If there wasn't a bigger example of how our society will publicly mutilate someone, it must be Michael Jackson. Here is a person who was made a star at the age of eleven, and never properly assimilated into normal life and society. His life was tragic: he paid too high a price for being talented.
What always struck me about his defense against charges of pedophilia was that instead of simply saying nothing ever happened, he attacked the idea that what he had done was pedophilia at all. The man simply did not see (it appeared to me) how his actions could have been seen as sexual. Here is the loneliest person on Earth, trapped in Neverland (literally) trying to be loving to children. I don't think it takes much expertise to understand how his wires were crossed.
The press, of course, ate it up. We all did. He was a freakshow, a good joke. No matter that he'd given his entire adult life, and most of his adolesence, the the happiness of other people.
What about his plastic surgery. In this, I'm afraid, he was just ahead of his time. Today it's strikingly common to see plastic surgery among some of the most famous and beautiful people in the world. Hell, Megan Fox (the Transformers pin-up model) is...what? 22? And she has already had plastic surgery. Nora Ephron, that bastion of good taste, goes on public radio to rail against aging and defend cosmetic surgery. Looking at the carved and bleached face of Michael Jackson is looking in an unforgiving mirror.
I don't really know what to say, really. His life was just incredibly sad.
We ask too much of each other.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.