The International Writers Magazine: Comment: Realty Check
JACKSON IS IN DEEP
soon Michael Jackson will go on trial for molesting a prepubescent
cancer survivor. I think I need to write that again, because for
reasons best left to sociologists or the producers of Entertainment
Tonight, Ive been seeing a great deal of undue attention
paid to his fashion choices on the way to the courthouse, his
entourage, the whole umbrella waving thing and the occasional
babbling nonsense from a family member.
Let it sink in:
Pretty soon Michael Jackson will go on trial for molesting a prepubescent
In all due respect to those of you that complain of the coarse "gutter"
language displayed weekly in this space; that is some serious shit.
And if you even remotely read this column, you know well that for the
very first time (drum roll please) I believe a major league celebrity
is actually going to see time.
So if you care about such things, Id alert those people who managed
to interpret the O.J. Simpson verdict as some kind of culture victory,
because this generations Fatty Arbuckle isnt just hitting
the gold record wall, hes fixing for an orange jump suit.
Dont get me wrong; there is still a sinisterly cynical part of
me that fully expects there to be some kind of pay off scenario. But
so far, unlike the last time (as if there being a last time is anything
less than unconscionable) there is a motivated witness and no sign of
a civil suit. These people, the kid and the guardian, are serious, and
that is bad news for the King of Pop.
But for those still holding out hope that this is all about greed, celebrity
bashing, or lets pick on the easy mark with the mannequin face
and the Howard Hughes existence, the facts of the claim seem somewhat
hazy. Specifically the gray area between a confused and embarrassed
child unwilling to come forth that had to be coerced by adults and the
ensuing imagined revisionist cries for help to expunge any blame or
embarrassment. Kids do this all the time, regardless of the gravity
of the event. To wit: A few years ago the kid (and by kid Im stretching
it, because at 12 years old myself, or anyone I grew up with would have
found it laughably ridiculous to end up being seduced by a 45 year old
weirdo with cotton candy and merry-go-rounds) was seen across the globe
in a highly publicized British documentary putting his little head on
Michael Jacksons shoulder as the singer effused gleefully his
joy and inalienable right to sleep in the same bed as visiting young
boys. From there the poor kid was understandably abused by his friends,
given the third degree by mom and sent to counseling where he began
spinning explicit stories of inappropriate behavior and blatant sexual
Once the councilor alerted the authorities light bulbs went on.
Jackson has a past with the LAPD. They were railroaded in 1993 when
a second accuser bailed and the remaining alleged victim reportedly
took $20 million to make the case go away. Now with the latest allegations,
there would be a hue and cry. "What the hell are you people doing
about that crazy middle-aged man running around a private compound with
little children, many of them unsupervised and ending up in residence?"
For those not buying the paranoid mania defense, there is also the handy;
if Jackson had a sexual proclivity toward young boys he would have been
more careful about hiding it. Instead, almost immediately after the
93 case was settled he was back in the public eye romping about
with children and inviting scores of prepubescent boys by for sleepovers
and whisking their star-crossed parents to Vegas or around the world
in his private jet. There were never any of the usual fronts, unless
you count the overtly business-arranged marriage and child rearing that
is far too bizarre to sanely extrapolate here.
But forgiving Michael Jackson for a robbed childhood splashed upon the
public, repeated beatings by his father, and the heaps of mental abuse
a child must endure when being whisked around the world and sharing
hotel rooms with older, sexually-charged brothers is one thing. Letting
him walk on what could be the ugly results of these abuses by abusing
(in one form or another) other children is an entirely different animal.
Hey, I think anyone paying attention realizes that for whatever reason
Michael Jackson, through his art, his lifestyle, his physical manipulation,
his strangely affected public image has been crying out for help. He
is a victim in too many instances to cite, but this should not get him
off this time. Neither will the fame nor the money that has sheltered
him for decades.
And its not only paybacks for Jackson. This is a far different
culture than when the O.J. Simpson Trial became the Great American Circus.
There is a serious lockdown on social mores today. The Republican/Conservative
government take-over, the FCC threats of imposed decency (spear-headed
in an ironic twist by Michaels sister Janets Super Bowl
incident), explosion of hard-line religious fanaticism, and a 9/11 backlash
that has given the FBI free range to spy, confiscate and infiltrate
anyone anywhere. Not to mention the comeuppance for a long nasty history
of Los Angeles Police Department screw-ups. And we are talking about
a prepubescent cancer survivor here.
This is a classic example of wrong time, wrong place, wrong defendant.
Michael Jackson is Americas celebrity experiment. Some kind of
preternatural Skinner Box child, who grew up in a fishbowl with no boundaries
and sense of self beyond what the Billboard charts indicated. He is
a mess. And thats fine, as long as it doesnt get the rest
of us messy. And this case is messy. Very messy.
If he is guilty, he goes to prison. Case closed. If he is not, and this
is merely a way we can regurgitate our cultural mistakes, exorcise our
age of celebrity worship/assassination by making Michael Jackson a pariah
because he cannot relate to anyone over the age of 13, or, god forbid,
a woman, that we need him chained in the attic like our own Motown Boo
Radley, then we wear his shame.
Either way Michael Jackson is in deep shit.
© James Campion Feb 14th 2005
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