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David Hines [userpic]

michael jackson addenda

July 8th, 2009 (09:31 pm)
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Y'know, I've mostly been avoiding the endless Michael Jackson news -- I cannot believe that ostensible news organizations carried his funeral live -- but I did run across a little clip that quietly horrified me. It was Michael Jackson's young daughter speaking at the funeral, saying that he'd been a wonderful father and she loved him very much, and then breaking down in the sobs she'd been holding back. She was surrounded by other family members; as she spoke, and wept, they were all around her, crowding close, touching her -- and I realized: they're not comforting her; they're trying to make sure they're in the shot.

Those poor kids are so, so screwed.

Whether or not you think Michael Jackson was truly a pedophile -- and lemme tell ya, folks, if you looked through the auction house catalogs of his stuff when he was having the big Neverland yard sale, you would have no doubt whatsoever that he was -- you have to admit that the man was deeply screwed up. Something about him started ringing bells with me recently, and it took a few days to figure it out. Y'know who Michael Jackson reminds me of? Timothy Treadwell.

If you're not familiar with Treadwell, he was a bear enthusiast -- obsessive, actually -- who went camping in remote wilderness for months to film, observe, and, in his mind, "protect" wild bears, until a bear ate him and the girlfriend who had the misfortune to put her faith in him. Treadwell was the subject of GRIZZLY MAN, a brilliant documentary by Werner Herzog. I realized that the accounts of Michael Jackson living the fantasy life of a Peter Pan figure were reminding me of one scene in that movie. Herzog's interviewee, a museum curator, is Native American, and he looks awkward, a little embarrassed, as he carefully tries to explain why Treadwell's actions really squicked him. The traditional view, he explains, is that bears are bears and people are people. You respect them, absolutely, but you're separate from them; you give them their space, and stay in yours, and that shows respect. Studying the bears isn't disrespectful, but Treadwell went farther than that. In the curator's view, Treadwell didn't want to study the bears, he wanted to *be* a bear, and that was nineteen kinds of wrong.

And that's Michael Jackson and children. I make no claim to be an expert on child abuse or deviancy, but I wouldn't be surprised if Michael Jackson's pedophilia was an aspect of his all-consuming obsession with childhood. He loved the idea of childhood, he loved children, he wanted to have the childhood he never had -- but he was a grown man, and he had a grown man's sexual desires, which he turned on the objects of his obsession. Jackson wanted to be a child, but he couldn't, so he became something else. And then he wanted to make the children he knew into something else, too.

Comments

Posted by: Karen (odditycollector)
Posted at: July 9th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
Front Page News

He loved the idea of childhood, he loved children, he wanted to have the childhood he never had -- but he was a grown man,
So I am nodding along with this essay - interesting, huh, okay - and then it suddenly spins into "Wait, I have *read* this Batman meta."

Posted by: trinfaneb (trinfaneb)
Posted at: July 9th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)

I think you hit the nail squarely on the head.

Posted by: LiamStLiam (liamstliam)
Posted at: July 9th, 2009 11:00 am (UTC)

What's ironic is that I have seen a number of posts that cited her speech as the one part of the funeral that people actually liked and that it humanized him.

I don't agree, but it's a totally different perspective.

Posted by: amonitrate (amonitrate)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)

Oh god, Grizzly Man horrified me. Yeah, I totally agree with you here. And I wouldn't rule out MJ having been abused himself in some fashion as a kid. He was, at the very least, horribly exploited. But. Yeah. Exactly what you said.

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