At Sightings, Kathryn Lofton seeks out Michael Jackson’s religious meaning by considering his self-presentation while alive, his recent memorialization, and the danceability of his pervasive songs:

On the subject of Michael Jackson and the specific machina of his religious meaning, one might consider the invocations of religion or religious meaning in his music (i.e., “Human Nature”), the role of religion in his biography (from Jehovah’s Witnesses to errant rabbis to flirtations with Islam), or the religion of his fans (all those screaming Japanese armies).  Such commentaries are unlikely to provide much interpretive heft.  Michael Jackson was not, in the end, a terribly thick subject for religious consideration: he dallied and discoed on the smooth tip of substance.  Someone named “God” did, as he testified, inspire nearly every lyric.  Pressed on the point, he mostly repeated himself, or offered vague dismissals of patriarchic doctrine.  His cited divinity offered verbal mortar for his explanatory limits.

What is most tugging to those questing for the religious Michael Jackson is not to be found in biography.  Rather, it is, always and forever, in the deus of those songs.

Read the rest of the piece here.