I’ve heard a little about the upcoming trial of Dr. Conrad Murray regarding the death of Michael Jackson. I haven’t followed it deeply, so I can’t yet make a definitive judgment on the case, I’m not even sure exactly what he is charged with. All I can do is look at the superficial facts. If you’re someone’s personal physician, and you’re actually in that person’s home, monitoring their health and drug intake, and that person dies right in front of you, then I think it’s safe to say that you frakked up. Big time. And at the very least you should permanently lose your license to practice medicine. As for whether or not he should also get some jail time, well, that will be up to the jury to decide.
Anyway, just thinking about Michael Jackson, I can’t help but reminisce about my own feelings about him as I was growing up. As a young lad, I worshiped the ground that he moonwalked on. I was practically obsessed with him, and was his biggest defender against anyone who criticized him. There was a time in my life when I actually would attempt to go without eating as long as I could, in order to be really skinny like he was. In the 7th grade, I had a replica of the jacket he wore in the “Beat It” music video, and I wore it to school every. Single. Day. Some other kids made fun of me, but I didn’t give a darn. I liked that jacket. I even wore it at my aunt and uncle’s wedding. I look back at those wedding pictures and want to strangle my mother for letting me get away with that. She just laughs it off and says “You wanted to wear it,” and I say “So what?!? I was a dumbass kid, you should’ve stopped me!”
Sorry Uncle Joe and Aunt Theadosha. 🙂
Over the years, as he got weirder and weirder, my interest slowly cooled off a bit, although I remained a fan, and kept buying his subsequent albums following Thriller. When the first allegations of child molestation broke, I assumed that he was innocent. And I argued with people after he settled out of court. People would say that if he really was innocent he wouldn’t have settled, he would insist on going to court to prove his innocence. But I can understand completely why an innocent man would settle out of court. I most likely would have done the same thing, if that were me. Once an allegation like that is made, it sticks with you, no matter what happens in court (as we saw in the 2nd case, but we’ll get to that a little later). So you’re pretty much screwed already, and therefore a settlement does not seem like an illogical choice to me.
If anything, I could argue against the parents in that case. Why would they settle? I don’t have any children (at least none that I know of…wink wink), but if I did, and I thought someone molested one of my kids, I don’t care how much money that person had, I wouldn’t stop until I did everything to put them behind bars, and THEN I’d sue them for millions. So they look more like extortionists to me.
Then, a few years ago, when the 2nd allegations hit, my first reaction was: GUILTY. I mean, he just had to be guilty, as far as I was concerned. As Chris Rock said, “Another kid?!? That’s like finding another dead White woman at O.J.’s house!” I was so convinced of his guilt, that I gave away all my Michael Jackson CD’s, and even my copy of his autobiography. I was done with him. But then, as the trial went on, and I actually watched some of it and read about it, I changed my mind. It became clear to me that the prosecutor had a very weak case. I think he just wanted to get Michael Jackson. So I believe that he was innocent, in that particular case, and that the jury made the right decision by voting Not Guilty. I still wasn’t back to be being an obsessive fan. He’d stopped making groundbreaking music long before that. Now he was just sort of a curiosity to me.
I remember being on Facebook, of course, on the day that it was announced that he had been rushed to the hospital. I didn’t think much about it. But then later that day when he was pronounced dead, I didn’t really feel anything. I was still mostly ambivalent about him at the time. I remember one of my friends on Facebook saying that she was sure I’d be blogging about it soon because I’d written a couple of blogs about him back on Myspace before, but I told her that I didn’t think I would. I just didn’t have anything to say about. I remember one person on some message board, where they were debating Michael Jackson’s life, remarking that if this had happened 15 years earlier we’d probably all be crying about him, and he’s right. I probably would have been crying, and had to go home from work early, if Michael had died sometime in the early ’90s. But that day I was just numb to it all.
But then an interesting thing happened. On the message boards, as well as Facebook, my various friends seemed to split into two camps with opposite reactions. There were the people who were angry at the mourning of Jackson. Making definitive statements declaring that he was a child molester and that it was disgusting that anyone could celebrate him. Then there were those who were so adamant in their support of him, acting as if he was just some perfectly normal person that “the media” persecuted for no reason (and, sadly but predictably, even a few folks tried to act like this was some kind of racial issue, and that people hated Jackson just because he was a successful “Black” man…whatever). What surprised me was my own reaction. Over the next few days, I found myself getting into arguments with both sides, the detractors and the defenders.
To the detractors, I’d point out that we’re all supposed to be Innocent Until Proven Guilty, and Michael Jackson was never proven guilty in a court of anything. That’s a fact. And people would say “So what? Just because the jury found him innocent doesn’t mean that he was innocent!” And that just proves the point I made about the settlement in the first case. Like I said, you might as well settle because, no matter what happens, some people are going to think you’re guilty anyway. The same type of folks who argued before that he must be guilty because he didn’t go to trial to prove his innocence were now claiming that the fact that he did go trial the next time and was declared Not Guilty was irrelevant. Total hypocrisy.
And to the defenders I’d say, look, you can’t act like you don’t know why anyone would think he was guilty. The man did behave in very strange ways, to put it mildly. His pale skin and multiple plastic surgeries are the LEAST of what was weird about him. The way he acted and dressed, he created this type of speculation. And after living through the scandal of the first molestation charge, you’d think he’d be smart and STOP INVITING YOUNG BOYS TO SLEEP IN BED WITH HIM. Even if it really was completely harmless, just don’t do it anymore. Don’t put yourself in that position where someone could make that claim against you again. I mean, that would just be common sense, to me. So, frankly, he brought a lot of this on himself.
Oh, and the situation with those White kids of his, that’s weird too. However, I can’t make fun of that anymore. When I saw little Paris Katherine Jackson break down crying at his funeral, I said to myself, the DNA is irrelevant. Obviously, as far as those kids were concerned, he was their father, and that’s all that matters.
Well, now, a year and a half has passed since his death. And I honestly can’t say that I’m 100% certain that he never did anything wrong with any children. I can understand why some folks are sure he did, and I can understand why some are sure he didn’t. But, in a way, it doesn’t matter to me anymore. He’s dead, so I feel free to just enjoy his music again, and have re-downloaded most of his songs that I used to have, because I don’t have to worry that I *might* be supporting a child molester. The man was an incredible singer (when he tried to be) and he made an awful lot of good music during his lifetime. And I watched that documentary of his, This Is It!, and I have to say that I was impressed with how much attention to detail he had in terms of putting that show together. He knew exactly how he wanted every little thing to work. If he could have made all of the dates, I think it may have very well reinvigorated his career. But, now, we’ll never know for sure. Too bad.