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I have been watching the intense coverage during the last 18 hours of Michael Jackson’s career offered in honor of his untimely passing. As I watch the images I am struck over and over again by how feminine his voice was, how feminine his face was–or what was left of it after so much knife work–even how lacking of male secondary sexual characteristics he seemed to be.
I am forced to remember the castratos of Italian opera whose amazing young voices were preserved by the now taboo procedure of castration producing the counter tenor voice of the castrati.
Listening to Jackson recount his unhappy childhood and the monstrous exploitation of his talent he endured at the hands of his father, I am frightened to wonder if he did not endure similar treatment to produce this amazing counter tenor voice that made him such a star.
Surely, had puberty done its thing, his voice would have dropped to the normal tenor range and his body would have shown the masculinity puberty produces in men. I could imagine that this voice was falsetto, the forced counter tenor voice of an intact male. But in all his interviews that amazing counter tenor voice remains and endures.
This would explain so much. Not only his amazing counter tenor voice and his feminine form, but also his difficulty in fathering children so that arcane maneuvers were required to produce three children. We still do not know where the third child came from, as I heard this morning.
It might also explain why he was unable to sustain marital relationships with his two wives, the second of which was seemingly bought and paid for as a surrogate mother.
It would be interesting to do paternity tests on the children to see if they were in fact his biological children or if they were gotten with borrowed semen. That would make a wild ride of the inheritance battles about to take place.
The androgyne that was Michael Jackson was a constructed persona even more than any celebrity has ever been constructed.
Even in the music videos where he struggles to exert his macho identity, there is a clear awkwardness and faux persona in evidence.
This would explain why he could so resolutely assert that there was no possibility of sexual contact between himself and the children he took to his bed. In the two interviews where he is pressed to defend this behavior there is an inexplicable persistence in his demand that he could never hurt a child and that he could never be a pedophile. And were he a castrato he might clearly be telling the truth.
And like the Peter Pan character he so loved, his refusal to grow up might be the result of a surgical intervention in the biological processes of maturation.
Such is the taboo and revulsion of this surgery that I doubt we will ever know the truth of this question, but it seems such a likely possibility it wants discussion. And as I am sure to catch hell for even raising this possibility, let me assure my fellow bloggers that I am in as much awe of his career and contributions to American Popular music as anyone could be. But there is this conjecture that fascinates me.