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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 03/20/2006

Jacko: Forever Off the Wall

By Liz Kelly

What will become of Michael Jackson?

Neverland, his 2,600-acre menagerie (zoo, amusement park, railway) and shrine to childhood, closed for good last week and will likely sit empty for the foreseeable future. After announcing that Jackson agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back wages to employees, a spokeswoman indicated he wouldn't be back for a while.

Jackson has been living in Bahrain since being acquitted last year of plying a 13-year-old cancer patient with wine and molesting him. He's also been rumored to be househunting in Britain, though Gulf-based news outlets claim he isn't abandoning the region. Just more evidence that he plans to make his home away from the U.S. for the foreseeable future.

A day at the mall for an abaya-clad Michael Jackson in Bahrain. (Reuters)

I have to wonder... what is it like in Bahrain for Michael and his three children -- Prince Michael, Paris Michael (a girl) and Prince Michael II (aka "Blanket")? Far away from the scrutiny of the Western press is he living what for him might pass as a normal life as he browses the mall in an abaya (traditional Muslim women's attire) or is he, like recently convicted former rocker Gary Glitter, making a calculated move away from the codes and limits of the society which has taken him to task again and again for his affinity to children?

Or is he set to trade those codes for a perhaps stricter set? There are rumors that he may be converting to Islam (though the creative spelling in this Al Jazeera report does have me questioning its factual credibility), which is of course the perfect storm: former beloved American pop star turned suspected child molester converts to Islam. He would be the poster child for the far right's distrust of both Hollywood and the Muslim faith.

What will become of Michael Jackson?

There will never be a relatively normal news story about him again. He will forever be an oddity, forever be the kind of public figure who inspires Internet games involving dangling babies off hotel balconies. He will resort to Jackson 5 reunions in Armenia (Armenia?!?) and endless reissues of his past hits in a desperate bid to try to hold our interest. But it won't work. He's raised the bar too high.

We need something titillating and ratings-worthy and taboo to make us turn our attention his way anymore. And we'll get it. Fodder for another Martin Bashir ABC special report (Note: I orginally incorrectly identified this as a FOX special. -- Liz) will undoubtedly bring Jackson back to the public eye, if not back from Bahrain.

Wake me up when it gets weird.

By Liz Kelly  | March 20, 2006; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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Dear Liz,

As you may know, but others might not, isn't associated with the Al Jazeera television station, which operates, with an English version available at

Typically, is a less than credible news source.

see below for their's own disclaimer.



Aljazeera Publishing owns and operates, bringing you the world today. Aljazeera Publishing is an independent media organisation established in 1992 in London. has a particular focus on events and issues in the Middle East covering major developments presenting facts as they happen.

Important note: Aljazeera Publishing and are not associated with the controversial Arabic Satellite Channel known as Jazeera Space Channel TV (also known as Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel) station whose website is

Aljazeera Publishing disassociates itself from the views, opinions and broadcasts of Jazeera Space Channel TV station.

Posted by: karl in virginia | March 20, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

What will happen to Neverland?

One word: CONDOS.

Posted by: Biggie | March 20, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes Micheal is weird but how weird are Americans when we believe Bush/Cheney/Rummy lies even when our troops come home dead all we hear is everything is going great. No help from other countries, we give over a trillion dollars and get none of it back, our govenment leaders are stealing taxpayers money now who weird. Micheal will not have to give tax dollars anymore now that he lives overseas. His record is coming out in London and other countries overseas. Word is the Americans can get it on the internet. Here's another smart rich celeb. giving millions to others while we go broke. I wonder who is really weird? Will the media ever talk about other rich Americans that have moved overseas while making American dollars and not paying taxes. I guess when some in the media start to lose their jobs because money is tight they will rethink who is smart and who is dumb. As we see now the change in Americans views, as the problems effect each one of us we now realize something has to be done. Remember how high the Bush polls were now that those that supported him are lossing their jobs, homes, savings and etc. the polls are falling. Notice Bush/Cheney/Rummy or any GOP elected official has a child or love one in the invasion of Iraq but will send our children to die. So before you call Michael weird becarefull after looking at what we're doing we might be the weird ones.

Posted by: Jackie Rawlings | March 20, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I think the story of Michael Jackson is more tragic than weird. Here was a very talented person who was let to go off into bizzareness by his parents, friends, relatives, professional associates, etc.

It goes to show you that 1) if you become famous and rich, you have only your own judgement to trust, and 2) no matter who your are, everyone wants a piece of the pie.

Pity Michael don't censure him.

Posted by: Kurt | March 20, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I wish people would just let Michael Jackson alone. Let him live his life and we all should do the same.

Posted by: Debbie | March 20, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Lat week it was a poor actor who got your bite.
Today - Jackson.

Liz, could you be more positive. Please.

Posted by: Nick | March 20, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

i give this blog at least another's tedious to read and the subject matter of the posts lag by at least a day. All of the gawker media sites do this very thing so much better.

Posted by: jv | March 20, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm frankly a little surprised to see so much support and sympathy for Jacko here. The notion of him being some victim of overzealous media scrutiny who just needs to be left alone is kind of ridiculous in light of the way he's craved public attention/adulation for nearly three decades. Anyone who specifically insists on being called "The King of Pop" and who erects a gigantic statue of himself and then floats it down the Thames to promote an album (called HIStory, no less) is basically begging to be put in the media spotlight.

So, when people see such an egomaniac behave like a creepy, delusional, self-absorbed, out-of-touch (Michael, you won't believe it, but society doesn't think it's cool when grown men sleep with other people's children! Who'd have guessed it???) Joan-Rivers lookalike, who can blame them for a little schadenfreude?

Posted by: Jacko is Wacko | March 20, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2006 9:34 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that many celebrities want to use the media for their own purposes and bask in it when things are good, but when things turn on them, they suddenly become victims of the paparazi, which is ridiculous. It's extremely two-faced of Jackson to act this way. He is among the strangest celebrities on record, mainly because of the decisions he's made, and I don't see why he deserves anyone's sympathy. At best, he's a weirdo, and at worst, a child molester. Either way, he's a has-been, and he will gradually fade out of the limelight in time, I hope. The story is sad, but it's sad because he made it that way. His poor children.

Posted by: Not a fan | March 20, 2006 10:23 PM | Report abuse

britney would have squished her baby if she braked too hard. leave michael alone. it's obvious people like you hope to make money off of anything he does. you are like leeches.

Posted by: debi | March 21, 2006 12:59 AM | Report abuse

when is the last time michael jackson had a hit song anyway? the last one i can recall was when i was in college, circa 1988..."man in the mirror" maybe? his weirdness is the only thing that helps him hang on to media attention. good riddance, wacko jacko!

Posted by: awads | March 21, 2006 7:53 AM | Report abuse

The man has sensitive skin, people.

Posted by: jackofan467 | March 21, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Is michael ebony or ivory these days?

...and what a handsome nose...

Seriously, who can blame the man. I mean, what grown adult male wouldn't find mccauley caulkin "hot"?

Posted by: I'm confused.... | March 21, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Remember this is the same guy that can make a middle aged European guy pass out just from pure dance moves alone. I dont care what any of you say, until you can add that to your resume, your comment doesn't seem important.

Posted by: John | March 21, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Yes John, it's true, Michael Jackson can put "Perform heart-stopping dance moves" on his resume, and I cannot. But this is someone who, by his own admission, regularly invited kids to his Willy Wonka-esque home, plied them with video games, roller coaster rides, and "Jesus juice," and insisted on having them sleep (read: frolick) in his bed with him. I'm proud to say that my resume is lacking those sterling credentials.

Posted by: Jacko is Wacko | March 21, 2006 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Dear John,

When you say "can make a middle aged European guy pass out just from pure dance moves alone" I'm assuming you're referring to men who find little boys very very attractive?

I mean, everybody is entitled to be a little fruitcake. But that doesn't mean you have to defend them. And once you start inviting little boys to sleep with you, any pretext of privacy is gone. If he wasn't rich, the guy would be a boy-toy in some federal prison somewhere who would be traded back and forth for a few smokes. Not that he would be bothered, apparently...

Posted by: Not John | March 22, 2006 7:42 AM | Report abuse

I feel what you guys are saying about playing with little boys. Thas not cool at all, but you all are so quick to act like this guy didn't have a major influenece on many of us today. Don't act like you all never tried the moonwalk.

Now I don't know what went on behind the bedroom doors in his house, but the parents of theses kids know this man plays with animals, and also wear's more make up than a Las Vegas show girl, but they still send there children to neverland.

Posted by: John | March 22, 2006 8:23 AM | Report abuse

mom? mom you there? if your hungry...can we have mater samiches for lunch? please? well, if you decide to just call me. i am in austin texas, but if you fix mater samiches i will come back to bangkok to ya..bye

P.S. i really want mater samiches.

Posted by: billbob | May 1, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

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