Monday, July 04, 2005

king of po(o)p.

I switched on a music channel today to see if I could catch any news on the live 8 concert. I certainly did not expect to see what I did find: the music channel was airing a documentary on Michael Jackson. The world can be a very cynical, sick place sometimes.

The man is a prime symbol of body dysmorphic disorder. ok, he just needs psychological help. But excuse me, he just went on trial for child sexual abuse… and were pulling a “we love you Michael”?? I felt sick and furious.

The court case turned out, predictably, to be a farce. Yeah right, all those kids were lying, and our man was the poor maligned dear wasn’t he. Why was I so cynical? Because of this. Because the (self proclaimed) most free nation on earth had refused to sign the UN charter guaranteeing the rights of its children to protect them against precisely this danger. Are you really surprised that he got off?

Admittedly I don’t see much TV, or read the newspapers often. Also I did make it a point to avoid the trial as far as possible - there are some things that I find simply too sickening to stomach. But when I happened to see any reporting during that court case, there was invariably a glimpse of fans screaming and cheering Mr. Jackson on his way to and from the court room.

What struck me was that I didn’t see a single placard saying “we love you Gavin Arvizo”, or "We admire you Gavin Arvizo". Or for that matter “don’t let the bastards make you feel bad, Gavin”.

What were all those fans screaming “we love you Michael” thinking of? Some of them were certainly old enough to have families of their own. Did they wonder how they would feel if their child was abused and the abuser was cheered on? Did they wonder how a terminally ill child would cope with the trauma of abuse in addition to his already huge burden?

Alright, so that was only one group of adults. There are still millions in the world. The next bunch I came across had decided to boost their viewership ratings by playing one of the mans songs on every show they had, screening documentaries on him and so on. The same channel also screens live 8 concerts. Oh wow. Talk about sincerity and honesty in politics.

Ever thought about how all those abused kids are going to feel when they flip the tv on and keep seeing their abuser? What message have we sent them? We have just declared again loudly, that we do not care for them. Let them hurt: we would so much rather turn our eyes away and not deal with our dirty baggage.

We have failed the children yet again.

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21 Comments:

Anonymous Chandrashekar said...

Why do you want to suspect the worst? Maybe the guy is innocent.You admit you havent been following the trial all that closely. Still you seem to a pretty harsh judgement about him. talk about having an open mind....

Remember that he was from a pretty poor family and grew up the hard way.Agreed that he has done some pretty neurotic stuff with his face and skin but doesnt mean he is a child molester.People start all these kinds of things in US for entertaiment. Doesnt mean it is true.The people cheering him want to say that they think he is innocent.They know such things are happening in america but they dont think Micheal is doing it.Whats so wrong with it?

You have a prejudiced mindset againgst the guy....thats the problem.

4:05 am  
Blogger m. said...

@ chandrashekar: hmm. if its called open minded to keep disbelieving the victim and encouraging the abuser, why then im certainly closet minded.

so what if he was from a poor family? poverty is not a licence to be depraved.

i threw out any stuff i had related to mr. jackson quite a while back.... i certainly have a strong bias against people who are repeatedly accused of molesting.

1:18 am  
Blogger krishna canchi said...

ur conclusions are unusually unfounded. the US not endorsing the UN charter doesnt mean every child-molester will be acquitted there!!and prolly MJ is really innocent. hmm..but i do understand..an affluent, crazy-looking celebrity on one side - and the pitiable kids on the other...emotions tend to overtake logic.

5:15 am  
Blogger KoPoS said...

You dont trust the law or the courts? A law unto yourself giving out judgements without giving the accused a chance to talk?

Not fair, m.

6:56 am  
Blogger wooaaooww said...

Me in total agreement with m!

10:26 am  
Blogger Sriram K said...

I seem to have strong views on your blogs, often from a different view point than you. I am not going to argue much this time. I am just trying to be brief here. Pardon me if I sound harsh.

I would like to point out some principles extremely important in a democracy -- law enforcement (not legislation), fair trial, and due process. More on any of these if folks are interested.

There are some interesting definitions of dictatorship. There is a lot of literature out there and I won't go into details. When a community decides to convict someone just for the heck of it, it is still classified as dictatorship. Get where I am going?

As for U.S., I believe they have enough laws to support children. Try to look up child endangerment, if not child pronography or child sexual abuse. U.S. believes its justice system is fairer than most (and I wouldn't question that claim, though I loathe it). Hence it believes in trying people itself.

I follow the U.S. justice system. It is not fool proof. But it is pretty darn good. I may not (and do not) agree with many laws or processes. But try to look at other countries and you will know what I am talking about.

Signing a U.N. charter means nothing if one forgets it later. There are too many laws around the world and too little enforcement.

11:38 am  
Blogger Senthil said...

Hmmm... I have not been following the case, or any of the past cases on him. Not knowing the facts related to this one, I can only point out that it is possible that the accused party is innocent without the kid actually lying. I have read about cases where psychoanalysts, in the process of finding out if the child has been abused or not, have inadvertently planted 'memories' of abuse in the child... so it gets rather convoluted.

3:33 am  
Anonymous Charu said...

in any case, this whole 'aid for the desperate devleoping world' (read, usually Africa) is highly suspect... are they begging for charity?
and you are absolutely right about this repsonse to M- bad enough that he walked away scot free - amazing how public memory cna be so short...
while on this, have you read this - I had posted it on my blog - "MJ has come full cirlce - from poor black man to rich white woman" :)

9:46 am  
Blogger sumandatta said...

strange...a lone person sitting miles away...having confessed to not following the trial...passes judgement against a human being! yeah michael is as much a human being as those kids!

even our mahatma gandhi hav had to deal with rumours abt immorality...wht wud u say to tht? u wud give him a clean chit just coz he's 'brown skinned'???

u hav no idea how much woe u r bringing to the world by ur 'feminist' and 'brown-skinned' bias ... thts a whole new and worse breed of racism.

and yeah...we LOVE michael!

2:22 am  
Blogger sensiblystoned said...

Alright enough is enough. Ive got two words for MJ, "You Suck", big time and he makes kids do that to him. Jury - bullshit. In the same county where MJ went to trial, there were two other celebrity trials and both were won by the defendant. Why? How? go figure out yourselves guys.

If MJ is not guilty then O.J.Simpson is a saint. I dont think anybody is aware of the fact that about 10yrs back MJ made an out of court settlement on a similar child molestation case. Do you know the exact number of "new kids" MJ had in his entourage every year. It was like he had a favorite kid for a couple of years and took him wherever MJ went. Then after MJ was "done" with him, it was the turn of another new kid. To all you MJ fans go watch Bashar's documentry on MJ.

And sumandatta, feminism and brown-skinned bias is better than be a paedophile.

6:59 am  
Blogger krishna canchi said...

wat is the meaning of "paedophile"?

1:35 pm  
Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Michael Jackson is revolting. Even without the added stench of possible paedophilia.

BUT - if you bring back lynch law, if you consider him guilty just because he's weird and has been accused, beware. Next time round they may come for YOU.

If you're prepared to pay that price, go ahead and lynch him.

If not, believe that a man is innocent until proven guilty.

And if you really feel strongly about it, find a kid whom he did abuse and build up a case that's airtight. THEN you can hang the weirdo. Not lynch him.

J.A.P.

10:23 pm  
Blogger sumandatta said...

"go watch Bashar's documentry on MJ"...

well stoned(sensibly?), speaking of documentaries there cudnt hav been a more frightening one than michael moores' 9/11 and yet the ppl got bush re -elected!!

celebrity trials are always biased- "against" the celebrity...its natural human phenomenon to pull down succesful ppl out of sheer jealousy and frustration of the common life we live.....we hav always loved to see our heroes fall...thts why they burnt "joan of arc" at the stake...

and sensiblystoned, to say blind feminism and brownskin racism is better than paedophilia is like saying cutting of an arm is better than killing a guy...there IS no 'lesser evil'......

and finally, if u believe a acquitted MJ is guilty, then u hav no faith in the law of ur country! how the hell r u managing to get a good night's sleep? why rnt u blaming the judge/jury/lawyers??

3:44 am  
Blogger livinghigh said...

hey m,
thanx for dropping by. so are u a member at CSF?

5:20 am  
Blogger sensiblystoned said...

For krishna: paedophile means an adult who is sexually attracted to
children.

For sumandatta: I think you can drop any intended sarcasm that you have for my blog identity. Its not going to take you anywhere.

You got to give credit to Bush for being re-elected despite the fact that a movie showing how inept he was, was running in theatres all over the country. Bush was re-elected by a bunch dumb $%#&'s. His vote bank was a strong mid-west, red-neck and illiterate bunch of clowns. So, if inspite of all the damning evidence against him, close to 12million people can elect him, the same can be said for those 12 $%&* on the jury.

I think celebrity trials are biased against the victim. Just look at OJ and MJ. Do you realise that more than 50% of the jury would have listened to MJ one time or the other, or could have been a fan one time or the other. Whatever you have to tell me, its NOT OK to sleep with kids in bed. If its your own kid I understand not with some kid whom you like or whom you meet. Maybe you would let your kid sleep with MJ.

sumandatta, when I read your response to my post, I dont see you defending MJ against some of the facts Ive mentioned
"I dont think anybody is aware of the fact that about 10yrs back MJ made an out of court settlement on a similar child molestation case. Do you know the exact number of "new kids" MJ had in his entourage every year. It was like he had a favorite kid for a couple of years and took him wherever MJ went. Then after MJ was "done" with him, it was the turn of another new kid."

Instead you seem more intent on convicting me for hearsay. My belief in the law? I dont know which part of India you are from, but let me give you an example. 5-6 years ago there was a case called the John David case. David was a senior in one of the engineering colleges and Navarasu was a junior just entering into college. Since Navarasu wouldnt submit to Davids command in the process of ragging, David went onto kill, cut the limbs and torso of Navarasu and dispose them. He was caught, convicted and released after 5 years in jail. Whats your take on that?

We can talk all we want about law, jury, judge all day. But the essence of this post is about MJ and not why his jury acquitted him.

8:36 am  
Blogger sumandatta said...

well right. this post IS abt MJ. and one cant speak abt MJ without talkin abt his music which i think is brilliant..."heal the world", "earth song","stranger in moscow"...u cant help love them...so lets not let his "crimes" taint his wonderful creations...u know it isnt those songs fault tht their creator turned out "bad" in other aspects...so i firmly condemn "throwing out all things MJ"....its unfair to his creations...

its like in vaastav the mom kills her criminal son but dis her love for him die?

condemn MJ for his crimes if u will, but do acknowledge his contribution to the musical fraternity...thts all i ask.

1:55 am  
Blogger m. said...

@everyone:

maybe i wasnt clear enough about what i was addressing in this post.

today its michael jackson, tomorrow its yet another highly influential youth icon.

1. what conclusions would a child draw from the case? that the adult world will always by default disbelieve him/her rather than the offender? think of how much harder that makes it for the child to report abuse ... (that btw is a ground reality and poses a HUGE problem in tackling abuse cases.)

2. personal is political.

when i say i uphold the rights of children and am concerned about them, and then take a placard and go stand supporting a guy whos been accused of abuse several times and has a shady past.... what are my REAL politics? what is my core message? its not just my body standing there: its my intellect as well.

the same holds true for when i say i dislike what MJ did, and my sympathies are with the children - and then go and buy his cds, posters, mp3s and so on. im sorry. i dont think life can be compartmentalised like that. theres a constant connection between mind and action.

3. yes i believe in democracy. no i dont take the law into my hands though its very tempting at times. (violence is NOT a solution.) but tell me, how often has true justice been meted out?
when judges and courts can be bought, it is the poor person again, who MOST needs the protection of the law and does not get it because (s)he cannot buy it, becoming twice as vulnerable.

1:59 am  
Blogger Gaurav said...

At influential levels....law has normally failed...what happened with Bill Clinton....in India - Salman Khan, majority of political leaders, now Nawab Pataudi...all the people who can manipulate or play around with law (read have POWER) will in most cases escape from the power of democracy...in case of MJ we don;t know whether he actually molested or not...but still evidence was pointing against him...still he was declared innocent...HAPPENS!!! how can we trust the law in such cases....

p.s.: ur on blogroll
great blog...

2:30 am  
Blogger Mediochre said...

for all those people there who believe MJ is as pristine as his artificially-grafted-on, snow white skin : d'you know that he admitted to having been abused by his father when he was a child ? that a large proportion of abused, unconselled kids themselves become abusers ? that the avergae child abuser ruins the lives of about 100 kids (more boys than girls btw)?
& for those who have touching faith in the system, remember the computer adage - garbage in, garbage out. our systems are only as good and conscientious as the people who run them. so the verdict could be 1 thing, the reality another.

5:45 am  
Blogger krishna canchi said...

hey "sensibly stoned"
thanks for the explanation.
and one correction reg the navarasu story. John David was just another angry college senior who gave navarasu(his junior) a tight slap when he failed to obey during ragging..(it seems navarasu, son of Vice Chancellor, Madras University had too much airs about him)...it happened that the slap was a bit too strong for the weak guy, so much so that he died on the spot. and all the butchering that followed was out of shock, not being able to digest that hes KILLED someone and trying to escape...i dont mean to justify John David or ragging. just wanted to tell the facts, as i know them.

6:40 am  
Blogger Gaurav said...

Good ..
Hey You can view my Blog its also Good

5:49 am  

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