Jackson's tale is a fable of the ultimate emptiness of victory, even in the supposed winner-takes-all world of showbiz. - Guardian Editorial
I am writing on the day that news of Michael Jackson’s death is being digested by the world’s media.
Some are eager for another “Diana moment”, some of his fans are distraught, and the critics are attempting to assess Jackson’s legacy.
What we can’t escape is that there was another side to Jackson. He was never found guilty of child abuse, but allegations dogged his last years, and there were some very dubious things he admitted to in his 2003 interview with Martin Bashir.
How should we remember Michael Jackson, the King of Pop with frightening demons?
We could pretend that none of the bad stuff happened, but that does no justice to those who were hurt by him (as apparently Anne Diamond did the morning after).
A suggestion is this: imagine that we are Katherine Esther Jackson, better known as Michael Jackson’s Mum.
The best mums have this thing where they must be realistic about their children’s failings, but at the same time they must always hope. They must always hope that their errant children can be changed, always hope that light will shine in the darkness, and not be overcome. Mother’s yearn for redemption, even after all the failure.
The Bible has a word for this maternal mix of honesty and hope. The word is “mercy”.
On the ones we know who shine bright but are tormented by the dark, on them may God have mercy.
This original version of this was written for the Rutherglen Reformer