Double Blind

As great an admirer I am of Jackson’s amazing talent, I have absolutely no doubt, none whatsoever, that Jackson has been sexually molesting if not sexually assaulting minor boys for decades. This Penn State graduate assistant allegedly happened upon a six-foot-two, 200-pound, fifty-something year-old silver-haired man, naked in a shower with a naked 10-year old boy–by account of the indictment–pressed up against the shower tiles while the man sodomized him. The picture that graphic language creates is horrifying. Yet, I am persuaded this is precisely what Michael Jackson has been doing most of his privileged adult life. Many of Jackson’s victims were delivered, eagerly, into his hands by parents who either knew or suspected what Jackson’s actual motives were, but who were either starstruck or were positioning themselves to make money off of him. This is evil. Don’t parse it, don’t excuse it. It’s evil. Why was America so horrified by Sandusky while Jackson remains, in even my memory, a kind of tragically beloved figure?

 Complete Essay Is Here


  1. Dave Van Domelen says:

    For what tiny amount it’s worth, the grad student is now claiming he did stop the specific incident that he witnessed, even though he didn’t testify to that in the grand jury. How much of this is self-retconning we can’t know. People are really good at rewriting their own memories, to the point that they’re 100% convinced that things really happened the way they now remember it.

  2. Thelmon says:

    Tonight I went to dinner with a friend of mine. We talked about a multitude of things and glossed over a few topical issues. It is so strange to me what is picked to be covered and blown up in the news. Child molestation happens daily but if it’s a person of note it becomes such a big shock. If that person of note takes a squat we know about it. If I take a squat it goes down the drain and enough said.

    The Jackson trail and the Penn State incidents I tuned out after a couple of days because I knew the outcome of the Jackson trail and I knew that the Penn State incident was going to grow larger. Am I wrong to not occupy my mind with this stuff? I see this country in economic and social collapse and want to find solutions to America’s ills. I want to listen to someone who has at least some insight into how this has happened and what we need to do to start some kind of recover.

    I know I’m off topic but these are a portion of my thoughts. I don’t want to seem like I’m minimizing the seriousness of child molestation. I just wish that the subject was placed daily in the public eye and more is done to confront it.

    • priest says:

      “Child molestation happens daily but if it’s a person of note it becomes such a big shock.”

      As an adult, I learned from a close friend that, for ten years–including years when I was around him a good deal of the time–he’d been molested at school. Trust me, it’s a big shock even when those involved aren’t famous. For me, it was a catastrophic failure to pick up on cues, to even notice this was happening to this kid. I was *completely* unaware. I was right there, and he couldn’t tell me.

      If there is any light to this grisly Sandusky business, I hope it is a more aggressive turn toward educating kids about this stuff: Don’t Be Afraid To Tell. Tell somebody– tell everybody. But the shame and, more complex, the guilt and fear shrouds these kids and protects their attackers. I used to think, smugly, that the parents of these kids were just morons to not know. I don’t believe that anymore. This evil can be gong on, right under your nose, and you’d have absolutely no idea.

      It is entirely possible if not entirely likely that this is happening to a child you know, a child you are related to, a child you pass every day on your street. Drive past any playground in America and you’ll find a hundred kids running around. You can be certain this is happening to at least ten of them.

      Star a group conversation around any water cooler in America and you’ll be talking to someone this happened to, this almost happened to, or someone who certainly knows someone it happened to. The abuse ranges from inappropriate touches to The Full Sandusky. It happens in good homes, rich homes, 2-parent homes.

      I believe it’s a topic worth the discussion and I’m glad that discussion is taking place.

  3. Of course the difference is that Jackson is dead and Sandusky is very much alive. Also the Sandusky thing is ongoing (being married, as I am, to a PA native and PSU grad it’s a constant topic of conversation in my house). Three things are occurring.

    1. No one wants to see their heroes crash to the ground (even as they secretly pray for their heroes to crash to the ground).

    2. We get so much information, and so much of it ridiculous that we can barely muster outrage at the thing that’s happening before the next outrageous thing happens. Michael Jackson was diddling little boys *years* ago, JoePa just got fired (to be fair, I think JoePa died years ago and the real cover up has been how PennState has fed him the brains of State College’s homeless to sustain him, and his inhumanly black hair, for decades).

    3. No one wants to speak ill of the dead. When someone dies everyone has nothing but the best possible things to say about them and the more people think they knew the person the harder it is to view them honestly. People somehow think that because they bought all of Jackson’s music they “knew” him, you could be a hard core college football fan and only have a passing knowledge of who Jerry Sandusky – who is very much alive and out on unsecured bial – is (being a lifelong SEC guy, my wife had to fill inthe Sandusky blanks).

    Basically, I don’t think it’s so much that people have no moral compass as it is that child molestation is such a terrible thing that no one wants to believe that their heroes either performed or enabled such a terrible act as the dust settles and people calm down you see the level of disgust grow (and to be fair, Sandusky hasn’t actually been found guilty of anything. My cousin was accused of sleeping with one of her students the summer that middle school teachers schtupping their students was fashionable “Teacher Accused of Sleeping with Student” huge, front page headline on MSNBC. “Teacher Found Not Guilty of Sleeping With Student” not even a story).

    • priest says:

      Agree– also, none of Jackson’s alleged molestations have ever been described in the alarming graphic detail as those against Sandusky. But that was the real shocker for me. The media tends to soft-pedal this behavior with benign idioms because the imagery a frank description conjures up is so alarming and provocative. But it is precisely the more frank language that should jolt us out of our complacency. If that was my kid. I’d have shot the guy. No questions about it.

      We revile Sandusky but even I continue to have a great deal of compassion for Michael Jackson. Pre-Sandusky, my thoughts about Jackson allegations were viewed through a kind of vague fog– icky but ultimately harmless looking and/or fondling. This is not the ultimate goal of pedophiles. In the Sandusky case, this kid was stood up against a wall and penetrated. And this evil happens every single day, both here in America and all over the world, kids used for the sexual gratification of adults.

      Looking back over what was an, at best, difficult and painful childhood, I realize how blessed I was that I was totally unaware of this kind of deviant behavior. Growing up, I had no concept–none whatsoever–of homosexuality, period. I mean, somebody had to explain it to me when I was twelve or thirteen–men attracted to men or adults victimizing kids sexually. I believe part of the reason was that, when I was ten or so, I roamed New York streets in a pack of other kids about my same age. I would presume it’s much harder for pedophiles to make their approach when kids stay in tight groups. Also, we were little ‘hood rats. We were only ten or eleven, but there was a *bunch* of us, and we would have kicked some pedophile under a bus.

      Nice to hear from you, G. “Inhumanly black hair” ? HA!

      • I have an ongoing Paterno joke war with my in-laws. “PSU fans say that God is a Nitny Lions fan because He made the sky blue and white. He also made JoePa when he was lonely and made woman from Paterno’s rib…”

        Look, I know a lot of people who went gray later (my father went gray overnight at sixty) but JoePa had jet black hair until he was 81. In. Human.

        All joking aside, I think it’s important to remember that homosexuality and pedophilia are not equivalent. Pedophiles like *children* gender is irrelevant. While some pedophiles are undoubtedly self hating gays acting out in a destructive manner, I’ve always heard that most pedophiles are straight men preying on young girls (the rash of middle school teachers notwithstanding.)

        • priest says:

          Young girls or children? It’s certainly wrong for adults to relate to either group in inappropriate ways. Lusting after teenage girls is certainly wrong, but teenage girls, as often as not, tend to dress provocatively and emphasize their, ahem, assets. Noticing a 10-year old of either gender is troubling. Simply noticing a hot 17-year old just means you’re not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The “normal”, reasonable and expected thing to do is to pretend to not notice. The moral and right thing to do is lie.

          I hope I didn’t imply a connection, gay = pedophile. I certainly don’t believe that. Re: Paterno Hair: I am, myself, thinking of giving Grecian Formula a go. I’ve got this Barack Obama thing going all of a sudden. I mean, the gray is gaining ground all of a sudden. I wonder why that is, that one day you just turn.

          I’m not particularly vain, I don’t want shoe-polish black hair. But I don’t want to look like Grandpa from The Munsters, either.

          • America has this weird thing going on where we expect our children to behave more and more maturely (death penalty for a 12 year old, sure!) but we’ve functionally extended childhood until 30. Walking into the girls section of a children’s clothing store to buy a birthday present for the child of friends was an exercise in terror and disgust. The mall is the scariest place ever, you can easily see a mother, their teenage daughter and their preteen daughter wearing variations of the same age inappropriate getups.

            From until I was about 35 I never had any gray, I would get weird, blonde patches (weirder because I’m Black). Now that 40 is staring me down I’m getting more and more gray in my beard and I don’t like it at all. The Mrs, however, thinks it’s “sexy,” and doesn’t even like me to shave the offending soul patch.

          • priest says:

            “…you can easily see a mother, their teenage daughter and their preteen daughter wearing variations of the same age inappropriate getups.”

            HA! Yes. This is what I’m saying. You cnstantly have to avert your eyes. Why is a 12-year old trying to show cleavage? My own theory: TV is evil. But that’s a lonnnng rant (if you’re curious:

  4. “Don’t let your children watch television until they know how to read or else all they’ll know? how to do is cuss, fight and bleed”

    I don’t think it’s all television as much as it is parental neglect, but I think we’re coming from the same place. If you have children it becomes your job to set their moral compass. Television may make your 10 year old want to wear a mini-skirts and platform heels, but it’s your job to not just keep her from dressing like a 20 year old going to the club but WHY she shouldn’t be dressing like a 20 year old going to the club (at a level deeper than “that’s for grown people” because all kids call BS on that one).

    Also, as a lover of automotive design, Justin Bieber should be reviled for his crimes against the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe.
    This is why 17 year olds shouldn’t have money.