June 29, 2009

The Meaning Of Michael

Interesting choice for the Newsweek cover after five days of Michael Jackson-inspired media saturation. After so many images evoking Jackson’s pain, the schism between his public and private life, and his twisted physical evolution, Newsweek wipes it all away with a visual “last word” embracing the tactic of regression.

With the recently redesigned magazine battling for survival and gripped by its own identity crisis, the cover — especially in the context of the headline — is the equivalent of comfort food.

Not only does the photo let us off the hook in confronting any complexity in regards to “the meaning of Michael,” the image — serving up what reads like a sensitive, untouched, all-knowing, black-is-beautiful old soul — offers a simple, soothing, innocent time-out from from things like the brutal recession; the health care crisis; the wars; global warming — in other words, just about everything else that is fractious, complicated and all-too-much-work to make real meaning out of these days.

(image: still looking. Michael Jackson Newsweek Cover July 13 2009)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


Comments Powered by Disqus