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Leaving Neverland…And Leaving Michael Jackson
Did you watch?
Were you shocked?
I honestly don’t know why.
I’m of course referring to HBO’s documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’ that aired this past Sunday night.
James Safechuck and Wade Robson take center stage as they detail their childhood sexual assaults at the hands of ‘The King Of Pop’ Michael Jackson.
Sure, hearing the graphic details of what happened is very disturbing, but my question about whether or not you were shocked leans heavily into asking if you were shocked that you walked away now believing that Jackson was a pedophile?
Well, I always believed that where there was smoke – and there was plenty of smoke – that there was fire. You see, it simply never stood to reason to me that a grown man would want to have sleepovers with young children. It never stood to reason to me that all of this was some form of regaining a childhood that he never had because the world he created at Neverland could have been just as enjoyable…without the children.
It always just felt like top shelf spin from an equally top-shelf damage control team.
Simply put, he could have reclaimed his childhood with his arcade, his movie theater, his Disney-esque amusement park, his zoo, his candy store, his toy collection…he could have had all of this without young boys sleeping in his bed.
It was really quite simple.
Instead, I always believed that these were devices by which to lure children into a world that they’d never want to leave at any cost.
A world so fantastical while being provided to them by the most famous man they’d ever seen, that they’d be willing to keep the darkest of secrets in order to never have their ‘Park Hopper’ pass expire.
Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely can see the value in watching a child’s excitement when you tell them that they can go into a toy store and have anything, and as much of anything as they want. I could understand creating a home where children can enjoy it as their own personal Disney World along with their friends and you.
But I can only see doing these things for your own children, not the children of strangers.
I don’t think any normal adult man can.
In the aftermath of ‘Leaving Neverland’, I’ve been watching people attacking Wade Robson and James Safechuck with a passion that can only be described as personal.
This is something else I’ve never quite understood – how one can find them self over-identifying with a stranger to such a degree, that they’d be willing to engage in this level of attack on individuals who are claiming to have been sexually assaulted?
We’ve seen it with Bill Cosby’s victims, and now we’re seeing it with Jackson’s.
The common battle cries are “They’re only doing it for money!” and “They just want to be famous!”
But here’s the question I’d ask in response – Why was it only boys?
Why was it all boys who tell the same story, regarding the same sexual activities that Jackson enjoyed, even though they didn’t know each other?
Why didn’t a single girl ever want to ‘cash in’?
Why didn’t a single girl ever want the ‘fame’?
The logical answer was, and from what you saw in plain sight is …Jackson enjoyed the company of young boys. He wasn’t very interested in having young girls around it seems.
The girls were there. We can see them in old videos at Neverland, but it was the boys who became his companions. It was boys who slept in his bed. And it was boys who went on to tell their tale about what he did to them – the same ones who lied for him…until they became men who couldn’t do it any longer.
With Michael Jackson, we once again see how money and celebrity allows one access to behaviors that would otherwise be as absurd as they simply are at face value.
Think I’m wrong?
Imagine a man named Michael Jackson in your neighborhood – a Michael Jackson who’s a Target manager or a builder – wanting to spend inordinate amounts of time with young boys.
Imagine him having ‘sleepovers’ with boys as young as seven.
Imagine him showering them with toys and video games.
And then imagine them accusing him of molesting them.
You’d not only have no problem accepting that he did it, but you’d also want to know how any parent could have been so foolish to go along with it in the first place.
You’d view every behavior, every sleepover, every night in his game room, every day at this swimming pool, and every gift given, as the quintessential hallmarks of the grooming pedophile.
And if by some strange set of circumstances you found yourself fighting vehemently for the honor of that alternate reality Michael Jackson, you’d be a pariah in your community along with him.
If you attacked the victims…you’d be worse.
But here, people find themselves attacking those who’ve already endured enough.
While they sympathize with the man who said that all he was doing was trying to recapture his stolen childhood, they have no problem with that same man having turned multiple other childhoods to ash.
All because ‘Thriller’ was the coolest video they’d ever seen in 1983.
One year before ‘Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable’ would become ‘America’s Dad’.
Thing is…sometimes things aren’t how we want them to be.
Sometimes, they’re just the way they are…memories be damned.
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