The Null Device

John Niven on Michael Jackson

John "Kill Your Friends" Niven gets stuck into the blind spot in recent coverge of Michael Jackson's death:
What has stunned me and truly floored me in the past week or so has been the complete sidelining by the entire media of Jackson's later life. Across the board, from every news channel to all the quality papers, there has been wholesale collusion in the notion that "he was a great artist and, yes, there was some, umm, troubling stuff later on, but let's forget all that right now and just celebrate the music".
He went on to say, unchallenged, how there were different Michaels and that he wanted to remember "the Michael who made Thriller and Off the Wall". There were also, presumably, different Hitlers. Some people might like to remember the Hitler who reunited Germany and brought back full employment. Not the later Hitlers, with their "attendant problems". The problem is that people keep on bringing up all the bloody stuff that these other later, more troublesome, Hitlers did. You can probably make a claim for several different Peter Sutcliffes, one of whom was a model employee who was very nice to his mother. The problem is....
I am very familiar with the argument of separating the art from the artist – Philip Larkin was a compulsive masturbator with racist views who loved pornography. The poems were magisterial. Wagner was a boiling anti-Semite. The music is timeless. Now, having racist views, masturbating to pornography, I can guarantee that everyone reading this paper has had some contact with practitioners of these dark arts. I would not venture that everyone is on handshake terms with people who get little boys drunk and then try to abuse them – I'm afraid I can't embrace the good tunes and overlook the "troubling stuff" and the "attendant problems" just yet.
Ultimately one is faced with two options. Either Jackson really was an innocent, a childlike man-boy who simply enjoyed hanging out with young boys, up to and including having them sleep in his bed ("There's nothing more loving you can do," he told Martin Bashir in the infamous 2003 documentary, while Arviso cuddled him adoringly), and that some of these children decided – in collusion with their money-grabbing parents – to take Jackson to the cleaners. Or Jackson was an active, predatory child molester.

There are 7 comments on "John Niven on Michael Jackson":

Posted by: Derek R Sat Jul 4 17:34:19 2009

Hitler started a war that killed 50 million people for the love of f**k! That Niven dude really needs some perspective.

Posted by: ianw Sat Jul 4 19:21:34 2009

I didn't see the doco mentioned here (because, as Niven mentiones, MJ didn't make interesting music since he was barely out of his teens. I can't even handle Thriller..) but of the 2 possible scenarios he arrives at in his conclusion - and I know I haven't met anyone lately who takes the first seriously - I find it just as (if not more) plausible that he was just not interested in kids sexually, but enjoyed their company. MJ would never have met a single adult who wasn't somehow motivated by greed for his money, for starters. It is just as plausible that he, for a while at least, was fucking Bubbles (I don't imagine he was), but as far as I can tell not a ot of ebergy has been invested in propagating this theory, because the Chimp's parents (are chimps themselves, etc., and) don't have lawyers. Etc.

Posted by: ianw Sun Jul 5 02:59:08 2009

oops line 8 "not a lot of energy"

of course another way to interpret Bubbles' (later years) violent jealousy is that it was just that (jealousy) and his (and the children's) affairs with MJ were all perfectly platonic.

Posted by: Eddie Bax Sun Jul 5 05:30:33 2009

This is not really so different to any (western?) public figure dying - recall the lionising of Reagan, Nixon and so on upon their deaths. There's a lot of the attitude 'we shouldn't speak ill of the dead' that goes around, whereas I'm more of the 'all we owe the dead is the truth' school.

Posted by: Dave Sun Jul 5 11:41:22 2009

There were many different Godwins, too. Let's remember the Godwin who mowed the lawn on Sunday, not the Godwin who invoked Hitler to automatically lose internet arguments.

Posted by: thomas Wed Jul 8 02:31:25 2009

Most intelligent view of Michael the Pervert I've read yet, but the koolaid drinkers won't be dissuaded.

Posted by: aTrueAmurrican Sat Jul 11 23:07:45 2009

Dang it, Michael Jackson is foh'eveh (sic) man, I mean who else could have shown us how to buy Whiteness? And the fact that it's the best race money can buy. So for that alone he is my ICON. Like Duya the Maverick. Sexy talks after all, and ain't that all that matters? (Ooh, he scold so goood, mah dick get hard!) We Amurricans don't care 'bout no ragheads cuz they don't speak Amurrican duz they? 'Scuse me, I gotta get back to my Kindle cuz Imyama a cool intellecthul doncha know, jez look how I rite, ain't that COOL. Not parta the same planet as y'all. (sic em Jinglepop!) An' I ain't no bot whatever the hells that iz. Darin' y'all ta post this, an' bring it on! Dang ain't this internet shit fun, an' I don't hafta tell who I yam. Go Steelers!