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February 08, 2005

Michael Jackson, Secular Sex & The War on Terror

I've been watching more VH1 than ever recently. My Tivo misrecoreded and I got stuck with 60 minutes of a 90 minute documentary on the Gloved One. I think that Michael Jackson is going down because he's guilty.

Jackson is guilty of thinking that he could trust children. When he his found guilty, it's going to destroy him. He won't be right for a decade. It will be interesting to see Michael Jackson on the other side of this, but what's going to happen in immediate future is fairly easy to guess.

First of all, anyone who sees this documentary as I did, will finally understand Jackson's weirdness. This is the first time any explanation made perfect logical sense to me. Sparing you the details, Jackson believed all sex was damnibly evil according to the principles of Jehovah's Witnesses. The cleanest possible sex, therefore would be sex with children. At most, probably dry humping and touching through clothes, but who knows really? This is the guy who read the bible to prostitutes sent up to his room.

Why Michael Jackson decided that he needed to be purer than anyone in the world is anybody's guess. But the unintended consequence of it was that he couldn't simply screw chicks like an ordinary dude. Screwing chicks, and I use this terminology purposefully, would have saved his soul from a jury of his peers. However, Mr. Jackson felt the need to be extraordinary. His prison was of his own creation, something he couldn't escape partially because he was always wealthy enough to keep it functional.

Bottom line. Jackson is a victim of his own tortured psyche. By refusing the dirt of the world, his unique dirt has no sympathy in the world. He never learned to make lemonade from life's lemons. Instead, he sought the company of people in his own narrow emotional niche. Boy stars, boy cripples, Vienna choirboys, those enchanted with a naive innocent boy's eye view of the world.

The interesting thing is that it's not too difficult to believe that Jackson's perversion is not particularly shocking. The story of how he became to be a pedophile is more shocking and intersting than the perversity of what I believe to be the alleged crimes. Our taboo's [in]appropriate as they may be are sufficient to put him under the jail, but I hardly expect that the evidence will show Jackson to be a predator. Think of the evil genius who obsessively strokes his cat. It's not normal, but is the cat really harmed?

We know, or perhaps we in the lay public only think we know, how vicious and sick child predators can be. And there is plenty about our society that makes it damned near impossible to grow up straight given our general inability to talk straight about sex. So it's going to be difficult to get perspective on exactly how sick an entertainer with a dirty sinner boy's view of sex is.

For one thing, the revelations about the source of Jackson's dysfunction is more of an indictment of the Jehovah's Witnesses than anything. Their moral constraints on sex cause an insurmoutable conflict for Jackson, as they must for anyone with any moderate amount of contact with contemporary American society. Even as I think about Witnesses I have known, the parallels are striking. Jackson, and possibly millions of other Americans, are psychologically damaged by draconian restrictions on sexual expression to the point at which no sexual act can be considered moral, but rather a necessary evil.

That there are sects of Christianity that impose such restrictions on sex, it is the fact that America is a secular democracy that gives us the right to laws which supercede such 'wills of God'. (And we secularists hope (to God?) that Iraqis choose wisely in this regard).

I think it is arguable that we are sexier people because we Americans must deal with this sexual duality. If Prince couldn't scandalize us, he wouldn't be sexy. If the Moral Majority hadn't piped up, Janet's would be just another boob. The very fact that there is something to virginity in the American psyche is what made Britney Spears whatever it was that she was. Oh yeah, a sex symbol. America creates and markets sex symbols on a daily basis. It's a huge economy that would flop over dead in a truly libertine society. Sexual liberty (freedom under the law) is a very large part of the capital L Liberty that we cherish. It should surprise no one that when we raise our hackles against other societies we look at the status of women. One of the first questions we ask is whether their women can be sexy or not. I'm not saying we're right or that our judgement is sound in any case, but we ask all the same. After all, why would any American care about 'female genital mutilation'? Because we think of sexual pleasure as a fundamental right, a measure of liberty.

So denying freedom to Michael Jackson, a sex symbol if there ever was one, strikes a deep chord. There must be a great deal of righteousness attending this matter, because we will need to strike a blow for the right kind of sexual freedom. We'll draw a line in the sand. We'll send a message. We'll say 'never again'.

It's too bad that we couldn't have gotten over this hump with Gary Condit. The death of Chandra Levy was a great deal more scandalous in all kinds of dimensions than Jacksons bumps and grinds, dirty as they may be. But there's the unwritten rule that only black men truly exemplify evils. White men may offend and make errors in judgement. They may even become tragic anti-heros, but only the black man can embody the spirit of wrong. And in case you forgot, we have a black serial killer too. There are two white exceptions to the embodiment of evil rule, however. They are Clinton and Bush. Other than that, we save our best hateration for the uppity and errant. Condit might have broken that cycle, but instead some lunatics dropped a bomb on our moral circus and we had to get serious.

Today, however, there is no question about who is legitimately in the White House. We have given our souls back to the Beatles again and the Patriots are victorious. The Iraqis have spoken loud and clear in defense of democracy. Rice and Gonzales have integrated the top jobs in government service to the astonishment of nobody, and Cheech and Chong are getting back together. In other words, all is well with America, so we can get back to the mindless business of moral mythologies. By the way, I keep forgetting to mention because I kept forgetting that everyone forgot about terrorism marring the Rose Parade or the Super Bowl.

We're complacent again. What a country!

It is my sincere hope that our complacency has not taken place in a vaccuum. We should by now have been hardened to the concepts of 'advanced interrogation' and unilateralism. We should already be nice and deaf to the lamentations of Sudanese women and babies in our complacency. This hardness will prepare us for the inevitable dirty bombs and ugliness to come in the asymmetrical war we wage on behalf of truly free people in the first world and the hope that the rest of the planet hopes this way. I think we are properly reserving our rage for the right enemies, and we are prepared to spill the right amount of blood in our righteous indignation.

But I do worry that we may not have enough money in the bank.

Chances are that, for the sanctity of family and the protection of children, such a deviant as Michael Jackson will be removed from the public and sent to his doom under some prison somewhere. He's sure to get his due process. And most certainly every American with an opinion will note that justice was done. By the time he gets out of jail, we'll have our Megan's Law databases indexed by Google with alerts automatically emailed just in case he is released to a halfway house in our immediate vicinity. In fact, we'll know about all of the sexual predators and violent offenders by then, if the current trends continue. but I wonder if we'll be any safer from those who are truly after our balls.

Posted by mbowen at February 8, 2005 11:07 AM

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"At most, probably dry humping and touching through clothes..."

You make this sound like it is no big deal. It is a HUGE deal -- these boys will question their sexual identity forever.

"Think of the evil genius who obsessively strokes his cat. It's not normal, but is the cat really harmed?"

I know that this is a blog and that you are writing from the top of your head, but you do not really believe this do you? Yes, the cat is harmed permanently -- talk to any victim of sexual abuse, even those that were merely touched as opposed to penetrated. The danger increases even more when it is male on male abuse. Boys molested by men often become men who molest boys.

Posted by: J at February 9, 2005 08:35 AM

While I can agree with most of what you say I think there is a whole lot more to the story than his mother's faith in Jehovah's Witness. This is, after all, a guy who became a commodity. He was a money-making machine for a whole lot of people. He had lawyers, doctors (God knows he had doctors!!), trainers, advisors, publicists, record company execs, photographers, camera men, realtors, maids, cooks, etc. Could no one bother to stop and see what was going on with their product and do something about it? That is the least that they could do if they wanted to protect their investment in time and effort. That they could not is damning to that whole industry. Here is a kid who was so talented that a record company put him on a lifetime retainer of millions per year and they couldn't be bothered to look out for his best interests even if it was also in their own best interests. Walk on by, nothing to see there, nothing they could do. Amazing!!

And now the kid has grown up to be what??? Do we even know and does that industry care at all about the kid behind the mask. No, they have built up a huge publicity machine for and against. I understand that they are paying millions to the city were the trial is being held for the rights to publicize this whole mess.

Personally I was never a big fan of Michael Jackson. He was a cute kid with some talent and he moved well when he danced, but I thought his voice was kinda thin and whiny. However, much as I think he should be punished for what he did if indeed he did what he is accused of, I also think that the whole show business aspect of this mess is going way too far. I also wonder what possessed the parents of the kids who went along with this to do so. Given the case he paid off 10 or so years ago for this same thing he is now accused of, whyever would you put your child into such a position.

All in all I think the whole mess is an indictment of an industry, a part of society, a hunger for the latest thrill. The sooner we get this taken care of and off the pages of the news the better. Given the publicity that it has already gotten, I really do wonder if Michael Jackson can get any kind of a reasonably fair trial to begin with anywhere in the country. I do believe he is guilty but I also think he deserves his day in court and should be granted the rights he is guaranteed in the constitution.

Posted by: Anonymous at February 9, 2005 08:54 AM

Understand first of all that I am generally taking issue with American sensibilities. I think that the chatting classes have become much too delicate and that our sensitivies are out of perspective. I am saying our obsession with cleanliness is very much like Michael Jackson's. It is because we share a deep understanding of the morality of celibacy, we associate chastity with goodness, that we have elevated this story beyond its real significance.

Associating chastity with goodness is the very error that has created Jackson's conflict.

If I were a psychiatrist, I'm fairly sure that I could make a very persuasive argument that a great deal more damage would have been done had Jackson actually seduced these youth and gotten them to like him despite the confusion and pain. I argue that some 'wrong touching', which by our values are forbidden and illegal, are not the same as sexual predation. That given the power and wealth of Michael Jackson, if he were truly a menace, he could have done a great deal more damage. But in fact he is something of a Peter Pan figure.

I acknowledge that Jackson has crossed the line. For once and finally I think I understand where he's coming from. As I said, I know Jehovah's Witnesses, (most of them fallen) and understand about them what most people understand about the stereotype of the Catholic school girl gone wild in college.

I believe Jackson has done less than date rape, but that prosecutors will look for a much harsher sentence and that the entire spectre of child molestation will color this manner. The question is, on a scale of one to ten, how much of a child molester is Jackson. I think maybe a 3, where the 'Charles Manson' of child predation would be a 10.

What then is the harm done to the children? It is what it is, but if the American sensibility towards 'zero tolerance' rules the day, then we share the same problems as Michael Jackson's mother. Shouldn't she be on trial too?

I think that those boys will question their sexual identity forever if Jackson made them orgasm. If not, a normal sex life will obliterate the question.

Posted by: Cobb at February 9, 2005 09:12 AM