links for 2009-06-29

  • "Even at the age of eight, I had begun to believe that I was a monster too. That there was something horrible inside me that would mean I needed to be shot with a silver bullet or decapitated. My feelings had to do with a lot of things: family dynamics, pressure to perform, to be different, to be good. The fact that I had to move through the world as a mixed-race child. My troubled gender, and the trouble it put me in with my father and others. I think I recognized MJ as someone who was trying to deal with mixed-up feelings about race and gender too, and feelings of monstrousness. Maybe it was just in that one video [Thriller], which was the title track of the best-selling album of all time, but it’s a crucial point in his story. In a smaller way, in mine too. In many people’s."
  • "Soccer has generally developed as the preferred sport for blacks here, while rugby is the No. 1 sport for whites. But during a Confederations Cup match between South Africa and Spain in Bloemfontein, the multiracial crowd might have been the most integrated in a South African stadium, said Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the World Cup organizing committee."
  • "I'm not attempting to excuse Michael Jackson's eccentricities – or his disturbing (and reportedly criminal) interactions with children – but explain that I felt I understood them. (As others have pointed out, the loss of – and search for – a childhood is what fueled Michael's metamorphosis and, now, much of the grief surrounding his untimely death.) I found him difficult to look at, and, eventually, listen to, not because he'd become a "freak" – a wholly unoriginal pejorative that has been long thrown around by more unsympathetic observers – but because he had turned himself into a canvas on which he painted his pain with the sort of haphazard brushstrokes specific to madmen and geniuses. I had to look away so as not to cry."