12:47 am - Tue 2/18/03
I'll tell you--If I had been watching Joe Millionaire all along, I'd have been pretty annoyed with how things went these last two weeks; First they do the "This is the big finale" fake-out last week, then the big "shocker" at the end is that he picks the woman, reveals he's not actually a millionaire, then when she says yes to him anyway, the show pays them a half-million each (I don't know about you, but I assumed somebody would getting money somewhere along the line. After all, they were basically stars of a hit show the past however-many-weeks. The big "shocker" would have been if Fox had managed to get all those big ratings for free).
When the Michael Jackson thing first aired on ABC a week and a half ago, I "took the high road" and decided I wasn't going to watch it; Basically, I had the feeling there wouldn't be anything very edifying going on there--Just a couple hours of looking at the human traffic accident that is "The King of Pop"--and even though I find him a fascinating character, I didn't think there'd be any big surprises (Wasn't exactly expecting him to say "Yeah, look what I've done to my face. Isn't it horrible?", or "Have I mentioned yet how much I like having sex with young boys?").
But last night, staying up late while at Cary and Kay's, the show was airing on VH1, so I watched it, from some point in the middle till the end.
And while there really wasn't anything there I didn't know or suspect before, and Jackson didn't break down and say "Please, somebody help me"--He's really too far gone to realize how far gone he is--it was sad and sobering to see this deluded, self-mutilated "Peter Pan" talking about how he's only had two plastic surgeries (I think he meant to say two hundred) and how having kids staying in his bed overnight was "charming". It was creepy and sad and...fascinating (Turns out there's a reason people gawk at traffic accidents).
Michael Jackson has always brought up a lot of stuff for me.
At one point, he was an inspiration to me as a performer--He's only three years my senior, and was definitely one of the people I looked to when learning how to dance.
Then over the years, slowly but surely he turned into a not-too-funny joke.
And now, while I have a huge amount of sympathy for him, and maybe even some understanding (I know from experience that you don't walk away from childhood abuse without scars), I also feel like he's another example of a rich guy who was able to buy his way out of trouble, a la OJ, and should be stopped before he messes up any more children's lives (I include his own children in that judgement; I was saying to Cary, after watching the show, that their "teenage rebellion" will consist of going out in public without their masks on. That is, if they make it to the teenage years, with their father dangling them off balconies and whatnot).
And I thought about something, watching this show, that I never thought about before; In the past, I think I've been a little smug when comparing my relative mental health to his--As if I made it through my own childhood traumas relatively intact while he was, obviously, totally f****d up--but unlike Jackson, I never had the opportunity to indulge the impulse to escape to my own little "neverland", or to give in to my darker desires.
I don't like the fact that I'm going bald, or that I have dark circles under my eyes, or that my teeth are small and crooked, or that my jawline is asymmetrical; If I had money up the yin-yang like Mr Jackson, would I be the one on magazine covers, looking like an extra-terrestrial after God-knows-how-many cosmetic surgeries?
I don't want to think so, but I honestly don't know.
And I don't have a proclivity for young boys like MJ, but I'm not without my own "dark desires"; If there wasn't anything to stop me from getting those desires met, would I have the wherewithal to stop myself?
I want to think I would, but again, I honestly don't know.
(There was going to be a lot more to this entry, but I've gotten virtually no sleep in the past couple days, and I'm fading fast here...)
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