Nothing was ever Michael Jackson's fault. He was the victim. First of his father who stole the childhood we would hear about endlessly. Then it was the media which hounded him and made him look like a freak. Next it was all the greedy parents who extorted him by making up salacious stories. And most of all, investigators who tried to frame him. Even his legendary drug taking wasn't his fault. That came from being set on fire in the infamous Pepsi shoot.
Michael Jackson, they would have you believe, is a victim. And there's only one problem with that. Except for when he was a little boy in the thrall of his father, Joseph, none of it is true. Ever since Michael Jackson became an adult, and he did become one despite his PR, Michael has run the show and made the decisions and done it all to himself. Even and especially his last act.
Wacko Jacko might be a creation of a London tabloid but the image was authored by Jackson. There's the infamous photo of Jackson lying in a hyperbaric chamber supposedly trying to prolong his life. Invasion of privacy? Fabrication? No. Jackson's rep gave that photo to the National Enquirer with the proviso that they use the word "bizarre" in the story. Nobody dressed Bubbles the chimp to match or Emmanuel Lewis in Jackson's lap but Jackson himself.
And then there's his self-mutilation. To Martin Bashir, Jackson said with a straight face, "I've had no plastic surgery on my face. Just my nose." When I first heard that I nearly did a spit take.
Jackson claimed that he had had only two surgeries on his nose to help him breathe better and to hit high notes. But Dateline asked plastic surgeon Dr Wallace Goodstein to compare photos of Michael Jackson-the-boy-as-God-made-him, and Michael testifying in one of his civil cases. Dr. Goodstein concluded that Jackson was "only off by about 48 procedures."
And what about the obvious whitening of Jackson's skin? He's the victim of vitiligo, he told Oprah and the world. And while it may be true he had vitiligo, it's likely that Jackson deliberately lightened his skin. "There are drugs you can take which will block the pigment production in the dermis. And I don't know for a fact that that's what occurred here but my guess is it's the most likely reason," said the doctor who shared a practice with Jackson's plastic surgeon for two years, and spoke to Dateline.
Josh Mankiewicz: "So in your opinion, that's something he affirmatively did as opposed to something that happened to him?"
Dr. Goodstein: "Yes. In my opinion, that's true."
Music writer and NBC contributor Toure sees a disturbing "Euro-centric vision of beauty" in Jackson's facial morphing which confused his African-American fans. But listen to anyone in Jackson's camp and it's a broken nose and vitiligo which made Michael go from looking like a cute little black boy to a weird white woman. But now that Jackson is dead, all is forgiven, apparently, as his undeniable musical talent was celebrated at the Apollo.
Michael Jackson's face was his most visible victim.
And what of his many lawsuits and criminal investigations? Michael Jackson was sued for breaching contracts and failing to pay bills. He was notorious for backing out of deals. And with his deep pockets, he was the target of civil suits to recover.
Those pockets are the reason he was accused, say his defenders. Not his modus operandi. Not the toys, shopping sprees, expensive gifts to parents, the Jesus Juice, and most especially, the sleeping with.
He was Peter Pan! He didn't have a childhood! They were just innocent sleepovers, say his fans. But if that were true, when faced with ruin, multi-million-dollar payouts, possible prison time, the loss of his career, why didn't he stop? I mean if they were nothing but a charming habit, why did he persist in bedding little boys?
And the only reasonable answer is because it was a compulsion. And he was arrogant and rich enough to think he could continue to get his way. No one said no to Michael.
"The difference between Michael Jackson and any ordinary pedophile is one of degree, not kind." ~ Raymond Chandler, uncle of Jordie, All That Glitters: The Crime and the Coverup Windsong Press, 2004. Read that and Michael Jackson The Man Behind the Mask by Bob Jones with Stacy Brown for all the telling details which support his guilt.
What about the drugs? Asked by Matt Lauer, Jermaine Jackson referenced the Pepsi accident which only happened decades ago. To do that, Jermaine had to completely ignore his brother's admitting he had a drug dependency back in '93. Plus the bagfuls of prescription meds seized then and in the case that went to trial. And there's the medications found in the rented house where he died and the song Michael wrote about Demerol, and the fact that Michael had an anesthesiologist and an IV pole travel with him on the Invincible tour, and then there's the Diprivan.
Michael Jackson was known to fake illness and injury (broken ankle, flu, spider bite, falls) to avoid something he didn't wish to do. Couple that with his reported desire to create a medical excuse to invalidate the 50-date concert schedule, as suggested by Gerald Posner in The Daily Beast, and that scenario is looking more and more believable.
Whether he combined the wrong drugs or did Diprivan once too many times, this seems more like Anna Nicole Smith every day. Accidental. But self-induced. Oh, there were enablers, and some might face consequences, but he did it to himself.
Michael Jackson was many things. Master showman. Fantastic dancer. Wonderful music composer. Savvy businessman. Son, brother, father, friend. But not victim.