Excerpted from Not My Opinion, The Ticker Online, copyright 2009
I'm stuck in neutral on this man-child.
He was equally stunning as an entertainer and as one hideous human being. And I not only could be wrong on either or both counts, the noisies on either side of the commentary might be, too.
The denial on both sides is tearing at the unknowable truth somewhere in the center, and it's feeding a social tsunami that is sweeping up all sorts of flotsam. That center is so gray, one cannot use it to adequately justify the ends. One could see the showmanship, hear the musical talent, then also see the physical morphing into what no one calls a butterfly. And what filtered through the courtroom is a private life that--due to the magic of massive payoffs--will never be known in truth. The two questions that define every element of what was his life on this earth are: how? and why? Expand on those questions at will; everyone else is.
Between those who were into him for every coin they could extract from his actions on-stage and in private, and those who genuinely loved him and battled to steer him along a path of clean-as-a-whistle greatness, the whole story has turned into one of hey-what-about-me and some-of-this-is-about-me. What makes this large is not Michael Jackson, the one-and-only human being, but the swarm attaching itself to him.
Care to guess how many are showing up to the funeral just because it's an event? Care to guess how many fans are in denial of his depravity? Care to guess how many are either saddened he's gone through denial of the dark part of his life, or showing up to see off someone who they feel was a pervert who had it coming? And how many are sickened because they were either into him for a huge investment or see that their gravy train has made its final stop?
You can care or not care that he's gone. But the iceberg below is all those who are contributing to this Barnum-and-Bailey show that may melt one of these centuries. (I mixed metaphors on purpose, to reinforce my point.) We not only have to live among the herd, and likely never know what their individual standing really is in this, but it's impossible for this casual observer to tell if the real Michael Jackson is dead or alive. That could well be the real horror and sadness to this spectacle.