British television has scored a coup with a two-hour special on Michael Jackson: the man, the face, the child sort of thing. Naturally, it has caused a minor media outburst consisting mostly of aftershock statements about two things: the interviewer, a certain Martin Bashir, and the interviewee, a certain remnant of a Black man.
Bashir, a bit player in last night's program, lays his claim to fame on the Princess Di interview in which she revealed her infidelities and eating disorder. He did an average job in as far as he didn't seem to be kissing any ass and he did touch on the main questions the public may have about Michael Jackson. [See program tonight Thursday, February 6, 2003 on ABC's 20/20]
However, Bashir did fail to ask the One Question we all want to know: is Michael Jackson a woman, and does he have the organs — regardless of color — to prove otherwise?
Bashir's main fault was that he fell into that ugly Barbara Walters syndrome where the journalist somehow thinks people actually care anything about seeing his or her face for more than a nod during questioning. His editorializing was also unwelcome in what was intended as an interview, not an op-ed.
All in all, the success of his show was based on the fact that he did manage to follow Michael over a long period (eight months), thereby facilitating memory lapses that contributed to proof that the King of Pop is delusional.
The “tough” questions were evaded throughout the first hour. Bashir overlooked Michael's insistence that his disfigured visage was merely attributable to natural “changes” in favor of gleefully inviting us into a few days of Michael's rather pathetic and lonely Peter Pan life.
There was a glorious segment about Michael's (for, as a man-child, he would certainly approve of us referring to him only by his first name, in true elementary style) penchant for gaudy household decor.
Tabloid estimates begin at around $4 million regarding the amount of money Michael spent during his interview shopping in a Las Vegas lonely-rich-people kind of shop. Michael spent the shopping spree buying various oversized versions of blue and black gold-trimmed vases that looked more like urns.
Of course, they weren't urns, for Michael does not consider the possibility of death, at least in his own case. “I want to live forever,” the colrophobic's worst nightmare giggled. Send in the clowns, indeed.
Yes, the man who loves children, but mostly just scares them, would not admit that he'd had any cosmetic surgery at all. Bashir insisted that if in fact the dramatic change in his facial bone structure were, as Michael attested, attributable to “changes after adolescence” then why was the discrepancy still evident when comparing photos of Michael in his 20s with his present appearance?
Michael had no further comment on that until the end of the show. But more on that later. Then we met his children — or more precisely, the masked underlings for whom he played the role of father. There were three of them. Two from his “wife” (and plastic surgeon's assistant) Debbie Rowe, whom he claimed at the beginning of the interview to have had a relationship with, but later simply referred to as a surrogate mother.
The third, recently-born (and recently dangled from atop a Berlin hotel balcony) was of another surrogate mother about whom Michael was also confused regarding whether or not he had had a relationship with.
The children were evidently the offspring of at least one, if not two, White parents, but Michael was insistent that the children are 50% genetically his. The 4-year-old daughter had long, straight brown hair. The 5-year-old son had medium-length straight hair, which had very clearly been dyed blond, because the brown roots were apparent. The third child was also White and named Blanket because Michael believes blankets are comforting things and should be cherished.
All three of the children, aside from being Whiter than ABBA, have blue eyes, but Michael claims that the infant's surrogate mother was Black. Basically, there were a lot of contradictions to Michael's statements, many of which were, to the unaided eye, blatant lies.
Which returns us to the subject of the appendage on his neck. At first, he claimed he'd had no cosmetic surgery. Upon Bashir's insistence that it seemed inconceivable that Michael's nose had naturally shrunk to a fraction of its adolescent form, his chin had grown its own cleft in his twenties, and that Black men quite naturally became White (Bashir was cautious not to say women) as they aged, Michael clarified. He's had one, no wait, okay, two surgeries on his nose. And that's it. Michael has spoken.
Regarding the dramatic change in his skin color (having produced a most-disturbing effect of orange and some green fingernails, in the process), Michael didn't explain himself but rather turned to the fact that many people change their skin colors via suntan lotion. Not quite on the dot, but it's hard to be honest with others when you're not honest with yourself, isn't it?
There was a general and overbearing sense of hate within Michael, manifested in name-calling and excessive self-pity. Tabloid journalists, as all journalists, are “ignorant” and spread lies about him (purportedly because they are out to get him). He did not dangle his startled infant from a hotel balcony, the child had enjoyed seeing Michael's public.
He had not had cosmetic surgery (other than the 2 nose jobs). He was the father of those three white children. And so on. His self-pity is best described as grotesque and mainly unfounded. Michael's father, Joe Jackson, was apparently a tyrannical and disturbing figure whose effects were only felt by one of the Jackson Five.
While there is some sense in the notion that Michael felt trapped by celebrity at a young age (though if he were a child today, it would be seen more as a gift from Pop heaven), certainly there are worse cases of child cruelty in this mean old world.
Michael came across as weak and in desperate need of the very sycophants that embrace him (or more precisely his money) on a regular basis. His stockpile of friendships was basically in the temporary tours of his Neverland ranch that he gave to young disadvantaged children — some of whom, he lovingly admitted, he shared his bed with, as all 44-year-old males should do with prepubescent children, he tried to say.
There isn't a single meaningful adult relationship in his life, it seems. At least, there is very clearly no one who is truly helping him sort out basic problems that are obvious to a television audience in the span of two hours. It seems every adult who knows him and could be of much-needed assistance wants to stay on his good side (and his will.)
The British press has hailed the interview as no less than a psychiatrist's field day. But there was nothing new in that interview, just reinforcements of what we already knew. He claims the root of his unhappiness is his celebrity, but very clearly bathes in the glory of his fame. He has mental and emotional problems that are very likely attributable to his unadulterated mass of wealth. What intelligence he may have had seems to have seeped through his wallet.
Jacko, as many audiences rightly concluded, is Wacko. In fact, he is a rather harmless freak, though after seeing the program, there is surely a growing concern for the fate of the three children whom Michael Jackson loves most of all.