Michael Jackson’s queer funk
in Queering the Gothic
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This chapter argues that Michael Jackson's movement, his style as a dancer, repeatedly engages with issues of the temporal both in the stories his dances tell and in the choreographic gestures that embody those stories. Indeed, Jackson's dance in Thriller is a Gothic funk, in all senses of that word. When a rapping Vincent Price tells that the mis-en-scene is shrouded in 'the funk of forty thousand years', he encapsulates in a phrase Jackson's queer performance of time. It is difficult to imagine a less likely candidate for the critique of reproductive futurism than Ghosts, Michael Jackson's epic video responding to the first set of child-molestation charges and the public frenzy that ensued. The chapter also argues that the choreography of Thriller capitalises upon a parallel between the vertical and horizontal movement axes and the orientation toward spiritual or ghostly ethereality and grave-oriented, earthy embodiment.

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