Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson Inundation

These are the times when it's good not to have TV. The internet coverage is bad enough. From what I saw while dog-sitting at someone else's house yesterday, television is wall-to-wall Michael Jackson. And if my memory of the months-long schmaltzfest following the death of Princess Diana is anything to go by, we can expect more of the same for some time to come.

While he was alive, Michael Jackson was an unmitigated freak, fodder for the tabloid press, a weirdo who swung his infant child out over a fourth-floor balcony rail, a black man looking more and more like a white woman with a nose chiseled to the thinness of tissue paper. Now that he is dead, he is a saint, and crowds flock to his haunts as to shrines, to place flowers and pictures. For weeks and months to come, we will be glutted with Michael Jackson and his melodramatic mourners, and snowed under with praise for his legacy. His legacy: there, the hagiographers have a point, at least to the extent they are talking about his feats in the entertainment industry. Few people are as accomplished in their field of endeavor as Michael Jackson was in his.

And yet Michael Jackson was one of the most pathetic human beings that ever walked the earth. He manifestly had a desire to love, to be loved, to do good works, and to place his time, talent and treasure at the disposal of those less fortunate than himself. But where was his spiritual compass? His over-the-top extravagance and ultra-flamboyance were not normal. His relationships with wild animals, like the chimpanzees he kept and dressed up, was not normal. His relationships with little boys were not normal, and may even have been criminal, even if no charges actually stuck. His gender-bending was not normal. His Peter Pan syndrome was not normal. His constant recourse to cosmetic surgeons -- are there no ethics governing multiple nose jobs? -- was not normal. His drug use -- who were the doctors that supplied him with all those drugs? -- was not normal. Michael Jackson was about as far from normal as you can get without ending up in an institution. He was, in fact, a shining example of what a grace it is not to be able to indulge one's every whim, and what a tragedy it is to be able to have one's own way in everything.

Michael Jackson needs to be prayed for. There is hope for his soul; nevertheless, he was not a saint, and should not be taken for one. The extent to which he is taken for a saint should serve to warn us how far off track we are.


  1. Not just that; we still sporadically hear of Princess Diana and inquests and other controversies. I wonder how long this is going to go on for?

  2. This just in: Jacko is still dead. We'll have continuing coverage of this developing story on Every Cable Network.

    (At least it stopped the infernal discussion of Jon and Kate!)