Michael Jackson is a Symbol of How Fame Can Create Monsters by N. McCormick
If Michael Jackson was really a paedophile, can his music survive?
For a hardcore of increasingly marginalised fans, it will always be Jackson forever.
But for a mainstream audience for whom Jackson was a fascinating star rather than a mythic icon, a fatal blow may have been dealt. Yet the bitter truth is that the damage was already done, a long time ago.
The documentary, Leaving Neverland, is unequivocal about his behaviour, the alleged sexual grooming and assault of minors, using stardom to hide in plain sight.
It has left its first audiences at the Sundance Festival in Utah shocked.
It is forensic in its detail. And yet there was still a small protest outside the cinema, with fans holding saintly pictures of their pop hero, bearing the quote: “Lies run sprints but truth runs marathons.”
I suspect that marathon is coming to an end, and not in the way those fans might like. Jackson’s Willy Wonka meets Peter Pan persona had been making people uncomfortable for decades.
It is almost hard to remember now what a pariah Jackson had become in his lifetime.
… When Jackson died on June 25, 2009, aged 50, he hadn’t released new music in 8 years and his finances were in a parlous state, with debts approaching $500 million.
… Art can certainly survive crimes by its creators. Caravaggio was a murderer, Genet was a thief, Byron committed incest. Wagner was a notorious anti-Semite but we still listen reverently to his music. But it wasn’t pop music, which thrives on innocence and escape.
… The sheer size of Jackson’s global audience means that he will never fade away entirely.
Already some fans have been going into the IMDB database and changing the name of Leaving Neverland to Liar Liar 2.
But his most deluded admirers have been in denial for decades. Some may make excuses, and say Jackson was a damaged, tortured soul…
…But, if the documentary’s revelations become the accepted narrative,Jackson will surely disappear from public shared spaces. …