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Prose on the Nose

A literary roundup of the mug-shot mediathon.

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Like Helen of Troy (well, if she’d had a lot of work done), Michael Jackson’s photograph brought out the lit major in journalists. Here are some of their more creative efforts on the face that launched a thousand shrieks.

“ . . . the Sad Clown, the hallucinatory hologram that seems to borrow in equal measure from Diana Ross, Liza Minnelli, Joan Crawford, the Joker . . . ” —David Montgomery, the Washington Post

“ . . . resembles ever more the character played by Helena Bonham Carter . . . in Planet of the Apes. And appears about as human.” —Jim White, London’s Daily Telegraph

“His deathly pallor and misarranged features are a cubist portrait of existential dismay.” —Tina Brown, the Washington Post

“ . . . his face a pastier white than Norma Desmond’s in Sunset Boulevard but with that same freaked-out ‘I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille’ look on it.” —Tom Shales, Television Week

“ . . . the maquillage of a geisha . . . and an expression that seems to say, ‘Please, when you're finished, may I have my gummy bears back?’ ” —Ginia Bellafante, the New York Times

“ . . . uncannily echoing the pleading eyes and near grimacing mouth of that other alleged child abuser, Joan Crawford?” —Michael Musto, the Village Voice


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