When the Rolling Stones were prosecuted for indulging in drugs in the 60's there was talk in one of the broadsheets of the time of "Butterflies being broken on a wheel". On the other hand the guardians of the law and their supporters in other papers were thinking that if the most powerful popular role models for the younger generation were to be publicly allowed to flout the law it would make better sense to scrub the law altogether rather than pretend it had any meaning or any force. Both points of view were valid. At the time, I owned the recording studio where their first hits and first album were recorded. I was well aware of the power of popular music as the coming form of cultural communication, but I was not too concerned with the Stones or what anyone smoked, regarding any drug use as just a mistake made by confused youth under pressure, not trained in the proper means to cope with it. For me, the 60s was an interesting decade on the way to the next millennium during which lots of people would learn lots. We just had to help them through.

Perhaps some of the same paradoxical thinking is behind those who approve or disapprove of the prosecution of Michael Jackson - here we have a preeminent role model; he must be held publicly accountable. But hold on a minute - there is something wrong here. It starts with the confusion that pervades our language, brought about by its misuse and intensified by growing illiteracy. A bibliophile is one who loves books and treats them with reverence, a francophile one who loves French culture, people or the country; but the word paedophile is used to describe those who abuse, kidnap, rape and murder children. What is going on? What does Michael Jackson have in common with the perverted criminals who have hit the headlines in Europe recently, secretive individuals unknown to the general public?

Michael Jackson has had a very unusual life, for sure, due to his exceptional talents and what might be classed as excessive bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Far from being a brute driven by sexual desire, Jackson is clearly an individual of extreme sensitivity. Sensitivity of a sort that may make adult relationships quite difficult, and an affinity with young people much more natural. Jackson probably is, as he maintains, a genuine paedophile in the proper sense of the word - one who genuinely loves and likes children.

Because he is also, as I have mentioned, not only sensitive but possessing excessive bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, he is what we call in common parlance a 'touchy-feely' person. The combination of all these characteristics, plus the very public way in which he has led his life, makes the very idea that he could ever hurt or abuse a child so unlikely that it can be ruled out. His nature makes it virtually impossible.

This does not in any way preclude the possibility that he might on one or more occasions have behaved 'inappropriately'. Given his privileged position as a wealthy adult who may attract young people to seek his company, a special responsibility falls on him. The prevalence of sexually suggestive pictures (which we call pornography sometimes, erotic art others) is obviously something which some people find inappropriate. However, the idea that this man could be responsible for damaging children and be imprisoned for it is to my mind perverse, seeing that he of all pop music performers has brought more innocent joy to children than any other.  That he is now (at least temporarily) a broken man making an exhibition of himself does not make him evil or dangerous.

Jackson has suffered severely from his 'Peter Pan' complex which is also behind the plastic surgery which has gone so wrong. Mistaken self-image is common these days, for instance amongst anorexics. But those wishing to make an example of Michael remind me a bit of a crowd 2000 years ago. Maybe the painting Jackson has of himself at the table of the last supper has a different meaning to that assumed by those who ridicule him. Maybe they are missing the point. I am sure that Michael is deluded by recognised standards, but those who wish to crucify him now are deluded also and judge his motives and behaviour by their own coarse standards and sexuality.

JB June 8th 2005

June 13 2005
Good result. He'll need to sell a lot of records to pay the lawyers though.  I wonder if Bashir, who started all this, is feeling proud of it.

JUNE 26 2009
I was not in the least surprised to hear the news of Michael Jackson's death. I could not imagine him handling the ambitious last tour he had planned. The world claims to be in shock. Personally I never imagined him getting old. Ave atque Vale - a great life.

Tributes paid to Michael Jackson

Family, friends, colleagues and admirers have been paying tribute to Michael Jackson, following the announcement of the star's death at the age of 50.


"My brother, the legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson passed away on Thursday June 25th, 2009 at 2.26pm. It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home.

"Our family requests that the media please respects our privacy at this tough time.

"And may Allah be with you Michael, always. Love you."


"I can't stop crying over the sad news. I've always admired Michael Jackson - the world has lost one of its greats, but his music will live on forever.

"My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless."


"I am shocked. I am overwhelmed by this tragedy. Michael Jackson has been an idol for me all my life.

"He was not only a talented person, but he was unique - a genius. It's such a loss. It feels like when Kennedy died, when Elvis died. My sympathy goes to the family. It's a big loss and it's not even sinking in right now."


"I'm just devastated, very, very sad. I pray that his soul is up there now. I'm still trying to hold on to the glimmer that it is not true. It is too surreal for me to absorb that Michael is no longer with us.

"Michael was in good shape because he was practising, he was training, he was rehearsing for the shows. Michael was careful with what he ate, he was just fine. Last time I heard of what he was doing, he was in great shape. And this is why I'm so absolutely shocked by this news."


"I'm having a million different reactions I didn't expect I would feel.

"He was a great singer - God gives you certain gifts, and this child was just an extraordinary child touched by this ability. He could sing like nobody else and he was able to connect with people."


"I'm absolutely devastated at this news. I just don't have the words. Divinity brought our souls together and allowed us to do what we could do through the 80s.

"To this day that music is played in every corner of the world, and the reason is because he had it all - talent, grace and professionalism. I've lost my little brother today and part of my soul has gone with him."


"I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible.

I am heartbroken for his children, who I know were everything to him, and for his family.

This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me."


I was lucky enough to know and work with Michael Jackson in his prime. Michael was an extraordinary talent and a truly great international star. He had a troubled and complicated life and despite his gifts, remains a tragic figure." REV AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGNER

"As a friend of Michael's for the past 35 years, I call on people from around the world to pray for him and his family."


"Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life. He made me believe in magic. I will miss him."


"I am stunned. My friend, Michael Jackson, is dead. He lived with me for a week on the 'Golden Pond' set after Thriller.


"He was one of the most influential and iconic figures in the music industry.

"Our hearts go out to the Jackson family, Michael's children and to his fans worldwide." USHER, SINGER

"My heart goes out to the King of Pop and his family."


"Definitely one of the greatest stars of recorded music. There is no doubt of that. He would be in the top 10 of all time, regardless of who the other nine people were.

"But you also have to remember that he went through different stages and owed some of his popularity to collaborators - Quincy Jones, with whom he did the great trilogy of albums: Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad."


"I was so excited to see his tour in London. We were going to be on tour in Europe at the same time and I was going to fly into see him.

"He's been an inspiration throughout my entire life and I'm devastated that he's gone."


"We have lost an icon in our industry and my heartfelt condolences go out to his family and children in this hour of sorrow.

"He will live on in my memory, and most definitely through the music he shared with so many."


"Michael Jackson was my musical god. He made me believe that all things are possible, through real and positive music.

"He can live forever. I love Michael Jackson. God bless him."


"We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of, not only pop music, but of all music. I can't find the words right now to express how deeply saddened I am by Michael's passing.

"He has been an inspiration to multiple generations, and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him onstage and all of the things I learned about music from him, and the time we spent together.

"My heart goes out to his family and loved ones."


"I've known Michael for many years and we've done many different things together over the years.

"I know his family and it's just a total shock. I don't even have words to say. I mean I'll miss Michael, the world will miss Michael and I'm sure the world is in a state of grief right now.

"I will personally miss him, I will miss his light, I will miss his star, I will miss who he has caused other people to become because of his greatness. He upped the standard."


"Michael Jackson will live forever through the thing that he put all of his life energy into: his music.

"Long live Michael Jackson."


"I will be mourning my friend, brother, mentor and inspiration. He gave me and my family hope. I would never have been me without him."


"He was one of my childhood idols. I salute you King of Pop. You made the whole world moonwalk together."


"Michael Jackson was my generation's most iconic cultural hero. Courageous, unique and incredibly talented. He'll be missed greatly."


"He's the most misunderstood man in world. Everyone thought he was this weird freak but when you're with him he's as normal as everyone else. I don't think he felt he was as famous as everyone else thought, he didn't know any different.

"He was a very caring guy who would go out of his way to help the sick. One night in London he wanted to see some homeless people. He sent them loads of pizzas in secret. The guy had a good heart.

"We used to dress him up and sneak out of hotel room and do normal things in shops. People wouldn't know who he was but we wanted to give him a taste of the real life."

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