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Does it matter if you're black or white?

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Is there anything left to believe in?  Is there anything of honesty and decency left in the world?  Has all the magic gone and not just gone, but gone rotten?  Politics is a cesspool where democracy and accountability have become nothing more than words in a propaganda war; the Catholic Church, a so-called Christian institution, a playground for paedophiles; the business world, whose rotten practices have led to the corruption of governments and the abuse and exploitation of millions; the world of entertainment, its rotten underbelly exposed with stories of rape and assault, not that it was really much of a surprise since the casting couch has been common knowledge for decades, probably since the beginning of Hollywood.  But, even the world of science, where logic and reason used to be the foundations of scientific truth, has been swallowed whole by the lie of ‘global-warming’. 

Now, Michael Jackson, who is again, the focus for allegations of sexual abuse, after the documentary last week which detailed the alleged grooming and sexual exploitation of Wade Robson and James Safechuck.

I loved Michael Jackson, I grew up with him and don’t remember a time when I didn’t know who he was.  My father never bought a record in his life and seldom had a good word to say about ‘pop stars’, but he bought Rockin’ Robin back in the day which I only found out when Michael Jackson died.  But we all loved him, especially back in the 1980’s, when he soared to global mega-stardom.  My children loved him, his movie Moonwalker was never off in my house.  My eldest boy wanted to be Michael Jackson; he wanted black skin and an afro hair-do.  I hope this isn’t racist - poor old Motsy, John Motson, who I thought had long since retired, got into a bit of bother recently because he said some footballer was ‘big, black and brave’.  He was condemned as a racist for saying ‘black’ but if someone says I’m white, is that racist? I mean, I am white!  This is like that nonsense back in the 80’s when the words of Baa, baa, black sheep were changed because it was deemed racist.  You get black sheep, that’s not racist it’s just a fecking sheep!  Then, Amber Rudd got into all that trouble for saying Diane Abbot was ‘coloured’.  What do you say in these days of fascistic political correctness, a person with a lower or higher percentage of melanin in their skin?? 

Anyway, back to MJ who managed to be both black and white!  That’s another thing, he was called a liar many times for claiming he had vitiligo and accused of skin bleaching.  The coroner’s report after he died, confirmed that he did have the condition and apparently, he used skin whitening creams to even out the discolouration. 

Anyway, getting back to the afro, as I pointed out to my son, there isn’t a perming lotion in the world that could curl his very thick, straight hair, much to his deep disappointment. He loved and still loves to dance, he danced like Michael Jackson and there is video footage, somewhere, of him doing his best Michael Jackson moves.   I never entered him into any moonwalk dance competitions, but in all honesty, if Michael Jackson had landed to my door, to take my sons to Neverland for a week or a weekend, I doubt if I would have refused.  We believed in the image of childlike innocence and made allowances for his strange behaviour because of his upbringing and life.  No-one has ever had a life like Michael Jackson’s and no-one, in the entire history of the world, has experienced that level of fame.

When the first allegations of abuse came out, I was unsure.  It seemed as if it was part of a plot by the boy’s father, to extort money out of Jackson, to make a movie and the doubts weren’t entirely dispelled when he decided to settle out of court.  When the next allegation was made, Jackson fought it in court and was acquitted.  I assumed the jury had more detail and knowledge about the truth of it all, than I did and it seemed that his reputation had been restored, at least for some.   Safechuck and Robson, spoke in defence of Michael Jackson in that case and Robson did again, in 2003, when he was in his 20’s. 

Years after both those cases, other facts have come to light.  Michael Jackson apparently didn’t want to settle the first case but his insurance company did it, out of fear of loss of revenue, in case, there was a protracted court case.  Jordi Chandler also refused to testify and a year after the settlement legally emancipated himself from his parents.  He also left the US in 2003 so that he couldn’t be called to give evidence in that trial. We can only speculate as to why.  He never reconciled with his father who committed suicide a few months after Michael Jackson’s death.  Again, we can only speculate as to why but apparently, no-one from his entire family attended his funeral.

Michael Jackson is no longer with us and is unable to defend himself.  So, until there is irrefutable proof, the questions will remain unanswered and people will, I’m sure, debate it for many years to come and believe who they choose to believe.  Watching the documentary made me think that, if the allegations were true, it appeared to me, to be behaviour that had been learned.  His sister LaToya had made allegations of sexual abuse against her father, many years ago and was publicly ostracized and condemned for it.  It was interesting to see old Joe Jackson sticking so closely to Michael during the Gavin Arvizo court case, considering their relationship wasn’t always that good.  LaToya also made a statement condemning Michael but later retracted it, saying it was made under duress from her husband.  She did apologise to Michael and the two were reconciled.

We have also heard in recent years, allegations of paedophile rings operating in the entertainment world and with the fame Jackson attained at such a young age, is it possible that he himself was a victim?  That is not to excuse his alleged behaviour in any way but, if true, it could provide an explanation for it. 

The allegations haven’t hurt his record sales, not that they will benefit Michael Jackson in any way.  I myself don’t know who to believe.  There is so much conflicting information online and in the media. I have trawled through hours of it but, to be honest, I still can’t wholly believe he was a paedophile.  He had an aura, an attraction that drew people to him, maybe I don’t really want to believe it.

Will I listen to his music again? Probably.  I have a Motown collection which has a lot of Jackson Five hits on it.  Human Nature is my favourite Michael Jackson song and I can’t imagine never listening to it again or any of his music, for that matter.  What difference will it make now, anyway?

At the end of his life, Michael Jackson was unrecognisable, compared to the happy, smiling boy who sang those wonderful songs, Ben, Rockin’ Robin and the great cover he did of the Smoky Robinson song, Who’s lovin you?  A pale shadow of the handsome young man from the 80’s who danced and moonwalked his way into our hearts and to stratospheric heights of fame and adulation.

The fame, the pressure, the lifestyle and the allegations all took their toll on him as he grew older, his features distorted beyond recognition by all the plastic surgery and he became more reclusive.  It seemed that he was headed towards a Howard Hughes like future, a rather sad and lonely end for someone who was idolised by millions. But then, as we have seen in recent years, many of our idols and institutions have been shown to have feet of clay.  Then again, who of us really knew him?  We knew the image, we knew where he came from, we all knew our version of him. But which one was the real one? Was he gay?  Was he straight?  Was he a paedophile? Predator or victim?  Would the real Michael Jackson please, stand up? 

Or was he just a sad man who was robbed of his childhood and never got over it: a lesson to us all on the perils of fame and money, and how destructive it can be, if not managed right.  There are no black or white answers at least, not enough to wholly convince me one way or the other so until then, I will hold a little piece of my heart for him and wonder in shades of grey.

 


Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Aideen Devine, Tuesday, 19 Mar 2019, 17:33)
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Weddin

Royal Academy

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Sunday, 26 Mar 2017, 22:29

I was in England at the weekend and spent Saturday in London at the Royal Academy.  There are two wonderful art exhibitions on at the moment, Russian Revolutionary Art from 1917 - 1932, and America after the Fall; Painting in the 1930's.  I would never have forgiven myself if I had missed them, and I am so glad I made the effort to go.

'Revolution' is a brilliant exhibition featuring some amazing art works which reflect the debates and events of the period alongside Communist propaganda.  It features work by  Vassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich.  I was familiar with Kandinsky's work and although I had never heard of Malevich I've become an instant fan.  His artistic philosophy was that art should express spirituality and he was known for inventing 'Suprematism' in art and I love how he used colour.  Like Kandinsky, he fell out of favour with the powers that be because his art did not express social realities and became disillusioned.  One of his most famous pieces is 'Black Square', an abstract painting representing the 'zero of form'. 

On the propaganda side, some of it was very interesting and quite relevant today, but I also wondered how closely Hitler had watched Stalin's rise to power, as there were strong parallels between the propaganda of Stalin and the methods used by the Nazis to create the nationalistic narrative of a nation on the rise, taking control of their destiny and their country.

The American exhibition isn't as big as the Russian one but it features some famous works too.  Edward Hopper's 'New York Movie' and Grant Woods 'American Gothic' and, of course, many others I didn't know, like Joe Jackson.  His painting drew a lot of interest but I'm not going to tell you anything about it, go and see it for yourself.  I had seen the Russian exhibition advertised first and hummed and haaad a bit about going, but when I saw the American one was running along side of it, then it was a no brainer. 

So, if you are interested in art and/or politics then make the effort and go.  I went the whole way from west Tyrone in N. I.  to see them, so you've no excuse...and I've no money either but sometimes you just have to say 'to hell with poverty!' and go.  It's about the value, not the cost.  But if you really can't make it, then you can check them out here:

https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/revolution-russian-art

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Emma Thomas, Monday, 27 Mar 2017, 15:12)
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