Michael Jackson Trial
 
LOS ANGELES - The one good thing about the jury not reaching a verdict on its first day of deliberations in the Michael Jackson case is that it gives me a chance to spout off on the spectacle before the whole world is praising and condemning the verdict, whatever it is.  And I’ve got a few beefs with what’s been coming down.
 
First off, what happened to “Wacko Jacko” the “self-proclaimed” King of Pop?  It reminds me of Elvis.  I was alive when the King died on the throne, and I remember the unkind things people were saying about him before he died, his obesity and drug use, and the wreckage of his career.  Then he suddenly OD’d, and the people readily embraced and idolisized an idealized version of his myth that persists to this day.  Same thing with Michael Jackson.  He now is the King of Pop, the formerly ever-present words self-proclaimed have flitted away, bye-bye, and the once-rampant belief in his pedophilia is simply not spoken of.
 
In truth, when Michael self proclaimed himself the “King of Pop,” I was put off by it like the rest of the world, but I asked myself: If not Michael Jackson, who is the King of Pop?  The only other person I could come up with that might deserve the title was Paul McCartney.  It would be really interesting to do some bean counting — hits, sales, products — and figure out who really should wear the Pop crown.  (Just like Michael Jackson’s tally should include his work with the Jackson 5, Paul McCartney’s work with the Beatles should be counted.)  Whoever mathematically deserves the title, the bottom line is that Michael was a phenomenal entertainer whose body of work is nearly unchallenged.  Although he was well past his prime when he drifted away, the world lost a creative juggernaut.
 
And as for MJ’s sexuality, I tend to believe that the mishmash of drugs he took to craft and carve his physical appearance (e.g., estrogen, post-surgery pain pills, etc.) seriously diminished his sex drive, and he simply stopped being interested in having sex (with man or woman).  His libido was shot.  The idea of a man not being relentlessly driven by his penis is a rather alien and incomprehensible notion to most people, so they assumed his sexual appetites must be so taboo that he had to keep them under wraps.
 
Now down to brass tacks: the trial.  I think everybody knows exactly what happened.  Whether you’re fer or agin Dr. Who Cares What Is Name Is, Michael Jackson died from decisions he made.  For whatever reason, Michael Jackson wanted propofol to put him to sleep; he went doctor shopping, found a medico with a loose moral compass that could be spun with wads of cash, and put him on the payroll.  Not surprisingly the corruptible doctor turned out not to be a particularly brilliant medical mind, who fucked up, and now Michael Jackson is dead... because he wanted propofol and went doctor shopping.  I don’t think anybody disputes this.
 
What I hear from the folks who want Dr. Whoever crucified is either (1) a capitalist argument: the doctor was paid to give Michael his propofol, and he should have been watching him every second, because that is what he was paid to do, or (2) some sort of moral argument about how doctors should be “above” money (even though we live in the Fortress of Capitalism, where two-fisted greed is richly rewarded).
 
My opinion is that Michael Jackson and Dr. Whoever were willing partners who colluded together for mutually beneficial gain.  Michael Jackson has paid the ultimate price for their failed venture; it’s Dr. Whatsit’s turn to pick up his share of the tab.  Compared to Michael, no matter what the verdict is, he’s gonna get off easy.  I vote for Guilty.
 
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Novenber 5, 2011
CRIME BEAT
  by Jack Tarpits    Crime
Beat
UPDATE — November 7
The verdict is in: Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter.  The cuffs are clapped on and the jail door slams home.
UPDATE — November 29
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor sentences Dr. Whatshisname to the max: 4 years. (46 days credit for time served.)
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Long Ago and Far, Far Away