The Corner

The Michael Jackson Story Revisited

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Bill Wyman, formely of NPR, tells a different Michael Jackson story than the one we have heard and read about the last three weeks. The story that’s usually told is one of victimhood and unfair treatment. Take his memorial ceremony, for instance:

Marlon Jackson, one of the original members of the Jackson Five, gave this version of his late brother’s life at the memorial service: “Being judged, ridiculed — how much pain can one take? Maybe now, Michael, they will leave you alone.” The Rev. Al Sharpton got the crowd cheering with his litany: “He outsang his cynics, he outdanced his doubters, he outperformed the pessimists. Every time he got knocked down he got back up!”

But Wyman sees it differently:

People who care about Jackson and loved his music — I’m one of them — should acknowledge that Michael Jackson had exactly one mortal enemy on earth, and that was Michael Jackson. He apparently had some mildly embarrassing medical afflictions like vitiligo. But, far more significantly, he apparently suffered from a psychological condition that made him want to alter himself physically — ultimately beyond repair.

And:

In the transfixing 2003 documentary “Living with Michael Jackson,” the star looks like nothing more than a latter-day Blanche DuBois, denying a sordid past and ultimately reality with a shake of his hair and a deranged titter. Jackson’s tragedy was almost entirely self-made. Even his complaints about the press ring hollow. It’s hardly sporting to complain about the dogs he unleashed for nosing around the spectacle he quickly became.

All of these realities are ignored by the victim talk. It’s a cover for a terrible waste, and a lost chance to reflect on how not to live one’s life. Michael Jackson was older than Elvis when he died, but he died the same way: alone with the one person who could have saved him.

The whole article is here.

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Problem with Certainty

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including those of you having this read to you while you white-knuckle the steering wheel trying to get to wherever you’re going for the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Worst Cover-Up of All Time

President Donald Trump may be guilty of many things, but a cover-up in the Mueller probe isn’t one of them. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attempting to appease forces in the Democratic party eager for impeachment, is accusing him of one, with all the familiar Watergate connotations. The charge is strange, ... Read More
World

Theresa May: A Political Obituary

On Friday, Theresa May, perhaps the worst Conservative prime minister in recent history, announced her resignation outside of number 10 Downing Street. She will step down effective June 7. “I have done my best,” she insisted. “I have done everything I can. . . . I believe it was right to persevere even ... Read More
PC Culture

TV Before PC

Affixing one’s glance to the rear-view mirror is usually as ill-advised as staring at one’s own reflection. Still, what a delight it was on Wednesday to see a fresh rendition of “Those Were the Days,” from All in the Family, a show I haven’t watched for nearly 40 years. This time it was Woody Harrelson ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Democrats’ Other Class War

There is a class war going on inside the Democratic party. Consider these two cris de couer: Writing in the New York Times under the headline “America’s Cities Are Unlivable — Blame Wealthy Liberals,” Farhad Manjoo argues that rich progressives have, through their political domination of cities such as ... Read More
Culture

The Deepfake of Nancy Pelosi

You’ve almost made it to a three-day weekend! Making the click-through worthwhile: A quick note about how National Review needs your help, concerns about “deepfakes” of Nancy Pelosi, one of the most cringe-inducing radio interviews of all time, some news about where to find me and the book in the near ... Read More
White House

For Democrats, the Party’s Over

If the Democrats are really tempted by impeachment, bring it on. Since the day after the 2016 election they have been threatening this, placing their chips on the Russian-collusion fantasy and then on the phantasmagoric charade of obstruction of justice. The attorney general accurately gave the ingredients of the ... Read More
U.S.

America’s Best Defense Against Socialism

The United States of America has flummoxed socialists since the nineteenth century. Marx himself couldn’t quite understand why the most advanced economy in the world stubbornly refused to transition to socialism. Marxist theory predicts the immiseration of the proletariat and subsequent revolution from below. ... Read More