Michael Jackson. Bad or just pathetic?
A long time ago, in a town far far away, (Milton if you must know), there was a Michael Jackson fan.
He drove a yellow Datsun Sunny, sported an inadequate mullet, wore a stonewashed denim jacket and a pink wetsuit, often simultaneously, and had all the artistic creativity of a dead potato.
He was a product of the eighties and for those of you struggling to put two and two together, he was me.
My favourite Michael album was “Bad” and I could often be seen bopping around to Dirty Diana or Smooth Criminal with a callus indifference to things like rhythm or style.
Michael has hit the news again of late because of a new documentary called “Leaving Neverland” that has resurrected rumours of Michaels paedophilia.
The documentary is based around the testimony of two men who, as young boys, were once in Michaels inner circle and they have come out claiming that Michael sexually abused them and it has caused me to ponder afresh the enigma that was Michael Jackson.
The big Michael Jackson joke when I was younger was “Why did Michael name his album Bad? Because he couldn’t spell absolutely pathetic!” and as I look at his life, I ask myself the question. Was Michael bad or just really pathetic.
There seem to be only two options available.
One, he was either a serial child molester with an almost unbelievable disregard for his victims who abused his position of power, celebrity status and wealth to get away with his crimes over a long period of time.
Or two, an unbelievably broken, pathetic and yet innocent man, with deep phycological issues, who put himself in stupid and deeply troubling positions that left him open to allegations and inuendo, without the common sense to understand the possible consequences.
Even now years after his death I find it difficult to know what to think.
Was he one of the most incredibly gifted and insanely talented creative forces that the world has ever known?
Or was he a despicable monster who’s carefully constructed public image hid a dark and destructive secret?
Maybe he was both, I guess we may never know but it raises the following question.
Are we listening to the music of a monster or are we unfairly judging a flawed but decent man who can no longer defend himself?
I don’t know. I just don’t know.