Thursday, November 29, 2007

The "G" word

Yet another followup to Even Stranger in Orange County and A man walks down the street, and it rains.

And this one gets REALLY bizarre.

Let's start with self-described family friend Dr. Firpo Carr:

Michael Jackson, imitating Jesus Christ (who died for every child who ever lived), gathers children (boys and girls of different races) around him. And like Jesus, he embraced them. In doing this, Michael Jackson, who has donated record-breaking millions of dollars in behalf of children he'd never meet or see, is no more a pedophile than was the most famous person who ever lived, Jesus Christ.—Mark 10:13-16; Matthew 19:13-15.

And this answer was given in response to the question "Do you think michael jackson is inecent" (sic)?

Michael Jackson loves children and he would never EVER! Hurt a child. Does loving children make you a pedophile? Because he's a man and loves children he's so called “Weird” because if it was a woman in this situation no one would care at all and just because the way he looks and the way he is, makes him not from this world and people take it the wrong way and they never ever saw a person who loves children so much since Jesus Christ which people thought wrong of him too.

And one more, from David McMillion:

How do you know that he wasn't framed. How would you like for you life to be magnified 1000 times over and over again. What if you was just a honest, caring person. Jesus Christ was such a man and look at what happened to him.

But in a 2003 article, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach doesn't blame Michael Jackson for this worship. He blames us.

Detached as we are from G-d and estranged from lofty pursuits, we have invented new gods here on earth. Where once people were awed by the heavenly stars, today they prostrate themselves before movie stars. Where once man pondered the secrets of the Universe, we today seek to uncover the enigma of Michael Jackson. Is it surprising, then, that the objects of this worship begin to believe that they have a right to make up and live by their own rules, even when it becomes completely ruinous?

It turns out that Rabbi Boteach knew Michael during a very pivotal period in his life:

When I was close to Michael between 1999 and 2001, I tried to convey to him that famous or not, he must incorporate the basic ingredients of a healthy life, and that among these are time spent with family, involvement with a spiritual community, and being prepared to take criticism.

When he mentioned to me that his greatest wish was to promote the welfare of children, I told him he could only do so if he attained a modicum of credibility. This meant never being alone with children who were not his, meeting and learning from respected child-development and education experts, and speaking at serious rather than sensationalistic events....

And when Martin Bashir's people asked to do a documentary, I told Michael he'd be crazy to accept because the last thing he needed was to be more famous. He needed dignity rather than celebrity, and I advised him instead to accept an invitation to speak at Harvard.

But by this time my influence with Michael was waning....What really upset [the "managers and apparatchiks"] was when I pushed Michael to publicly distribute books to poor children in Newark. I knew how much Michael loved children, so this puzzled me. But I was lectured to in Michael's hotel suite by his manager who said, "Shmuley, you want to make Michael normal. What you don't understand is that he's famous because he's not normal."

The rabbi continues:

Humans are not gods, and when the public expects them to be gods, they must conceal or dismiss their humanity in an effort not to appear to be ordinary.

And boy, are there examples from history. Let's start with Caligula:

Archaeologists from Stanford, Oxford and the American Institute for Roman Culture have unearthed evidence that Caligula, in an act of astonishing hubris, extended his palace to the podium of a sacrosanct temple.

The discovery, made during the final weeks of a month-and-a-half-long dig this summer in the Roman Forum, appears to support accounts by some ancient historians that the profligate but short-lived emperor was a megalomaniac.

"It's the equivalent of Queen Elizabeth taking over St. Paul's Cathedral as an anteroom," said Jennifer Trimble, an assistant professor of classics. "It's outrageous."...

[E]ven though evidence points to Caligula's divine pretensions, it does not necessarily mean he was insane. Rather, he may have taken a cue from Eastern Mediterranean notions of royalty. "In what is now Turkey and Egypt, there was a tradition of rulers setting themselves up as apart from mortals," she said. "But in Rome, this didn't work at all. Power there was articulated in mortal terms."

In any case, "clearly something is very, very wrong" with the way Caligula conceived of his authority, she added. His contemporaries, it seems, felt the same way. A group of conspirators, including members of his own guard, murdered him just four years after he had assumed power.

And there was another king a little to the east that had his own pretensions:

Acts 12:21-23 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

21On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." 23Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

However, unlike Caligula and Herod, Michael does not have imperial power at this point:

The news broke recently that the Jackson Five is planning a reunion. That came during a BBC radio interview with Jermaine, who was in England to appear on the British version of “Celebrity Big Brother.” Jermaine Jackson said that concert dates have been discussed, the tour could happen next year and that the reason they’ve delayed such a reunion for so long is because Michael was mired in legal woes....

Certainly this alleged 2008 reunion tour condemned as less than genuine. After Michael’s trial on sexual molestation charges, his cash reserves have probably evaporated. And the other brothers no doubt could use an influx of revenue, judging by their less-than-spectacular solo careers.

It’s important for them to know, however, that any more dirt thrown on the family name at this point will only prove counterproductive at the box office and even more detrimental to their musical heritage. The Jacksons over the years have become more like the Kennedys. The ugly truths have overwhelmed the romantic memories. The tell-alls have supplanted the wistful anecdotes.

The music, unfortunately, has been dangled off a hotel balcony, to the great horror of onlookers.

Ah, the music.

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