For all the saccharine, sentimental tributes flying through cyberspace today you’d think Michael Jackson was in line for sainthood. If we’re honest, it was only yesterday half the world was calling him Wacko Jacko, and with good reason – hell, there’s even some who’ll be glad to see the back of him.
Prince of Bahrain Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who bankrolled MJ for 2 years as well as paying his legal fees of US$2.2 million from a 2005 molestation court case (he later sued MJ) springs to mind, as do the apparent victims of MJ’s penchant for playing sex games with children. To be fair, the molestation charges were never proven but while the judicial court system holds the defence innocent until proven guilty, the court of public opinion is not necessarily so gracious (or bound by technicalities). Considering the number of charges brought against him and the suspicious circumstances surrounding them (most notably the US$22 million out of court settlement with his first serious accuser), one can’t help but call to mind that old aphorism “there’s no smoke without a fire” (even if it is just an eency weency fire).
There’s also the bizarre relationship between MJ and ex-wife and mother of his eldest two children, Debbie Rowe, which involved two rounds of IVF, a quickie marriage, an equally quick divorce after Rowe found herself unable to bear any more children, and the mutli-million dollar payout she received in exchange for granting MJ full custody of the kids. Sure, the Rowe/MJ freak-show, his propensity to cross-dress on occasion, his hissy-fit meltdowns and obscene shopping sprees (memorably caught on film for Martin Bashir’s 2003 doco Living With Michael Jackson) do not sum up MJ’s legacy. But let’s not forget all his flaws and appalling behaviour in favour of granting the man demigod status.
Lets remember the King of Pop as the man he was – damaged and flawed, tragically fragile, and blessed with the most extraordinary creative and musical giftings that the world’s seen since, ah, around about 1971. Oh and a shit hot dancer . . . favourite ever MJ video below, how good is the breakdown half way through.