In defense of a Smooth Criminal

BY GARRY GRUNDY

If Michael Jackson has performed lewd sexual acts with minors, I will be the first to say he needs to spend a good deal of time thinking about those lewd acts in a 4 x 8 cell at a California correctional facility. Allegations of this nature require a thorough inquiry.

It makes sense that George W. Bush’s propaganda machine, Fox News, was first on this story. Days before the mug shot that rocked the world – 5’11”; 120 pounds; hair: black; race: black – Fox News correspondents were at the Neverland Ranch triggering the slow leak that would lead to the most explosive story of this year.

Even more explosive than the number dead in Istanbul and Baghdad.

Fox News Correspondents were both astute and revealing when they pointed to “political correctness” as having hampered any meaningful discussion of this scandal. One Fox analyst boomed that two very clear facts are being glossed over: 1) Michael Jackson is a black man; and 2) Michael Jackson is clearly a homosexual.

And though only one of these declarations merits response, both are clearly irrelevant in deciding whether or not Jackson enjoys sexual contact with young boys.

Nevertheless, these assumptions typify the common-place conservative rush to judgment. “This man is the devil – I know it!” proclaims commentator Bill O’Reilly. You’d think he was talking about Saddam or bin Laden. How can he confess to know anything?

The facts here are as clear as they were for us going into Iraq: full of speculation, guts and self-glorification. If, when and until the Santa Barbara County district attorney actually files a complaint, speculation about a complainant or speculation about who is bringing the charges is totally irresponsible.

It seems as if a new breed of conservative cowboy justice reigns throughout Americana: Because America assumes Jackson to be a black homosexual, he is immediately placed in the category of sexual predator – revealing a bitterly stunted openness in American culture.

A father of nine and considered one of the most powerful politicians in conservative-shifting California, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon may very well be the instigator of America’s latest stunt. The DA displayed an uncanny joviality during the early stages of this process, causing many to question the motivations behind this investigation. What is more, because the District Attorney is likely to file charges in mid-December, the expectation of a speedy and fair trial for the King of Pop is even more unlikely. The expectation is that a Michael Jackson trial could consume much of 2004, in turn back-benching critical issues such as the misguided war on terror, the sagging economy and the 2004 presidential election.

I am not suggesting that the arrest of Michael Jackson is on the conservative radar. However, the groups that right-wing conservatives identify Jackson with certainly are: Mike is a black man and will always be a black man – regardless of what color his skin is or how much lipstick he wears or how small his waist is. And though his gender-bending ways are certainly remarkable, it is not enough to assume that because Jacko is a freako, we should short-circuit the legal process, and crucify a man that has brought more joy to children globally than any other single individual in modern times.

This may explain the massive demonstrations in support of Jackson in France, England and throughout the world.

A culture war is being waged in America. Like the war on terror, this war seeks to root out heterodox ways of being – this includes everything from bilingual education to gay marriage to asexual 45-year-old fathers of three having sleepovers at their ranches.

I thought that America was a place that could accommodate multiple world-views and ways of being. But those days are coming to an end; refusing categorical consignment is not an option. “That includes you, Mike! Say goodbye to Neverland! Straighten up! Get a real wife! A normal family! Or else…”

Having spent his entire life under the public microscope, neither Mike, his accuser nor his three little children will be well after this destructive episode in American history is over, leaving America soulless and empty in a cultural war with no bounds, little justification and fewer winners.

The real winner will emerge next November.

Garry Grundy’s column appears biweekly.

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