Friday, June 26, 2009

All Michael, All the Time

The news this morning on Morning Joe was non-stop Michael Jackson. I got in my car, where the Sirius radio is permanently tuned to the NASCAR station, gratefully believing I'd escape from Jackson-mania but low and behold, even the Morning Drive hosts were stuck on celebrating the life and times of the King of Pop.

On both t.v. and radio, the coverage verged on reverent. I heard effusive testimonials from friends and fans. People who said they would always remember where they were when they heard of his death (a la John F Kennedy's assassination). People who said that the release of the Thriller album was a defining moment in their lives. People who were so beset by grief (Elizabeth Taylor) they couldn't even make a statement. I heard people call Michael "the first Obama" because he "transcended the race barrier". I heard from people who believe him to be the entertainment icon of their generation. To be adored, admired, hero-worshipped.

The one thing all these people forgot to say or glossed over or chose to ignore was the inalterable fact that Michael Jackson was a freak. They pretended they didn't notice the bleached white Michael Jackson with the leper nose and the grossly inflated lips. The masked Micheal. The Michael who appeared in court clad in pajamas. The Michael who slept in a germ-free, air-cleansed module. The Micheal who lived in a fairy tale world of zoo animals and merry-go-rounds.

The Michael Jackson who, acquitted or not, obviously had a perverse and perverted relationship with children, even his own.

The Michael Jackson who we always suspected, and now know, had an equally perverse and perverted attachment to chemicals of various kinds.

It's not that unusual for creativity to morph into monstrosity. Remember the fat and drugged out man who once was Elvis. Remember John and Yoko Lennon and their naked craziness.

But Elvis harmed only himself. And the same with Lennon.

Does fantastic talent, which no one would ever deny Michael Jackson, really excuse every other failing, up to and including the harming of children? Someone once said that "you can't be insane if you are rich enough". Evidentally, you can't be guilty if you are celebrity enough either. Michael was a rich celebrity which is probably the only reason he wasn't institutionalized, either in a mental health care facility or a prison.

He died of cardiac arrest but it appears now that it may have been drug induced. Sorry but Michael Jackson, despite his success as an entertainer, has neither my admiration my respect. I found him pathetic. I won't be lighting any candles or leaving any wreathes.

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