Heretic TOC yesterday meant to cover a further aspect of “Three reasons to be cheerful” but ran out of time and space. Well, I say ran out of space: I suppose a blog page can stretch to infinity but I doubt the same can be said for readers’ patience.
I had wanted to elaborate on one of the sources used by Jon Henley in his Guardian article. He refers to J Michael Bailey of Northwestern University: “…writing last year in the peer-reviewed Archives of Sexual Behaviour, Bailey said…he was forced to recognise that ‘persuasive evidence for the harmfulness of paedophilic relationships does not yet exist’.”
What Henley did not reveal is that Bailey’s article in the Archives was a review of my book Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons. I hope fellow heretics will read his full review, but here is a brief taster:
…fascinating, challenging and discomfiting. Anyone wanting to understand Michael Jackson will need to read it. The idea that pedophilic relationships can be harmless or even beneficial to children is disturbing to many people, including me. The lack of scientific evidence supporting my largely visceral reactions against pedophilic relationships has been one of the most surprising discoveries of my hopefully ongoing scientific education…O’Carroll argues against my intuitions and he argues well. J Michael Bailey, professor of psychology, Northwestern University, Chicago
I trust I will be forgiven for plugging Bailey’s recommendation, especially once you hear about an extraordinary campaign two years ago to have the book suppressed. I had written Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons under the pen name Carl Toms, but angry Jackson fans discovered my identity and outed me online as a “convicted paedophile” soon after the book had been printed and just weeks ahead of its planned June 2010 publication. Until that disaster it had been tipped by Amazon in pre-launch publicity as a likely best-seller. Publishers Troubador had been aware of my real identity all along but panicked and disowned the title in the face of Jackson loyalists who hated my portrayal of their idol. This was because Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons defended Jackson as an active boy-lover rather than as a child-like “innocent”.
The upshot was that the only way I could get the book to market was to assume the role of publisher and distributor myself, and I started a company, Dangerous Books Ltd, for this purpose. All this necessitated legal action to secure the publishing rights and a heavy personal financial investment. That is one reason why the book cannot be offered at a low price if I am ever to break even. Another is that it is a 624-page doorstopper, which was expensive to print.
A year after the abortive launch, in May 2011, I was able to announce a re-launch via a press release headed “Sabotaged ‘work of genius’ to be relaunched”. The “work of genius” bit is not my hype, by the way: it is what historian Prof. William Percy, of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, actually said. It’s way over the top, of course. Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons is just an analytical biography, not Einstein’s theory of relativity. I was grateful for Percy’s enthusiasm, though, and the re-launch worked well enough to attract interest from The Sunday Times: their features editor said they were thinking of running an extract in the magazine section, although that interest evaporated just as soon as they realized my angle was pro-BL as well as pro-Jackson!
All in all, Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons has managed to attract many excellent reviews and notices, but they have all been confined so far to obscure academic journals hidden behind pay walls and other places that are not exactly like an interview with Oprah Winfrey in terms of mass exposure. So I urge all you heretics here to ponder at least a few of the reviews and consider whether this is a book for you. One thing is for sure: love him or loathe him, Jackson was one of the most colourful, fascinating and enigmatic figures ever to perform in public, so making the book an interesting read was the easiest of my tasks. Making it original, insightful and truly illuminating took years of research and hard work, but there is no shortage of critics who say I have succeeded.
Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons is available at amazon.com (recommended supplier: MindGlow Media) amazon.co.uk (recommended supplier: SafeSend) and Dangerous Books.