“An American Dream Come True”: Transformation, Pursuit, and Control in Michael Jackson’s ‘Moonwalker’

When you first suggested we look at Moonwalker (which I literally knew nothing about at the time), I figured it would be a fairly anodyne collection of Michael Jackson music videos. Do you remember back when artists would release their last couple of albums’ music videos on a single, hour-long VHS? Those were great times. Moonwalker? Not great times…

Usborne’s ‘The KnowHow Book of Spycraft’, 1975

During the Cold War, a new archetypal establishment role joined the pantheon of soldiers, cowboys, and cops that often peopled children’s games: the spy. Equipped with false identities, given to using hidden surveillance devices, and communicating in strange codes, this newcomer was perfectly suited to the duplicitous, mistrustful mood that was the constant background noise of the times…