Monday, June 29, 2009
Can Someone Please Talk About Joe Jackson?
Okay, I'm sorry. In the words of Michael and Janet Jackson's performance of "Scream"...I just can't take this.
Michael Jackson was tragic. Whatever his personal demons, they were, by his own admission, a part of his stolen childhood. The pint-sized performer and his brothers (and, eventually, his sister) were pushed to become superstars by their father, Joe. Michael said in later years that his father beat him. And now Joe Jackson is being held up as the broken-hearted, bereaved father with no mention of how his behavior contributed to his son's travesty of a life.
Joe Jackson is not the model of black fatherhood. He is not a fine human being who held his family together. This is one father whose absence might well have been the best thing that could have happened to his children.
I've shaken my head, I've wanted to yell back at the TV. And this morning I saw that Michael Jackson's three children are currently in the care of his mother. And his father?
Maybe the Jacksons have split. If so, I have nothing more to say. Kathleen Jackson seems to have done the best she could for her kids short of taking their father out of the picture. I know that is a difficult choice for a mother and I make no judgements.
Joe Jackson is another story. Another stage father pushing his children to achieve what he didn't. Another drill sergeant turning children into performing robots, driven by his own desire for success and fortune. He was, by all accounts, a philandering, abusive father. He shouldn't be within fifty miles of his son's children.
This isn't about Michael Jackson. This isn't about Joe Jackson. This about three children who have undoubtedly had a pretty weird childhood and will have a struggle to achieve any sense of normalcy.
I don't know if there's someone in that family who can step up and try to offer those kids a stable environment. I hope there is. But I'm certain it's not Joe Jackson and I hope he's nowhere near them because I don't believe he deserves to be in their lives.
Second thoughts: I am absolutely horrified to see that I am in complete agreement with cable scream queen Nancy Grace on this. It makes me wonder if perhaps I'm totally wrong.