Michael Jackson & Charlie Chaplin

At a very young age, Michael Jackson was a great admirer of Charlie Chaplin. In 1967, at the age of nine he drew this magnificient sketch of the actor, way before he realized that Chaplin had a philosophy very much like his own.

 Chaplin, considered a genius by many,  was one of the first to realize that he could use the power of a movie to educate as well as entertain whilst weaving in a moral lesson, regarding human dignity and justice.  In his early movie years, Chaplin used the art of pantomime instead of words, to get his humanistic message across, but later incorported spoken word into his art.  Michael followed Chaplin’s lead by using his own genius and God given talent, to educate and bring about a change in the world by highlighting injustices too.

Below is a speech from the movie “The Great Dictator” filmed in 1940 during the reign of Adolph Hitler.  The movie is a parody whereby, a dictator named Adenoid Hynkel has a “twin” who is actually a poor, kind Jewish barber living in the slums, who is one day mistaken for Hynkel.   The final speech is an emotionally enthralling and filled with ideals that most people across the globe can appreciate.  It encompasses much of the tenets that Michael Jackson espoused his whole life and the messages that are found in many of his songs.  There is no wonder that Michael Jackson felt a deep affinity for Charlie Chaplin, had a tendency toward military costumes and called his fans, his Army of Love.

The Great Dictator’s Speech

Transcript:

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an Emperor, that’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, Black Man, White. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness not by each others misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another.

In this world, there is room for everyone and this good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose stepped us into misery and blood shed, we have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in.

Machinery that gives us abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind, we think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities life will be violent and all will be lost.

The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children. Victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say do not despair, the misery that is now upon us is but a passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress.

The hate of men will pass and dictators will die and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die liberty will never perish. Soldiers don’t give yourself to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and how to feel. Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men. Machine men with machine minds and machine hearts.

You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men, you have the love of humanity in your hearts, you don’t hate, only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty. In the seventeenth chapter of the Luke it is written “The kingdom of God is within man”: not one man nor in a group of men but in all men, in you, you the people have the power. The power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then in the name of democracy let us use that power, let us all unite, let us fight for a new world, a decent world, that will give man a chance to work, that will give youth the future of an old age and security. By the promise of these things brutes have risen to power but they lie, they do not fulfill that promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise, let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world of science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers in the name of democracy, let us ALL UNITE!

Please read our previous post that further explains the influence that Chaplin had on Michael Jackson.

Sources:

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/30099234?uid=3739560&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=56197745763

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032553/

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2 Responses to Michael Jackson & Charlie Chaplin

  1. Pingback: 5. Off the Wall | Joseph Vogel: Ember a zenében

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