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Author Topic: Vanity Fair October 2012 & New Book UNTOUCHABLE  (Read 6724 times)

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Offline steadylaughin

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Re: Vanity Fair October 2012 & New Book UNTOUCHABLE
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2012, 04:42:32 AM »
well, trash is trash. nuff said - at least from me

i also had a major light bulb moment while i was away - i'm not buying any more Michael books.  weeeeeeeeeeeee!  they can all rot in book stores, for all i care.

Offline moonstreet

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Re: Vanity Fair October 2012 & New Book UNTOUCHABLE
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2012, 10:33:21 AM »
http://www.latimes.com/features/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-1114-michael-jackson-book-20121114,0,381332.story

'Untouchable' by Randall Sullivan touches nerve
By Chris Lee, Los Angeles Times
November 14, 2012, 6:15 a.m
.

Michael Jackson fans have been eagerly anticipating Randall Sullivan's "Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson," which went on sale Tuesday. It's the first deep-dive narrative by a veteran journalist covering the King of Pop's convoluted final years on earth. But then, too, the book's been getting a lot of bad press. In the last few weeks, various Jackson family members and celebrity sources have stepped forward to attack the author's claims in "Untouchable" with gusto.

Pop doyenne Janet Jackson vigorously disputes Sullivan's account of how, in 2009, she allegedly refused to allow her brother's remains be interred at Forest Lawn cemetery until his estate repaid her $40,000 in burial costs. Last month, Janet Jackson's lawyer blasted the reportage, excerpted in November's Vanity Fair, as "false and defamatory" and demanded a retraction from the magazine (Vanity Fair stands by the story).

In "Untouchable," Jackson's then-79-year-old mother Katherine Jackson is described calling her grandchildren's nanny after the performer's death with one goal in mind: collecting bundles of cash Michael is said to have stashed beneath his house's flooring — a claim Katherine Jackson's lawyer characterized as "simply ridiculous."

And Sullivan's description of a standoff between Mark Wahlberg and Michael Jackson over who got to charter a private jet out of New York in the frenzied days after 9/11 has been similarly refuted by "sources close to Wahlberg," who told TMZ the movie star maintained his own plane at the time.

Still, for Jackson completists and even those in less than total thrall to the erstwhile Earl of Whirl — people familiar with the performer's sad, untimely demise at age 50 from "acute propofol intoxication" — "Untouchable" is packed with minor revelations that help cast Jackson in a new light.

Chief among them: Sullivan's tries to forever overturn any notion of Jackson as a child molester. Explaining his odd penchant for the company of children, the book posits that Jackson was beyond asexual; he was "presexual." He died "a 50-year-old virgin," Sullivan writes, "never having had sexual intercourse with any man, woman or child, in a special state of loneliness that was a large part of what made him unique as an artist and so unhappy as a human being."

PHOTOS: Michael Jackson - A look back at the king of pop's style

The author deconstructs Jackson's surprise acquittal in his 2005 criminal trial in support of that thesis and frames Jackson's $15-million out-of-court settlement with Jordan Chandler, a boy who accused the singer of sexually molesting him, as an extortion case.

"Untouchable" also furthers the perception of the King of Pop as an aspiring movie mogul with fevered ambitions to run a studio and even portray cherished cultural icons onscreen. According to a former business partner the book quotes, in 2002 Jackson attempted to buy the comics company Marvel, with an eye toward mounting a film version of "Spider-Man" and portraying the webslinger himself.

And as recently as late 2008 and early 2009, the performer tried to nurture a long-gestating King Tut biopic into production. Jackson's former bodyguard claims he wanted Mel Gibson to direct the project; Jackson's former manager Dr. Tohme Tohme, meanwhile, insists Jackson would have enlisted "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson for the film.

While any number of newspaper and magazine reports have cataloged Michael Jackson's tremendous chemical appetite for powerful sedatives, "Untouchable" provides a comprehensive laundry list of the various opioids, narcotics and cosmetic treatments that framed the singer's existence in his final months. Among the prescription medicines under whose influence Jackson operated before his death in 2009 were: Valium, the pain killer Vicodin, the sedative midazolam, the narcolepsy drug modafinil (reputed to increase wakefulness in sleep-deprived people) and Demerol; but also flumazenil, the wrinkle remover Restylane, Botox, latanoprost and Latisse (to promote eyelash growth), a "mouth plumper" product called Nutritic Lips and the singer's beloved "milk" — the anesthetic propofol that triggered Jackson's death.

In spite of his prodigious pharmaceutical intake, two months before he passed away, the superstar had to submit to a medical examination by his comeback concerts' insurer Lloyd's of London. On a questionnaire he was asked: "Have you ever been treated for, or had any indication of excessive use of alcohol or drugs?" Jackson circled "no" and somehow passed the examination with flying colors. The rest is history.

Offline moonstreet

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Re: Vanity Fair October 2012 & New Book UNTOUCHABLE
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2012, 01:53:25 PM »
http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2012/12/bookmarks_angry_jackson_fans_a.html

Angry Jackson fans attack 'Untouchable'
 By Jeff Baker, The Oregonian
on December 01, 2012 at 6:00 AM, updated December 01, 2012 at 4:03 PM


Randall Sullivan's book on Michael Jackson got off to a sensational start. An excerpt in the November issue of Vanity Fair had startling new information about bad behavior by Janet Jackson and led to appearances by Sullivan on several ABC shows: "Nightline," "Good Morning America" and "Katie." Amazon named "Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson" one of its best books of the month for November, and it looked like a sure best-seller for the Portland author.

Three weeks later, "Untouchable" is unavailable in book form on Amazon (the Kindle edition is still available), and Sullivan doesn't think he can do a bookstore appearance outside Portland because of security concerns. "Untouchable" has gone from surefire hit to the subject of a boycott campaign by angry Jackson fans. What happened?

The short answer is Amazon posted a note saying "Item Under Review" on the "Untouchable" page. "While this item is available from other marketplace sellers on this page, it is not currently offered by Amazon.com because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item, the way we are shipping it, or the way it's described here ... We're working to fix the problem as quickly as possible."

Sullivan says he's been told that's the automatic response when more than one customer complains that a book has been delivered in unacceptable condition, such as being damaged. His publisher, Grove Press, says Amazon informed them one copy was torn and another was returned twice. Grove is trying to get "Untouchable" back online "in the middle of the biggest shopping season of the year, but it's hard to push against a big machine," says Deb Seager, the director of publicity at Grove/Atlantic.

Amazon did not return messages seeking comment.

Whether damaged copies of "Untouchable" were shipped from Amazon's warehouse or were mangled in transit is unknown. What is clear is there is an organized campaign against the book. A Facebook page called "Michael Jackson's Rapid Response Team to Media Attacks" has been encouraging fans to post negative reviews on Amazon, whether they've read it or not, and they've responded with gusto. "Untouchable" had 95 (of 115) one-star reviews as of Nov. 28, and many used the same phrases and language and were written by people who said they hadn't read it. "Tabloid," "slanderous," "trash" and "lies" were repeated in review after review.

What's more revealing for those who are suspicious about the claim of damaged books was a post on the Facebook page on Monday: "MJ fans we have done it again!!! Who's BAD!!!" The post then linked to the Amazon notice about "Item Under Review." One of the five comments was "LOL we don't want to get in trouble though, hopefully this won't ..." Another implored "a few more people to give this book 1 star and a bad review? Thank you so much for your hard work."

So who's behind the campaign against "Untouchable," and what are their motives?

The people attacking the book are Jackson fans who are unhappy because Sullivan, in his book and in interviews, says he is not 100 percent sure Jackson never molested children. "I can't. There is a shadow of doubt," Sullivan said on "Nightline."

To Jackson fans, any suggestion that their idol was a pedophile is anathema. Jackson slept in the same bed as underage children for years at his "Neverland" ranch and reportedly paid $20 million in 1993 to settle a civil lawsuit. He was acquitted on all charges in a 2005 trial. Jackson died in 2009.

Sullivan's book is a sympathetic portrait of Jackson as a supremely talented, intelligent man who was physically abused by his father as a child and manipulated by his family into supporting them by touring and giving them money. Sullivan, a longtime contributing editor to Rolling Stone and the author of a book about the deaths of rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, says he was not particularly interested in Jackson or his music before agreeing to do a piece for Rolling Stone after the singer's death.

"Then when I got into it I found I was a lot more fascinated by Michael Jackson than I thought I was," Sullivan says, "because of the complexity of his character, and I saw the tragic dimensions. It was clear fairly early on that the evidence of him being a pedophile wasn't nearly as convincing as I thought it was."

Tom Mesereau, the attorney who represented Jackson in the 2005 criminal trial, was a major source for Sullivan and strongly defends the book. This presents a dilemma for Jackson's fans, who revere Mesereau as a hero for his work on Jackson's behalf. Mesereau has written letters to Jackson fan groups supporting Sullivan's book and gone online with an accusation that "Powerful people who are criticized in this book are attempting to manipulate the Michael Jackson fan base into not reading it."

There were plenty of unscrupulous people surrounding Jackson during his lifetime, starting with his family and extending to financial, legal and creative advisers. Many of these same people, and many others, have been involved in contentious disputes about his will and the disposition of his estate. Sullivan did extensive reporting on the tangled state of affairs that has prevailed since Jackson's death and dug into issues that have been largely ignored over the last three years. The question of whether Sullivan thinks Jackson was a pedophile -- he doesn't, but he's not absolutely certain -- seems less important than whether he wrote a full and accurate biography of one of the most famous entertainers in American history.

Would he do it again?

"I don't know," Sullivan says after a long pause. "It's a tough call. I do feel Michael deserved to be vindicated, and somebody needed to do it. Right now I'm sort of staggering and listing from the ferocity of these attacks. It's been insane."

Offline moonstreet

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Re: Vanity Fair October 2012 & New Book UNTOUCHABLE
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2013, 02:29:26 PM »
Swarming a Book Online By DAVID STREITFELD
Published: January 20, 2013


Reviews on Amazon are becoming attack weapons, intended to sink new books as soon as they are published.
In the biggest, most overt and most successful of these campaigns, a group of Michael Jackson fans used Facebook and Twitter to solicit negative reviews of a new biography of the singer. They bombarded Amazon with dozens of one-star takedowns, succeeded in getting several favorable notices erased and even took credit for Amazon’s briefly removing the book from sale.

“Books used to die by being ignored, but now they can be killed — and perhaps unjustly killed,” said Trevor Pinch, a Cornell sociologist who has studied Amazon reviews. “In theory, a very good book could be killed by a group of people for malicious reasons.”

In “Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson,” Randall Sullivan writes that Jackson’s overuse of plastic surgery reduced his nose to little more than a pair of nostrils and that he died a virgin despite being married twice. These points in particular seem to infuriate the fans.

Outside Amazon, the book had a mixed reception; in The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani called it “thoroughly dispensable.” So it is difficult to pinpoint how effective the campaign was. Still, the book has been a resounding failure in the marketplace.

The fans, who call themselves Michael Jackson’s Rapid Response Team to Media Attacks, say they are exercising their free speech rights to protest a book they feel is exploitative and inaccurate. “Sullivan does everything he can to dehumanize, dismantle and destroy, against all objective fact,” a spokesman for the group said.

But the book’s publisher, Grove Press, said the Amazon review system was being abused in an organized campaign. “We’re very reluctant to interfere with the free flow of discourse, but there should be transparency about people’s motivations,” said Morgan Entrekin, president of Grove/Atlantic, Grove’s parent company.

Amazon said the fans’ reviews had not violated its guidelines but declined further comment.

The retailer, like other sites that depend on customer reviews, has been faced with the problem of so-called sock puppets, those people secretly commissioned by an author to produce favorable notices. In recent months, Amazon has made efforts to remove reviews by those it deemed too close to the author, especially relatives.

The issue of attack reviews, though, has received little attention. The historian Orlando Figes was revealed in 2010 to be using Amazon to anonymously vilify his rivals and secretly praise himself. The crime writer R. J. Ellory was exposed for doing the same thing last fall.

Attack reviews are hard to police. It is difficult, if not impossible, to detect the difference between an authentic critical review and an author malevolently trying to bring down a colleague, or organized assaults by fans. Amazon’s extensive rules on reviewing offer little guidance on what is permissible in negative reviews and what is not.

With “Untouchable,” Grove had hopes for a modest best seller. The book was excerpted in Vanity Fair, and Mr. Sullivan, a longtime contributor to Rolling Stone who lives in Portland, Ore., promoted it on “Nightline” and “Good Morning America.” Amazon selected it as one of the best books of November, encouraging readers to “check out this train wreck of a life.” The retailer also selected it as one of the 100 best e-books of the year.

None of that helped when Mr. Sullivan tried to complain, saying reviews of his book were factually false yet being voted up by the fans so that they dominated the page for “Untouchable.” The bookseller replied with boilerplate. “Rest assured, we’ll read each of the reviews and remove any that violate our guidelines,” adding, “We’ve appreciated your business and hope to have the opportunity to serve you again in the future.”

In an interview, Mr. Sullivan asked: “Should people be allowed to make flagrantly false comments about the content of a book or its author? This is suppression of free speech in the name of free speech.”

“Untouchable” is 586 pages of text, with 200 pages of notes. Much of it focuses on Jackson’s chaotic last years, including his efforts at comebacks, his struggles to remain solvent, his shocking death in 2009 and the battle over his estate.

It is a largely sympathetic portrait. For instance, Mr. Sullivan seeks to refute the popular notion that the singer had troubling relationships with young boys. Jackson was found not guilty of child-molesting in a criminal trial in 2005.

Yet even before the book was officially published on Nov. 13, the rapid response team declared, “It’s time for action!”

Within two weeks, the book had nearly 100 anonymous one-star reviews that included such comments as: “A disgrace and a disgusting insult to the greatest artist and entertainer the world has ever known.” “There is not one actual fact in this book.” “Sullivan seeks to criticize Michael’s spending habits? It’s none of his business what Michael spent his money on.” “Michael Jackson has dedicated his entire life to helping others. He doesn’t deserve this.” “The audacity to term Michael Jackson’s life a ‘train wreck’ is nothing less than evil and uneducated.”

For several days in late November, Amazon stopped selling physical copies of the book after buyers said copies were defective, in a development first reported by The Portland Oregonian. Mr. Entrekin said Amazon was the only sales outlet that had received such complaints.

The fans took the credit for removing the book from sale. “Book stopped selling,” one of them noted in a Nov. 26 post on the Facebook page. “MJ fans we have done it again!!! Who’s BAD!!!”

About that time, other readers started leaving positive reviews of the book and criticizing the negative reviews, turning the review forum into a full-scale brawl. The fans labeled these reviewers “haters,” saying: “Do not fight with the haters but we need you to focus on the book and leave negative reviews of the book. Rate it with one star. We do not want the book rating to go up.”

It also encouraged the fans to report “the MJ hating trolls” to Amazon for making “inappropriate and personal” attacks against those who left negative reviews.

Tom Mesereau, the Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who became a hero among Jackson fans when he successfully represented the singer in his molesting case, was a major source for Mr. Sullivan. In early December, he made a YouTube video calling the attacks on “Untouchable” a “disgusting, sophisticated, Hollywood-style P.R. campaign.”

In reality, the campaign is being run a long way from Hollywood. An administrator for the rapid response team, who identified himself as Steve Pollard, said five people run the Facebook site and Twitter efforts, only three of them in the United States. Going after “Untouchable” was “a moral responsibility,” said Mr. Pollard, a 52-year-old resident of Detroit. He explained, “If you were to drive by a graveyard and see someone steal a corpse in order to make a profit, you would feel some responsibility to do something.”

He said that the response team did not tell fans what to say in their Amazon reviews and that they did not try to have the book removed, despite messages to the contrary on the Facebook page. But he added in an e-mail that some of the favorable reviews of “Untouchable” “were removed (I think) because they were attacks against fans and not reviews of his book. We reported the attacks of course.”

Mr. Pinch, the Cornell researcher, said he got the sense that “Amazon is hoping that all these problems with positive and negative reviews will go away.” He added: “But as more and more abuses come to light, the overall effect will be a slow undermining of the process. There are so many ways to game the system.”

Grove distributed 16,000 copies of “Untouchable.” Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales in most outlets, counted only 3,000 copies sold. For a time this month, “Untouchable” was being outsold on Amazon by a book on Jackson’s body language, “Behind the Mask.”

That book, published by the author, had something going for it that “Untouchable” did not: the endorsement of the fans. “Michael Jackson would be pleased that such an objective book was written about him,” one reviewer wrote on Amazon.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/21/business/a-casualty-on-the-battlefield-of-amazons-partisan-book-reviews.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Offline moonstreet

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Re: Vanity Fair October 2012 & New Book UNTOUCHABLE
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2013, 03:11:40 PM »
Michael Jackson's 'sock puppets' should look at the man in the mirror
By Felicity Capon10:48AM GMT 23 Jan 2013


Anyone who dares publish a book deemed to offend Michael Jackson should be warned. A group of his diehard fans, describing themselves as "Michael Jackson’s Rapid Response Team to Media Attacks", are taking credit for the fact that Randall Sullivan’s new biography, Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson, has become a “resounding failure in the marketplace”, according to the New York Times.

Michael’s minions took to Twitter and Facebook declaring a “time for action!” Their mission statement is “defending the king and promoting his legacy”. They take this responsibility very seriously.

Sullivan's Amazon page quickly came under attack from the King’s men: Untouchable received more than 100 anonymous one-star reviews with fans leaving angry comments such as “It’s sensationalism, lies, and simply disrespectful. Let the KING rest in peace Mr Sullivan.” Fans are particularly outraged by claims made about the pop sensation’s virginity and use of plastic surgery.

The group also took responsibility for temporarily halting sales, after Amazon received reports that the book was physically defective.
But it might be that fans' blistering reviews are actually keeping sales going; after all, there's no such thing as bad publicity. One Amazon user commented: “I have not read it, but this recent negative campaign of naysayers makes me think they want to hide something. I am now going to order it and decide for myself”.

The “sock puppets” of cyberspace (the online users who review a work either negatively or positively in order to promote their own agenda) are, in fact, injuring their own cause and advertising the value of the professional critic. The New York Times’s Michiko Kakutani described the book as “dreary”, “bloated” and “thoroughly dispensable” in a takedown less tainted by vested interests. Maybe her opinion is what is driving down sales.

Notable recent “sock puppets” include the crime novelist RJ Ellory who used various pseudonyms to praise his own novels: he described his own A Quiet Belief in Angels as a “modern masterpiece”. In 2010, the historian Orlando Figes apologised when it became apparent he had praised his own work annonymously on Amazon, while describing a work by fellow historian Rachel Polonksy as “the sort of book that makes you wonder why it was ever published.”

Professional book critics are often criticised for being too friendly with the people they're reviewing. But at least they use their own names.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/9818535/Michael-Jacksons-sock-puppets-should-look-at-the-man-in-the-mirror.html