Why Jacko Beat It, Beat It, Beat It

Celebrity got Michael into this unholy mess, and damned if it didn't help him get out of it too.

Of course Michael stopped by the hospital again, sometimes mid-deliberation. But when the fragile image was perhaps not helping his chances, Jackson's rep took over the TV to assure everyone, "He is not falling apart!" and to add that he was actually optimistic and trusting of the wonderful jury, who were so terrific to sit and listen to all that testimony blah blah blah. As those jurors pondered his fate, a parade of other camera hoggers speaking for Michael swarmed the tube, but I guess no one was asked to speak for the accuser—or maybe they were just honoring that silly old gag order. The height of the one-sided circus was Jesse Jackson going on TV to discuss whether Mesereau's edict that no one was authorized to speak to reporters applied to Jesse himself. Absolutely not, the good reverend unsurprisingly concluded!

Meanwhile, Michael's showman-like behavior was fueling the accuser in a lot of us—and after all we wanted him to be guilty, partly because he seems of a different breed and because it somehow makes us feel better to think that showbiz has deeply corrupting influences. Besides, anxiety about children's safety happens to be at an orange-alert level right now. At the time of this trial, you couldn't turn on the TV without hearing about kids being mishandled, and that same panic was being reflected in artful plays (Doubt, The Pillowman) and movies (Palindromes, Mysterious Skin) obsessed with the horrifying ramifications of child abuse. Jacko's guilt might have helped indie film fests and the next Broadway season, but when our serious concerns had us lusting for a conviction without enough consistent evidence, we all threatened to turn into Tom Sneddon.

The defense had its own problems, but it was so successful at turning the tables and putting the accuser's mother on trial that some of the jury probably ended up wanting to declare, "She's guilty of all charges!"

Whatever the case, Michael (if not his "blemished penis") is now free to entertain children all over again. Let's catch up in 10 years, when the next accuser hits.

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