Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Psychoanalytic/Deconstruction Analysis of "Man in the Mirror"

Considering the tenets of both psychoanalytic and deconstruction analysis (Hall 105-11, 164-9), we must preface this blog post about "Man in the Mirror" with the following statement: The analysis in this post is not the end-all-be-all take on the Michael Jackson "Man in the Mirror" video and, thus, is open to criticism and/or expansion. Furthermore, it is difficult to discern the exact origin of the video in question, not only because there is no location/origin listed, but also because, even if there was a location/origin in the video's description, the source of the video is an individual (age 16) rather than an official Michael Jackson sponsor/producer/etc. and, thus, should not be entirely trusted. As it stands, there is no location/origin listed, so a question comes to mind: Is this video that we can watch on YouTube an official video (created by an affiliate of Michael Jackson's) that has been specifically edited/shaped for Jackson's purpose (his own meaning of the video/song), or did this 16-year-old Italian kid create the video from a collection of clips? The answer to this question is important because, if the former is true, the video can easily yet—paradoxically—complicatedly be interpreted from the viewpoint of Jackson's own psyche/ideas.

With all that said, we can really begin. Assuming that the video is official, Jackson-approved, we can begin to look deep into the meaning of the song as Jackson and his affiliates intended it. The concert in the video is interspersed between clips from other concerts that took place in the day time, but more importantly, there are also clips/pictures of famous people who have made a difference in the world—people like Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, and so on. These people illustrate the main point of the song itself: We should make a change/difference in the world, because things have gotten out of hand, and to do this, we have to start with ourselves. The people in the video have made changes not only for themselves but for the good of the entire world. The emotion with which Jackson sings the song reveals that it is incredibly important to him and, thus, probably springs from something that has happened in Jackson's own life, perhaps a childhood trauma (especially considering the words/phrases "victim," "alone," and "deeply scarred"), though we cannot say this for certain without finding proof (which would lead us to a more biographically- and/or historically-geared analysis). The reactions of the audience members (e.g., screaming, passing out, etc.) connote a sense of empathy/sympathy, as these people seem to identify either with the message of the song or with Jackson himself; this implies a deep emotional connection to the morals of the song and/or to Jackson himself, as many or most of these audience members act like they know Jackson intimately and, furthermore, adore his performance ability and style. Thus, the song and the video combine to create an emotionally-charged entity that is ripe for psychoanalytical analysis. As such, we could continue, but due to the space and time constraints of the assigned one- to two-paragraph blog post, we will stop here. As stated before, criticism and expansion are welcomed and encouraged.

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