. NOT JUST greed is good gekko talk. BUT IN ALL ASPECTS OF OUT LIVES…….. LOBBYISTS, POLITICIANS, CORPORATE CULTURE….. IT IS, VIRAL, IN ALL SENSES OF THAT WORD….
    AND I AM ONLY POINTING OUT  THAT  THE ‘GLAM’ IS NOT VERY GLAMOROUS AT ALL IN SHOW BIZ, AND PARTICULARLY IN THE RECORDING INDUSTRY………..
    BUT YOU ARE CORRECT……… I HAVE NOT PRIORITIZED THE ORDER OR THE MAGNITUDE OF WHICH TERRIBLE SHOULD BE OR COULD BE ADDRESSED….. OUR CUPS RUNNETH OVER WITH CORRUPT  IMMORAL RATIONALES WORLD WIDE.             
    FREDDIE

  7. MORRIS LEVY says:

    WHY DOES ANY ONE STILL CARE ABOUT ROCK STARS WHO SELF DESTRUCT…..OR STARS OR ATHLETES WHO DO THE SAME……..
    THEY ARE ALL TRANSIENT ANYWAY…….THEY ARE ALL OVERCOMPENSATATED ANYWAY……..THEY GET TO BELIEVE THE CRAPOLA ON ENT TONITE AND TABLOIDS AND FEEL SELF IMPORTANT…
    HOW CAN YOU OR ANY ONE GIVE A HOOT ABOUT THE WORLD OR LINDSAY LOHANS PARIS HILTONS BRITANY BLAH BLAH IT JUST KEEPS GOING ON……..WHEN PEOPLE STARVE, GOVN’MNTS STEAL,CORP RAIDERS CORRUPT…WHERE’S YOUR PRIORITIES……………

  8. Freddie says:

    Dear Alan…  Your last name says it all.  You are the “best”… literally and figuratively!
     
    I don’t know which part of the blog and my comments produced in you a sense of pride, however… I’ll take what I can get!
     
    Thanks and much appreciation,
     
    Freddie G.

  9. alan says:

    reading your comments made me realize again, there is only one Freddy.
    I’m proud to know you!

  10. Freddie says:

    First example of actions taken in prognostication of sept…..26……………..
    MR.STU…………………….THE WORD  ‘NEW’   MAY BE THE MJ RELEASE…BUT NOT THE ‘SINGLE’ WHICH IS A DOCTORED DEMO……WRITTEN AND RECORDED…MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO……I BELIEVE…..AND THE ‘DISCOVERED’ RECORDING…A PUBLICITY STUNT…..WHERE THE DOCUMENTARY FILM CO AND SONY AND THE BROTHERS APPARENTLY ALL DECIDED TO PARTICIPATE BY CHANGING THE TITLE OF THE SONG TO SUIT THE CURRENT PURPOSE….AND THE BROTHERS FILLED IN THE FILLED OUT THE TRACKS,,,,,( SO I SUPPOS E THEY MAKE SOMETHING FOR THEIR WORK),,,,,AND SONY HAS A ‘NEW’ RELEASE……TO GO WITH THE PROMOTION SURROUNDING THE MJ FILM RELEASE………….BUT YA KNOW….
    I TOLD YOU SO……THEM VAULTS IS FILLED WITH MJ REJECTS…………….
    AH WELL………

    FREDDIE

  11. Freddie says:

    stu…………………. you are so right………… the industry will
dig deep to find ‘treasures’ for the public’s consumption….. which the artist, almost always, disgarded as not being suitable for release…… some aren’t even finished masters…….. many many more tracks were recorded by MJ for each album than were ultimately used….. (the so called editing room floor)……. label will claim ownership….. (they paid for the recording dates) … but in truth………….all those dates were charged against michael’s royalties…….. (the USA custom and usage of the recording business )………. but query whether MJ has ‘title’ to the masters or does label?    in europe ……. (italy, i believe) if royalties of artist are used to pay back record label that advanced costs of master…. artist has title to ownership and is proprietor of the intellectual property right of the memorialization of his or her performance captured in the mini time capsule we call the master……………..
    FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS……. THEY’RE ALL JUST GETTING STARTED………………………..

    FREDDIE  G

  12. Stu says:

    Hi Freddie G…. great article… dats showbiz… in all its craziness. The Michael Jackson brand will become an unstoppable gold mine now…. there is even a new MJ single…. i see a Maria Callas thing happening where they release every and anything they can find regardless of the quality…. hope you are well. Stu

    Stu

  13. Freddie says:

    i recall very few classmates(sorry)……but i do remember how much i loved that school…the ambience…..it was so classic ’50s….so innocent……& i loved being a ham…..and showing off at the piano……and dr. moskowitz the principal and mrs. kidd my ‘advisor’..and the chorus, the jazz band,,,,,,well………………an awful long time ago.,,,,,,,,,,,

    freddie

  14. Mary Ann Nutting Boucher says:

    You were a stand-out at BHS with your great piano playing. I also graduated in ’57.

  15. Freddie says:

    freddie is class of
    ’57 bayside high…yes indeed….

  16. Mary Ann Nutting Boucher says:

    Freddie – did you go to Bayside High School?

  17. Freddie says:

    there is no other choice…..Maria…
    is there?
    f

  18. Well written article, I totally agree with you.
    But this is the world that we have to deal with.
    Best wishes.
    Maria

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