This week we had our trifecta. You know the “bad things come in threes” moment here in Hollyweird. Well, and if you add in Thailand, maybe it comes in fours (I’m thinking David Carridine, but for the moment, he’s not in the discussion). So first up – the perpetual side-kick and pitch man – Ed McMahon. When we heard he had died, I turned to the ‘Publican (aka my husband) and said, “well, no more ads for selling our gold teeth!).
And then yesterday we had a two-fer.
First up was 62-year-old Farrah Fawcett. I didn’t watch her cancer documentary on TV that was on recently. I’m not sure why – maybe I thought it would be depressing and I might cry. Maybe I thought it was going to be fairly self-serving, badly done or just overly narcissistic. Maybe there was just something else on the tube that I was more interested in. But for whatever reason, I knew she was quite ill with cancer, didn’t have that long to live and yet when I heard she had died, I felt more than a twinge of sadness. Now here’s something interesting – everybody said she had cancer but nobody was saying what type of cancer she had. Yesterday for the first time, the radio announcer stated it – she had anal cancer. My husband opined that this was probably why nobody was saying much about the type of cancer she had and, in fact, he didn’t even know you could get anal cancer.
Well, yes you can. In fact, since cancer is cellular mutation you can “get” cancer anywhere on or in your body. Even in yucky places that we don’t like to talk about. Now if someone says, “well, you would have known this if you’d seen that documentary” – fair enough. Maybe they talked about the type of cancer on the show – and maybe not. It obviously was a sensitive topic for the family and friends of Farrah and one can only wonder what type of treatment was needed because she fought the cancer for awhile. Once again I say “Yuck” and I’m not all that squeamish.
So I say, rest in peace, dear Farrah. What happened was awful and you fought well and hard. You had an amazing life filled with career highs (think “The Burning Bed” and “Extremities” more than “Charlie’s Angels”, okay?) and you had love in your life, too. You left an impression on us – some of us more than others. That means that I, too, had a Farrah haircut for years in the 1980’s, since my hair is basically the same type of hair. Not that I ever looked like her – drat!
Now to the third death of the week. Michael Jackson. This one just annoys the heck out of me. And here I may annoy you, too. What I wrote in a blip (blip.fm is a musical sharing site patterned about twitter) last night was that he was a “musical genius and a tortured soul” and I think that about sums up the nicest things I can say about him.
Musical genius – yes, absolutely. I remember the Jackson Five since I was a kid during their heyday. Great songs and little Michael was absolutely adorable. And I was certainly blown away by “Thriller”.
What I didn’t know – none of us did – was how he and the rest of the Jackson kids were truly brutalized by their father, Joe. I don’t take this away from MJ – he was abused, at least emotionally and physically. Although I doubt his father sexually abused him, I would not be surprised to hear that MJ was abused by somebody close to the family.
So tortured soul – yes, absolutely. He was a man-child who never became a true man. There is enough evidence that he was a pedophile but because he was not the worst type of pedophile, many tend to dismiss his behavior as a quirky or idiosyncratic “lifestyle”, and can’t believe that he did the things we think pedophiles do.
Not all pedophiles have intercourse (RAPE) with their victims. Not all pedophiles stalk their victims. In fact, they tend to emotionally seduce their victims AND their victims’ families. Most say they love their victims – and they mean it. Some, like MJ, just go to second or third base (touching and maybe oral sex) with their victims. Again, if he is emotionally about 11 or 12 years old, he’s going to behave this way with other boys in close age proximity (his favorite victims). Sex play between pre-pubescent boys of the same age and maturity is not that uncommon. It isn’t necessarily sexual abuse because the relationship is not, by its very nature, exploitive. Now if a 12 year old boy is touching a 5 year old – that is not mutual. It’s not just sex play – it is abuse.
But here’s the thing – it’s still pedophilia. It’s still wrong. It’s still against the law. The fact that he wasn’t convicted does not mean he didn’t do it – it means the prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to prove their case to a jury of 12. It could also mean the prosecutors DID have enough evidence, but the jury of 12 wasn’t going to convict MJ because he was a celebrity. Remember the idea of “burden of proof” and “reasonable doubt”? So for whatever reason, the jury did not believe the prosecutors had met their burden of proof and/or there was reasonable doubt. But . . . that doesn’t mean he didn’t do it. Remember – MJ paid off the first boy’s family to the tune of $25 million.
Look- the bottom line is that he was a victim and a victimizer. I think he had erotic desires for boys of a certain age and those desires are not ones that we, as a society, tolerate. We are not a NAMBLA nation, nor do I want us to be. Children are too easily manipulated by adults, and even if I believe that MJ had the emotions of a 12-year-old and in his own mind, he was just playing with a playmate, he was legally an adult. In effect, he needed others in his world to say no to him – and there’s no evidence that anybody ever did.
(By the way – don’t get me started on the families of MJ’s victims. As far as I’m concerned they pimped their kids out to a pedophile for their own needs and they are worse than MJ. After all, MJ was just MJ and wanted what he wanted, but the parents of the victims should have had enough sense to keep their kids away from him. They didn’t and they preferred to cash their kids in. Unspeakable and disgusting.)
I suspect what we’re going to learn is that MJ died from a combination of drugs that lead to cardiac arrest. Something like another sad soul, Anna Nicole Smith. Doctors kept him doped up – family members and sycophants never stopped it – and he’s dead.
We’ll see. MJ seems like a very concrete fellow without much insight into himself or his history or motivations so that much of his internal distress was probably somatized (that is, he would have a lot of physical complaints of pain, gastrointestinal distress, etc.) and he chose to find doctors who would continue to maim him or dope him up, rather than help him psychologically. I’m not saying that psychiatrists and therapists weren’t ever called in – I’m just saying that they were probably not listened to by either MJ or his entourage. Easier to do another plastic surgery or give him another injection of demerol or morphine.
Had he been more psychologically minded it’s possible that he might not have been able to live with himself – but I don’t think we’re going to learn this. I don’t really think this was a suicide – although the idea of this is tantalizing. But it would mean that he would have to have the ability to see himself clearly – or to want to save his kids from himself. I don’t think that was possible and I don’t think the entourage would allow it anyway. After all, their paychecks were at risk.
Ultimately, he was a commodity – one that eventually just got used up. And that’s tragic.