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Paranoia in the lyrics of Michael Jackson

...Even before the trouble and the allegations. When I was a childhood fan of Mr. Jackson's I was always taken by the inherent paranoia in his lyrics. Of course, I didn't really understand what it meant - what any of it meant - just that it sort of reflected my own problems in middle school and that all of my friends were African American girls. The music gave us something to talk about. I would twirl the jump rope for them while they did the Double Dutch.

The boys would make fun of me for doing that - they would say that I was a faggot and that Michael Jackson was too. But when I'd put his LP on the platter he'd tell me that they were all lying and I believed him because they were lying about me too. I wasn't a faggot - I liked several of the girls I used to Double Dutch with.

There was a girl named Tiffany that I really liked. She was quite thin and her face was long and she was like a cross between Jenny on the Jeffersons and Thelma on Good Times. She used to wear very tight jeans. Tiffany used to tell me anthropomorphous stories of eroticized automobiles - a full decade before I ever even heard of JG Ballard. We would sit in wood shop and tell each other these different things concerning our makes and models. She was a Cadillac and I was a Trans Am.

She was pretty good at the Double Dutch - better than any of the annoying white girls from my grade school but there was a very heavy set young girl named Monique was even better than Tiffany.

I would twirl one end of the jump rope, while Brant twirled the other end. The boys called him a faggot as well. He actually was gay, I think. I ran into him years later when I was in college and he was quite flamboyant, wearing makeup and such - like something out of Andy Warhol's Factory years.

All I ever understood was television and records.

goin' around tellin' you lies.
They don't know how hard I've tried. You know it takes the pressure for me to see. Reaching out To touch a stranger Electric eyes are everywhere See that girl She knows Im watching Someone's Always Tryin' To Start My Baby Cryin' Talkin', Squealin', Lyin' Sayin' You Just Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' Billie Jean Is Not My Lover She's Just A Girl Who Claims That I Am The One But The Kid Is Not My Son She Says I Am The One, But The Kid Is Not My Son They Say I'm Different They Don't Understand Tired of the schemes The lies are disgusting So what does it mean You Really Hurt, You Used To Take And Deceive Me So Just Leave Me Alone

And, I think, deep down - this was why I always wanted to believe Michael. He knew my pain when I was in middle school like no one else. I felt that I needed to return the favor. Anyway - he finally did get away from them all. All the tormentors in the United States - but maybe it's just like switching schools - we fall into the same habits and sooner or later the kids find out that what the others said was true:

They Say I'm Different They Don't Understand

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