Friday, June 25, 2010

Human Nature and Doubt.

I've never been a Michael Jackson fan. Just never really appealed to me. I was a kid when Thriller came out, probably fifth grade or so. Everyone else was caught up in the fever that hit, but it just wasn't something I latched on to. As he aged, there seemed to be so many odd things that came out about his life, and it was easy to dismiss him as an out-of-control pop star. Neverland, the sleepovers with kids, the odd friendships he struck with other celebrities -- they all seemed like something that someone empty did to fulfill a vision. When the trials were held over molestation charges, it made sense. An odd duck's real secret came out. I never gave it much thought; like too many people in the United States I tend to believe that charges equal guilt. After his death, there have been so many depictions of what his life was like, all showing him in a very sympathetic light. I've not ever watched any them -- again, it's because of lack of interest. Tonight, on the anniversary of his death, I got sucked into one of these docudramas. I found myself really thinking about this man. Such a sad life. Just a misfit his whole life, and one that everyone wanted a piece of. Before, I'd always assumed that the stories of molestation rang true. Now, I find myself questioning these assumptions. This man identified with children as opposed to adults. He had so much love in his life for which he seemingly had no outlet. There are people in my life that I can easily see sleeping in a bed with without any sexual overtones. You can love and want to simply be sweet with them and share your adoration without any discomfort or additional impulses. It dawned on me that if I can easily understand this about myself, I am a total hypocrite for not being able to see it in someone else. No one knows for certain, other than the man and the children with whom he spent time. When you stop and pay attention to a person's real story, the things that shaped them, the hurt they were never able to overcome, the real motivations that spurred them onward, your outlook about that person changes, too. At least if you have a heart. I'll never be a fan. I'll never sport a "I Heart MJ Forever" tee shirt. I'll always ride on the fence on what I think about his dalliances with children. As with so many other people and events, I am far more willing to be hopeful about character and disappointed than completely jaded and filled with unjustified blame. To quote a self-described angster rap artist, "Just because someone over thirty plays with a child that isn't their own, doesn't mean they're a pedophile. Some people are just nice."

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