Saturday, November 22
Michael Jackson: Lovable eccentric? Persecuted genius? Child-molesting freak?
Commentary by Kurt Loder,, November 21, 2003

Take your pick. In fact, it seems that most of us already have.

It's clear that millions of people still love Michael Jackson. Or think they do. Actually, there's no way you can "love" a reclusive multimillionaire you've never met. You may love his music or his videos, but the man himself is more than just the sum of those things. His real thoughts and feelings, and the things he does in private, can't be known at such a distance.

I'd imagine that many of today's younger Michael Jackson fans may respond to his "sensitivity," his cultivated air of limp sweetness: He seems so harmless, only a deeply mean person could suggest he might be capable of inflicting harm. And I wonder if a lot of his older defenders aren't really pledging their allegiance to a Michael Jackson of the past, back when his music mattered and may have played an exciting part in their fondly remembered youth. But that Michael Jackson — especially the handsome, dazzling star of Off the Wall (1979) and Thriller (1982) — is long gone. He's been replaced by somebody else.

There are also those who point to Michael Jackson's undeniable talent as proof of ... well, proof of what? Talent is famously no guarantee of good character.
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