An evil fairy dies in Never Never Land

2009-07-04 00:00

ALTHOUGH the family is still arm wrestling over funeral arrangements, at one stage there was talk of singer Michael Jackson lying in state in a glass casket. This after a 250-kilometre motorcade from a Los Angeles morgue to his Peter Pan-inspired Neverland estate, with the coffin on a carriage drawn by a white horse, so that those lining the streets could say farewell to their hero.

Moronic behaviour knows no geographical boundaries. The whole tawdry business will be beamed to millions of bereft fans elsewhere, from China to Tristan da Cunha, who are unable to be there in the flesh.

It beggars belief. The most infamous suspected habitual paedophile and racial escapist of our times kicks the bucket. Instead of cracking open the champagne — let’s hit the French stuff tonight, ma cherie — much of the world seems plunged into mourning. Pathetic.

This for a bleached, emaciated runt whose rejection of his genetic heritage drove him to bizarre acts of self-mutilation. By the time he died his nose had fallen off a couple of times, while the leaked autopsy report notes that the nose cartilage had been mostly removed in Jackson’s determination to surgically reshape it from black to caucasian.

Then there were the persistent claims of child sexual molestation. Criminal charges in 1993 were eventually withdrawn following a $22 million civil settlement with the family of the alleged victim, a 13-year-old boy.

In 2005, Jackson was acquitted of further charges of child sex abuse but it was a Pyrrhic victory. The evidence of kiddie sleepovers and under-the-covers snuggles painted a picture of a seriously disturbed person (the court-appointed psychiatrist described Wacko Jacko as “a regressed 10-year-old”), who could not or would not change his inappropriate and legally fraught intimate relationships with underage boys.

Jackson, whatever his exceptional music and performance skills, was a lying, delusional megalomaniac. The reason he got away with this, instead of being pilloried, shunned and committed to a mental home, is that his wealth and celebrity status afforded immunity.

The flip side of Jacko’s megalomania — the sad monikers of royalty for his offspring, the Ruritanian-general suits he wore — has a flip side of media hyperbole and indulgence.

The wider world colluded in the Neverland myth of Peter Pan innocence, while knowing full well that the reality was darker.

His was not run-of-the-mill Californian barminess. This was delusion at pathological level. Jackson dangled his baby, Prince Michael, by an arm out of an upper-storey hotel window and took his chimpanzee Bubbles to parties, the two wearing matching outfits. Bubbles, Jackson’s “best friend forever”, has long since been dumped and forgotten in an animal sanctuary. The narcissistic Jackson didn’t return to visit as promised, nor did he contribute financially to Bubbles’s upkeep.

Jackson was less the Peter Pan character that he pretended to be than Tinker Bell — a “common fairy” as creator J. M. Barrie described her, alternately loving and hateful, whose sprinkle of fairy dust enabled humans to fly, if they believed enough. But when the believing stops, the magic ends.

So too with Jackson. At the time of his death, he was a musical has-been facing bankruptcy. His planned This Is It comeback show in London was creaking towards disaster, the self-styled King of Pop apparently unable to concentrate and too frail to complete a full rehearsal, never mind 50 consecutive shows.

Peter Pan mused that “to die would be an awfully big adventure”. For Jackson’s sake one must hope that his final adventure is better than the rather sad existence he had been reduced to in Never Never Land, aided and abetted by a celebrity-obsessed media and public.

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