The passing of Michael Jackson raises the question: was he a castrato counter tenor?

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.

8 Responses to "The passing of Michael Jackson raises the question: was he a castrato counter tenor?"

  1. griff  June 26, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    18 hours of continuous coverage? Did we invade another country or something?

    Interesting subject matter. I wouldn’t doubt it, but that’s about as much as I’d like to think about it, or him.

  2. almandine  June 27, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Why can’t you people leave this shit alone? What difference does it make? Isn’t all the MSM coverage enough? I disagree entirely that any of this wants discussion. Give it up and let the poor fellow RIP.

  3. fairyface5  June 29, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I’ve always wondered if he was a castrati. It would explain everything.

    Thanks for your article.

  4. wayne333  June 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Well, it appears that my intuitive percetpion was corect. Jackson was sterile, perhaps a castrato. According to an article in TMZ [http://www.tmz.com/2009/06/30/jackson-rowe-not-te-biological-parents/?icid=main|htmlws-main|dl1|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tmz.com%2F2009%2F06%2F30%2Fjackson-rowe-not-te-biological-parents%2F] neither Jackson nor Row were the biological parents of his “children.” Moreover, according to the same article, he never adopted them. This is all very strange and very sad. At the same time in his last televised interview he discussed his children at length and claimed he was the biological father of these children. Apparently, the shame of his secret castration was more than he could bear. As well it might me.

    This story gets interestinger and interestinger.

    Wayne

  5. walipat  July 24, 2009 at 8:56 am

    A child hears things.
    All I can say is I was in Indiana in 1976, I was the child of a visiting professor working in the area of Animal Biology and reproduction. I know what I overheard, which was a decision had been made to make him a castrato. I was only 11 years old and my dad explained it all to me, everything you are arguing. He said he would be a permanent pre-adolescent, that his voice would hardly change, but he would be OK and would continue with his pure talent. I wouldn’t make this stuff up because I was just a kid and I was only a fan in that I saved rats from the biology lab and loved them and loved the song “Ben” because I could relate to it. Apart from that I am not a fan except that I have watched MJ because of what my dad said.
    If he is a castrato, so what? It just makes sense, that’s all. The poor boy/man deserves to be understood. I don’t even see him as a victim, just as himself. I am not into conspiracy theories, I just carry the memory of a conversation that I overheard as a child which was explained to me in simple terms at the time. AND IT HAS MADE SENSE EVER SINCE.

  6. RichardKanePA  August 18, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Castration was in the dark ages. However, kids can be given hormones to delay puberty. Which gets iffy because if we had a vegan died without cows milk and meat laced with growth hormones, puberty would be around 16. So a strictly raised vegan child, or raised on an organic farm without any hormone laden meat or milk they would appear to be a freak after 12 until 16. A dread of growing up could have physically delayed Michael’s development as well.

    Michael was raised with the belief that he was important because he was a child and dreaded growing up. This if far more important than the usual discussion on who touched whom where at what age.

    Italy won’t allow children to be used in advertisements. Perhaps if Michael Jackson and Shirley Temple could have also played a few adult roles as children it might have helped.

    Children need some kind of shelter from the glaring light of publicity and perhaps to a certain extent adults as well.

    I am glad that touchy subjects are discussed and should be dealt with reasoned response, instead of censorship.

    RichardKanePA

  7. jonathon7500  October 18, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    uhm??? as a classical musician I had to get a login and comment on this…to suggest Micahel jackson was a castrato is ludicrous…wow… Ok firstly the voice did not have the characteristics of a prepubescent boy…there is a difference…look this up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv-S3uoeTXg Only recording of a castrato also bear in mind that he was in his mid 60’s. Secondly, the affect of castration on the prepubescent boy made the body grow awkwardly…Long gangly arms long legs and a huge barrel chest, allowing for support of long vocal phrases Further, the face became very round and childlike. GUys, I am a tenor, and now im classically trained but before I became trained I sang R and B music. Michael was one of my idols and I can still sing in his range and create some of those same sounds. Once a castrato aged a little they had the same type of weight gain that a female might experience…ie..fuller breasts and thicker hips… he was not a castrato and to pose the idea is fine but you should research more before starting a topic like this. If you have more questions feel free to email me a jonathon75athotmail.com

  8. janeil88  October 21, 2009 at 4:27 am

    NO, SAYS JACKSON’S AUTOPSY DETAILS: His testicles were very much intact & he was actively producing sperm. Let me be the one to speculate for once: this does most certainly help explain a lot of things to me…

    I, too, have heard this about Michael Jackson since he was just a child himself–i am three years his senior. With me at 53 now, that made him 9 years old when i first heard it at 12 years of age. I have enormous respect & genuine affection for MJ, & have had, since the first time i saw him perform. It has always distressed me tremendously that the innuendos became even more disparaging & derogatory as time passed.

    Are we so insensitive that we can not even begin to fathom–much less try to understand–how comments, rumors & putdowns of this nature could have affected Michael as a CHILD, or ANY child for that matter? Is it so difficult to grasp the reasons for why he seemed so driven to try & maintain the few vestiges of childhood that he WAS able to preserve?

    The way Michael Jackson was treated by the media & other users while he was alive–& since, in some cases–is a disgrace & has left me even more despondent over his passing. This also helps to further extinguish my belief in humanity & dashes my hopes for our collective ability to accept others fpr who they are…Judging others by imposing unrealistic & unattainable standards is not my idea of acceptance.

    Furthermore, our failure to AT LEAST allow this man freedom of expression without condemnation speaks volumes about us as human beings & about this culture of ours that prides itself on protecting the rights of others.

    JCross

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