Michael Jackson

June 29, 2009

Why the hell not do this? I could pretend to be one of those disinterested cynics who has nothing to say about the death of Michael Jackson but that would be dishonest. Everyone is going to have a take on this, so here is mine.

Although I’m no fan of intense outpourings of sanctimony and hyperbolic hysteria in the media (I lived through the intense embarrassment of the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death after all), the death of this man is monumental. This is now the post-MJ era. That said, a conclusion to the Michael Jackson story was long overdue. The man had been haemorrhaging dignity for years now. His considerable, massive eccentricities had long overtaken his prodigious talent and his was an increasingly sad spectacle. I wasn’t aware until recently that the forthcoming London concerts were supposed to be fifty dates. Did anyone seriously believe that Michael Jackson was going to fulfill that promise, especially given his increasing notoriety for reneging on deals? I don’t wish to sound as if I’m happy the man died, I’m not. However, this was as good a time as any for this increasingly tragic tale to come to an end. Can anyone honestly say that they foresaw anything good in the next ten years, twenty years for Michael Jackson?

Part of the debate that I’ve witnessed over the last few days is between those who have revisited the (not inconsiderable) scandals that plagued Jackson and the fans who want to focus instead on the man’s immense cultural contribution, his status as easily one of the greatest entertainers who ever lived. My interest in Michael Jackson, however, has long been concerned with how his life story stands as a testament to the ways in which celebrity culture can completely destroy human beings, especially when it involves people who become famous initially when children. Celebrity, in this case allegedly combined with a considerable amount of child abuse (though I see it hard to doubt that Michael Jackson was an exploited and overworked child unless we think he was so good as to not need to rehearse any of the highly polished Jackson 5 routines), completely chewed this man up and spat him out. What was left in the end was something quite inevitably weird which few could possibly hope to understand or make sense of.

Making celebrities of children is a terrible idea and Michael Jackson has the dubious honour of serving as arguably the most extreme example thereof.



  1. Well put. It is more of a relief that we didn’t get to see him break down or pass out, mid performance, as he most likely would have.

    Some considerate it naive, but I’m convinced he never had a pedophilic bone in his body. He was just THAT stunted, emotionally, that he could more easily relate to kids and felt comfortable around them. I think, with a state of mind like that, it’s very possible to be asexual.

    I can’t back this up, really, but I heard from a co-worker that one of the kids who accused him of sexual abuse came out and said his father told him to do it. Wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    Which reminds me, on a slightly unrelated note, if you haven’t already, watch the documentary, Capturing the Friedmans.

  2. Yeah, I was of the opinion that he was asexual also. I based that opinion on the Martin Bashir interview, the one that saw him investigated for a second time and charged with child abuse.
    There are some shady circumstances surrounding the allegations, and he was of course never convicted of any crimes against children, but I think it’s fair to say the reason it was so easy to lay those charges on the man was down to inappropriate choices and mistakes of his own making.

    That said, I found recent reports form the Neverland Ranch a little creepy.
    “And there used to be rows of popcorn machines over there and cotton candy machines over there…”

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