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The Best of Michael Jackson

Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. may have exaggerated when he called Michael Jackson “the greatest entertainer that ever lived,” but there’s no question that the memorial service today in Los Angeles deserved all the superlatives anyone might want to apply – biggest, most elaborate, most widely viewed. There were no half-measures for the King of Pop.

In many ways, it was more a commemoration of the man’s genius than of the man himself. Funerals are not a time for ambivalence, and the one thing everyone could agree on about Jackson – the one thing, perhaps, that anyone except those closest to him could truly know – was that his artistic contributions were revolutionary, profound and lasting.

In a poem by Maya Angelou, read from the Staples Center stage by Queen Latifah, there was a telling line: “Whether we knew who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.” Some of those who paid him tribute did know him intimately – his brother Jermaine, who sang “Smile” as if Michael were standing next to him, or Brooke Shields, who struggled to speak through tears. Some others seemed barely to have known him at all, and they were the ones who touched on the controversy in Jackson’s life. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, for example, took a moment to point out that our legal system is based on the presumption of innocence.

There was much about Jackson that his millions of fans perhaps didn’t want to know. His talent, though, was unmistakable. When John Mayer brought out his guitar for an instrumental version of “Human Nature,” you heard Jackson’s sweet voice in the riffs he played.

As Lionel Ritchie sang “Jesus is Love,” the video screen behind him briefly showed the columns and vaults of a medieval cathedral. I couldn’t help but think of Princess Diana’s funeral, which I covered. There was a big difference between the solemn walk that Diana’s family took to Westminster Abbey and the freeway motorcade that conveyed the Jackson family to the Staples Center. But the sense of moment was the same: the sudden death of an icon who, without our really knowing it, had defined an era.

Near the end, it was heartbreaking to see the Jacksons on stage as a family. We knew so much about their difficult show-business upbringing, we heard so much over the years about their dysfunctionality, that it was easy to lose sight of the fact that they remained, indeed, a family – brothers and sisters, a mother and a father, sons and a daughter. To them, Michael was no enigma. He was real, and now he’s gone.

Soon we will learn more about the circumstances of Jackson’s death. The disposition of his estate may well involve unpleasantries. We’ll hear more about his faults, his eccentricities, his habits. Much of it, I am confident, won’t be pretty.

So it was appropriate, I think, to take a day to focus more narrowly – on his generosity, which was undeniable; on his ambition, which was shrewd and purposeful; on his vulnerability, which came through in all the tributes; on his amazing talent, which profoundly changed the art and business of popular music; and on the stunning worldwide reaction to his death, which could only come in recognition of a life that truly mattered.

By Eugene Robinson  | July 7, 2009; 3:42 PM ET
Categories:  Robinson  | Tags:  Eugene Robinson  
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Comments

That was a well deserve tribute. It was dignified and moving. I hope the service provided the family with some comfort and healing. Rest in peace Michael Jackson.

Posted by: prichardson1 | July 7, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

It was truly a well deserved tribute and memorial. I truly believe that he made the world a much better place by being here with us.

Posted by: paris1969 | July 7, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

There is a link on the bottom right of each comment, and it offers an opportunity to "report abuse."

According to court documents, wasn't one of the victims testifying to an identifying mark on Jackson's genitals? And wasn't that borne out on examination? A presumption of paid off is what is going on here, not a presumption of innocence. I question the adoration of this pedophile, who was coddled by all those who stood to gain by his freakishness as well as by his musical talent (which I don't deny).

Jackson was unrepentant, and conveniently deluded in his moral justification of child molestation, and his family is complicit in this. The mother of the children, and any of the parents who brought their child to his home are perhaps as guilty as he is, and I cannot understand how this seems to fall to the wayside in order to laud his talents.

Get your heads out of your behinds people, you can't see straight!

Posted by: billdaniels | July 7, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

There is a link on the bottom right of each comment, and it offers an opportunity to "report abuse."

According to court documents, wasn't one of the victims testifying to an identifying mark on Jackson's genitals? And wasn't that borne out on examination? A presumption of paid off is what is going on here, not a presumption of innocence. I question the adoration of this pedophile, who was coddled by all those who stood to gain by his freakishness as well as by his musical talent (which I don't deny).

Jackson was unrepentant, and conveniently deluded in his moral justification of child molestation, and his family is complicit in this. The mother of the children, and any of the parents who brought their child to his home are perhaps as guilty as he is, and I cannot understand how this seems to fall to the wayside in order to laud his talents.

Get your heads out of your behinds people, you can't see straight!

Posted by: billdaniels | July 7, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile. Pedophile.

Posted by: AIPACiswar | July 7, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Funerals are not a time for ambivalence, but they also don't have to be times for outrageous hyperbole. The man was an entertainer, not smoeone who sacrificed to make the world a better place. He enjoyed entertaining and made a lot of money doing that. Nothing wrong with that, but we don't have to go overboard in praising him for being some wonderful human being. Jackson was judged innocent by a jury (like OJ and Robert Blake), so let's assume he was innocent, and laud him as a performer, not a saint.

Posted by: Sutter | July 7, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Blah, blah, blah.

As far as I'm concerned, if it was Michael Jackson's destiny to die at age 50, he should have died in prison, doing time for child molestation. I can listen to his music whenever I want, and he made incredible music, that's for sure. But he was a pig. That's how I'll remember him -- as a freakish person who violated children. He was a pig.

Posted by: dmarble | July 7, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Billdaniels:

Don't you know that it's ok to be a drugged out pedophile as long as you cut a few good records? I'm pretty sure that's in the Constitution. This celebration of his life isn't enough, I say. He needs a monument on the National Mall!

Posted by: ElSith | July 7, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Gene, is there nothing you can write which has any real importance ? Other than "Bush was the worst President", "Obama is a great President", "white people oppress African Americans", and now, "Michael Jackson's life was a life that truly mattered", what is it that you want the world to know ?

Your journalism is truly unworthy of a publication in which intelligent discourse should be a goal.

Posted by: rehillcj | July 7, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

One cable news station, I will not bother to mention except that it was the same on that tried to portray a certain candidate as celebrity, before the services smugly tried to paint it as gaudy circus coming to town.

They were forced to eat their words and promptly changed the subject immediately after the service.

Posted by: AverageJane | July 7, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"BILL DANIELS" WROTE: There is a link on the bottom right of each comment, and it offers an opportunity to "report abuse".

Well Billy, I wouldn't think of going to that link concerning your "PSYCHOPATHIC REMARKS". Every one who reads your comments, will know that a "DERANGED LUNATIC", is online writing all kinds of "STUPID LIES", SLANDEROUS REMARKS, and spreading his HATE, like a raging "FOOL".

People like you need to be exposed, so everyone will know you for what you are....."SCUM OF THE EARTH".

Bill Daniels, get a Life, while you are still living. If you would like to know who I am, please let me know I will gladly tell you. You "MAGGOT".

Posted by: austininc4 | July 7, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

To: ElSith, dmarble, AIPACiswar, billdaniels, and approximately a million or more other people -you have NO PROOF to justify, vilify or crucify the allegations against Michael Jackson. You've decided it was better to believe and repeat (as the poor messengers that you are -and by the way, messengers DO get shot!) mistruths, halftruths, and unsubstiantiated lies. Parents who accept money in exchange for dropping charges of their children being sexually abused are nothing but pimps. Rather than worrying the ways of one who is dead (because all you're doing is dancing on dirt- in every way), you need to think about how someone is going to speak of you when you're not here. You may not get accolades of this grandeur, but wouldn't you like someone to say that they can see YOU safely in the arms of your God?

Posted by: mukazzi | July 7, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

There is a time and a place for everything and today is not the day for people to be so cruel. I don't care what you think he did the court never found him guilty. Inspite your personal feelings you can not take away his music nor discredit his talent. I grew up watching and listening to Micheal Jackson and I say thank you, thank you and thank you again. My heart and prayers go out to the Jackson family

Posted by: c-love | July 7, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

"According to court documents, wasn't one of the victims testifying to an identifying mark on Jackson's genitals? And wasn't that borne out on examination? A presumption of paid off is what is going on here, not a presumption of innocence. "

You sure by "court documents" you don't mean "tabloid rumor"? If the LA police were certain they had a case against MJ, why was a criminal case for the 1994 charges never brought? You can't "pay" your way out of a crime idiot. Furthermore, despite MJ's questionable relationship with children, and a prosecutor who made it a personal mission to "get Michael", why were criminal charges only brought once? And why was MJ not convicted?


But please, continue to defame a dead innocent man's character based on assumptions grounded in ignorance and animosity. It says way more about your own character.

Posted by: jbanks979 | July 7, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

austininc4

you are an absolute fool and emblematic of what is wrong with this country. Jackson was not only a pedophile but a certified whackjob who's weirdness only increased as he got older. The only sadness here is that he didn't die in jail! I am utterly embarrased by all of the attention being lavished on an absolute nut and child molester. Bill Daniels' post was right on the mark....u people are absolutely crazy and misguided in your admiration for jackson!

Posted by: amsalty | July 7, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I haven't studied the criminal and civil cases against MJ with the dedication that Billdaniels apparently has,but I can think of a dozen explanations for how someone might be aware of a birthmark on another person without having personally seen it. Yes, MJ paid 20 mil to settle one case out of court- perhaps he had more money than sense. But, when criminal charges were brought against him, the state failed to meet the burden of proof, and Michael was aquitted by a not-particularly sympathetic jury. So, you people who are throwing around slurs and accusations, maybe you need to search your own dark souls.

Posted by: mgurbada909 | July 7, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

jbanks979, so according to you, only people who are guilty are found guilty and only the innocent are found innocent??? what planet do you live on? I guess you think OJ didn't do it either? As for buying your way out of criminal charges, you certainly CAN do that if the victim/witness refuses to testify, hence the police have no case!

It is your foolish logic that makes no sense! Let me ask you this, if you believed he did molest kids, would you still think he deserves all the adoration and accolades being showered over his grave?

better yet, would you let your 12 year old son sleep over his house? sleep in his bed? he DID admit to sleeping in the same bed and even if you don't believe he molested those kids, you cannot deny that there is something profoundly wrong with sharing your bed with a 12 year old! WAKE UP!

Posted by: amsalty | July 7, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I heard someone say that they didn't understand all this adulation for Jackson because "it's not like he was a president of the United States."

True. A president becomes president because at one key election, he/she gets more votes than anyone else. Obama got 63 million votes. Not one voter paid to vote for him.

Michael Jackson got over a billion "votes" each time someone bought an album of his. They each paid about $20 for the right to "vote" for him. And that doesn't count the countless hundreds of millions more who "voted" by purchasing a ticket to a live show at $25, $50, $100, $200, and more.

So you're right - it's not like he was a president of the United States or something. His emotional impact on the world went far, far, far beyond that, in a demonstrable, quantifiable, undeniable way.

Presidents should be so lucky. Or so talented.

Posted by: Syzygy7 | July 7, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Like the funeral of Ronald Reagan, it was way, way over the top; cost taxpayers a ton of money; and preferred dizzying superlatives to honest appraisals. Reagan's cult of personality is and was no different from MJ's cult of personality: these idolators conspired to prop up an image that had little in common with the actual person who made poor decisions and even grave and harmful decisions. Way to hand out the kool aid, Eugene.

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | July 7, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

It is time to drop the insults. 3 children have lost their father, parents have lost a son and sisters and brothers have lost a brother.
Last night even ultra conservative Pat Buchanan quoted another in response to the negativity surrounding Michael Jackson at this time. He said "When God puts his hand on a man, it is time for you to take yours off". Think about it!

Posted by: skippy27v | July 7, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

You frigging racists stop at nothing, now do YOU? YOU ARE DESPICABLE SCUM, worth less than my dog's poop

Posted by: mackiejw | July 7, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"jbanks979, so according to you, only people who are guilty are found guilty and only the innocent are found innocent??? what planet do you live on? I guess you think OJ didn't do it either? "

I believe in the american judicial system and not the court of public opinion as the only institution capable of determining guilt or innocence. Like all institutions it's not perfect, but noone is entitled to call someone "guilty" after they have been found innocent. To assume otherwise is to throw out the rule of law entirely.

"As for buying your way out of criminal charges, you certainly CAN do that if the victim/witness refuses to testify, hence the police have no case!"

Have you seriously never heard of "subpoena power"????

"It is your foolish logic that makes no sense! Let me ask you this, if you believed he did molest kids, would you still think he deserves all the adoration and accolades being showered over his grave?"

No I don't, but I'm also not going to assume somone's a child molester based on unproven accusations.

Posted by: jbanks979 | July 7, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

he's still a kid toucher...stop being an apologist Gene, and think about the innocent kids he's ruined.

Posted by: DaMan2 | July 7, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering if all you who are screaming pedophile feel the same away about ALL the priests who we KNOW are pedophiles.

Posted by: crazyeagle | July 7, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Puh-leez...

Maybe the family will drag the other two children out for the Memorial Redux planned for London at the end of August...

Then maybe another session in Minneapolis with Bubbles 3rd bringing in the the memorium from the Pan genus...

And representatives of the glove industry...etc., etc.

He Jackson once was a GREAT performer but, Jeez Louise, give us a frickin' break...this is starting to become nothing more than a campaign to continue the surge in album sales, perhaps necessary since Neverland cannot become the cash cow that Graceland became.

This exploitation is as sad as an apparently avoidable death.

Posted by: kdfal | July 7, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't begrudge Michael's right to rest in peace. But, common on people, the guy was no saint, and certainly not deserving of all the time spent covering his passing. All I hear about is Michael Michael Michael, even the Post has succumbed to joining this rat race (how sad). As if there's nothing more important going on in the world?

Posted by: pueo | July 7, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

To those who are accusing of Michael of being a pedophile, it takes one to know one. You accusers are all pedophiles! And you know it!!!! You know exactly what they are because you are one. Victims of pedophiles are usually pedophiles themselves!!

So how do you like it if you accusers of pedophile are accused of being pedophiles yourselves??? Disturbing, ain't it?

I don't know what a pedophile is just by looking at them. You probably have to experience it. So it takes one to know one.

Posted by: tij12345 | July 7, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

One more thing -- to all those people who are (still) in denial about Michael's shortcomings and faults...he himself admitted that he saw nothing wrong with a grown man sharing a bed with kids. It's on tape -- I think 60 Minutes or something -- go look it up. If your "average Joe" admitted that he'd be in the slammer, forever branded a pedophile even without due process of the law. So what is it... being Michael gives him carte blanche? Wake up and smell the coffee...
And whoever in Congress has seen it fit to consider passing a bill to memorialize the weirdo needs a serious reality check.

Posted by: pueo | July 7, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I saw several Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson concerts he was a brillant performer. As for the charges I use to think he was guilty until the 2nd claim and all the evidence against the family showed they were trying to blackmail him (J.C. Penney scam, etc.) it made me change my mind and think maybe he should have taken the 1st charge to court.

Posted by: rlj611 | July 7, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

MJ was NOT a pedophile. Ask anyone in law enforcement. Pedophiles cannot control themselves. MJ was shaken down by 2 individuals in 50 years. That's not a pedophile. Also, when he was interviewed when he was 11 years old he told a reporter (who now works for Vanity Fair) that when he grew up he wanted to "adopt 20 childred from every continent in the world of all races." He always identified with the pain and insecurity of many children- that's it.

Posted by: lisainbuffalo | July 7, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

i realized that the last few years of his life was pretty crazy, but people who are sticking on the 'pedophile' charge don't seem to realize that there was more to michael jackson than the last 5 years or so. yes that 60 minutes interview was bad but people who love him know there was more to his life.

Posted by: nall92 | July 7, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

No one cares about Mikey Jackson or Baracky Hussein Obama.

Another, really - really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS.

Update that resume, Eugene - Washington Post's obituary is just around the corner.

Posted by: hclark1 | July 7, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

"One more thing -- to all those people who are (still) in denial about Michael's shortcomings and faults...he himself admitted that he saw nothing wrong with a grown man sharing a bed with kids. It's on tape -- I think 60 Minutes or something -- go look it up. If your "average Joe" admitted that he'd be in the slammer, forever branded a pedophile even without due process of the law"

Even given the most generous interpretation of the above statement, Michael clearly had emotional issues and I don't think anyone would disagree that sharing your bed with a strangers child is abnormal.

But there's a difference between acknowledging abnormal behavior, and posthumously convicting the man of a CRIME based purely on your own speculation. I'm pretty sure the average Joe would be entitled to the same trial that Michael was, where guilt or innocence of the crime of pedophelia would be determined, and then they'd either be going to jail or set free.

I really don't care one way or the other about your personal feelings towards MJ, I only want people to stop slandering a dead man with criminal accusations based purely on ignorance

Posted by: jbanks979 | July 7, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Every person in the military, those who have served, those who died, and even those 20 who died since Jackson died deserve more praise and admiration than anythin Jackson ever did.

I enjoyed his music early in his career, but he, and he alone, determined his own fate. I respect all the dead, but this demonstration by the media has been way over the top.

Posted by: gsms69 | July 7, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

"...there’s no question that the memorial service today in Los Angeles deserved all the superlatives anyone might want to apply – biggest, most elaborate, most widely viewed."

***************************************

I agree, Gene. How about overblown, pretentious, grandiloquent, pompous, aggrandized, and bombastic? For crying loud, this was an pop entertainer with a sexual predilection for adolescent boys, not Mother Theresa.

Posted by: hisroc | July 7, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

This absolutely the right place and time to cruelly put Jackson in his place.

He was an adult trying to put himself over as a child, that is sick enough. His music is overrated by a huge margin, it was disco, it was pop, and pop is commercial crap. He hadn't put out a record worth buying in decades, show me a grown many who could listen to that treacle (you can download then delete it all free via Piratebay.) He was an in your face freak high as a kite in interview with his children. Poor taste in ostentatious material junk all around him, what a loser. And the surgery, wow how sick a person do we tolerate?

Jackson, good riddance.

Posted by: AIPACiswar | July 7, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Bush killed 300,000 in Iraq and he's walks around a free man.

Posted by: hhkeller | July 7, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Three kids lost mother and father same day.

I just wish there were also more public comfort for kids.

Paris spoke from her heart. That was the greatest tribute to MJ.

Posted by: kat7 | July 7, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

mr.robinson if mr.gordy exaggerated in proclaiming michael as the greatest entertainer to ever lived then i say to you,name another person that has entertained worldwide as michael. mr.robinson before you make statement like this you should have some substance to offer.

Posted by: ronaldtennillegeorgia1 | July 7, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

personaly i think there is somthing wrong with the comments that have been left in this section about matters that i dont want to discuss.I want everyone to no that this is a human that has died not a piece of trash and he deserves every bit of respect as me and you do.THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK YOUR MIND! rest in peace MJ.

Posted by: mhenderson8582 | July 7, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

This cannot possibly be serious.

Robinson just wrote a column trashing Gov. Palin — and then he turns around, and goes ga-ga over this cretinous freakazoid? Calls the freak a freaking GENIUS?

Ha ha ha ha ha. Sorry, it is all just too rich, too preposterous, too grotesque. Whatever credibility anybody ever accorded Mr. Robinson: Poof!

Posted by: zjr78xva | July 7, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Enough Enough Enough

Enough about the child molester
Enough about the drug abuser
Enough of the taxpayers money paying for this "funeral", about $4 million.

Please report and/or editorialize on important news.


Posted by: kathymac1 | July 7, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

to mackiejw
What in the world are you ranting about?

Posted by: kathymac1 | July 7, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

The Michael Jackson mania is a sad commentary on our society. He was addicted to drugs, shopping and cosmetic surgery that mutilited his face. He was certainly a sex pervert. Jackson did admit that he slept with young boys and found nothing wrong with it. Any normal person or any mental health professional would see plenty wrong with a grown man sleeping with boys. I do wonder why parents of those boys allowed Jackson near them. Nobody in his/her right mind would have let Jackson alone with any children. Lionizing Jackson demonstrates how decayed our society is. It cannot sink much lower than this.

Posted by: mmm1110 | July 7, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Anything that gets Baby O off the front pages has my vote!!!! Go Michael.

Posted by: PalmSpringsGirl | July 7, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

HONEST PURE and KIND that was michael jackson.

he will be remembered long after the haters of this world are DUST.

a stamp and congressional recognition as a humanitarian are great!

i would like to see a mountain carved in his image, a fitting tribute to a man whos music is IMMORTAL.

Posted by: JudgeAlan | July 7, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Why the hype and adulation for a White Wannabe Pedophile that could dance and sing?

Posted by: FraudObama | July 7, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Another morally and financially bankrupt entertainer bites the dust. If you believe his own words where he states that sleeping with children (not his own) is "sweet and innocent, I fix them cookies and milk and tuck them in", then you need professional help of your own.

Posted by: kingsra | July 7, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

JudgeAlan

Since you are so obsessed why don't you just go have your wang tattooed with a likeness of him. Seems fitting for both parties.

Posted by: FraudObama | July 7, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

This felt right, a good, good-bye, to one who died suddenly who had given the world his best for forty years.

Those who gripe about it mistake love and gratitude for commodities that need rationing. What would they rather young people do?

Posted by: jhbyer | July 7, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Eugene, I can't agree with your comments in any shape, way or form. And I was probably one of the first white persons in the US to buy Michael's first 45-"I want you back"-HE WAS A PEDOPHILE-PURE AND SIMPLE.

Posted by: arrabbiato | July 7, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow... seems that some Americans think with FACTS other than by the color of someones skin.

MJ was a tormented soul.. abused as a child, paid off children that he ABUSED. For a period of time.. HAD to live outside the United States because of LEGAL ISSUES.

Rich, powerful and a hell of an entertainer whick no one can deny.

Black America needed/wanted to make him their ICON. The did so.. they made a mockery of his death by crying TEARS after he DIED.

The MSM reported his death every day for the last ten days... the Memorial Services will make his Estate some huge Money to pay that 400 - 500 Million Dollars that he owes.

How so many can absolve him of his sinx.. is tyical in the Black Community.

Does NO ONE care of the children that WERE not his biologically. That he MIXED the DNA of two individuals to have.. and paid a surrogate mother to have.

Strange that his wives were not there!!!

As usual Eugene... supports any Black person out there and is a loyal fan of he Messiah.. and his crooked wife.

Posted by: miller51550 | July 7, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Anything to get Sarah Snowplow off the front page....

Posted by: arancia12 | July 7, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Yet Again somebody hating on Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson being “the greatest entertainer that ever lived,” is an exaggeration. No one even come close to what this guy has dne. A SEA OF PEOPLE crying out your name, Grown men passing out at your concerts. No one even comes close and you call it an exaggeration!

He just made it his point to hate of michael at least one time in his article. Thats really ashame.

Posted by: d_weezy08 | July 7, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Michael Isnt the greatest entertainer that ever lived? WOW!!!!

It was an exaggeration!?!?!?! WOW!!!!


Posted by: d_weezy08 | July 7, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Ya know what? There's a church in Gemona Del Friuli, Italy, that has been standing since probably the 1100's. It was sacked by the Turks. It was almost destroyed in an earthquake in the 1970's.

It's a beautiful, enigmatic, Romanesque Chiesa.

It was around long before Michael Jackson. It will be around long after. No one celebrates it. It doesn't need it.

Posted by: arancia12 | July 7, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

People like Michael Jackson's music, but his life seems more like a tragic one then one that was fully lived. His abusive father, and then his endless attempts at plastic surgery along with increasing financial problems, ending finally with the issues of alleged pedophilia and drug use. It all seems like he was a man suffering a lot. I wonder if he wouldn't have given it all up to just have been allowed to lead a normal life? Time to just let him rest in peace.

Posted by: magnifco1000 | July 7, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I hope that little girl made Peter King feel like an ass, today. You want to appeal to your conservative base, Rep. King? Don't do it by the exploitation of a dead man.
Pat Buchanan put it very succinctly yesterday with this quote:
[[When God puts HIS hands on a man's life....YOU take your hand off his life.]]

Posted by: creatia52 | July 7, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

His funeral cost a city in a bankrupt state 4million dollars....Yeah, he deserved the huge tribute.
How is it that every news outlet and person derided him and would openly make jokes and state their kids would never be allowed near him are now hailing him as a hero above reproach.
He should have had a closed funeral with only family and friends and not the gaudy display of absurdity that will no doubt occupy the news for the rest of the week.

Posted by: brown_C | July 7, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Not to be racial but why do so many older white journalists NOT seem to know alot about Micheal Jackson? Donnie Deutsch called MJ "just a singer and dancer." Ruth Marcus' article seemed devoid of any true understanding of Jackson's impact on oh..I don't know 30 years of culture?

We don't have to agree on his music or personality. But the man's VERY accomplished. Personally, I find it offensive when journalists question why MJ is being honored when they haven't even bothered to actually learn about the man.

Posted by: bosslady1 | July 7, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

This was one of the most moving tributes I have ever seen on television. America was seen at it's best. Unfortunately, at a time of tragedy. I will never forget Michael Jackson's sweet litle girl. Her appearance put the lie to every false rumor about Michael Jackson. She represented her father well.

Posted by: PepperDr | July 7, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I am not one to comment on these webpages; however, my heart grieves on this day, for the lost of one who loved so many. It did not occur to me until I began reflecting that so much of who I am, is marked by Michael Jackson in both his greatness and his simplicity. At every juncture, every milestone of my life...Michael was singing something in the background. Of his 50 years, he gave 45 of them to everyone, in Love.

In so many ways, his love was so, pure, simple...'Christ-Like'. He gave and gave and in the end, those that he loved tried to unjustly harm him. The great I AM has looked at his tired soul and fragile body and said, 'Well done My faithful servant'. My prayers are with those who loved him intimatley, his fans, his friends, his family, his children. kprice

Posted by: kprice11 | July 7, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Let's not be so judgmental of Michael Jackson. Michael was a man not a deity. Humans are not perfect; they are mortals with many flaws.

Michael Jackson, I am sure, had many flaws. His worse flaw was probably being self-destructive. He probably did more harm to himself than to anyone else.

Let's not be consumed by hatred towards a man most of us never even met personally. We don't know whether he was a pedophile or not, because we were not there. None of us will ever know the truth, and the courts found him innocent. So now that he is dead,unless he hurt you directly, why not let him rest in peace?

We should let the Creator judge him and decide whether he is to be forgiven or condemned. In the meantime, let's just enjoy his music and remember him for the possitive deeds he did during his life.

Posted by: fridaolay | July 7, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

My favorite part of this blog was when Eugene referenced Sheila Jackson Lee saying our legal system is based on the presumption of innocence. I wonder if the Duke lacrosse players got the same treatment from Eugene. I think everyone knows the answer to that. What a hipocrite.

Posted by: redskinsrex | July 7, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

[[His funeral cost a city in a bankrupt state 4million dollars....Yeah, he deserved the huge tribute.]]
******
It is not a done deal that the city is going to pay for that and probably not. AIG will be made to pay some and also the Jackson family will be asked to contribute. The hotels and many motels were booked to the max according to the acting mayor and those people eat and shop. LA could come out of the deal making some much needed revenue.

Posted by: creatia52 | July 7, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Are we done with Michael Jackson now, is the mass worship completed? Can we move on to the Michael Jackson sightings in the mall, the Michael Jackson return-from-the-dead visions on toast, all the other crap we've been dealing with in the post-Elvis world?

The only thing I'm still curious about is the adulation he receives as a "black" performer. This, after all the money he spent trying to be a white woman.

Posted by: khote14 | July 7, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

"So it was appropriate, I think, to take a day to focus more narrowly – on his generosity, which was undeniable; on his ambition, which was shrewd and purposeful; on his vulnerability, which came through in all the tributes; on his amazing talent, which profoundly changed the art and business of popular music; and on the stunning worldwide reaction to his death, which could only come in recognition of a life that truly mattered."

"...truly mattered." Inane. Pray tell, what other lives did not truly matter? Governor Palin? Any Republican? Anyone who works for Fox News? The people who voted for you to get the Pulitzer Prize?

Do the survivors of abuse (of which I am one) think it is "appropriate" to ignore its existence, its possibility from a person who stated that sleeping with a child whom was not one's own was "love", "it was not sexual", and "to take a day to focus more narrowly..."?

Not a chance. It is not something survivors can focus or unfocus on.

What he may have done to others is what truly matters. People who have experienced abuse know one when they see one (abuser), those that have not experienced it do not know one when they see one. Those who have experienced it who may recognize him have difficulty narrowly focusing, no matter what incredible accomplishments he had.

This author says the same old same old. Uncomfortable with possible truth, with the possibility? Just pretend it isn't so. As do so many others so that abuse remains "invisible".

The guy in Switzerland was caught, many many others are never caught. Should we narrowly focus on whatever positive they may have done?

Posted by: skinsfanmoyo | July 7, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Robinson, for your thoughtful tribute. As many have pointed out, now is not the time to hate but to appreciate. No one can deny the huge impact that Michael Jackson had on American culture. As a white girl growing up around the same time as he did, Michael Jackson's music was the soundtrack for my youth, teen, and college years as it was for billions of people around the world. He was the consummate entertainer who bridged the gap between colors and cultures. I am grateful for his contributions and I join the billions who mourn his passing.

Posted by: ah-usa | July 8, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Whatever bad he may have done, he cannot do any longer. Any good ha may have done can only live on in his children. They seem to appear normal, good kids. The little girl's tribute was touching. At least we should have the dignity to let them remember the good in peace, and have aqs normal a life as possible.

Posted by: robjalvarez | July 8, 2009 4:33 AM | Report abuse

Peter King reminds me of that ghoulish group from Kansas that demonstrates at soldiers' funerals while the family is still in mourning because they oppose Pentagon policy that the soldier had no part in making.

Savaging Jackson - who can't respond - and doing it before the man has even been buried in order to retaliate at the media is the classless act of a coward.


Posted by: jack824 | July 8, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

I don't begrudge Michael Jackson's family and friends mourning his death and celebrating is accomplishments. I do take exception to so-called reporters glossing over his sins and glorifying him. The former Governor of Alaska and the former Miss California have been treated far worse for far less. It seems that the sickness of Michael Jackson's soul is a reflection of the media.

Posted by: alanr1 | July 8, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

No one can call him a paedophile and no one can say he wasn’t. No one was there, no one witness the accused crime. The tabloids stretch anything they get their hands on so no one will ever know. The man had problems anyone can see that, its not a secret. So don’t pretend he was a saint everyone has their own problems and that is just how it is. He was talented and he was talented and fullstop, it all began and ended with his talent.

Posted by: callisa | July 8, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

A greta entertainer has died...let him go.

The continual harangue about his "alleged" problems remind me of the FBI Profile of "Child Molestation by Proxy".

The FBI has found a certain number of persons that "get off" on their own child molestation fantisies by "disparaging" other people about those same "charges".

I think we need to look closely at all those "Compassionate Conservative Evangelical Republicans" that are continuing to disparge this man even while his children are breaking down in greif before our eyes.

It seems like proof that Evangelical Compassionate Conservatives are not really human and should be flushed down the john along with Bush's Legacy.

I thank you.

Posted by: anderson2 | July 8, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

So, who among us has no troubles, weirdnesses, demons ??? MJ surely did. But who among us could pen and produce a musical masterpeice such as "Heal The World", with all of its perfectly correct message? Only the most mean and evil among us can criticize the gift of MJ that gave us such lofty sentiment. MJ's troubles on earth are over and may he rest in peace. He surely will be remembered long after any of the mean-sprited people making stupid comments today.

Posted by: schaeffz | July 8, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I watched the memorial and thought it was a lovely tribute to this man, father, brother, son. He deserved no less.

I loved Michael Jackson's talent, I danced many times to his and his brother's music. I was awed by his "Masterful" performances, his ability to "kill" and audience with a movement of his body and his feet, while being bone shy off stage.

I hated the Martin Bashir interview but loved that Michael opened himself up to that "snake" of an interviewer who devoured him whole. I hate that ABC let him comment on his memorial. Martin Bashir was forever tainted in my book for how he devoured Michael Jackson.

I hated the molestation trial that was allowed to go forth even though the accusers were totally full of lies from the start, yet, it wasn't so much about proving Michael Jackson a molester of young boys as it was an "opportunity" to "get him." It was a total televised crucifixtion party for the media. I loved that the jury found him not guilty. Loved that Diane Diamond, the other, snake, of an interviewer who lived to devour Michael Jackson during that time did not get her intented wish for Michael Jackson to be behind bars. MSNBC and ET also let her comment on Michael Jackson's death and Memorial.

Yes, all of this is coming from someone who loved Michael Jackson's work, I'm not EVEN a crying, run to his concert, buy all his records fan, just an "on the sidelines" fan, but you can see how it gets so pathetic the way everyone judges this man's life and worth like everyone died and became the GOD of Michael's last judgement.


I will always have to sit and watch a Michael Jackson performance, one doesn't just pass up an opportunity like that if you love music and dance, and I will always just shake my head in awe and smile.

God Bless this man, his children and his family, because he gave me and millions of others hours and hours of pure joy, and fun. That is more than most of us could do in 10 very long lifetimes and his was cut short no less.

Posted by: rannrann | July 8, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Michael Jackson was indeed extremely talented, donated lots of money to charity, and moved millions with his music. for that, we can rejoice in his life and wish him well in his passing. but let's also keep some perspective. Michael Jackson didn't stop global warming, he did provide health care to the nearly 50 million Americans who lack health insurance, and he didn't put the millions of out of work families back to work. In other words, he was a man. I would like to see our society idolize not just the athletes and entertainers but the teachers who work for low pay to help kids have better futures, the soldiers who die in battle to protect our freedoms, the farmers who produce the foods we eat, the health care professionals who help us get better when we are sick, and many others. those people get far less recognition and pay than Michael Jackson did and they touch our lives far more than Michael ever could (if you doubt that, try going for a week without eating and listening to Billie Jean and see which is harder).

Posted by: adifferentpointofview | July 8, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Eugene Robinson calls Michael Jackson a genius. In an era where marketing drives almost everything, we shouldn't be suprised that superlatives like "genius" are tossed around so cavalierly. Michael Jackson was an extrememly talented and gifted performer with a unique sense of style. However, genius is something else. If we use the term "musical genius to describe him, what superlatives are left to describe Mozart who wrote entire symphonies in one draft manuscripts without revision?

Posted by: gglaw1 | July 8, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

If Michael Jackson was not a pedophile (and one child already admitted to lying), then he was incredibly naive and dense. I understand all of the painful childhood arguments and yadayada, but how can anyone not foresee these greedy green-eyed parents going after Michael's fortune after sending their kids over to his house for a sleepover? I feel sorry for him that he did not understand the situation he put himself in. I would not want to be responsible for watching anybody's kids unless they are relatives or really close friends.

Posted by: forgetthis | July 8, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to go as far as some here but lets look at the big picture for a moment.

Jackson was undeniably a talented singer and performer. What is also undeniable is that he did engage in inappropriate conduct with children. The guy was filmed on camera saying that he enjoyed sleeping in the same bed as underage boys.

Imagine, for a moment, if you had a 50 year old neighbor down the street saying that he liked sleeping in the same bed with boys. Would the ordinary people here let their kids or grandkids anywhere near that guy? Heck no. BEAM ME UP SCOTTY!

Posted by: playahatah | July 8, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Whether Jackson was a "pedophile" in the textbook sense doesn't matter. It's a fact that he paid a $20 million settlement out of court to the family of one young boy. It seems to me that, given Jackson's wealth and celebrity, he could have said, "Go to hell. I'll see you in court. Bring a big checkbook." That is, if the charges were baseless. A settlement that big argues that they weren't.

Secondly, I have to say that one of the reasons Jackson was such a huge success was that he succeeded in demasculinizing the image of a Black man for a white audience. He wasn't like the great Paul Robeson--a booming voiced, operatic baritone who defied the political establishment. He wasn't like Muddy Waters or Howlin' Wolf--tough men out of the Mississippi cotton fields who made loud, primal, sexual music. He wasn't like Nat King Cole, a model of suavity and sophistication.

He wasn't like any of those men. He was highly talented. But cute. Inoffensive. And desperate to not be Black.

Posted by: jhpurdy | July 8, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

To those who say he was just an entertainer but didn't make the world a better place, ummmn, how many other individuals do we now currently or past, that has broken the Guiness Book of World Records for donating to the most charities (110 to be exact)? This man, no matter what you may think of him personally has donated hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars to worthwhile charities in his 50 short years on earth and has given his countless hours of time also.

If that isn't trying to make a difference or trying to make someone's life better then I don't know what is. I'll choose to focus not only on his talents, entertainment and business, but his humanitarian efforts which supercedes any other so-called star in our history.

Posted by: rmattocks | July 8, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

It is a shame that people pass judgment without really knowing anything about a person other than the trash spewed by the media, who are only seeking ratings.

For the record, Michael Jackson gave away $350 million to charities around the world. He helped build hospitals, and provided funding for medical equipment.

Not enough? The record sales from "We are the World" raised $63 million for famine relief. He helped save thousands, if not millions of starving people.

This is fact, the rest of the garbage out there in the media is just speculation. If someone really has a child who has been harmed, they go to the police, they don't sue for millions!

In the words of Janet Jackson, "What have you done [for the world] lately?

Posted by: preatorius | July 8, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

As a mother and a victim, and I can tell you without a doubt that I would want death to anyone who violated my child!

To think the parents in the first case didn't seek criminal charges makes me think it was a false charge. After all they could have done society a favor and taken this "monster" off the streets, and still sued in civil court for the money.

Likewise, the parents in the second case could have filed civil charges after their failed crime case. They didn't because they had no case.

If we had a conviction in civil and/or criminal court I would say Jackson is guilty. But you can't ignore the facts or the conduct of the parents.

Jackson is a cash cow for those to lazy to make their way in life. Don't think the law suits will end because he's dead.

Posted by: aalex109 | July 8, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

There are two crimes that are so revolting and so disgusting as to require that the death penalty be manadatory in all cases. Those two crimes are cannibalism and pedophilia. Michael Jackson was a pedophile, and he should have been convicted and then executed. Instead he was able to buy off the witnesses against him, or the threat of violence from his more insane fan base terrified those witnesses. When he was indicted the State of California should have been able to appoint a temporary trustee of all his assets to insure that he could not bribe the witnesses against him while preserving his right to the counsel of his choice. Had this simple precaution taken place then Jackson would have surely been convicted. Also in most cases of sexual assualt, counsel for the accused puts the victim on trial, and that also occurred with Jackson's case as the victim's mother was condemned by Jackson's attorneys. This is another practice that most be stopped. Only when rapists and molesters can no longer bribe and intimidate their victims in court will the victims get the justice the deserve, and the pedophile gets what he deserves. A rope around the neck. For what he did to the innocent victims of his pedophilia, I pray that Michael Jackson fries in Hell for all eternity. Along with every other pedophile, including those Catholic Priests.

Posted by: mike92 | July 8, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine being a celebrity to the magnitude of Michael Jackson. He had no privacy at all. Unfortunately, our media are based upon exposing the negative versus the good. He gave to more charities than any other artist. He was a big contributor to UNCF. This is a charity that supports the Historical Black Colleges and Universities. In my mind, he was clear of his race and the importance of educating African Americans. I love his music. My favorite album was Off The Wall. So many people gained their wealth off his music. It was clear that he had an unusual up bringing. Maybe, we should compare his father to being like those accused Priests that spent time abusing children. I know this is a strong assumption. However, it was clear that his up bringing could justify those adult experiences. As I watched his siblings over the years, they have given media interviews discussing the subject as being a mutual feeling.
In the end, God says don't judge. It was a lot more to him. He did not exploit all that he has done positive. He still did it after the controversy. He never let it stop him from doing what was best in a charitable manner. I wish all those people that are negative on the topic of Michael Jackson well. At the end of the day, you were not impacted or subjective to his life. We all have enjoyed his music. The record sales prove it. We need to move on and hope the media doesn't destroy his image to his children. That will be a devastation.

Posted by: ginogreat | July 8, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Jackson was what he was. But did he matter more than anyone else? Music is wonderful and dancing is wonderful we all enjoyed his entertaining but did it matter? Perhaps to some who are so down trodden that to see a black kid so praised for his great talent and make it in the big time, gave them hope. But should we as a people, as Congresswoman Lee has moved on the floor of Congress, have postage stamp tribute to him? When we know he abused children. Not proved beyond a reasonable doubt in court, but do you suggest we should ignore the young men who were hurt by him and have to endure the tributes and adulation on a man who threatened their parent's lives or bought off their parent's with houses and cars? We cannot make life something it is not. Michael tried to be a child all of his life, but he was a man. He hurt people. Ironic indeed that he set up "Heal the Children" charities (which by did nothing and were unfunded) when he harmed children himself.

Posted by: maddymappo | July 8, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Michael Jackson was a Human Being. It's amazing that many who commented focus on matters already decided by jurors. How many of them can say they are blameless for some other sins -- such as incest or wife-beating or other disgraces they would not want anybody to know about?

To me, it sounds like the naysayers and bad-mouthers resent not having had Michael's talents or life experiences.
Lord knows Michael suffered for his genius; and the only people he ultimately was able to share his humanity with were his children. As for me, I am so happy to have been able to share his life and his talents; and I wish his family and children health, wealth and the best that life offers. Thanks to all of Michael's fans for standing by their Man!

I thoroughly enjoyed the well-deserved tribute to The Greatest Entertainer of All Time.

Posted by: TheresaLWatson | July 8, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

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