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Saturday Letters : Ooooh, How 'Bad' Was It?

September 05, 1987

I caught a little movie on the tube Monday night--grainy black-and-white title shots promising gritty realism--with names that would wake up even the most somnambulistic movie fan: Quincy Jones and Martin Scorsese (no less)--with tracking shots of the hero returning to his squalid ghetto dump, being greeted by surly winos and gun-toting, crippled junkies ("Jackson's 'Bad' Video Not So Good," by Terry Atkinson, Sept. 2).

And who is our hero? Why, none other than that 29-year-old-but-still-in-high-school monument to cosmetic surgery, Michael Jackson.

Ooooh!

My 6-year-old daughter asked me, "Daddy, is that a boy or a girl?" She had me there. I was stumped.

Anyway, Michael's shady (but very clean-cut) companions take him to a subway tunnel so that he can prove his home-boy badness by mugging pensioners. Michael demurs, and thus incurs the wrath of his cronies who then angrily close in on him. We switch to color, and Michael, magically joined by about 25 transvestite carnival employees, switches to leathers.

Ooooh!!

Looking tough as tapioca, he sings endless unintelligible phrases ending with the word bad, and they all do interminable aerobic body-isolation movements that are supposed to pass for dancing, and when done simultaneously, voila! Choreography!

Is Michael trying to tell us that, if we get trapped by a vicious gang in a subway, we should challenge them to a dance contest? This is seriously bad advice, since they would gleefully give you a face-lift without the benefit of anesthesia.

Ooooh!

I have only two questions. Quincy, Martin, don't you guys have anything better to do with your time and considerable talents than to further the career of this pathetic, neurotic flyweight? What is a Michael Jackson anyway, and what makes it do the things it does?

Ooooh!

JAMES TERRY

Van Nuys

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