Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Smooth Criminal?

My Dearest Darlings, Last Thursday Michael Jackson died, you could hardly have escaped this news as channels across the globe continued to roll out endless speculation and commentary from anyone with even the most tenuous of links to this once legendary performer. As is the tendency when a famous individual passes the general public and media rush to canonise, proclaiming greatness and iconic status on the shoulders of the unworthy. Perhaps Michael Jackson's contribution to popular culture does justify such accolade, though the 'Elephant in the Room' remains.

This enigma was at his peak selling over sixty five million albums. But amongst the unquestionable popularity of his music this mysterious man's behaviour was peculiar and troubling even to his most ardent of fans. From inappropriate pet choices, to dozing in oxygen tents to his outrageous plastic surgeries, this man existed somehow outside of cultural normality. Catapulted to fame at a young age, his notion of self worth and identity where undoubtedly challenged and it is this early experience of global fame and his complex family experience that are widely believed to be the cause of his strange persona.

His eccentric behaviour challenged the norm but most controversially accusations of child abuse remain entwined with this figures biography. Though this persists simply as a minor footnote amongst the rapidly paling skin, incredible shrinking nose and recent promises of a fifty gig marathon at London's 02 Arena. Mr Jackson spent years and millions side-stepping various accusations of indecency with children and miraculously managed to avoid the kind of retribution a mere mortal could have not escaped. Any right thinking parent would not allow their naked pubescent sons to be jettisoned into the home of a middle aged man, though it seems that the weak are so impressed by fame and fortune that all proper judgement rapidly evaporates.

What is clear is that Michael Jackson lacked the sort of moral compass that even the most stupid of you become familiar with. If normal run of the mill 'you' decided to construct a child's playground and ask local children round to play and have a sleep-over, most of your peers would rush to call the nearest child protection agency, though the parasitic entourage of the rich and famous may simply raise an eyebrow and dish out the ice-cream. Such is the twisted drive you have to mix with the legendary whatever the legendary may be engaging in. What is clear is that Michael Jackson abused himself to such an extent that he no longer bared even the slightest resemblance to the endearing child he once was. My speculation of his reasons for this outrageous metamorphoses are just as irrelevant as anyone's.

What is clear is that this apparently gifted individual full of promise and greatness continued to perform at huge cost to his own identity and well-being, this manifested in bizarre, inappropriate and irresponsible behaviour that should not be excused simply because of his contribution to music however great that music was. So as Michael Jackson's crumbling kingdom is scrabbled over repackaged and exploited by his nearest and dearest his legacy will not simply be his occasionally great music, but a lingering feeling of disquiet and unease, a sensation that has infected your culture regarding the motivations of all your men.

Michael Jackson was the first huge star accused of child abuse it catapulted the reality of child molestation into the mainstream and over the last few decades this apparent epidemic has associated men of all ages and sexualities with the foulness of abuse. This association forces men to question the most innocent hug or physical gesture to a child, be it son, or nephew or family friend the innocent non-sexual love of a child has been eroded, as a result children have less hugs and less affection from their loved ones, for currently the most innocent of adult male fears the accusation of inappropriate acts.

This is not simply due to Michael Jackson of course though the prurient exploration and sensationalist exaggeration of such tales has sold papers and continues to sell papers, and the press will continue to paint a picture of a globe filled with child molesters simply to sell more ill informed rags.

So My Dearest Darlings do not let the exaggerated tales of abuse tarnish the love of your children, a hug is a fundamental human need, a desire to feel close to another quietens the existential angst that is an inevitable and horrific component of your time on this God-forsaken planet.

As ever my thoughts are with the family of the bereaved.

Love the Amazing Coco LaVerne