As to be expected, the media frenzy has descended on the bones of Michael Jackson almost faster than the vampires who were feeding on his lifeblood for years and years - in fact, the majority of the man's sad, lonely life. And it all makes me incredibly sickened and sad. Sad not because I knew him or because he was a personal friend of mine, but sad for a number of reasons that I think get passed over by many people now caught up in the rush of jokes and cynicism.
He reportedly weighed 112 lbs. at the time of his death, had a mostly bald head with occasional patches of peach fuzz, and was riddled with needle marks all over his emaciated body - there are other reports contradicting this. He allegedly had needle marks on his back and shoulders. He looked freakish and waxen on a good day, behaved oddly and was in many ways completely naive, but imagine what he must have looked like on that cold steel table if the above assessment is true - this man who was a magician, an innovator, a true artist, and the source of joy for hundreds of millions of people the world over. All that he accomplished in this life, and he ended up on the slab as a skeletal 112 lb., pock marked punchline of a thousand jokes all at his expense and with a father that was on CNN hocking his new business venture excitedly before what scarcely remained of his son and primary cash cow was even in the ground. If you ever needed a reason to believe that man was abusive and heartless, there's that one for you - it's pretty epic.
I did not love Michael Jackson and neither did you. I didn't know him and that is why. What we loved, at least for a time, was the infectious music he crafted so carefully - the videos he made that were on par with the best cinematic short films, and the way he could shake, strut, spin, and glide. I find it hard to imagine anyone who ever saw his performance on stage at Motown 25 when he first laid the moonwalk on us who didn't secretly wish they could do that, or any number of the wonderful, amazing things he could do that were exclusive to him.
What some of us loved was that he was always his idea of what he should be, however odd or outrageous, he made no apology for it, and he was that person in the face of those who hated him for it.
Then there were those extensions of his father who saw something they wanted from him and decided that just because they wanted it that they should have it - and they lied, schemed, and sold their own children into shame to get it from him, no matter the cost. People with -0- credibility who were more than willing to use his celebrity freak status and naivete to rip him to shreds in the court of law and the court of public opinion - for cash, not justice. I don't believe those people were ever telling the truth for the same reason I believe OJ Simpson is guilty of double murder - because if it were me and I knew I wasn't guilty, I'd be screaming morning, night, and noon that you can say whatever you want about me, somebody is out there getting away with murder and it ain't me.
I cannot say I believe that Michael Jackson was a pedophile. Incredibly naive, absolutely. Inappropriate, yes to that too. But that's a far cry from being a pedophile, which is about the worst thing I can think of being. Being a victim of child sexual abuse from a pedophile myself, I'm very reluctant to slap that label on someone unless I'm absolutely certain it fits, and we will never know the truth about what happened or did not happen between him and his accusers - what we do know is that he was twice acquitted in a court of law that absolutely eviscerated him and contributed more to his downfall than anything else. If he was ever inappropriate with those kids, I have to wonder if he knew that it was inappropriate. Be him for a day, live the insane life he lived, with little to no social skills, few people who you can trust and constantly surrounded by people pressuring you to be something just for them, rich beyond imagination, and more miserable than an entire stadium of miserable people. I know I would be to have that pathetic man for a father whoring me out before I ever even lost my first tooth, imagine if that were your barometer for how to live - they love you when you throw money at them - you're good enough as long as you're exactly what they want you to be.
I'm sad because three children who have barely ever had any opportunity for a normal life are now effectively orphaned by choice and circumstance after the demise of the only parent they've ever known. That diminishes me as a human being just as much as I'm diminished by all the pain this man endured over a lifetime until he couldn't take any more and simply gave out.
So I'm going to finish listening to Off The Wall and Thriller, just as I have since each of those magnificent albums were released, and mourn the loss of something great by celebrating something that is equally great and can never die - because that was his greatest gift to us all and we're lucky to have them - at least I know I am.
Thank you, Michael, for all of the love you've left us with. I only hope you were given enough love unselfishly to have known what it felt like, even for a little while. Based on the evidence I see now daily, I doubt it.
And that's the tragedy and the travesty.