Politics & Policy

Lost Boys & The Fallen Pop King

Neverland needed a mother.

Peter Pan was a child snatcher.

He came in with fairy dust and Tinkerbell and his shadow falling off. He taught kids to fly and made Neverland sound enticing and exotic.

But after the parents went out and the dog was locked up, he sneaked in through the window and stole the children.

So that’s the first problem with Michael Jackson thinking he’s Peter Pan.

All of the moms I talk to on a daily basis were buzzing about the Michael Jackson documentary last week. The footage offered a range of worst moments: the baby dangling over the balcony rail, Jackson cuddling on the couch with a 12-year-old boy who sleeps in his bed, the older Jackson children forced to wear masks in public.

But the one that made us all want to jump through the TV and do something was Jackson frantically feeding his baby through a veil and then rapidly jiggling his legs in a nerve-jangling attempt to soothe the child.

Over the years, we moms — who have supported each other through new babies, hyper-caffeination, and no sleep — would have, at that moment, relieved Jackson of the baby and said, “Why don’t you go lie down, dear.”

No one needs to be convinced that Michael Jackson is strange.

What about the women who are breeding these children for Jackson? How else to describe the “arrangement” of bearing these children then handing them over completely. They are not involved emotionally with him so it probably comes down to one thing. Money. Once they bore a child or two for him, it’s a safe bet these women were set for life. Babies for sale.

Then there are the mothers and fathers who are apparently so dazzled by his celebrity that they are handing over their own children, encouraging them to have sleepovers at Jackson’s Neverland. The children who come to Neverland are “disadvantaged,” according to the documentary. This can mean many things. Obviously, none of these kids have amusement parks in their back yards. Many of them, we’re told, are sick. But do they have parents? Because parents are their children’s advocates and parents who have stars in their eyes are not diligent about protecting their children.

If disadvantaged refers to having parents who are absentee or in prison, that is one thing. But if the parents are capable of accompanying their children and assessing that, although it is exciting to be invited to stay over at what is essentially a castle by a superstar, it is clearly inappropriate for the children to sleep where their parents cannot monitor them throughout the night. Much less in the same bedroom with a 44-year-old man who claims to be Peter Pan.

Why did Peter Pan keep leaving Neverland to swipe girls from London? Because he and the Lost Boys wanted a mother. Wendy wasn’t invited along to play with the guys. They asked her to sing to them and tuck them in.

The boys ended up in Neverland because their nurses forgot to watch them and they fell out of their baby carriages. They’re neglected, forgotten children. Neverland isn’t a wonderland; it’s a type of purgatory where the boys are constantly threatened by murderous pirates and man-eating crocodiles. No wonder they want the safety and comfort of a mother’s arms.

As J. M. Barrie wrote in his novel:

“Can anything harm us, Mother, after the night-lights are lit?”

“Nothing, precious, they are the eyes a mother leaves behind her to guard her children.”

“Mother, I am glad of you.”

Maybe Michael Jackson needs to reread the book.

Susan Konig, an NRO contributor, has just written a book, Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (and other lies I tell my children).

Susan Konig is a journalist who writes frequently for National Review. She is the author of Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (And Other Lies I Tell My ...