Friday, June 26, 2009

The Man and His Legacy

He was perhaps the greatest among greats in his field. He was bright and talented beyond belief. He spent a lifetime perfecting his craft. No one could hold a candle to him - his talents were so great. In addition to that he was a role model of success -showing what an individual from a modest background could accomplish in life. And he did so from the earliest of ages.

His success began early in life where - together with his older brothers - he pursued his dreams of excelling in his field. But he surpassed his brothers very quickly and achieved success early in life. The kind of success few people ever do.

The only problem was that he was a child molester.

To me that totally negates anything he ever accomplished – which in my view is detestable anyway. More on that later. Not only that - but as far as I am concerned there no place in hell low enough for this man.

It doesn’t matter to me what the level of success is. Nor does it matter how many people he affected in a positive way. There are no weighing things or putting them in perspective. Once you crossed that line you have fried your Olam Haba – not that he ever earned it. Like I said - more on that later.

I’m sure that most people would agree with me here. If I were talking about a talented Rebbe in a Yeshiva or a director of a national religious youth outreach program the feeling of disgust would be the same. Actually it would be worse because as religious leaders they have fallen further and have betrayed a trust. The point is that despite how much Torah they otherwise taught or Kiruv he otherwise did if even one victim had his life ruined because of his inability to control his unnatural desires? There are two famous cases where I think one would admit their many accomplishments in those respective fields. But it didn’t matter. They were both guilty of sexual abuse and that negated all the achievements they had.

Which brings me to the ‘King of Pop’. Michael Jackson was a child molester. He was accused. There was evidence and testimony by many victims. He was obsessed with children and built a Disney scale amusement park in on his sprawling property in his home to entice them. He would invite them over for sleep-overs.

Young children alone in his house with this individual overnight.

He even admitted sleeping in the same bed with them. One need not be a rocket scientist to know what happened there. When he was threatened with lawsuits, after much denial in the face of mounting testimony by his many victims, he settled with them rather than face trial that he no doubt knew that he would lose - as details of what happened on those sleep-over would become part of the public record and the public discourse. He paid out millions in settlements. The man was a Menuval. A very rich one that could buy his way out of an embarrassing jam.

I have been very busy over the last few days and have not seen that much of the news coverage about his death yesterday. But the few glimpses of it I have seen and heard on the radio make me nauseous. It seems like there is wall to wall coverage of this Menuval as though he was the greatest gift to mankind. The accolade by his friends and colleagues, his mentors, his family, his record producers… was fawning. He is treated as a hero of iconic proportion. They all talk about his contributions to the music industry… and how he redefined it practically inventing the music video. He sold millions of albums and was seen as an icon around the world! Very little if any coverage of the most significant part of his life as a child molester.

His music was almost as disgusting his sexual proclivities. His dance moves were obscene. And he got away with it. And that produced many musical acts that emulated him in their own music videos – crossing new boundaries that have helped define American sexual mores down. If anyone has ever had the misfortune to listen to some of the rap music with its obscene language and imagery they can trace it directly to what Michael Jackson started! And who can ever forget the anti-Semitic references that Jackson made in his song, ‘They Don’t Care about Us!’

And yet… the world mourns him. Do they not understand that they mourn one of the most disgusting individuals whom lived on the planet in the last fifty years? Is his success and popularity so important that the evil in his soul is ignored?

I usually defend the media when they are accused of bias. They are. But the accusations usually come from the people whose ox they’ve gored. But this is beyond bias. This - showering of glowing tributes from just about all media people - is a travesty. Michael Jackson’s life and his so-called contributions should not be celebrated. They should be condemned and forgotten!