I also cite this Wikipedia article a bunch.
Yes, I do feel the need to blog about Michael Jackson. Along with everyone else out there, I've got something to say, and I just won't rest until I get it out. If you're sick of it all, well . . . don't read this post! Duh. Not rocket science folks.
I was driving in to work Friday, listening to the shocked, broken-hearted voices of the DJs, when two things happened in quick succession:
1) A man called in and said: "Who cares that Michael Jackson died? He was a child molester."
I was so angered by his hillbilly, closeminded statement, that I didn't even listen to the DJs response. I flipped the station and drove on, some random song playing, trying to collect my thoughts. Was Michael Jackson a child molester? I remembered the story, from eons ago (in 1993 I would have been about 14 years old, and back then I was even worse than I am today about keeping up to date on current events). But what was the outcome? *I've since looked it up, but in the car I couldn't recall the verdict of the sexual allegation story. Both times I said "story" (singular) because at that moment in the car I only remembered the 1993 case.
*In case you can't remember either:
Regarding 1993: "Jackson was never charged, and the state closed its criminal investigation, citing lack of evidence."
Regarding 2005: "The trial lasted five months, until the end of May 2005, he was acquitted on all counts."
-Both from Wikipedia
Now, I'm not such a fool as to think the legal system is foolproof. Michael Jackson isn't the first, and won't be the last, man or woman in the world to be accused wrongly or to walk away free wrongly. He isn't the first to suffer from slander, libel, and media lust. Fair or unfair, just or unjust, he done it or he (uh) didn't done it . . . it's the way of the world. Sometimes the media and the mob make up their own stories, truth be damned. Sometimes they turn out to be right.
So maybe he did, maybe he didn't. That's been the general public's feeling ever since he was acquitted. Both times, did you note that? Because I sure think it's noteworthy that he was accused and acquitted not just once but twice. The noteworthiness depends on your emphasis, which in itself is a grammatical triumph.
- Accused and acquitted not just once but twice. Truly innocent, proven twice?
- Accused and acquitted not just once but twice. Legally lucky, guilty-and-free twice?
I think Michael Jackson was a big, zillion dollar target. He had a big bullseye stamped on his shiny leather and sequined, foolish chest for the entirety of his career. The crazier and more eccentric he became, the bigger and more enticing the bullseye became. Did he handle every situation with the maximum amount of grace that he could have? Well, no I suppose not. Was he trusting to the point of foolishness? Probably. That's what everyone close to him was proclaiming from Day 1! And now we're surprised? Michael Jackson was a gentle, vulnerable, trusting soul! SURPRISE! Perhaps we should have paid more attention. Remember the interview in 1993 when he talked about the strip search? Talk about vulnerable. But why doesn't anyone follow the train of thought to the end: that a gentle, vulnerable, trusting, foolish, zillion dollar target makes him an awfully big, easy target?!
**Evan Chandler: the 1993 kid that accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse. I don't know what Evan Chandler looks like, but I bet you twenty bucks I could pick him out of a lineup. He's the one that has dollar signs instead of eyeballs.
Personally, I don't believe that Michael Jackson is a pedophile. That's my opinion, but put this in your butt and smoke it: does it even matter at this point? Seriously, does it? Just for a second, say we knew for sure that he did it: What would they even do? Bury him in a prison? I don't think he did it, but it doesn't matter now. I don't care Who or What you believe about After, that debate is not the point at the moment. Because whatever you think about death, it's undeniable that Michael Jackson is now beyond an earthly punishment.
I think all the good he did in his life should lay the continued speculations to rest now that he's dead. All that's left on this earth are speculations, our memories of the entertainer, and the good he did--any morally repugnant acts will catch up with him at the place he's at now, and any punishment that he might deserve is up to Someone Else to figure out. Can't we just bury the speculations with him?
The second thing that happened along my commute was this:
2) A young woman, probably a few years older than myself, called in bawling.
I guess I was having a delayed reaction, because my first thought was, "Are you kidding me? Get a life!"
I'm embarrassed to admit that now; how mean! I just couldn't believe this gal was so broken up about a celebrity--"It's not like she's ever met him." I listened to her sob for a minute, tell about seeing Michael Jackson in concert, and the whole time I just couldn't stop thinking that she was an idiot for being so broken up.
Then I changed the station and it hit me like a gutpunch. They were doing one of those snippet-breaking news-things. You know what I'm talking about? When they just take random news announcers breaking the news and play them all back to back: "Michael Jackson, dead at 50." "Michael Jackson, pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center." "Jackson suffered from cardiac arrest this afternoon and has now died." Et cetera, ad infinitum.
That was when it really started to sink in that he was gone, and then they played, "You are not alone" and I almost lost it! Driving to work, less than 24 hours after he passed away, and I just couldn't believe that it was true. What a shame! What a shame that there isn't a better word than shame to describe my feelings.
I think Michael Jackson was one of the most tormented souls, if not the most famous, on the planet. I think his family deserves our sympathy and his memory deserves our respect, at the very least. And, just because it's kinda funny and Michael Jackson couldn't have asked for a cooler epitaph: Wikipedia should add to his legacy that he "almost took the internet with him."
Personally, I think we should throw away speculations and mob mentality, trust that karma will take over from here, and simply remember the good.