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Michael Jackson wasn’t a freak. He was "freakish" in the sense that some of his behavior was bizarre, but he wasn’t a freak like any of the famous and not so famous sideshow freaks . They were tragic figures born with grotesque features who were, depending on how you looked at it, exploited by the Barnums of the world or lucky to have a job. Their talent consisted of allowing themselves to be gawked at.
That Jackson, like Elvis, The Beatles, Sinatra, Crosby and others, had a huge fan base is without question. You expect an outpouring of grief when a beloved celebrity dies.
We develop unique one-sided relationships with celebrities. We invite them into our homes via TV and into our consciousness through our iPods. In an interesting way when they die many of us feel like it is like losing a family member.
They live on only through reruns and replays, but we know they are gone. I feel a twinge of remorse every time I see an old "Law and Order" with Jerry Orbach.
The quirks and failings of many musical stars, and of course other entertainers, some considered geniuses, are well known.
The benignly quirky John Lennon was killed because he was famous and fame itself killed Elvis and others, possibly including Jackson.
But, and this is the elephant in the room but, not counting Jerry Lee Lewis who married his first cousin (once removed) when she was 13 (though some claim she was 15), Jackson is the only contemporary musician I can think of tainted with substantial evidence of being a child molester.
What did Michael Jackson do to deserve a moment of silence in the United States House of Representatives with remarks like "On behalf of a generation, thank God for letting us live in his generation and era," coming from Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., (D-Ill), and "we pay tribute to the culture that he has left behind, his legacy," from Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.)?
We should thank God because He let us live in Michael Jackson’s generation and era? What makes this generation belong to this one man who after all was just a larger than life entertainer who brought, not food to the starving nor medicine to the sick, but instead with a lot of help from his friends, like many before him, brought music to the masses?
Not that there’s anything wrong with bringing music to the masses, but come on, let’s get our priorities in order.
As for the culture and legacy Jackson has left behind, what exactly of earth shaking importance is that supposed to be? How has Jackson changed our culture?
Perhaps he’s shown some of us that if you inculcate enough sympathy you can get away with molesting children.
Here, adapted from the Wikipedia article about the Jackson molestation case, is my version. I’ve made a few substitutions. Consider Joe Sleazy to be a run of the mill unknown defendant, one who looked like the Lion Faced Boy to boot:
► People v. Sleazy (full case name: The People of the State of California v. Joseph Sleazy) was a 2005 child sexual abuse trial involving unemployed and reclusive handyman Joseph Sleazy.
► The alleged victim was a boy, Johnny Innocent referred to as "The Accuser".
►Innocent was 13 years old at the time of the alleged crimes.
►Joseph Sleazy was indicted for four counts of molesting a minor, four counts of intoxicating a minor, one count of abduction, and one count of conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive at his ramshackle mountain retreat.
►He denied all counts and asserted that he himself was the victim of a failed extortion attempt.
What would the finding have been if the defendant was Joe Sleazy instead of Jackson who was found not quilty?
Consider if Mr. Sleazy was found guilty and what would have happened to him if he went to prison?
Who knows, maybe Michael Jackson was just a man-child having sleepovers with his best early-teen pal of the moment.
If he’s nothing more than an adult with the emotional development of a 13 year old, consider that 13 year old boys (and girls) sometimes do engage in mutual masturbation and other sexual experimentation with each other.
So, okay, worst case, "he done it"; but he’s Michael Jackson of the moonwalk, the glove, and the weird sort-of sexual choreographed gyrations so let’s pretend it didn’t happen.