Jackson Is Not a Toy – Commentary #1 I had the pleasure (or displeasure) of reading an article on a major news website written by someone who claimed they were a fan of Michael Jackson. Not a fan of ‘current Michael Jackson’ mind you, but a fan of the 1980’s version of Jackson. Maybe I reached my limit of whiny ‘be-what-I-want-you-to-be’ fans. Maybe I felt sorry for the author. Either way, I was compelled to write to him about the article, which led to a larger pool of thought. First thing’s first: I do not believe for one second that Jackson is guilty of anything besides being too open, too loving and too honest concerning how he feels about the world. This current situation seems to be a sort of ‘second chance’ for him to choose to fight to clear his name. Jackson isn’t and hasn’t broken any law. But that is not the point I want to make at this time. What is wrong with Michael Jackson being a human being? What is wrong with us seeing the humanity in him and accepting him for who he is? Why must we always have him only on our own terms? All of the preceding questions are important to answer, but difficult for some to understand. The bottom line is that he is human, not a caricature put on this Earth solely for our own enjoyment. What people like most is the version of Michael Jackson that they can control; the less complicated version from circa 1979 or circa 1983. His life isn’t a tabloid cartoon, no matter what any slick-tongued, desperate profiteer tries to tell you. If one prefers those versions of Jackson, they should all get together and build a time machine or move the hell on. What that mentality does is to essentially screw it up for those of us who cannot and will not stand for people who want a less complicated Jackson, regardless of how they get him. I, however, prefer to live in the present and look towards the future. We all love to wax nostalgic about ‘the good ole days.’ But we all must understand ‘the good ole days’ were ‘good’ because we all could control who he was in our own minds. He has always been who he is inside. He has always been quirky: instead of buying 30 vehicles–each with 24 inch rims—or having a mouth full of platinum teeth, he built an amusement park. He’s always been non-conformist: instead of treating children like little brats whose childhoods are seen as a burden to adults, he treats them with respect and makes sure they know how special childhood is. He’s always been unordinary: from his high-water pants to his single, sequined glove. Him growing into a man and facing whatever purpose his life serves never seemed to occur to some of ‘us’. I submit that we all became a little selfish and childish where Jackson was concerned. Some felt like they owned him; like he was their little dancing/singing wind-up toy. As long as he was as we thought he should be, everything was just peachy. Then he started to change. Some changes were not his fault: vitiligo, for example, is a mentally devastating skin disorder especially for African-Americans. He has been suffering with that illness for decades. And I’m not going to even get into the sheer number of celebrities that have had plastic surgery. Jackson is by no means a title-holder in that regard. But all of this aside, it does not change the person inside. As I become older, I am starting to realize just how peevish and childish it is to expect a grown man–with or without a Peter Pan syndrome–to be a superman-fantasy hero, here only to make me happy. In my disgust at realizing how stupid it is for people to want Jackson to be what they want him to be, I can only feel that Jackson pisses people off because he refuses to bow down to society’s way of thinking. I understand and recognize those characteristics in others, thus the reason for this commentary. In an especially trying time, the last thing anyone needs is for people to bury their heads in the sand and wax nostalgic for a “simpler” Jackson. Why don’t those of you who dream of an “easy, breezy, sugary-sweet 1979 Michael Jackson’ think about whether or not these times are attempting to teach you something about yourselves and how you treat those who are not like you. Remember, his extraordinariness is what made us gravitate to him in the first place. Why should you be shocked when he’s out of the ordinary? I am not going to put Jackson down like he is some toy of which I have grown tired. The fact is that I have never heard such wonderfully powerful music from him as I have heard on his HIStory and INVINCIBLE albums; surprising to some who think that no album existed after Thriller. The fickleness of those types of fans has always existed. But I still hear the beauty in his voice and enjoy the craftsmanship of his music. Do I wish Jackson were more vocal about his frustrations? Of course. However, I refuse to accept that he must be what I WANT him to be in order for me to enjoy whatever gifts he is giving. The fact is if he looked like Denzel Washington or Justin Timberlake, no one would have a problem with him in the least; amusement park and all. -K Williams

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