An article was published six months ago about whether Michael Jackson could have created Twitter or not, and it's bothered me ever since. I'm going to briefly summarize what the author, Scott Barry Kaufman PhD, stated and then give my rebuttal.
Kaufman's article is rather long and intricate, but boils down to the premise that a person must possess three certain characteristics of creativity to cross from one area of expertise to another. In this case, although Kaufman lauds Jackson as an entertainer/musician/artist, once again we see an attempt to confine Michael's range of creativity due to insufficient research.
Kaufman's criteria for creativity is as follows:
1. Domains: "Michael excelled in pop. He was the king of pop. Could he have done as well as a rapper, or a country music artist, or composing classical music? Probably not as well."
Michael was clearly interested in classical music. This article states all of the classical pieces that Jackson used in his shows over the years. Most commonly used was O Fortuna, from Carmina Burana. Youtube video is here. Originally used in Jackson's Bad tour, O Fortuna was "then used as the main introduction to the Dangerous tour in 1992, to literally whip the audience into a frenzy. It was one of the best openings to tour ever."
Author of Man in the Music, Joe Vogel, writes that "classical influence permeate(d) Jackson's work, at times even literally attached as preludes to his own compositions." In fact, Jackson was planning to record his own classical compositions before he died, as published in this article shortly after Michael died.
What about rap? One only has to listen to Jackson's unbelievable beatboxing skills to know the answer to that.
How about the transition to rock? Again, listen to Dirty Diana, Give In To Me or Another Day and one realizes that Michael crossed over into the rock genre many times in his lifetime, and did so successfully. So for Kaufman to state that Jackson would not have transitioned well into another genre of music is false, because he already had crossed the line from pop to rock, and may have done the same with classical music.
Kaufman states that Jackson's "particular, unique constellation of abilities seemed perfectly suited to his specific domain of music."
The author seems to either intentionally ignored or failed to research thoroughly other aspects of interests to Michael Jackson. What about his ability to draw and paint?
According to Julien's Auctions, Michael drew this picture of a boy in overalls (above) when he was nine years old.
This is a painting Michael did of his childhood idol, Charlie Chaplin.
What about Michael Jackson's patent on the shoes created for the Smooth Criminal lean?
Jackson, Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins invented the shoe which allowed for Michael to perform the "lean" in Smooth Criminal without the aid of cables, for live shows. This invention of Jackson's most certainly does not fall under the creative category of music, but more likely under dance or invention.
How about Michael's Dome Project and his interest in 3D technology?
In this article, a person who was at the rehearsals for This Is It and the Dome Project states that both Thriller and Earth Song were shot in 3D to create a new look to the older songs. "The complete remake of (these) hit song(s) was a VERY big deal, and the new technology adapted for (them) added a whole new fresh look for the performance than what fans had seen in the past. The content added a scary yet humorous approach just like the classic short film shot did that put Jackson on the map as a solo act." In this article, the same author states that Jackson was just as interested in lighting and choreography as he was in music, and that "that is what made Jackson the greatest entertainer that ever lived. He simply got the entire package of entertainment from music to lighting to choreography and set design like no one else."
2. Microdomains: Kaufman asks if "... Jackson (could) have been a brilliant ballerina? I think it's highly unlikely that he could have made such a splash in the world of ballet. His specific dancing abilities are so well suited to the larger domain of pop/R&B that it's impressive."
In both the domain and microdomain theory, author Kaufman has restricted Jackson's musical and dancing abilities to the genre of pop. However, most fans know that Michael studied and studied the Moonwalk from Soul Train dancer and Shalamar group member Jeffrey Daniels. We have heard countless stories of Michael studying a dance, and practicing countless hours to perfect it. So if Jackson had wanted to become a ballet dancer, it is entirely possible he could have, and been successful at it.
Lastly, author Kaufman states that in microdomains, there is either vertical or horizontal movement in order to be successful. Vertical axis' have more constraints and are harder to be successful at, horizontal axis' are broader and easier to maneuver through in order to be successful. Kaufman states, "So could Michael Jackson have created Twitter? I don't think so. He was so innovative within his general thematic area (music), domain (pop/R&B), and microdomain (the "Michael Jackson" brand of pop/R&B), because of his unique constellation of talents and traits."
And yet, there is NO mention of Jackson's ability to draw and paint, his inventions/patent, his interest in 3D technology, lighting, choreography and other things I haven't mentioned. The diversity that Jackson displayed in his lifetime are not horizontal but vertical. You see, the trend now is for highly educated people to write about Michael Jackson, predicting and psychoanalyzing him, without even having scratched the surface of his personality. In everything he did, Michael Jackson was on the forefront of cutting edge technology. So, it's my personal opinion that Michael Jackson could have and would have created Twitter. And again, it doesn't take a PhD to figure that out.
Michael Jackson (3) Sunrise Colony (2) Sycamore Valley Ranch (2) William Bone (2) Al Malnik (1) Arnold Klein (1) Bruce Ayers (1) Charles Koppelman (1) Colony Capital (1) Conrad Murray (1) Dieter Wiesner (1) Eliza Jackson (1) Evan Chandler (1) John Branca (1) Jordan Chandler (1) Kingdom Entertainment (1) Los Olivos (1) MJJ Kingdom (1) Mark Schaffel (1) Modern Records (1) Neverland (1) Peter Lopez (1) Pine Grove Hospital (1) Randy Jackson (1) Randy and the Gypsys (1) Raymone Bain (1) Red Rock Country Club (1) Steveanna Jackson (1) Taunya Zilkie (1) Thomas Barrack (1) Tom Barrack (1)