My sister told me that Michael Jackson had died while I was half-asleep (following an incredibly early work morning). And I didn’t believe her so I consulted the internet and noticed multiple friends’ facebook statuses confirmed that this was true; Michael Jackson is indeed deceased.
And while the entire world is mourning his death because of his music, showmanship and whack-job antics that kind of place him among circus freak sideshow acts (though a lot higher-priced) and everyone is so saddened and shocked, I will admit this: I was definitely shocked. And even got two text messages from equally shocked friends. But my first thought rather than “what a great loss”, was “what a great comfort it must be to the children he abused, that their abuser is no more.”
Believe what you want, readers (if there are any); no, we certainly can’t “prove” that Michael Jackson was a child molester, and he was technically proven innocent in a court of law because of unwillingness of victim participation first, then because of an unreliable psuedo-stage parent or something (I didn’t do my research to make this claim simply because I don’t feel like it – however, I’m going by memory here and that’s what my memory served me). However, in my eyes, he did what he did. In my strong opinion, he is a child molestor and although he was aqcuited by the justice system, the justice system (and /or ‘victim’ shame) failed the abuse survivors who made the allegations. I think that Jackson knows how and who to manipulate, as most child abusers do; they pick the kid who is least likely to tell, the kid that needs a father or brother figure, the kid who wants money or fame, the kid whose parents will be ‘unreliable’ in court, giving him a guilt-free parting from jail. And he did that. The first accuser was unwilling in court to partake, and I can’t blame the kid at all; anyone who understands child abuse can understand that the shame of admitting your abuser’s acts in front of the media, your parents, strange adults, scary high-priced lawyers and so on is too much burden for a kid to carry; perhaps it’s easier to let the abuser walk and not have to deal with it. Perhaps this is why there are many child molestors walking free at this very moment, self-satisfied that they got some free kicks and satisfied their twisted fetishes without any reprecussions.
Anyway, here’s the point I want to make, and you can relate it to Michael Jackson or not; because I feel close to the crimes I know he committed, I don’t want to give him any respect, because I think his atrocities outweigh his legacies. Yet so often when people die, be it celebrities or community members or friends of friends and so on… we ignore the bad things that they did and only focus on the ‘goodness’ they left behind. And unlikeable people are treated to something along the lines of; “I know we didn’t get along, but you were great and I really miss you” from their enemies. And my question is, does it make your guilt in hating someone that much easier if you pretend, in the face of death, not to hate them? Is that the reason why people give the decesased their full attention, regardless of who they are?
On Queer as Folk once, they dealt with this question when Brian Kinney’s father dies in the first season; while his friends are speaking at the funeral and telling him how sorry they are, Brian refuses to acknowledge his father kindly at all. Because, as he says, “if you don’t earn respect when you’re alive, you don’t deserve it when you’re dead.”
I’m sorry to hear of anyone’s passing; I never would wish death on anyone, no matter how great their crimes were/are. I don’t believe in the death penalty or karma involving violence. I simply don’t think that wishing violence or death on anyone solves any kinds of problems at all. However, I would be comforted as a survivor, if my abuser died. And that’s just how I feel. No matter what they did that was good or life-shaping or iconic…. that doesn’t change the fact that someone’s life could have potentially ruined. Thus, Michael Jackson is dead. And I don’t really have any comforting eulogies to offer.