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You Got It all Wrong, Jacko

June 30, 2009

This is not a eulogy to a man who was perhaps one of the greatest performers’ the world has seen. That he gave us some of the best pop hits goes without saying. Some of his numbers are also very soulful. He could captivate the audience so completely that young girls would break into tears – such was the frenzy when he performed. His magnetic hold over his fans, I presume was also the reason for his downfall.

Michael Jackson was a very simple, fragile and good human being. His stardom was such that heads of state would feel honored to be in his presence. The boy who would be beaten black and blue by his father if he got one dance step wrong and later would vomit at the sight of his father, grew up to be a very gentle human being who could harm no one. I do not know whether many people know that Michael was a vegetarian. He could not understand as to why we need to kill another living being to fill our stomach? He loved kids as he never really grew up. He was strong enough to have kept the child in him alive. He had had no childhood as he was a child prodigy and his childhood was spent running from one studio to another.

He was also the first Black superstar that the world had seen. His fan following was global. Yet to be a Black and successful is a huge burden in America. Many say he paved the way for a future Black president. He knew he had step on others toes when he had such phenomenal success. His response was also childlike – he tried to be like them. Innumerable plastic surgeries made him look weird. They kept baying for his blood. People came forward claiming that he had molested children. He gave away millions to keep the wolves at bay. And that was his undoing. The wolves smelt blood and they kept coming back. He was handcuffed and paraded like a common criminal. He was humiliated and the child in him could not understand as to why they were doing this to him? It is said that the FBI made him strip and gave him a ‘thorough’ physical checkup. His humiliation was complete. The pressure was such that he had to mortgage his ranch Neverland and later they took it away from him. By this time he had started taking painkillers which really was narcotics by another name. Syringes and bottles of Demerol were found from his ranch.

He married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of legendry Elvis Presley. She still says she loved Michael Jackson. By this time Michael came to know of another fact that really killed him – that he could never be a father. He loved kids and he wanted kids of his own. He was also a superstar who people thought was infallible. Michael wanted that image to remain. He thought that if his fans came to know that he was just another mortal with failings and limitations, they would abandon him. He did the next best thing that he could. He married Debbie Rowe, a nurse and ensured that she bore him children from an unknown donor. Michael was shaken, yet happy to have kids that he always wanted. It was a marriage of convenience. He did not abandon his parents and his family and bought them a mansion. The Jackson’s still live in the house that Michael gave them. He loved children so much that he wanted another. He arranged for a surrogate mother to be inseminated and had his third child – a male named Blanket.

Michael’s financial decisions early in his career were made with thought and purpose. He was a spendthrift, but then he could afford it. I think, it was when Michael came to know of his biological limitations and his inability to have a child of his own, was when he went overboard and became reckless. He also could not forget his early childhood and his profligacy was perhaps his way of getting back at his family, whom he loved so much. He was a darling. All those painkillers were not for his body but for his soul. If only he knew that we would have loved him more had he shown his real self. He underestimated our (us people the world over) love for him. What if on knowing that he could not be a father he had called a press conference along with Lisa Marie and both had talked about their decision to adopt kids. So many people are doing it. Michael thought that the people saw him as a superman of sorts and he was a prisoner of his own image. He could not unshackle himself. Had he done that all those charges of child abuse and so on would have disappeared. Maybe then he would not have felt the need to take those painkillers that really were narcotics and were addictive. Maybe then he would have become more creative and given the world more of his music – lived a happy life till a ripe old age and we would have celebrated his life with a smile and not with tears in our eyes.

July, 01, 2009: The death of Michael Jackson has touched people around the world in a way that has not been seen for a very long time. In today’s Times of India, there is a news item reporting that at least twelve people have committed suicide in Australia on hearing about the death of Michael Jackson.  There could be similar instances in other parts of the world. News channels have started downplaying his death – keeping news regarding Michael in the inner pages and restricting it to the entertainment section. News channels are ignoring their viewership ratings and reducing their time to news related to Michael. Michael has touched people around the world as no one in recent memory. Comparable instances could be the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the death of Elvis Presley.

July, 02, 2009: There is a will of Michael Jackson that has surfaced. According to this Michael has willed that a Michael Jackson Family Trust be created to manage his estate. He has named his mother as the guardian. He has further willed that were she unable or unwilling or if she dies, Diana Ross be made the guardian. Those who know Ms. Ross will also I hope realise that Michael was not a crazed, whimsical fool that many including the media made him out to be. He was a very sensible, sensitive man who knew exactly what he was doing. This will also shows that he knew that his parents would outlive him (this will was made sometime in 2002). The details of the will are not revealed entirely but it is clear that Michael was very different from what the public perception was.

It becomes increasingly clear now that Michael loved Lisa Marie deeply. He said more than once that he loved her.  It seems that Michael did not take Lisa Marie’s departure too well. He was devastated.

Debbie Rowe mentioned that she was ‘just a vessel’ and that the marriage was never ‘consummated’. Well, I think Michael saw the marriage as nothing more than a contract and the idea of  ‘consummation’ may never have occurred to him. That would have been very unlike Michael. He has specifically mentioned in his will that Deborah Rowe Jackson be omitted. By the way, Michael was a voracious reader and was reading Rabindranath Tagore in his last days.

Update 3.07.2009: Debbie Rowe now says that she will fight for the custody of her kids. This is a departure from the statement she made earlier when she said that she was no good with kids and was happy with her horses. Its all about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The bad news is that they think that the rainbow is within reach. There is going to be a mad scramble now. The fun has just begun.

Update 05.07.2009:It is reported that Michael Jackson wanted to help Octomon Nadya Suleman by adopting some of her kids. Nadya was without a job when she bore eight kids from artificial insemination. Michael loved kids so much and he wanted to have a big family. He is supposed to have called personally and told Nadya’s representative that Blanket would love to have more siblings. I can’t believe that such a man could ever have been a child molester.

Updated 07.07.2009:LA Superior Court has ruled that the Michael Jackson estate will be managed by John Branca and music executive John McClain. They had earlier handed the reigns of the estate to his mother Katherine Jackson. I guess the court has done the right thing. Because had Katherine Jackson been handed over the estate, it would have fallen by proxy in the hands of those who Michael did not want to be anywhere near. I wish the courts and the state had been just a bit proactive and tried to help Michael Jackson while he was still alive.

July 7, 2009: It seems that the Staples Center, LA has become the focal point of the world. There is only one news on all TV channels and on the net: Michael Jackson’s memorial. I have never seen so many black limousines at one place as there were during Michael’s funeral procession. I guess, the outpouring of grief is not only because he was one of the greatest entertainers ever, but also because there is some sense of guilt among people around the world. There is a realization that behind that white mask was a very sensitive, fragile, good man. I wonder how Michael would have reacted to the hoopla around his death and funeral. He would have been amused. Amused at the way people are competing with each other to prove as to how close they were to him. As to how much they cared for him. People are elbowing one another to be where they want to be – right at the front near the casket. Michael would have cringed at the spectacle that they have made this service.

I guess we as a people need to learn from this sad end: cherish your icons! Give them space and let them be. Have more faith in them. Because, these are fragile personalities that need to be nurtured. We lost Elvis, Jimmy Hendrix, Lenon, Kishore Kumar (most people won’t know, he was a genius from India, a singer), George Best. All died young. Except for Lenon, all invited an early demise. The world needs to think as to why we lampoon our icons when they are around and it is only when they are gone that we begin to realize the enormity of the loss.

Our Fault: We did not believe him enough, we did not stand by him when he needed us most. There should have been an outrage at the way Michael was being treated.

Our Regret: We did not get enough of him. He had a lot more to offer, apart from his music. He saw the world differently and we should have given him a chance to express himself.

His Fault: He was too shy and not forthcoming enough. Maybe he was too concerned about his image.

That will be all folks, on Michael Jackson!! I will stop here unless something dramatic turns up. God Bless!!

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