I try not to have that many opinions about celebrities because... well to be honest I can't really be bothered to. However, I have been surrounded by people pontificating on the fate of Michael Jackson (the singer, not the television executive) for the last 24 hours and feel frustrated enough to state that I literally have no opinion on the matter.
As far as I can see, there are three possible states here: 1) He is a knowing child molester 2) He is a child molester who does not realise that anything he has done with children is wrong or 3) There are any number of unscrupulous people in the world who will try to get money out of him because he's rich. If any of those scenarios are right, how can anyone apart from those people directly involved possibly tell? Therefore, what's the point in having an opinion?
A few things occurred to me this morning, which were - if nothing is unearthed this time around, then in future, the cases, which could mount up or not - for cash reasons or otherwise, may become less and less believed. Secondly, I thought that his position as a living human being is now so unbearable and intolerable that whether he has, unwittingly or otherwise, behaved inapropriately with these kids or not, I should imagine his minders etc are taking turns at a suicide watch or at the very least have thought about the possibility of something like that happening.
Whether he is guilty or not, one can still feel sorry for a person so immensely screwed in his life. I've never liked his music, though have grown to at least respect the "Off the wall" stuff as fairly intelligent. But what kind of a life must one have had to lead one to such a fucked up existence. Many other people who have celebrity profiles seem to lead almost average lives in comparison. I remembered this morning seeing Keanu Reeves in Pret a Manger once just eating a sandwich with a mate. Reasonable life is possible.
At a complete other end of the scale, Mackay has been doing Jury service, and he, as well as the rest of the jury, found a burglar guilty of stealing this and that from someone's house yesterday. He got 4 years and had I think McK said over 40 other convictions for petty thievery. He was a 40 year old man who never looked up from the dock floor through the whole trial; who refused by shaking his head vigorously to testify on his own behalf, thus leaving his defence to an almost pointless attempt to extracate him through questioning non-dodgy DNA evidence (he left a hankie stained with his own blood at the scene). After he had been found guilty, his defence called for several things to be taken in to account: He had long running problems with drug addiction. At the point of his last release he had begged to stay in the nick and receive help, but his sentence was too light so he was chucked out with no safety net. He went to his family's place, and his family refused him entry.
Here is a man whose entire adult life experience has been one of institutionalisation, drug addiction and misery. McK said that everyone on the jury felt horrendous about it but ironically, a 4 year sentence means that he may now get some help with addiction and rehabilitation. As Mackay pointed out, what a stupid and false economy it has been thus far to give this man no help because his sentences were too light - thousands upon thousands of pounds have been used up in terms of petty theft, police time and incredibly expensive court time bringing this man to court over and over again. Humiliating him and destroying what little dignity he had in the first place. If there is a cold and economic view to be taken over the validity of rehab and courses etc in the nick it is that one. Never mind those arguments from the point of view that this is a human being who deserves help. Who has asked for help.
There are crass and obvious comparisons that one could make between these two people. But I'll leave it up to you to think about those.