Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Hostages of Neverland II

Part of what makes me a good writer is my willingness to trade places with people to get inside their heads. It's a form of reverse engineering. The last few days I've been asking myself – what would lead me to that?

Denial is a force to be reckoned with for all of us. In this case we aren't talking about an old, obese, tattooed woman in a tube top and Daisy Duke shorts, (or a drag queen with a 5-o'clock shadow) We are talking about a handsome black man who turned himself into a cartoon character.

Back in my wasted youth – we had the adage: "Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse." King of Pop appears to have missed out, by about 20 years, on the last part.

Initially my mind rejects the concept of plastic surgery addiction. Nobody wants to look like that! Of course not, but I can't confuse the end result with the beginning slide down the slippery slope. On the cover of "Thriller" he was a stone cold fox. The rumor mill suggests that his surgery odyssey started with burns from exploding fireworks on a set. Burns are hellishly painful. Okay, I’m there without a problem. So you have pain, get addicted to opiates – then the script runs out and craving sets in.

The King of Pop can't hit the streets looking for heroin. The mind says: "Hey, I need a nose job. Then I can have some more of that wonderful stuff." That twisted thinking is the trademark of an addict – right up until the "oh shit" moment when the plastic surgery goes wrong. Then there is the even greater pain of disfigurement that needs to be eased.

There you have it. Who is going to tell a very rich man that he's gone over the edge? A father might get into his son's face and tell him the truth: "You're a junkie! You're destroying your life!”

What is stronger: the truth or denial and addiction? (That's a no- brainer.)

If you want to add a twist of the knife – rumors of savage abuse suffered at the hands of said father, just to make sure that Dad can't do anything to help his son. (The irony that the abuse charges ricocheted back isn't lost on me, either.)

The result is an estranged, bitter father who watches his fabulously talented son degenerate until he has to disown that son in his heart or break from the pain. How could he not be heartbroken years before the singer's death? Heartbroken to the point where his son's death is a relief – you betcha! Shattered to the point where he can't even talk about it – but babbles about anything else because he can't stand the pain?

There you have it; another WTF moment brought to you by the makers of Oxicodone.

I have nothing but compassion for the hostages of Neverland. Their ordeal isn't over by a long shot.

"This carnival will be in town for a long – long time." (Keith Oberman, MSNBC)


Ms Kitty said...
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Ms Kitty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I got this from a dear friend, the Rev. Leviticus Jackson:

What I find disgusting is the train wreck that passes for "The Media". Entire careers will be built in the next six months using nothing more than an individual who is a text book case of money plus addiction. It is insane. The children have no chance until they get the hell out of that environment. There is so much money involved that a bunch of those jackals are helpless to stop themselves from trying to profit from it.

And what the hell is going on with those folks who want a memorial to the man/Joan Crawford lookalike? Artistic ability is certainly to be enjoyed, but when the individual being celebrated is so damaged as to turn himself into the major freak show of the era, well what can one say?

John Gibson would not have had a career without OJ, Keith O wound up talking about hummers, entire careers have been launched. This is different as there are children involved. We have no sense of decency, no respect for boundaries or awareness that there is more than enough pain to go around. People with inauthentic lives live vicariously in the news of celebrities and their attendant difficulties. Leaving flowers for Michael? I would like to ask when last they took a covered dish to a neighbour who lost a family member. The tabloid cable shows act as if we are all on intimate terms with the Jackson family. Not so.

The public is indeed the mob. Where is any sense of reserve. We do not know these people! We are not their friends! We are the public. Robert Bly wrote a book called "The Sibling Society" in which he talks about the familiarity we use in everyday life. It comes from not being properly instructed in civility when young.

My opinion, informed by my training, tells me that Joe Jackson is a sociopath pure and simple: he does not know that others are in possesion of a full compliment of feelings. He beat the crap out of everyone in that family. They all appear damaged. He was never wrong. He was just trying to help his kids get ahead and look how well he succeeded. The abuse is generational. His ex wife is a case study. She is an old woman. I wonder if she ever feels badly about her inability to protect the kids. She has had an especially difficult life when looking at her adult children. It is easy to criticize
when I am not part of the situation. It is a mess and nothing else.

All of the commentary is so much bovine flatulence. It does not matter. None of this is any of my business. They do not need so much as a card from me. Maybe my prayers are in order, but not much else. There is a quote from Teddy Roosevelt which is apropos.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
"Citizenship in a Republic," Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

That is about it.
Stay Well,

Rev. Leviticus Jackson