Michael Jackson: A Trip to Never Never Land
Posted on February 7, 2003Last night's airing of the Martin Bashir documentary about Michael Jackson's life truly had to be seen to be believed. There was so much bizarre, sad and ultimately disturbing content that was aired during the two hour interview, that it's hard to know where to start.
The film began with Bashir's trip to Jackson's famous Santa Barbara rance, Neverland. The ranch is truly amazing, containing a full zoo with elephants, monkeys and other animals, and a full-blown amusement park, complete with a working train, carrousel, go-cart track and many other rides. Jackson, with his whispery-soft voice, in full make-up, climbs a tree (he's in great shape for 44, I might add), tells Bashir he wants to "live forever," and explains the details of his abusive childhood. He shows Bashir his house full of Peter Pan statues and tells Bashir that he "is Peter Pan in his heart." He touchingly describes his humiliation at having severe acne as a child, and the relentless teasing by his brothers and father, who called him "Big Nose." "You didn't get that ugly nose from my side of the family," says father Joe Jackson, according to Michael. He also describes throwing up at the mere sight of his father who "threw him against a wall" and beat them with "anything that was handy." He admitted that he hated his father during the beatings -- a normal reaction, I would say. He also claims to have had only two nose jobs to help him sing better. He also gave the oddest impression of almost believing this clearly falst statement. Based upon a series of photos, a plastic surgeon later detailed which procedures she believed had been done: a brow lift, thinning of the lips, lip tattooing, a chin implant, a cheekbone implant, skin bleaching, and an eye job. She said plastic surgeons describe a nose such as his as "end stage," e.g., that's doctor-speak for "his nose is so screwed up from too many surgeries, that there is nothing else that can be done to fix it."
A note about smarmy journalist Martin Bashir is in order here. Michael Jackson said he agreed to give Bashir unprecedented access to his family and life because Bashir told Jackson that "He was the man who turned Princess Diana's life around." Excuse me? Bashir was the man who conducted that ghastly interview with the Princess where she looked like a deer caught in the headlights, eyes red-rimmed from crying. He is the man who got her to admit to infedility on international television and to say that Prince Charles wasn't fit to be king. Princess Diana said repeatedly that she did not want a divorce, but as soon as that interview aired, the Queen wrote a letter telling Charles to divorce her immediately. Soon after, she lost the right to be called Her Royal Highness, and is said to have greatly regretted giving that interview. Bashir is a real creep. He exudes an oily sympathy which is solely designed to get celebrities to say things that they shouldn't on film. He is shown sucking up to Jackson during most of the film, even holding hands with poor little Prince Michael I, Jackson's five year-old son. Then, in sanctimonious voiceovers, he says how "disturbed" he was by Jackson's comments and how he "knew he must confront him" about the allegations of child molestation which have haunted the pop superstar since the 1994 civil settlement of the case. (No criminal charges were ever filed.) Bashir was actually in the hotel room in Berlin when Jackson dangled Prince Michael II over the balcony, which caused a worldwide furor. Did he say anything about child endangerment? No way. That might end the incredibly lucrative interview.
Of course, Jackson played right into Bashir's hands with absolutely outrageous comments about having children in his house for sleepovers, and sleeping in the same bed as actors McCauley and Kiernan Caulkin. Jackson maintains the sleepovers are not sexual in nature, that they are very sweet and touching. Let's just say I wouldn't want any child of mine in bed with Michael Jackson, who clearly is in need of therapy because of his bizarre and abusive childhood. One also has to wonder about the upbringing that his own three children are enduring. There are nannies, but no real mother. Prince II's (also known as Blanket) mother has not been identified. Prince I and Paris' mother, Debbie Rowe, is nowhere to be found, and Prince I told Bashir "I don't have a mother." The children are dragged all over the world, and will not attend regular school "because of the paparazzi." Oh, please. If Prince William and Prince Harry can go to school, then I think a way could be found for Michael Jackson's kids to go to a formal school with other children, instead of being subjected to a series of tutors as their father was. I mean, look how weird he turned out to be.
Several things became very clear as a result of this interview. Michael Jackson is trapped in a fantasy childhood to make up for the childhood he never had. He does not appear to be a violent or aggressive person, and he is an extremely talented musical artist. He was horribly abused as a child, and is now surrounded by people and a lifestyle designed to keep him from being confronted by the harsh realities of the real world. Lastly, Michael Jackson truly does not seem to realize how strange his life and attitudes are. And perhaps that is the saddest thing of all.