Michael Jackson – The Promise of Neverland

“One measure of any society is how it treats its young… Raising children, providing them with food, safety, love and education, should never be seen as an altruistic act.” Pat Lancaster

It really is gone… and now all we can do is stagger back into a kaleidoscope of memories. We are left with a memory that unites the innocence of “ABC” with the idealism of “We are the World” and the introspection of “Man in the Mirror”. Looking back, we can’t help but realize that he has always been with us…and somehow we think he always would be. Losing it is like returning to our old neighborhood and discovering that our favorite places are gone. We have a hard time understanding this in our minds; but ultimately we recognize that this is a vacancy that can never be filled.

For many of us, loyal fans included, we could not have dreamed that there was such a deep reservoir of love for him throughout the world. For the past 13 years he has become perennial tabloid fodder…more superfreak than superstar. “Wacko Jacko”, possible child molester, financially troubled past, Peter Pan, a misfit are just a few of the labels the media has bestowed on him over the past 20 years. Charitable observers thought of him as a lost and tormented soul at best, in desperate need of therapeutic intervention.

Bubbles the chimpanzee, self-mutilation, Neverland Ranch, the Elephant Man’s bones, and his hyperbaric oxygen chamber are just a few of the strange behaviors associated with him. Many of the stories were blatant fabrications; however, Michael’s publicist sometimes chose not to refute them because they got people talking.

Of course, hanging his son out of a hotel window and sleeping with children certainly contributed to the idea that he had come undone. Still somehow now, none of this controversy matters. All concerted media efforts to reduce it to a secondary phenomenon have failed spectacularly when we examine the facts. The concerts at the O2 in London give us an idea of ​​the fierce loyalty of their fans. 800,000 tickets were sold out in 5 hours and this is nearly double the sales of his hay day performances in 1988. The Staple Center Memorial site reports that it received half a billion hits. Amazon reported that 60% of all CD sales were from fans who bought anything with their name on it. In fact, Barnes and Nobles sold all of their CDs, DVDs, and books.

Even China, a country known for rejecting American excesses, gave it full-page coverage on the country’s largest website, Sina.com. As expected, the Japanese media gave massive coverage to “Michael-san’s” death, as did CNN in Asia. The three largest cable news networks – CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC – averaged 8.2 million viewers in prime time, a number that was almost double their normal audience. The BBC reported a rise in viewers second only to the night Barack Obama was elected president. The reaction from the Russian, South American, Canadian, Australian and African media was equally massive.

It’s been 13 years since Michael went on tour and many wondered if he could really deliver anything resembling a gentle moonwalk or the youthful energy of his renditions of “Thriller” or “Bad” or if it was just another tailor-made misadventure. for tabloid consumption. Even promoters admitted to being anxious but couldn’t resist the possibilities and payoff of a Michael Jackson revival. The press expressed serious doubt that at 50 years old he could pull off the grueling 50-date O2 gig. However, video footage from his last days showed that he was ready to give the world one more thriller.

He couldn’t help but wonder if this comeback story was more about overly optimistic promoters trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together. The stories of him having skin cancer and a host of other chronic health problems have always persisted. He reportedly began his descent into prescription drug addiction shortly after his hair caught fire while filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984. The 1993 child sexual abuse charges eventually landed him in jail. limit. Those close to the singer claimed that in 1990 he had undergone about 10 plastic surgery procedures, which led some mental health experts to declare that Michael suffered from body dysmorphic disorder. This is a psychological illness that makes one feel physically repulsive. In 1993 he shared that he had vitiligo in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. In December 2008, Michael Jackson biographer Ian Halperin stated that he suffered from alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a life-threatening genetic disease, as well as emphysema and gastrointestinal bleeding. His management vehemently denied most of this. Yet we all wondered as images circulated of him in a wheelchair and the zombie look on his face during his latest sexual abuse trial.

Despite all the speculation about his physical/mental health, he passed his physical for Tour Insurance “with flying colors,” according to AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips. Photographer Kevin Mazur, who had been following Michael for the past 30 years and was documenting rehearsals for the tour book, said: “Michael was back, that’s all he could say.” . He seemed energized and ready to give the performance that would return him to his former glory and maybe beyond. His O2 concert series was to begin in July and would be followed by a world tour.

True to form… MJ’s death cannot be clearly explained. It looks like the King of Pop will remain the King of the tabloids long after he’s laid to rest. He has now undergone two autopsies and the cause of death is still inconclusive. Toxicology reports due in 3-4 weeks may shed some light on the cause of death. Police reportedly removed the powerful drug Propofol, marketed under the brand name Diprivan, from his rented house in Holmby Hills. How this drug came into his possession will surely be investigated by the LAPD and the DEA.

His personal physician, Dr. Murray, and a host of other physicians/facilitators will no doubt come under increased scrutiny despite the LAPD claiming there is currently no evidence of foul play. Dr. Murray, a 56-year-old cardiologist with a practice in Las Vegas and a clinic in Houston, has lived in numerous homes over the past decade in multiple states. His former partner, also a doctor in Houston, was jailed for distributing prescription drugs fairly liberally. According to public records, Dr. Murray filed for personal bankruptcy in 1992 in California and has five tax liens against him in the millions of thousands of dollars.

Health Grades, a health services rating company, indicates that it is not board certified in its two specialties, internal medicine and cardiology. While certification is not required to practice a specialty, a high level of training and experience is recommended and indicated. We have to wonder why someone of Michael’s stature would hire someone with less than impeccable credentials.

As we reflect on the global appeal of this singular pop star and try to understand the media frenzy and global outpouring of emotion surrounding his passing, we have to ask ourselves why we are so transfixed. What is the core of this phenomenon? This man-child, as Paul McCartney so aptly describes him, who for a moment overshadowed all world events, including wars, swine flu, global economic collapse, and Kim Jong-il’s nuclear ambitions.

Why did the world stop for this pop star? His shy and effeminate demeanor, surgically disfigured face, and endless stories of strange behavior don’t add to the Mr. Clean image that idol creators often present. He was never classically “commercial”. He certainly didn’t fit well with the image of a hardcore rocker or hip-hop because, despite the phenomenal sales of the “Bad” album, he was much cuter than “bad” when he released this album. In fact, imagining Michael as mean or intimidating is perfect material for a Saturday Night Live skit.

Everyone close to Michael, from Deepak Chopra to his manager, agrees that his adult years have been deeply troubled and that he only seemed to find peace and fulfillment when he was performing and getting a “fix” from his fans. Interestingly, despite his painful memories of his father’s abuse of him, when asked if he would give it all back to have a normal childhood, he said no.

Michael’s refusal to “grow up”: his childlike idealism is perhaps, in the end, the key to his universal appeal. Our adult world is a world where 963 million people around the world go hungry and wars inflict untold suffering and the depletion of valuable resources. Every day a child dies every five seconds from causes related to hunger. In the last decade, around 2 million children have died in armed conflict. This is the world of so-called competent adults.

When we examine the life and contributions of Michael Jackson, we must conclude that he was much more than a man of song and dance. His consistent and some say naive messages of love and unity are perhaps why the world reels from the loss of this sweet soul. Of course, the media has never widely reported that he has donated generously to 39 charities around the world. Unsurprisingly, many of the primary missions of these charities were the welfare of children.

As we begin to understand Michael’s universal appeal, it becomes clear that this self-proclaimed King of Pop was singular, vast and timeless enough to genuinely serve this distinction. His magical performances transported us away from the unrelenting banality/brutality of the REAL world… and allowed us to escape into a Never Neverland musical. For this we are eternally grateful…and we will all revel in his rich musical legacy for ever and ever…and always.

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