Michael Jackson’s death is troubling. On the one had he was probably the most talented performer of several generations. He could do it all—dance, sing, compose, entertain. But on the other hand he had turned into some kind of strange creature, looking like his nose had all but been cut off, and facing accusation after accusation of molesting children. Even if he wasn’t guilty, his habits were strange. How many grown men sleep with other people’s children? And who calls wine “Jesus Juice?”
Anyway, the public reaction is odd. Where were all these well-wishers when Jackson was going to trial for all his alleged transgressions against children? Yet now that he is gone they are coming out of the woodwork. Is it better to admire, even worship, a child molester after they are dead than before? Seemingly so. He sure could have used all those supporters while he was still alive.
But what was it like to be Michael Jackson, to be such a talented singing sensation at such a young age and then not fade away like most child stars, but continue pumping out incredible music and inventing new dance moves? Molester or not, the man was a musical genius. Yet he spent his last few years in the Middle East wearing a burka so he wouldn’t be recognized. His life certainly didn’t scream happiness.
But one wonders, what could have saved him? If he had been forced to take time off as a child and attend school, if only to learn socialization, would that have helped? How do you go about developing relationships, friendships, when you are bigger than life and don’t know how to do it? Could he have been assigned a group of “normal” people to be a sort of buffer from the craziness of the fans, people who would actually get to know him outside of the limelight?
An extremely talented child grew into a plastic surgery freak who had freakish relationships with children or was alone, lonely in a crowd. It’s too late to answer these questions for Michael Jackson, but it’s not too late to consider what to do if we are lucky enough to be presented with another child genius. Chances are we won’t be, but what should we do if we are? How can we prevent the same dismal fate? How can talent be used to develop a happy life, not a tragic one?