Jackson was no freak

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.

Lion Faced BoyHere, 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.




  1. SEAL76

    Perhaps he was not a freak. He was however far more than ecentric. Telling the public that sleeping with little children was a way of showing love is way over the line. I am sorry that he died. I am not sorry that we won’t have to hear about him in a year or two after all of the stupid publicity etc stops. If you want to write about someone look up SOC Eric J Shellenberger (Special Warfare Operator SEAL) of Milford,PA. He died during a training accident near Bremerton Washington. He was an 8 year combat veteran of the USMC and a 10 year combat veteran of the US NAVY SEALs. One tour of Somalia with the Marines. 7 tours of Afghanistan and Iraq as a SEAL. He was 36 years old when he died. He spent half of his life in service to this country. What did Michael Jackson do?

  2. Hal Brown


    One of the problems with people is that unless the loss is of someone they knew personally, a story about the death of someone like Eric Shellenberger does little to raise consciousness unless it becomes a movie.

    So many people die for a cause and only end up as one name on a list, whether it was the 4,000 soldier to die in Iraq or a name engrave on the Vietnam Wall.

    You and I agree that he was far more than eccentric. He suffered from a number of mental illnesses and I believe fits the clinical definition of a pedophile which is pretty straightforward:


    The APA‘s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition, Text Revision gives the following as its "Diagnostic criteria for 302.2 Pedophilia":[23][24]

    • A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger);
    • B. The person has acted on these sexual urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty;
    • C. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A.


    Found innocent by a jury or not, I believe he broke the law.

  3. almandine

    Whether or not he was guilty of anything is not knowable without further info. You don’t have that. He was cleared by a jury of his peers, he was a child in his own right – forever – and many of his closest friends and family have supported him publicly til this very day. In fact, NO ONE who knows him best is speaking ill of him or even shying away from his legacy. He seems much more like a lost little boy than anything else.

    I didn’t really think much positively about him, I think the coverage is over the top, but all this smear campaign from all you learned, omniscient types is wearing pretty thin. Give it up. Let him go. The show’s over.

    All you’ll manage to do from this point on is screw up his kids more than they already are.

  4. Hal Brown

     Interesting comparison with O.J. 

    During the O.J. trial as the evidence mounted most people came to believe he was guilty and were shocked at the not guilty verdict. Ever since his trial O.J., and the subsequent finding against him in the civil trial, O.J. disappeared into obscurity. He was ostracized by society.

    The evidence against Jackson was compelling, but the result of his trial wasn’t much of a surprise because he was made out to be even more of a victim than the real victim. No way could "the Dream Team" do that with O.J. the person, so they made him seem to the jury to be a victim of the white judicial system.

    Still O.J. lived as a pariah after the trial. Jackson went into self-imposed exile but never lost his fan base.

    My impression is that they excused whatever he did knowing that he’d never "really" hurt a child, and that even if he was technically guilty of breaking several laws he was innocent because he was an innocent.

    Well known people who should know better are now ignoring "the elephant in the room". 

    For example, in his self-aggrandizing "Tribute to My Friend, Michael Jackson" Deepak Chopra, who is a medical doctor, writes:

    >… the public was callous to his very real personal pain. It became another tawdry piece of the tabloid Jacko, pictured as a weird changeling and as something far more sinister.

    It’s not my place to comment on the troubles Michael fell heir to from the past and then amplified by his misguided choices in life.

    That’s as close as he comes to addressing Jackson’s pedophilia. As a self-described close friend and confidant of Jackson he goes on to blame other physicians for his problems because of their irresponsible prescribing practices.

    By no means a highly trained doctor, but someone who we presume knew his sexual side well,  Lisa Marie Presley writes:

    Presley, who vehemently denies claims that their marriage was "a sham," describes their marriage as "unusual." "I do believe he loved me as much as he could love anyone and I loved him very much," she writes of their 20 month union. (The two wed in the Dominican Republic in May 1994 and divorced in Jan. 1996.)

    But Presley now writes that the relationship was too emotionally taxing. "I became very ill and emotionally/spiritually exhausted in my quest to save him from certain self-destructive behavior and from the awful vampires and leeches he would always manage to magnetize around him," she writes. "I was in over my head while trying."


     Had Jackson been the Joe Sleazy I wrote about he’d be about ready to go before the State of California parole board right about now, and there’d be no Chopra or Presley giving character references and blaming others for his crimes.


  5. Nogood

    “In contemporary usage, the word “freak” is commonly used to refer to a person with something unusual about their appearance or behaviour.”


    I thank God that I lived in the era of George Jones, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, and all the great country music stars.

    Thank you very much!

  6. Carl Nemo

    Thanks Hal Brown for defusing the word “freak” in association with Michael Jackson as cast in an article by our site host.

    I feel a better and far kinder word for the man would be that of an “eccentric”, but only so in the mid to latter part of his career, post compulsive almost obsessive facial surgery etc.


    Carl Nemo **==

  7. AustinRanter

    I believe that most folks recognized Mr. Jackson’s talents, which obviously impacted the world.

    However, I also think that the background details of the last decade of his life detracts from all elements of his talents and spotlighted the focus on his character.

    Just as untold numbers followed along with O.J.’s trial, so did they during Jackson’s trial for sexual abuse/assualt on a minor. And, I believe at the end of that trial many were left with the same sense that he was as guilt of the crimes he was accused of ~ as was the general consensus about O.J.’s guilt ~ despite the verdicts.

    In my opinion, he was revolutionary in the music industry. He brought back to life the sale of music back in the early 80’s after a grueling bout of Disc.

  8. griff

    There’s a difference between having been born disfigured and being taken advantage of and repeatedly disfiguring yourself on purpose. His talent became secondary to his appearance and his lifestyle. Indeed, he had become a sideshow attraction, but one of his own invention.

  9. AustinRanter

    Hal…I think you’ve alluded to, or in some way suggested that Mr. Jackson possibly was a victim of being in a state of “arrested childhood”.

    Even if that is true…and he lived somewhere near the age of 12 or 13, usually by that age there is an imprintment of moral distinction, meaning the knew the difference between right and wrong…especially after the accusations began long before he was actually confronted and paid a large sum of money (approximately $20 Million – some claim $13 million)to keep the allegation under wrap.

    If Mr. Jackson was in arrested childhood…I guess that would make us witness to what it would be like to see what a 13 year old kid would do with about a billion dollars or so that he earned by his profession, without restraints.

    And, yes I know that his entire house was filled with toys…but not adult toys, but rather rooms loaded with kid toys…and in his yard and entire fairground with all of the rides.

    But one of the most outstanding behaviors of Pedophiles is that they are wired to believe that children are their natural sex partners. And that often plays into their acting out despite knowing that there are laws with severe consequense for engaging in a sex act with a child.

  10. Hal Brown

     There were aspects of Jackson that seemed "stuck" at early adolescence but in most ways he was an adult. There is strong evidence he was like most pedophiles in that he selected his victims carefully and groomed them to make it unlikely they would tell anyone about what was being done to them.

  11. Hal Brown

     Here’s an interesting perspective from 1995:

    Unsafe at Any Age.



    A TRIAL is not a search for truth. It is a contest, and often, one that produces no winners.

    Other trials cost us much, but teach us nothing. Guess where the Michael Jackson verdict fits in?

    With that verdict, the pious waves of outrage are as misguided as the verdict was predictable. Overwrought posturing to the contrary, "pedophilia" was not on trial; a celebrity was..

    The jurors might have believed a child was sexually assaulted by Michael Jackson. But they surely believed the mother of that child was a professional scam artist, a perjurer and a fraud.

    What does the Michael Jackson verdict mean to the future of child protection in America? Nothing.  

  12. AustinRanter

    Misdirected justice is fashionable in this country.

    We love to blame the victim…etc.

    Often times children who are victims of incest are often talked out of telling the truth (by mothers. usually) to Grand Juries, thereby allowing the perps go free.

    We do live in a world with the propensity to be evil.

  13. Hal Brown


    Often times children who are victims of incest are often talked out of telling the truth (by mothers. usually) to Grand Juries, thereby allowing the perps go free.

    … which leads many of the victims into a vicious cycle self condemnation (blame is too mild a word) and bad relationship, and years of intensive therapy… which in this age of time limited therapy is almost impossible to get unless you have lots of money.

    The perps, usually trusted figures within the family, or others like priests or the rarity in the mix, Michael Jackson, did such an effective job of grooming them that getting into touch with their repressed anger is very difficult, and rarely done without therapy.

    They are often rejected by the enabling parent who almost always knew or strongly suspected it was going on.

    Some go on to re-enact their own abuse with other children, sadly many times their own.

    Even many years, decades, later I have seen the parent who was the enabler still deny that the abuse actually happened when confronted by the victim, and if pressed, still blamed the victim.

    For those who may wonder why I am on a tear about this and have little sympathy for Jackson, I have treated enough victims of child sexual abuse in my career to know the pain they suffer. Between my own clients and the clients of my staff I know of just about every kind of sexual abuse you can imagine including priest abuse – except what I think Michael Jackson did.

    I have also known abusers too, although I never treated them for long because they needed incarceration in a department of corrections treatment facility (and even that hasn’t been shown to be very effective). But working on cases as the metal health part of a law enforcement and district attorney office sexual abuse team I had some very disturbing encounters with pedophiles and have seen how manipulative they can be.

    In those days in my own small way I helped build iron clad cases and every one of the accused was convicted and went to prison except for one who fled the county and probably the state and as far as I know was never caught.

  14. AustinRanter

    Hal…dig your followup.

    Quite a number of years ago I did counseling in a residential treatment program for subtance abuse. The ages ranged from 12 to 18…and I can assure all that “most” of those kids experienced some type of sexual abuse.

    In following years I worked for a nonprofit organization that provided counseling services, among other services to rural school. Many rural schools don’t have access to social services and/or local entities to even do contact and referrals. I was the towns only link to resources. I met a lot of kids who were abused…and I also met abusers. It was a tough gig.