Sunday, June 28, 2009

Off the Wall

It's the title of Michael Jackson's 1979 solo album. It could also be used to describe his behavior and lifestyle from that point on. Or to describe the level of journalistic responsibility displayed by the media in reporting on his death. Or, simply to describe the fact that his father, Joe, has seemingly gotten a free pass on the suspected abuse he inflicted upon his kids. There have been some details over the years of how he whipped the boys, with Joe even admitting it himself. But, I have a feeling the truth goes way deeper than a leather belt. You don't turn into what Michael Jackson did without some pretty dark demons lurking in the shadows. Of course, Joe Jackson can't be held solely responsible...legions of golddiggers and power-hungry leeches throughout the entertainment industry hitched their wagons to Jackson's star and undoubtedly manipulated him, all while the mounting fame and untenable media exposure probably had a crushing effect on someone who was likely a fragile individual to begin with. Not to say that he was completely defenseless, but I don't think anyone can truly understand the world this guy lived in. He was quite bizarre, but also many of the "wacko" stories were fabricated and leaked to the media by Jackson himself. And were the sexual abuse allegations true? We'll likely never know for sure. Would it be surprising to learn that Jackson inflicted abuse on a child, given his own history? No need to recite the textbook cycles of abuse. But, as during his lifetime, the media continues its gross irresponsibility in reporting on the death of the King of Pop. You can see the reporters salivating at the thought that there may be some nefarious activity surrounding the circumstances of his death. Oh my God...what drugs was he taking? Did the doctor inject him? How much was in his system when he died? How many millions of dollars did he owe? Except they don't phrase them as questions...they purport that it's already a forgone conclusion that all kinds of crazy stuff was going on. How about reporting on the one thing that has been glossed over? The hideous nature of Joe Jackson. Time to stop portraying him as a sweet old man and expose him for the lecherous beast that he was and is. One only need to listen to the recording of this past weekend's phone interview with Geraldo Rivera to see the truth. All Joe Jackson could say was that the world had lost its biggest superstar, and that he would be bigger in death than in life. Not one word about missing his son. That's all Michael was to this man: a to which this beast hitched his wagon of failed and unfulfilled personal dreams. One that undoubtedly provided him with a lifestyle he (Joe) didn't deserve.

I've never been the hugest Michael Jackson fan. I'm probably one of five people in the world who has never purchased a single Jackson song. But his legacy is part of many of our childhoods. And the guy contributed more to charity and social causes than probably anyone else in history. Yeah, he was bizarre, but with what he endured, it's incredible that he was simply weird and not dead much, much earlier. Instead, he managed to accomplish the incredible, despite everything that came along with it.


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