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Archive for October, 2019

October 7, 2019

The past few months have been a bit harrowing in my life. I have been struggling to overcome the fear engendered by the political situation in the United States of America and the media fascination with a film produced in January. Over this past weekend, a new film by Danny Wu entitled “Square One” (which I highly recommend) was released on YouTube and it has encouraged me to revisit some of my earliest posts to this website (my own square one). The following post is one of the first posts on With a Child’s Heart. I believe it is as important today as it was when it was first posted in August of 2010:

I’ve been watching some of my old tapes and DVD’s and I’ve been impressed with how totally lame and uninformative some of these things are. Of course, I don’t blame Michael for being uninformative. Quite the contrary, Michael answered most of the questions that were asked by those conducting the interviews. It wasn’t his fault that the interviewers asked the wrong questions.

For example, Oprah Winfrey in 1993 asked, “Were your brothers jealous of you when you started getting all the attention?” Michael’s response was, “Not that I know of, no.” At the time I first watched the interview in February of 1993, I thought, “Wrong question, Oprah. You should have asked if Michael felt that his brothers exploited his popularity.” I think that would have been a much better question and would have allowed us much more of a glimpse into Michael’s thoughts and feelings about his siblings.

Another example from the same interview: “I’m embarrassed to ask you this, but I’m going to ask anyway. Are you a virgin?” I literally winced at this one. How many other adults have ever been asked this question in a televised interview? How many other adults, men or women, would have tolerated the question and not walked out of the room leaving her sitting there by herself with an hour to kill? Michael’s response was, “I’m a gentleman.” And she had the nerve to ask him what that meant! “I interpret that to mean that a lady is a lady …” How did we become a society that would expect to know such intimate details about a gentleman’s personal life? What gives her … or us … the right to be a fly on the wall in this gentleman’s bedroom?

Diane Sawyer later asked Michael and his new bride, Lisa Marie Presley, if they had sex. Well, that’s not exactly true. She didn’t have the courage to ask; she had some of Michael’s fans on the street ask. At least Oprah spoke for herself. However, she did have the courage to openly question his integrity. In the same interview, she asked about the HIStory trailer and said that some were saying that it was modeled on a Nazi propaganda film maker by the name of Leni Reifenstahl. When Michael denied that it was his intent to uphold or condone violence or warlike behavior, her comment was, “Well, we will just have to agree to disagree about this.” If she knew his intent, why did she ask him the question? Why bother to ask? It doesn’t make sense. How dare she question his truthfulness so blatantly?

In all the interviews conducted by all the reportedly reputable journalists and fact-finders, none of them asked the important questions – the questions I really need to hear the answers to. I don’t care about oxygen chambers or elephant man’s bones or plastic surgeries or who Michael went out with last night. Those are celebrity-cult-driven inanities that have no socially redeeming value whatsoever. Who cares?

What are some of the really important questions? Well, here’s a brief listing:

What drives Michael Jackson? What makes Michael Jackson tick?

Why do you visit so many hospitals and orphanages? What drives that compassion for youngsters?

What is it like to enter the room of a child who is bedridden and connected to intravenous tubing and watch his face light up with awe when he realizes that the most famous man in the world thinks he’s important enough to visit?

Where do you find the courage, the strength, the energy to organize an effort to relieve the suffering of tsunami victims when the world has cast you as a child molester and you have endured the first week of jury selection in a trial that will last for months?

How do you pay for liver transplants for children or prosthetic limbs or a baby’s funeral in some unknown country while being scorned and ridiculed by a world that can’t understand that kind of compassion and prefers to think of your love for children as sinister?

When you are accused of unspeakable crimes, how do you continue to pour yourself into the world’s cup to the point of overflowing? Where does such fearlessness come from?

After spending day after interminable day – week after soul-searing week – sitting in a court room and listening to horrible distortions of who you are, how do you return home to your children without letting them see that soul-weariness, that exhaustion, that fear? Where does that courage, strength, determination and stamina come from?

How do you not lash out – ever – in two and a half decades – at the unfairness of the treatment meted out to you by the world’s media? How do you continue to bleed internally at the obvious prejudice of the media against you? How do you continue to forgive them?

How do you never come from an egotistical place when dealing with dancers, band members, lighting crew, directors? You have more reason to be egotistical than any human being who ever lived. How do you sublimate that urge to demand that things be done your way because, after all, you are the genius in the equation?

How do you remain humble, kind, gentle, courteous in the midst of psychological and emotional  crucifixion? Where does that gentleness, humility, lack of ego come from? Are you even human?

How many of the children that you invited into your life have recovered from their illnesses and gone on to live productive lives because of the care and positive thinking and prayer and happiness that you immersed them in? How many kids have you called back from the brink of death with your caring?

How do you remain innocent and unjaded while rising to the very top of a corrupt industry in a fraudulent city, society, world? How do you continue to trust in the goodness and worth of humanity when betrayed and exploited and manipulated and abused by those surrounding you?

How do you speak out, inviting us to know you when you know that your words will be twisted unrecognizably, taken out of context, colored by the filters of those who hear them, questioned, misrepresented? And why?

Wouldn’t it be easier to retreat to a deserted island and live out a quiet life? You could afford it. Why, oh why didn’t you protect yourself?

Was your impulse toward creativity so virulent that it continued to compel your actions? Was the force of its movement through you so unstoppable?

What is it like to be standing in front of tens of thousands of people and be taken over by that gale force breath of creativity – used by The Force –  and to know that that force is the same force that animates and organizes the universe? Were you aware that God was using your beautiful voice and body and imagination to reach out and touch hundreds of millions of people from every walk of life, in every country in a personal and meaningful way? Did you, at some point in your journey, sign on for this thankless task? And if so, would you do so again, knowing what you know now?

Would you take up your cross and follow Him in such close lockstep again, Michael?

How did you continue to have faith in us?

Did you know how much we loved you? Yes, we loved the boogie, the beat, the melody, the performance, the dance and you knew that. But did you know that we wanted your safety and well-being more? Did you know that your happiness was important to us? Did you know that you didn’t have to earn our love any longer – that you had proven yourself to us long ago?

Did you know how your leaving would shatter our souls into little tiny pieces? Some of us have known you for a long, long time. Many of us just became curious after you were gone. Nonetheless, whether we knew you for five minutes or a lifetime, your absence is an ache in our hearts that hasn’t subsided even more than a year after you left. Did you know that you would take the sun from our skies and the brightness and magic from our imaginations?

Wouldn’t you love to hear the answers to these questions instead of the bullshit our media has fed us on for so many years? Is it too late to pose these issues, now?

I can’t wait for the day when I can conduct this interview!

heal-the-kids-carnegie-hall-new-york

Heal the Kids 2001

Jan

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