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Jackson and Boteach in New York in February, 2001.(Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Thank goodness the A.V. Club’s Nathan Rabin read Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s The Michael Jackson Tapes so we don’t have to, confirming the suspicion that the book, a combination of interviews with Jackson and the New Jersey-based rabbi’s own thoughts, is “the worst kind of posthumous cash-in from a rabbi who accomplishes the seemingly impossible feat of being creepier than Michael Jackson.” Boteach, who fancies himself ‘America’s Rabbi’—“the Semitic Billy Graham,” as Rabin puts it—strives to portray Jackson as a “normal” heterosexual male, but, according to Rabin, “the best Boteach can muster is an anecdote about Jackson asking him to set him up on a date with Katie Couric.” Ultimately, Rabin concludes that Boteach’s decision to publish the interviews (despite a falling-out with Jackson) is primarily an opportunity for the rabbi to showcase his own righteousness, as demonstrated by his assertion that he has “tried to educate my children to know always that no man but God is the real Thriller.”

The Michael Jackson Tapes by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach [A.V. Club]





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