I was not a Michael Jackson fan. I don’t think I have ever listened to “Thriller.” But I couldn’t escape reading and hearing about the “King of Pop” over the years. And I remember with fondness the littlest member of the Jackson Five, who was so full of zest, so nimble and so appealing. Someone said the boy is father to the man or something like that, but I am often bewildered by the transmogrification some cute children undergo as they grow into adults.
That little Jackson Five kid (pictured performing at right) was a world apart from the skin-bleached, one-gloved showman (photo below) who apparently lived for the limelight and was eventually burned by the limelight. Like a moth that cannot resist the flame, Michael Jackson played with fire, risking his reputation and his life by circling ever closer to disaster. From what I’ve heard, he had an unnatural childhood – and I can easily understand that. He was so young when his family hit the showbiz jackpot. He certainly had an unnatural adulthood. And it was not all his own doing.
I think he succumbed to the influences of a sick society, rebuilding his nose and bleaching his skin (I know, I know, he said it was a natural disorder but if you believe that…), looking for love in all the wrong places, indulging in self destructive habits, excessive displays and conspicuous consumption, apparently accepting the Hollywood hype about himself. But for all that, he was more sinned against than sinning.
Celebrities attract parasites who can be incredibly unscrupulous and shameless. And they fed off his fame like a swarm of flies. I think that was the reality behind the child molestation accusations. I think grifters saw a chance to make a score and took a shot at it. From the little I know, I am prepared to give Michael the benefit of the doubt, to believe he was the big-hearted philanthropist he seemed to be, and to attribute his excessive predilection for the company of children to innocent eccentricity. For in many ways, the King of Pop remained a kid.
And I hope it is that little boy who survives in our memory, and not the Tinsel Town creation that is being mourned by millions around the world today.
For an objective summary of Michael Jackson’s life, click: