Michael Jackson, Peter Pan and Never-Ever Land

I was planning to talk about other things today, but those plans were waylaid by the untimely death of Michael Jackson. 

I haven’t known what to say with regards to his passing, or perhaps I’ve had too many words… regardless, I couldn’t put it all down on paper until now.

Like millions of people worldwide, I loved Michael Jackson. Perhaps I took him for granted, as being born in the late ’70s, I literally grew up listening to his music.

From “The Whiz” to his albums “Off the Wall” and “Thriller”… to his sappy “We Are The World” to his ridiculous mini-flick at Disney World… and all things in between, not to mention what came before my time (when he was part of the Jackson 5), and everything he’s produced since…. I have loved this man.

I remember watching the “Thriller” music video for the first time on Mtv. I had to be sneaky about it, as my mother had a strict “No Mtv” rule.

I was a mere 6 years old when I peeped it, and had nightmares for months thereafter.

I won’t pretend to have understood him.

Perhaps that was part of the attraction to all that is was The King of Pop.

He was, if nothing else, an enigma… a complete mystery.

His personal life, of course, has been in absolute shambles for years.

He was weird, he was eccentric, he was isolated… but perhaps most importantly- maybe even the key to all his strange idiosyncrasies-was his perpetual adolescence.

I read an article recently at Time.comabout Jackson’s life. The author discusses the well-known Jackson comparisons to Peter Pan- from his intangible unwillingness (inability?) to grow up to his very tangible Neverland Ranch. He makes a very powerful statement regarding the fact that maybe we were all wrong- maybe Michael himself got it wrong…

… He was no Peter Pan.

Jackson more appropriately fits the mold of one of the Lost Boys.

For a man who gave so much- both on stage and off- he never found whatever it is he was looking for in return.

Michael Jackson- predictably- fell tragically victim to a stereotypical world of drugs and excess… certainly nothing new in the world of superstars. However, with the sole exception of his prescription drug addiction, Jackson never fit the mold. Throughout his entire life, in spite of all his unorthodox behaviors and his non-traditional lifestyle, Jackson maintained an almost unheard of innocence. Still, at the age of 50, he remained absolutely childlike in his aura… there was an air of innocence around him that never diminished. Not with age, not with complete super stardom, not with lawsuits or criminal charges. He never hardened… and perhaps even became more fragile, as time ceased being his friend.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of his entire life, even worse than charges of pedophilia, was Jackson’s self-hatred. Like a pre-teen in emotional pain, a child who cuts themself to release some sort of inner anguish, Jackson was faithful to his own self-mutilation tactics. He wasn’t a cutter, but managed to accomplish far worse in his absolute obsession with plastic surgery.

Some believe he was obsessed with becoming white.

I disagree.

I think he was obsessed with pain… I think he hated himself so thoroughly that he wanted the world to see the disfigured freak of a man he viewed himself to be.

And yet we still loved him, even as we shook our heads in disappointment at the fact that he no longer even had a nose to speak of.

The true source of Michael Jackson’s self-hatred will likely remain a mystery forever.

Was he irreparably scarred by the alleged abuse he suffered at the hands of his father?

The pressures of the industry?

A grueling public’s constant scrutiny?

Mental illness?

When I think of his personal life, his love for children- boys, especially- I do not think of a predator.

Rather, I think of the movie “Big“, starring Tom Hanks.

The premise of the movie centers around a boy- a pre-teen- who, tired of being short and puny, constantly picked on for his size, makes a wish at a carnival to simply be “big”. When he awakens the next morning, he’s big… as in an adult. The movie centers around an adolescent boy who is stuck in a man’s body- in an adult world. I remember the scene in which he meets a woman, and takes her back to his newly rented apartment- an apartment he’d filled with bunk beds, games and toys. The woman, of course, is expecting a romantic encounter… but Tom Hanks has other ideas. After a night of playing innocent child games and jumping on the bed, they fall asleep- with him on the top bunk, her on the bottom.

That, to me, is was Michael Jackson.

An adolescent stuck in a man’s body… thrown into an adult world while just a baby.

His behavior with boys was inappropriate for sure.

I do not believe, however, he preyed on them sexually, nor do I believe he ever meant to harm a single soul. To Michael, these were his intellectual equals. They were the age he was when he stopped growing, stopped maturing. When considering his small stature, his high-pitched voice and his never-altered childlike innocence, one begins to understand the Peter Pan analogies.

He never grew up.

To Michael Jackson:

You will be missed. We love you, and hope you can finally find the peace you so desperately craved.

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9 thoughts on “Michael Jackson, Peter Pan and Never-Ever Land

  1. Sadly you have come to believe exactly what he would have you believe. It was the perfect cover for a child molester.

  2. I cried when I read this article… My older sister was a big fan of his. I personally never really listened to his music… (It’s not that I didn’t like it. I didn’t like my older sister. Now the radio and the TV has his music playing 24 / 7 and I realized that I have missed out on hearing great music. Maybe my music has changed over the years and I now realized his music is good. I was lucky enough to watch his video’s, have seen him on TV with Britney Spears at a concert, and I did watch the news during his many trials. But I never though he was guilty. I remembered watching a documentary of him and I felt bad when the mother told him he couldn’t play with the children because he was black. What kind of nation have we lived in? I am however; happy that times have and continue to change. I wished that Micheal would have found a way to love himself and life, he gave so much and the world gave nothing to him but judgment. I am glade that he had friends in his life and I truly hope that they were true friends. As for him being a child molester NO I do not think he did that what so ever. To be honest, I think that he hated himself so much that he never allowed himself to be touched. Yes I know he has children but I do not think the women had sex with him. I think that artificial insemination helped him have a child. I do not know where Michael Jackson is now but I hope that it is a place where the world can no longer judge him, in place where he can be what he wants to be and that he no longer hates himself. In the end he had an exciting, he probably did more things than he ever imagined he would do, in fact he did more things and experienced more things than people will ever do in there entire life. But you have to ask your self did he live a good life? If you hate your self as much as he did would you want to live a life full of self hate? I hope that there was a point in his life that he did not have him self and he felt like he belonged.

  3. He wasn’t into self-mutilation as much as he was trying to create Peter Pan’s nose. And, true to Peter Pan, he allowed his childish friends to all sleep in his bed.
    Poor Michael never wanted to openly admit his obsession with Peter Pan drove these behaviors.

  4. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It?s the old what goes around comes around routine. Did you acquired lots of links and I see lots of trackbacks??

  5. I know what mj was missing.The peace that he desired is Jesus.I just hope he’s in heaven. R.I.P Michael ❤ ❤ ❤

  6. OK…I have no idea how I happened on this. Michael Jackson made a choice to continue the cycle of abuse on children. No matter how bruised, battered, and used he may have been- You never sleep with children in your bed. This implies, grooming from a perpetrator. You sound like you were one of the lucky ones coming out of the foster care system. Maybe you relate to Michael Jackson in some part of your history growing up. Michael Jackson, if he did do in fact what he was accused of, should have been prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. He would still be alive, sitting in prison and truly able to appreciate what he had and get the therapy he so desparately needed. He was the greatest artist of our time no doubt, but justice is blind.

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