(Image courtesy Jonathan Haeber / "Bearings" travel blog)
Recovering music industry exec John Niven wrote a hilarious/disturbing piece for the Independent (UK) today on the surreal, ongoing spectacle surrounding Michael Jackson's death, and the willful omission of any mention of those child abuse allegations from most of the coverage.
The barrage of utterly inane celebrity tributes ("inspirational", "a true hero", "a genius", "a gentle soul" "a treasure") was to be expected. The howling fans across the world, broken and gibbering nonsense for the rolling TV news crews ("he … he died for all of us" etc), the inevitable autopsy results in a few weeks, with their Swiss laboratory inventory of prescription tranquilisers, all this too is standard operating procedure.
What has stunned me and truly floored me in the past week or so has been the complete sidelining by the entire media of Jackson's later life. Across the board, from every news channel to all the quality papers, there has been wholesale collusion in the notion that "he was a great artist and, yes, there was some, umm, troubling stuff later on, but let's forget all that right now and just celebrate the music".
Hang on a minute. I'm not the kind of person to start Paedogeddon-style witch-hunts gratuitously, but … I thought I'd find some real analysis of the "troubling stuff" somewhere. But here's what we're getting: "Another beautiful boy is gone, wiped out in an instant." This was Germaine Greer in The Guardian. She made no mention at all of the multiple accusations of child abuse levelled at Jackson (although she was unintentionally hilarious when she wrote of his art no longer being fuelled by his ability to "run with the kids on the block". Uh, Germaine, love, they'd be more likely to be running away from him).
Niven is the author of the novel Kill Your Friends.
Update: BB commenter "ESCAPINGTHETRUNK" points us to the archive of Maureen Orth's pieces for Vanity Fair on the Jackson molestation charges. And Marc Powell reminds us that the term "Paedogeddon" is a reference to this.