Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Denied Michael Jackson Post

I said on flickr that this picture was all I was going to say about Michael Jackson.

this is all i have to say about

But I lied. This article has been circulating on twitter faster than a speeding bullet, and more often, too. (I've actually never seen a speeding bullet circulate, so that's not saying much, I guess.) The article really has me kind of weirded out, as does the excessive "ReTweeting" of the article. I guess this is one of the weird things about twitter- because of the size limits of the messages you can send, the "tweets" are sent out of context. I can retweet an article or link or post without any context. Does posting an article mean I support it? Hate it? Think it's bizarre? The amount of retweeting this article makes me think people like it. Basically, the article is short, and you should read it yourself, but the take home message by the author Earl Ofari Hutchinson is that Michael Jackson was not a child molester, and that continuing to call him that is a disservice. The public only can do this because there was no trial- MJ settled out of court, and people hold the settlement as proof of guilt: "The settlement under extreme duress must not sully his name and place as an honored American icon. The myth of Jackson as child molester must finally be buried."

The article is from Black Politics on the Web, which is a site I had never heard of before, but claims to be "online community featuring political news & information geared towards the African-American community." I read this article as essentially apologist and strange. I never follow the ins and outs of celebrity hijinks, but really, this is it?

You can guess where I'm going next: a Racialicious article by Joseph Shahadi that takes a much more sincere look at the man and the legend, and the pedophilia. Again, you should read the article (it's a little longer) but here's a peak: "Most importantly, Michael Jackson’s name had become synonymous with child sexual abuse. He paid out millions to the families of boys who’d accused him of molestation. And, while he was acquitted, that was not a definitive vote of confidence in Jackson’s innocence." There we go- less apology, more subtext. A deeper look:

"I can't let that discomfort, or even my own nostalgia and love of his music completely overshadow my conviction that we should be talking about the sexual abuse of children when we talk about Michael Jackson. If we excuse his behavior–sleeping with young boys (which he described as “a beautiful thing”, giving them alcohol, presenting himself as their peer etc.–then we are handing a defense to men who behave similarly and that is not acceptable to me.


Michael Jackson was both an iconic star and a pedophile, and these identities do not contradict each other."

And I can't sit here and watch people mindlessly re-tweet ridiculous, simplistic articles that hide disturbing aspects of a legend. It's awesome to revere Michael Jackson and his music. It's awesome to question things, too.