So round one of the Michael Jackson evisceration is over and the nation is collectively having a shower.
A nasty, brutal and graphic two hours and now another two hours to go. Imagine watching the whole thing in one go. No wonder people who saw the full doco at Sundance needed support afterwards.
And now there’s been the debate. But it’s a complicated debate just like all real life. It’s not a case of arguing if Jackson did it or not, or if the men who were the boys are lying or not.
One of the difficulties is that all parties were extremely damaged individuals.
Michael Jackson’s abuse at the hands of his father is well documented as was his stolen childhood as his family exploited his incredible talent.
The men at the heart of the documentary are also very compromised. It has to be remembered that Wade Robson, in particular, held his tongue for a very long time. I’ve read his testimony from a 2005 court case where he refutes ever being abused. That said the defence lawyer expertly framed the questions around whether the childhood Wade ever thought he was abused. Which is clever because that was the truth. The realisation of how advantage was taken came later.
Robson’s path to the documentary started in 2012 when Jackson’s estate did not give him a job choreographing the Michael Jackson Cirque Du Soleil show. A job Robson thought he was owed, dare I say it, for services rendered. What followed was a nervous breakdown. A book about his relationship with Jackson that never found a publisher. A billion-dollar damages case against Jackson’s estate saying that he would never work again because of the abuse that was scuppered because he was in fact working.
The documentary was his final chance to be paid off. It’s a nasty way of life being a grifter.
So what I took from last night was a masterclass from Jackson in how to groom people and their parents to bend to his will. It was a lesson in how many people aided and abetted Jackson because they were in thrall to his talent, fame and money.
It was a lesson in how when the advantage is taken of people, those victims don’t really see what’s happened to them until afterwards. It’s a lesson in how much abuse does not involve forcible coercion.
As to what happens next. For me, it’s the end.
I was a fan of Jackson’s music. I have four of his albums. Off the Wall is the best. I went to his one New Zealand concert. It was weird, unsettling and wonderful all at the same time. But I never warmed to man. And as we approach the 10th anniversary of his death this June his fame was wavering until this documentary brought him back into my attention.
I played Rock With You this weekend to see how it made me feel. Once it brought joy but now only distaste. Even the title now sounds dirty.
It makes me understand the music radio position. They haven’t banned Michael Jackson’s music. They’re just not playing it because enough people turn it off. Radio does not want you to find any reason to turn it off and there are plenty of other geniuses to listen to.
Michael Jackson is over. He could never really Heal the World and make it a better place. His music now reminds me the world is a nasty, craven, grasping, selfish and narcissistic place full of danger.