Saturday, June 27, 2009
Michael Jackson's Spirit Died Years Ago... and We Killed It.
(If you don't read a word I've typed here, or if you disagree with everything I'm saying, at least watch this. This fan video was made 2 years ago...and I think its the perfect tribute today.)
Yesterday I mentioned on Facebook that I had a lot to say about Michael Jackson's life and death, but that I wasn't sure it was appropriate for me to blog about it. I didn't want to come across like I was exploiting it in any way, like I feel a lot of the media/bloggers are doing. But I got a lot of positive feedback saying it was OK to speak my mind, so I will.
First of all, I have to get this off of my chest: my heart goes out to the hundreds (or thousands?) of people in Iran who have been killed over the past few days. I hope this, N. Korea, Darfur and the rest of the world's injustices will get back into the forefront of the news ASAP.
...and back to Michael: I have so many thoughts going through my head about this. Hopefully it will make sense to you. If nothing else, it helps to vent about it. I'm really touched by how MANY people are affected by his passing. Whether you know it or not, or whether you want to admit it or not, his life has most likely affected yours in some way or another. There are people out there right now who live and breathe Michael Jackson. I personally believe these people have an unhealthy devotion to him, and I pray (or whatever my equivalent would be...haven't figured it out yet) that these people do not harm themselves in any way.
Because I feel that he is finally now at peace, I'm not one of those people who shed a tear when he passed, or who is having trouble dealing with it. But I do recognize the impact he's had on me over the years. If I wrote a list of the songs and the videos and the events that he helped create that were part of my own history, this blog would go on forever.
But I'd like to talk more about him personally, than his music/talent. I personally believe that Michael probably engaged in inappropriate conduct with children. I don't think he was a predator like most, and I don't think he inflicted any physical pain. And it probably was more of isolated events involving cuddling, etc. Inappropriate, but not graphic. I think he was a broken human being who was stunted at an early age, and as a 30, 40, 50 year old man, truly thought he was 10 years old.
I think he was abused physically by his father for years, which already started the process of creating a broken man. Then he was exposed to sexual acts WAY too early. I remember hearing about a time when he was forced to hide under a bed and listen/watch one of his older brothers have sex, because his father thought it would make him "more of a man." I guess he'd been too sweet a child, and his father was worried he'd grow up to be gay.
This was more abuse. And its definitely a HUGE debate whether or not someone should be pardoned for abuse if they were abused themselves. That's HUGE. There will never be a right answer. Even within myself, I'm torn. Chris Brown said he was abused by his father and watched his father beat his mother. Michael Jackson was abused. Why can I understand Michael but not understand Chris? It makes no sense to me, and I'll probably be trying to figure this one out for the rest of my life.
I just think that Michael snapped at an early age. He snapped from physical abuse, from horrific mental/emotional abuse from his father, from pressure, from being one of the most well-known people in the WORLD before the age of 16, from having all the money in the world before he could vote, from ridicule, from praise...from everything.
I've always related to Howard Hughes. Not sure if you know much about him...he was who the Leonardo Dicaprio film "Aviator" was based on. And if you've seen any of his documentaries...it's fascinating. He was a genius. He was also entangled in his own insanity for most of his life. He suffered extreme OCD, as I think Michael must have. He was slowly going mad just as he was reaching the height of his fame.
Michael reminds me a lot of Howard Hughes.
And finally, his appearance. I truly believe Michael Jackson had Body Dysmorphic Disorder, severe OCD, suffered from physical, mental, and sexual abuse, and was EXTREMELY addicted to pain killers and opiates.
Anyone who's ever had an addiction to anything--especially chemical--knows how hard it is to stop. And if someone is feeding that to you every day and never telling you to stop, and if you're in SO much emotional pain every day because you've gone mad, this is what happens. Michael is what happens.
It confuses me as to why the Wayans Bros. are sending their condolences to the Jackson family. They've made fun of that man for nearly 20 years, first with In Living Color and then in some of their latest films. A lot of the reaction from people who made fun of him his whole career surprises and confuses me.
And the people who make fun of his death, I'll never, EVER understand. Those people should just keep their mouths shut if they can't find a respectful thing to say. They're entitled to their opinions (and to voice them, unfortunately), but would you say the same thing about a handicapped person who'd recently passed away? About a person with cancer? Because these things couldn't be helped once they started, and neither could Michael's afflictions. To me, it's the same thing.
The title of this blog post will probably offend a lot of people. And it is not my intention to make anyone feel worse about this. I just think we should own up to it. If you have ever laughed at a joke at Michael Jackson's expense, you contributed to the deterioration of his spirit. It's just true. I'm guilty of it. I don't know many people who aren't guilty of it.
But I hope that what we can do now is not take people for granted. If for a MOMENT over the past 24 years the world treated Michael the way MTV has been treating him for the past 24 hours, he might still be here.
Tomorrow is not promised. Cliche' as it may be, it is TRUTH. We have to stop breaking each other down. We have to stop with the cattiness and the negativity just for negativity's sake. You're going to treat your friends and family with respect. That's (hopefully) a given. But how about the strangers you pass by every single day of your life? How about the people you get SO angry with for driving "too slow" so you can't make that important appointment...that you won't think about a week later.
When I was in 5th grade, our teacher gave us all one sheet of paper. She told us to carry it with us over the following 24 hours, and each time something hurt us: we were called a name by a bully, or we were made fun of for any reason, or we were disappointed by someone, jealous, angry, etc--we were to tear a piece of the paper off. And the tear should be the size of the pain.
The next day, almost everyone--every 11 year old, mind you--had a TINY piece of this paper remaining. EVERYONE. The ones with the expensive clothes. The ones who got the best seats at lunch because everyone wanted to sit with them. The white ones. The black ones. The hispanic ones. The asian ones. The middle eastern ones. EVERYONE had gone through so much pain over the past 24 hours. This is what they felt like each day.
And we did this to each other.
We can start today putting those pieces back on. We can repair the damage starting today. Small things, big things. Just an effort. The easiest and most affordable thing you can do for a stranger to help us ALL heal?
Posted by arlan at 11:37 AM