Category Archives: AEG Trial

Maybe God Was Calling Him Home, People!

True Believers Know There Is A Difference Between Talking To God And Hearing Voices!
True Believers Know There Is A Difference Between Talking To God And Hearing Voices!

While I am busy working on my upcoming posts on Wade Robson and Karen Faye (both of which admittedly may take several days each) I wanted to address something that I can put up quickly, TODAY.

On Wednesday, there was very sad testimony in the Katherine Jackson vs. AEG trial from Alif Sankey, associate producer of the This Is It shows. This story was mostly buried in the (conveniently) distracting avalanche of the Wade Robson story, which (again, most conveniently) broke on the very same day. But I wanted to address this story because, as so often happens with any media reporting on Michael Jackson, I can see already that this story (and Michael’s quote) is being misinterpreted, mocked, and ridiculed all over the internet.

Even CNN’s Alan Duke, who seems overall to be one of the most fair and balanced journalists reporting on the trial, couldn’t resist the urge to paraphrase Michael’s quote so that its context takes on a meaning much different from the one I know Michael intended. (And how do I know? I know from the context and the circumstances under which the words were spoken, as stated under oath by Sankey herself. And I “know” because of what I know in general in regards to Michael’s spiritual beliefs, which were not only very similar to my own, but also are not that fundamentally different from what most Americans believe-that is, if you believe the hype that most Americans are Christians, or claim to be). Yet it’s amazing how the very views we pretend to espouse are so often twisted, mocked and ridiculed.

Before I ramble further, let’s just look at the first article I saw that broke the story, on CNN.com:

Michael Jackson days before death: ‘God keeps talking to me’

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Thu May 9, 2013

Los Angeles (CNN) — Michael Jackson told his tour director days before he died he was hearing God’s voice, a producer testified Wednesday.

“God keeps talking to me,”Jackson said.

Those words spoken to Kenny Ortega and Jackson’s frail appearance were so disturbing that it caused Ortega and associate producer Alif Sankey to burst into tears at a rehearsal, Sankey said Wednesday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jackson’s mother and three children.

Jackson, who was being fitted for his costumes, appeared “extremely thin” and “was not speaking normally” at the June 19, 2009, rehearsal, Sankey told jurors in a trial to determine if concert promoter AEG Live should be held liable in the pop icon’s death.

Jurors saw a photo of Jackson at the costume fitting that showed an obviously thin and gaunt man.

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Sankey testified that she and Ortega cried together after Jackson left. On her way home, Sankey stopped her car to call Ortega “because I had a very strong feeling that Michael was dying.”

“I was screaming into the phone at that point,” Sankey testified. “I said he needs to be put in the hospital now.”

Sankey became emotional as she testified about the call.

“I kept saying that ‘Michael is dying, he’s dying, he’s leaving us, he needs to be put in a hospital,'” Sankey said. “‘Please do something. Please, please.’ I kept saying that. I asked him why no one had seen what I had seen. He said he didn’t know.”

Ortega sent a series of e-mails early the next morning that resulted in a meeting at Jackson’s house between Jackson, Dr. Conrad Murray, AEG Live President Randy Phillips and Ortega.

An e-mail from Phillips after that meeting said he had confidence in Murray, “who I am gaining immense respect for as I get to deal with him more.”

“This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig, so he (is) totally unbiased and ethical,” Phillips’ e-mail said.

The lawsuit contends that Phillips and AEG never checked Murray out. Otherwise, they would have known he was deeply in debt and vulnerable to breaking the rules in treating Jackson to keep his job, it argues.

Jackson lawyers contend that AEG Live is liable for Jackson’s death because the company negligently hired, retained or supervised Murray — who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death.

Jackson’s last rehearsal was at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on June 24, 2009. Security camera video shown to the jury Wednesday showed him walking with a blanket wrapped around him as he passed Sankey.

“He didn’t look good,” she testified. “I asked him if he was cold, and he said ‘Yes.'”

Jackson sang two songs that last night on stage: “Thriller” and “Earth Song,” she said.

“He did it,” Sankey said. “He went through it. He wasn’t in full performance mode.”

Sankey said she was standing next to Ortega at a rehearsal the next afternoon when Randy Phillips called to tell him Jackson was dead.

“Kenny collapsed in our arms,” she said.

The lawsuit contends that AEG Live executives missed a series of red flags warning them that Jackson’s life was at risk because of Murray, who was giving him nightly infusions of the surgical anesthetic propofol to treat his insomnia.

The coroner ruled Jackson had died from an overdose of propofol in combination with several sedatives on June 25, 2009.

Murray told investigators he used the drugs to help Jackson sleep so he could be rested for rehearsals.

AEG lawyers argue Jackson, not their company, chose and supervised Murray, and that their executives had no way of knowing what the doctor was doing to Jackson in the privacy of his bedroom.

Michael’s creativity

In contrast to six days of testimony mostly about Jackson’s death, jurors did hear about the pop icon’s creativity during Sankey’s testimony

“Michael’s imagination was endless,” Sankey said. “He would visualize it, and it happened. It was amazing.”

Katherine Jackson dabbed tears from her eyes as her son’s “Smooth Criminal” video was played in court.

Sankey first met Michael Jackson when she was a dancer in the 1987 video production.

“We got to see Michael’s imagination come to life,” Sankey said. “That was my first time as a dancer, as an artist, that I was completely inspired by his craft and inspired by his attention to every detail. He was so detailed and he never missed a thing.”

Working with Jackson was “magical,” she said.

“I dream still to this day that I will be able to create on that level of magic that Michael created,” Sankey said. “It was like living a dream of working with an artist like that, and I will treasure it and have it in my memory forever.”

Sankey’s work as an associate producer and dancer for Jackson’s “This Is It” tour put her on the witness list in this trial.

“He shared with me that he was excited to do the show,” she said. “He was excited to show his kids, finally to show them who he was, what he was all about; he was very excited about that.”

Jurors heard about Jackson’s relationship with his three children and their love of their father. Sankey described how they would come with their father to the set each day in early June when he was filming video elements for the show.

“Paris had a purse, and inside her purse, she had all this candy in her purse she didn’t want her daddy to know about,” Sankey said. “She had these little pictures of her father in her purse that were in frames. She had, like, a lot of them. Her purse was full of candy and pictures of her daddy.”

“They loved their daddy,” she said.

The “This Is It” concert would have been “a pretty big show,” Sankey told jurors.

“It was going to be huge and it was going to be innovative, different,” she testified. “From working with Michael in my past, I knew it had to be something that no one’s ever seen. It all had to be new and pioneering.”

The next witness when court resumes Thursday morning will be Michael Jackson’s longtime hair and make up artist, Karen Faye. She was quoted in interviews after Jackson’s death saying that the pop star was in ill health weeks before he died.

Spectators in the small Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday morning included Judge Lance Ito, famous for presiding over the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995. Ito was there to watch his friend, Judge Yvette Palazuelos, preside over this trial and then go to lunch with her.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/08/showbiz/jackson-death-trial/index.html

The paraphrase from what Michael actually said-via Sankey’s testimony-to the opening paragraph of the article is telling, and a perfect case of media slanting for an intended effect. But there is a substantial difference between a person claiming to hear God’s physical voice, and a person who is simply stating, “God keeps talking to me.” These distinctions may seem minor, but they are of the utmost importance when making the distinction between a person suffering from genuine mental illness and delusion on the one hand, and on the other, one who is simply speaking from a deep-rooted faith that relies on an instinctive and intuitive sense of when God is “speaking” to them-which, as any deeply religious person can tell you, is not a matter of physically hearing God’s voice at all. Rather, it is simply a deep-seated, intuitive feeling of being “called”-not unlike any preacher or reverend who simply states that his occupation is a result of having answered “God’s calling.”

It Was Often Clear In His Performances That Michael Was Channeling From A Higher Source of Power. He Claimed His Songs Came From God. Why, Then, Should Some Find It So Odd That He Should Know When He Was Being Called?
It Was Often Clear In His Performances That Michael Was Channeling From A Higher Source of Power. He Claimed His Songs Came From God. Why, Then, Should Some Find It So Odd That He Should Know When He Was Being Called?

 

Why does it sound so perfectly natural and acceptable coming from those folks, but not from Michael Jackson? Just because he was an entertainer? Or because we have been so brainwashed by a cynical and (mostly) atheistic media and entertainment industry that talking to God is only for the mentally insane?

The difference between the paraphrase and Michael’s actual, quoted words-via Sankey’s testimony-makes all the difference.

Michael was never saying at any point that he was hearing the voice of God. What he said was: “God keeps talking to me.”

Sankey and Ortega, evidently, understood exactly what he meant-and which, in turn, was precisely why they were so alarmed, as well they should have been.

As per usual, the story has generated the usual media spins of Michael as someone suffering at the very least from mental delusions, and has invited the usual ignorant and trolling comments. Perhaps that would not bother me half so much, except that all of the comments, whether from haters or well-intentioned fans, seems to entertain no possibility other than the fact that Michael was “not himself” in his last days. And that is putting it kindly. “Face it, it’s a sign of mental illness,” went one of the-let’s just say-more compassionate comments.

When A Man Insists That God Keeps Talking To Him-And Days Later Is Dead!-Can We Simply Chalk It Up To Mental Delusion? I Think Not!
When A Man Insists That God Keeps Talking To Him-And Days Later Is Dead!-Can We Simply Chalk It Up To Mental Delusion? I Think Not!

Well, has anyone considered that just maybe God was talking to him? Is it any coincidence that, within days of making this statement, he was dead? Think on that for a moment. While that thought is simmering, let’s consider some other things.

Michael had certainly maintained a close relationship with God throughout his life. Let’s not forget, he was raised as a devout Jehovah’s Witness. Even after breaking away from the church and the JW faith, he maintained a deep spirituality that was always a bit out of kilter with the entertainment industry (for as I said, most of the entertainment industry is comprised of atheists and those who practice alternative religions).

However, I have also heard some  arguments from fans that Michael’s comment was simply part of his lifelong creative partnership with God. He always said, for example, that his creative gifts came from God, and that writing a song for him was more about channeling than creativity. Someone even (half jokingly, I believe) brought up the alleged conversation between Michael and Kenny Ortega in which Ortega told him to turn off God’s voice, and Michael quipped, “I can’t-God might give all of my ideas to Prince.”

Now that was the Michael we all know and love; he was certainly well known for his outrageous sense of humor.

But this was no laughing matter, and hence the grave concerns of Sankey and Ortega. They knew that Michael was being serious this time.

But deluded? Possibly; I am certainly no medic and certainly not qualified to make a diagnosis. I wasn’t there, and I did not witness what these people saw and heard. But my gut instinct tells me that both Sankey and Ortega knew exactly what Michael’s words portended. Why do you think that, according to Sankey, her immediate reaction was to get on the phone to Ortega and scream, “Michael is dying. He’s leaving us.” Why? Because in her heart she knew exactly what those words meant.

The Dying Often Seem To Simply "Know." And While There Is No Exact Science To Verify It, This Seems To Hold As True For Those Who Die Unnaturally As Naturally.
The Dying Often Seem To Simply “Know.” And While There Is No Exact Science To Verify It, This Seems To Hold As True For Those Who Die Unnaturally As Naturally.

It has always been said that the dying seem to know when their time is near. Certainly we see evidence of this all the time, especially among the elderly and those with lingering illnesses. But even those doomed to untimely, accidental deaths may often have a sad feeling of foreboding in the days and weeks leading up to their death. Often this takes the form of an inexplicable sadness or melancholy that they just can’t shake off. Many times, their loved ones may see the signs, but may not realize until looking back in hindsight that this is what was happening to them. For example, I had a beloved college instructor who died in a tragic car accident while I was away at graduate school. I didn’t know of her death until I came home for summer vacation. But after I learned of her death, I also learned from many of her colleagues that her behavior in the months leading up to her death had been rather strange. She had complained about teaching a course on Chaucer (an author whom she adored, and a course she normally loved to teach) and had often expressed thoughts that seemed foreign to those who knew her best. While there has been much study done on the psychology of the dying, the studies mostly apply to the terminally ill-those who know they are dying. There is, as yet, no absolute science on those whose deaths are simply imminent, whether by accident or natural causes. Yet history has taught us that, often, those who are nearing death simply know.

Being of Native American descent (and one who has actively participated in Native religions, as well as having been raised in the Christian faith) none of what Michael was saying seems at all unusual or deluded to me. Many cultures and, specifically, many religions teach that those who are dying receive warning from God. In Michael’s case, it seemed that he was being called-urgently-and had been for days, perhaps even weeks or months. That isn’t to say I believe he had a death wish, or was suicidal. I don’t believe that at all. But I think, as so many often seem to, he may have had a sense that his time was imminent.

My grandmother, who was 86 when she died of diabetes complications, went through the same process. For months on end, I sat in her hospital room while her “delusions” and conversations with relatives on “the other side” became increasingly more lucid-and chillingly real. She would call out the names of relatives whom I knew had been dead for years, often carrying on the most natural conversations with them.

How much of this was delusion, perhaps brought on by her illness and the many medications she was taking, is hard to say. I am sure at least some of it was probably brought on by the very real physical effects of a body and a brain that was shutting down. But there has also been an amazingly consistent pattern in the reports of all those who, like me, have watched someone die. The pattern never varies. Hearing “God” or the voices of loved ones who have gone before is almost universal. In general, there seems to be a consistent pattern of behavior in all of those who are not yet quite gone, but seem to already have “one foot on the other side.”

For sure, there was a good reason why Sankey felt that Michael’s words were cause for alarm. But I also can’t ignore the fact that I believe, during this time, Michael’s body was being literally “poisoned” from the treatment he was receiving from Murray. So it is very possible that he was having delusions.

To Me, Michael's "Gauntness" In This Is It Was Much More Accentuated In Some Segments Than Others.
To Me, Michael’s “Gauntness” In This Is It Was Much More Accentuated In Some Segments Than Others.

It is still hard for me to know exactly where to stand on this issue. I watched This Is It again the night before last (mostly because we had lucked out and found a Blu-Ray copy incredibly cheap!). I’ve seen the movie a million times (probably no exaggeration, lol!) but this time I watched with an especially keen eye those shots of his last rehearsal, both the Thriller and Earth Song segments. Despite all the reports to the contrary, Michael looked fine to me in those segments. In fact, he looked BETTER-as in healthier and more like his old self-than in many of the segments filmed from earlier rehearsals. Perhaps it was simply the Ed Hardy clothes (which masked the gaunt thinness so apparent in other scenes) or the fact that his dancing in the Thriller segment was so flawlessly “spot on” but it was, as always, hard for me to envision that this was a man who would be dead within twenty-four hours. He did look very thin in some scenes (for example, the scenes where he is wearing the shoulder pad jacket-a horrible wardrobe choice that certainly accentuated his gauntness) but not unusually thin for Michael. He was, in fact, actually the same weight as in his Thriller video. But it’s 2009, over a quarter of a century later, and at 50 Michael simply no longer had the frame of a 25-year-old dancer’s body. The autopsy lists his weight at 136 pounds-thin, yes. But gaunt, no.

Michael Rehearsing Thriller On June 24th, 2009 (Segment From 2:42 Forward).  He Had Less Than 24 Hrs To Live:

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPeFcLn_ces[/tube]

Yes, he looked as healthy and able the night before as any time ever in his career. And yet…we know how the story ends.

Perhaps, as some are testifying, he was at least in part deluded-the result of a body being slowly poisoned by toxins he was being administered at this point on a nightly basis. But then again, it’s also very possible that, just maybe, he was really being called home. Hence my rather sarcastic title, simply because I am tired of reading all the mockery. Like I said, one fact for sure is one we can’t ignore-within days, he was indeed home with God.

It's Not Inconceivable To Me That God Was Saying, Enough Is Enough.
It’s Not Inconceivable To Me That God Was Saying, Enough Is Enough.

Coincidence? Save it for the cynics and the atheists. I prefer to believe that God, who sees all and knows all, said this child of mine has endured enough. It’s time to call him home.

Was Michael hearing voices in his head-or truly heeding the call of God? We can’t  know, for whatever the truth is, it is between Michael and God.

But perhaps all the more reason to cease mocking what we can’t, or don’t, or refuse to understand.

There are simply too many unexplained things in this world for us to feel so smugly-with our technology and our innovations and our psychology and our science- that we have all the answers.

We don’t.

 

The Medical Records…Are They The Real "Pandora's Box" That Everyone Fears Out Of This Trial?

Are Worried Fans Possibly Sending The Wrong Message?
Are Worried Fans Possibly Sending The Wrong Message?

The myth of Pandora’s box is an analogy that has been tossed around ever since the KJ vs. AEG civil trial became imminent, and now that it’s here, the phrase has even more relevance, especially  since Judge Yvette Palazuelos has ruled that Michael Jackson’s medical records will not be sealed.

“The Jacksons are opening Pandora’s box,” has gone the line, repeatedly, across almost every MJ advocacy website, blog, and forum, as well as almost every MJ-related social media page.

Well, what does that mean exactly? Let’s look at the origin of the Pandora myth.

Once up a time, a long time ago, Zeus ordered Hephaestus (Aphrodite’s husband) to make him a daughter. It was the first woman made out of clay. Hephaestus made a beautiful woman and named her Pandora. 

Zeus sent his new daughter, Pandora, down to earth so that she could marry Epimetheus, who was a gentle but lonely man. 

Zeus was not being kind. He was getting even. Epimetheus and Prometheus were brothers. Zeus was mad at one of the brothers, Prometheus, for giving people fire without asking Zeus first.  

Zeus gave Pandora a little box with a big heavy lock on it. He made her promise never to open the box. He gave the key to Pandora’s husband and told him to never open the box. Zeus was sure that Epimetheus’ curiosity would get the better of him, and that either Epimetheus or his brother would open the box. 

Pandora was very curious. She wanted to see what was inside the box, but Epimetheus said no. Better not. “You know your father,” Epimetheus sighed, referring to Zeus. “He’s a tricky one.”

One day, when Epimetheus lay sleeping, Pandora stole the key and opened the box.

Out flew every kind of disease and sickness, hate and envy, and all the bad things that people had never experienced before. Pandora slammed the lid closed, but it was too late. All the bad things were already out of the box. They flew away, out into the world.

Epimetheus woke up at the sound of her sobbing. “I opened the box and all these ugly things flew out,” she cried. “I tried to catch them, but they all got out.” Pandora opened the box to show him how empty it was. But the box was not quite empty. One tiny bug flew quickly out before Pandora could slam the lid shut again. 

“Hello, Pandora,” said the bug, hovering just out of reach. “My name is Hope.” With a nod of thanks for being set free, Hope flew out into the world, a world that now held Envy, Crime, Hate, and Disease – and Hope.

http://greece.mrdonn.org/greekgods/pandora.html

I suppose it is neither here nor there that Pandora’s “box” was never a box at all, but an urn (as so often happens, bad translations through the centuries managed to turn the original Greek word for urn, or jar-“pithos” -into a “box”). However, you get the idea. This young woman, overcome by temptation, unerringly releases all of the evil into the world. Up until then, according to the myth, the world had been an idealistic place, similar to the Garden of Eden state of the  Judaic-Christian tradition. Once released, there is no way to take the evil back; no way to return it to the confines of the box and return the world to its former, idealistic self.

pandora

The myth of Pandora’s box seems to make perfect sense in relation to this trial, except that-as so often happens-those who are lightly tossing the phrase around are ignoring the facts of the actual myth, and simply using it as a convenient “catch all” phrase based on its most rudimentary meaning. Today, we often refer to opening “Pandora’s box” to mean a small action that will, nevertheless, have far reaching and severe consequences down the road. By that definition, it makes perfect sense to use Pandora’s box as an analogy for what is happening-or what may happen- with this trial.

I Love This Rare, Touching Moment Captured Between Michael And Mother Katherine. But Has She, In Fact, Unleashed A Pandora's Box of Troubles
I Love This Rare, Touching Moment Captured Between Michael And Mother Katherine. But Has She, In Fact, Unleashed A Pandora’s Box of Troubles?

But there are two crucial twists to the actual myth that I believe bear scrutiny. One is the fact that the story of Pandora’s box relies on the belief in a perfect idealistic state of being. Or in other words, ignorant bliss. If we take the story of Pandora at literal face value, it means accepting that humanity lived in a state of perpetual, ignorant bliss before Pandora opened her box because the “evils” of the world were unknown to them.

Also, the crucial twist at the end of the story is often all but ignored. Pandora does release all of the evils of the world. But she also releases Hope. Perhaps we could argue that without evil, there is no need for Hope. But how sad would the world be if we lived in perpetual evil-plagued by all of those nasty things Pandora released-without Hope?

All of this brings me to the subject of the trial, the medical records, and how the myth of Pandora’s box truly applies to all of them. In fact, if we’re going to make comparisons to Greek or Roman mythology, then perhaps the threat of those heretefore sealed medical records could be called the Sword of Damocles. Why? Because I believe if most fans are truly honest with themselves, it is the threat of opening those medical records-what they may contain, and what may be “unleashed” onto the world by their revelation-that has stirred the most concern of this entire trial.

Indeed, whatever truth lies hidden within those records is at the heart of virtually every argument that fans and defenders of Michael Jackson have had to wage against the haters and the media from Day One. With the exception of the molestation allegations, no issue has raised more heated debate and controversy among fans, haters, cynics and the media than those pertaining directly to Michael’s medical history. Did he or did he not have vitiligo? If so, what brought it on? Was it natural, or “chemically induced?” (Keep in mind this has nothing to do with what I believe, but rather, the kinds of questions that are being kicked around on many discussion forums and by the general public).  Did he or did he not have addiction issues? Did he or did he not have xxx amount of cosmetic procedures? Did he or did he not father his own children biologically? It doesn’t take long to figure out the pattern. All of it-practically every issue that is debated in regards to Michael Jackson other than the molestation allegations-comes down to his medical history.

Photos Like This Inspired Endless Tabloid Speculation About The State Of Michael's Health (I Personally Think This Was Just Another One Of His Infamous Disguises!).
Photos Like This Inspired Endless Tabloid Speculation About The State Of Michael’s Health (I Personally Think This Was Just Another One Of His Infamous Disguises!).

And these are not only the issues that drive the most heated debates between fans and haters/cynics. They are also  the very issues that drive the insatiable tabloid market for stories on Michael Jackson, and continue to keep it fed.  These are all of the very issues that have kept millions of fans busy on the internet, endlessly defending, arguing, presenting facts and evidence, etc. Go to any general discussion forum dedicated to discussing Michael Jackson, and you will see that all of the above are the most hotly debated topics. Mostly such “debates” are  an exercise in futility, as most haters are ignorant of the facts and already have their heels dug comfortably in. They are content to live in their state of “ignorant bliss” (they, in turn, are only too happy to say the same about fans!). But that still leaves many who are neutrally curious-as I was in 2009-who just want to learn the truth-whatever it is.  I am forever grateful to those who at least opened my eyes to question what the media had fed me. Over the years, I have somewhat come to my own conclusions of the man and artist that was Michael Jackson, but always being careful to keep those views flexible in light of new evidence and new things I may learn.  I am not content, in other words, with “ignorant bliss”-either on the side of blind idealism/fanaticism on the one hand,  or pointless calumny and vilification on the other.

But given that all of these topics have been, for years, the most hotly debated among fans and foes alike, it is small wonder that the idea that we may finally have the full truth unleashed is creating more than a few ripples. And more than a few concerns.

But what exactly are we so afraid of? Perhaps that’s the real question that fans ought to be asking. Because the exact message that we (and the estate, via its request that the documents and/or certain aspects remain sealed) are sending is that we must feel there is something to fear. Many of us, whether intentional or not, are sending that exact message loud and clear, a message that says  we must fully believe all of the AEG propaganda of “deep, dark secrets” to be revealed-and are shaking at the thought!

However, I believe firmly that propaganda is exactly what it is, and that such sensationalistic scare tactics are being fed to a pro-AEG media to elicit just such responses.

Take, for example, this recent article on the revealing of the medical records and the typically salacious words and phrasings used:

Michael Jackson – Michael Jackson’s medical records to feature in trial

29 April 2013

AEG Live will use Michael Jackson’s medical records as part of their defence in their lawsuit against Katherine Jackson, who is suing them for the wrongful death of her son.

Michael Jackson’s medical records to feature in trial

Michael Jackson’s  ”astounding” medical records will be used as evidence in his wrongful death trial.

The late King of Pop’s mother Katherine Jackson is suing concert promoters AEG Live – who were responsible for the 50-date London residency he was preparing for at the time of his death from acute Propofol intoxication in June 2009 – for negligence in hiring Conrad Murray to supervise the ‘Thriller’ star’s medical care.

However, the concert promoters plan to back up their argument that Michael was addicted to powerful painkillers and went to great lengths to keep it hidden by using the medical records, which had previously been sealed.

A source told RadarOnline.com: ”Until the trial, the records had remained sealed for a very good reason. The contents of the records will stun even the most diehard Michael Jackson fan.

”Michael’s dependence on prescription drugs for routine cosmetic procedures was astounding.

”The judge has allowed AEG to present Michael’s medical records to prove their point that he was addicted to drugs, and the lengths he would go to keep it hidden. They had absolutely no knowledge that Dr. Murray would be giving Michael Propofol at his home. If AEG did, they would have terminated talks with Murray immediately, and taken the appropriate action. AEG doesn’t want to present this evidence, but they are being sued by Katherine for $40 billion dollars.”

Insiders warn the trial – which begins today (29.04.13) in Los Angeles and could run for up to three months – will be harmful for Michael’s three children, Prince, 16, Paris, 15, and 11-year-old Blanket.

The source added: ”The wrongful death trial is going to be hard for his three children who will be forced to relive his death all over again. Paris and Prince are expected to testify. They could learn stuff about their dad he never would have wanted them to know. There will be no winners in this case, no matter what the outcome of the trial is.”

http://www.contactmusic.com/news/michael-jackson-s-medical-records-to-feature-in-trial_3633832

First of all, I would be very, very curious to know who this “unnamed source” is. Secondly, note the very specific way in which certain keywords and phrases are used:

“…astounding medical records…”

“…the records had remained sealed for a very good reason…”

“…will stun even the most diehard Michael Jackson fans” (somehow, I doubt this seriously!).

“…Michael’s dependence on prescription drugs for routine cosmetic procedures was astounding…” (so are they going for a record to see how many times they can drop the word “astounding” into one article?).

The propaganda machine is in full force throughout this very typical article, assuring fans that we absolutely should be shaking in fear at the threat of these records coming to light.

It is obvious to me that these stories are being planted in order to stir public sentiment against the trial and Katherine Jackson’s case-or more aptly, to stir the rage of fans.

Let me make my position on this very clear. I certainly do not believe that Michael’s medical records should be made public, anymore than should any other private citizen’s. The idea of putting someone’s medical records out for public consumption and scrutiny smacks of the very lowest common denominator of human decency. His medical history-whatever it contains-is confidential information. Throughout this trial, I have been less than impressed with Judge Palazelous’s handling of issues, and my respect for her has just been lowered another notch. There is really no earthly reason why these documents could not be kept confidential between herself, the attorneys, and the jury. What is the justification for making them available publicly?  What is the rationalization? Well, it seems that court records are assumed to be public property, and Palazelous has stated both the fact that Michael’s medical history is the main “issue of this trial” and the impracticality of closing the courtroom to the public when medical information is presented.

But I think the bottom line is that we are not dealing with a judge who is going to be nearly as sympathetic or as compassionate towards Michael as we saw with Judge Pastor during the Murray trial. Pastor, at the very least, seemed sympathetic and aware of the salivating media circus that surrounded every morsel of information regarding Michael Jackson, and took some pains to keep such a media circus from happening (or at least, from happening to the extent that it might have). I suspect we are not going to get nearly as much from Palazelous, whose main concern seems to be to just get the damned thing underway and dispensed with as quickly as possible, and as with little effort on her part as possible. In other words, don’t count on her to go the extra mile to ensure Michael Jackson’s “privacy.” Her MO seems to be: The plaintiffs wanted this case, so here it is. Deal with it.

Do Fans Fear That Michael Was Less Than Forthright With Us? Most Will Say "No"...But Actions Seem To Speak Louder Than Words
Do Fans Fear That Michael Was Less Than Forthright With Us? Most Will Say “No”…But Actions Seem To Speak Louder Than Words

However, let’s keep some perspective on this. Are some of the fears from fans unwarranted, or as the old saying goes, a mountain being made out of a molehill? Keep in mind that, whatever Michael’s medical records contain, the issues relevant to this trial are those directly related to his health at time of death, as well as  issues of drug dependency or addiction. A much more realistic expectation of just what may come from the revelation of the medical records was offered by Jacksons’ attorney Kevin Boyle:

Michael’s estate, although not a party in the suit, has requested that certain portions of his medical history be kept private. Patricia Millett, a lawyer for the estate, said she hadn’t spoken with attorneys in the civil case about which exhibits they planned to introduce.

“We won’t know precisely what we need until plaintiffs’ case is done,” said one of AEG’s attorneys Jessica Stebbins Bina. She added that the records were “relevant to the cause of his death, life expectancy and earning potential.”

Kevin Boyle, an attorney for the Jackson family, said he didn’t think the actual records would be a large component, but could become relevant. “The whole trial is going to be about Michael Jackson’s medical condition,” he said.

Excerpted From:

http://www.legendarymichaeljackson.nl/news/michael-jacksons-estate-requested-to-keep-portions-of-his-medical-history-private-in-civil-case/

That, of course, won’t stop the media circus from running wild with every nugget of information that may be revealed in the process, regardless of its direct relevance to the case. And I suspect that, deep down, this is what fans are in dread of the most.

But since this is already a runaway train that is not likely to be stopped, I would like to examine the positives that can come from this, as well. And yes, there are some potentially positive outcomes. Remember, Pandora didn’t just unleash evil and badness into the world; she also unleashed Hope.

Ignorance is Bliss...But Truth Is Empowerment
Ignorance is Bliss…But Truth Is Empowerment

Maybe in this case we can substitute Hope for Truth. “Truth” is actually empowerment…if we but embrace it. Once “Truth” is accepted, the enemy loses power. Yes, revealing Michael’s full medical history may reveal things that some fans do not necessarily want to know. But the records may also reveal many truths that could finally shut some haters and doubters up for good. Who knows; maybe it could be a good thing to finally have some answers so that a lot of these unending debates that have gone in circles for years can finally be laid to rest. As long as “ignorant bliss” continues to rule, there is no chance that any of these issues can ever be truthfully dealt with. As has been the case so often before, such as with the autopsy report, the truth has far more often vindicated Michael than harmed him. This may be a good time to remember his own words: “Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.”

By panicking and fearing the truth of what may come out of these medical records, we are really giving more ammunition to the haters, who will only come back and say, “What are you so scared of?”

Because I embrace Michael’s humanity-as well as his greatness-I am inhaling a deep breath, taking the madness in stride, and adopting the philosophy of the Persian Sufi poets: “This, too, shall pass.” As a Michael Jackson fan, I know that the very worst thing we ever had to fear about him was the fact that, just maybe, those allegations made against him were true. The evidence has been overwhelmingly in support of his innocence. So beyond that, what else is there to fear? Do we fear the shattering of illusions? Do we fear that Michael lied to us, or was less than forthcoming on certain issues? Or more aptly, do we fear the ridicule and taunts from the media and haters when/if some of these things may come to light?

This may be a good time to address some of those questions head on and come to our own terms. There will be no easy answers, and no “right” or “wrong” answers, as we have to determine for ourselves what kind of fan we are, as well as what truths we can accept and which ones, perhaps, we cannot.

"I Believe In Michael"-A Fan. Sometimes The Simplest Truths Can Be The Most Profound-And Most Sincere.
“I Believe In Michael”-A Fan. Sometimes The Simplest Truths Can Be The Most Profound-And Most Sincere.

I want to echo what one fan said recently in the comments section of an article. While I cannot remember the comment verbatim, the gist of it was that she didn’t feel she had anything to fear from this trial or the unsealing of the medical records if the worst there was to fear was learning the truth. Her words touched me in their simple and sincere honesty. “I trust in Michael,” she said.

Personally, I am not one of those naive enough to believe that every public word Michael uttered was 100% complete and honest truth. That may shock you to hear me say, but bear with me a moment and let me explain. Michael, like all celebrities, had a public image to uphold, and sometimes did what it took to uphold that image. But what has actually amazed me most in researching Michael Jackson is, in fact, the depth and extent of his honesty, which-as far as celebrity sincerity goes-was much more forthright than many are willing to credit him. (And if you are not familiar with Craig Baxter’s amazing study of Michael Jackson’s truthful body language in interviews, you should really check him out! http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Jackson-Behind-Mask-ebook/dp/B009LAMGDY). Time and again, Michael spoke the truth, only to be ridiculed until his words were proven true by actual documents and medical reports. More often than not, he has been vindicated by the truth, when many thought he would be incriminated. I have no reason to believe that this time will be any different.

In A World That  Often Refused To Give Him Benefit Of The Doubt, Michael's  Honesty And Sincerity Has Come Through For Him Time And Again.
In A World That Often Refused To Give Him Benefit Of The Doubt, Michael’s Honesty And Sincerity Has Come Through For Him Time And Again.

I guess this is all really a very long way of saying, we simply have to keep faith that the truth will win out. I certainly do not relish the idea of Michael’s private medical records being unsealed, if only for his own dignity and because I dread the media circus that is bound to ensue. However, I do think a certain empowerment can come with embracing and owning the truth, rather than shrinking from it. And I do think we have to honestly ask the questions: What is it we really fear from this information being made public,and what is the worst that can come of it? Once we have faced and owned that very worst “what if” scenario, then nothing else can hurt.

And if, in fact, the very worst that is revealed is Michael’s human frailties, then so what? Is any of it really going to shock me that much? Is it going to make me less of a fan? Is it going to make me love him any less? Admire his humanitarian accomplishments any less? Admire his artistry any less? I think not. Ignorance is bliss, but it is not empowerment. Only truth can do that.

I say, let’s do not fear Michael’s truth, but rather, embrace and own it. There is nothing to fear in truth. We simply have to keep faith that truth will always triumph-ultimately- over ignorance, lies, and injustice.

 

The AEG Trial and My "Official" Position

If Katherine Jackson Has A Case...Does That Make This Is It A Lie?
If Katherine Jackson Has A Case…Does That Make This Is It A Lie?

It begins, bright and early Monday morning. I don’t think any of us wanted this trial; certainly I know that MJ fans are not relishing the idea of yet another long, drawn out ordeal of media mud slinging. How many times does this make now? Sheesh, poor Michael has been “tried” more times in death than he ever was in life! At what point do we-even his family and loved ones-simply say enough is enough, and let the man rest in peace? I don’t know how you guys feel. But personally, I am more tired than fired up this time. I try to summon the anger; the outrage, the burning desire for justice/vengeance at all costs. But it just isn’t there anymore.

During the Murray trial, I wrote that justice for Michael will not come without scars:

http://www.allforloveblog.com/?p=5166

http://www.allforloveblog.com/?p=5180

My sentiments haven’t changed. However, Murray’s guilty verdict did provide much needed closure. That trial was dirty business, but necessary. And in hindsight, I still say it didn’t turn out so bad, as far as Michael’s legacy and reputation coming through relatively unscathed. Much of this, no doubt, was due to several factors: The prosecution’s strong, airtight case; the charisma of David Walgreen; a judge who seemed genuinely sympathetic to the fact that Michael Jackson was the victim in the case (and who showed much integrity in putting a gag order in place so that the case could not disintegrate into a media circus), and perhaps the most important factor of all-televised coverage. Televised coverage not only allowed America and the world to witness every word of the prosecution’s case, but also put a serious kink in any media attempt to spin the story how they wished. After all, it became pretty difficult-and would have been downright embarrassing-to try to spin the case in any way, when viewers could hear and see for themselves exactly what went down on the witness stand on any given day.

Dr. Conrad Murray Trial
The Charisma Of David Walgreen…The Saline Bag…All Captured In Their Glory Courtesy Of Courtroom Cameras

Add to all of this the fact that Conrad Murray himself does not come across as a very sympathetic or likeable figure, despite his best efforts to win over the world’s sympathy. (In fact,  every effort Murray has made to win sympathy has, for the most part, simply blown up in his face, succeeding for the most part only to further reveal his egotism, lack of remorse, and sociopathic tendencies). Consider all of this, and you start to understand how Michael clearly emerged as the victim in the case. Although we will always have the stubborn faction who want to cling to the belief that Michael Jackson alone was responsible for his own death, I don’t think there were too many  that came away from that trial-at least among those who followed it closely-who weren’t convinced that the guilty verdict was well deserved.

But now we are facing the prospect of an untelevised trial, and my biggest concern is that we may see the same kind of unethical media behavior that we had in 2005, in which pro-prosecution journalists took full advantage of the situation to manipulate, twist, and exaggerate witness testimonies. As we now know too well, Michael’s molestation trial was not televised, and therefore journalists during that trial had a field day reporting the prosecution testimony, often without bothering to report the results of cross-examination, and pretty much ignored the entire defense testimony altogether. They purposely honed in on the salacious and whatever headline was guaranteed to “sell copy,” knowing that by the time the actual verdict was reached, it wouldn’t matter one way or the other. They got their story; they sold their papers and spiked their ratings. What might happen months down the road-whatever the defense might prove or disprove-had no relevance. The media lives for the moment.

Michael's 2005 Trial Was Untelevised. The Public Relied On Enactments Such As These On Court TV  To Get A Sense Of "Being There." But The Media Often Distorted The Proceedings.
Michael’s 2005 Trial Was Untelevised. The Public Relied On Re-Enactments Such As These On Court TV To Get A Sense Of “Being There.” But The Media Often Distorted The Proceedings.

True, we will have transcripts made available, eventually. But as usual, only those truly interested in researching the case in depth-the MJ bloggers and the fans who care enough to bother-will learn whatever truth is revealed by those transcripts. The rest will simply swallow whatever CNN, HLN, TMZ, Court TV, etc, etc care to give them.

I am not so much concerned with what may come out of this trial, as the way the media will choose to spin it. And an untelevised trial will give them just that opportunity.

It also concerns me somewhat that this trial has already received double the media attention of the Murray trial. The Murray case was a criminal trial, in which a man charged with the homicide death of a beloved pop star and icon was to be determined guilty or innocent. Yet its coverage was mostly limited to HLN and Court TV, and the results of each days’ testimony given only small bites on most network newscasts. The majority of Americans weren’t even aware a trial was taking place, much less that Murray was convicted. Believe it or not, I still talk to people sometimes who have no idea. If the subject of Michael Jackson and his death comes up, they will ask, “Whatever happened to that doctor of his, did they ever charge him with anything?”

Yet the media has been practically salivating over what is, in essence, a civil case. Perhaps it is the stakes involved (to the tune of $40 billion), or the David vs. Goliath aspect of frail, elderly Katherine Jackson taking on the entertainment giant that is AEG, or (most likely) the fact that, based on what we’ve seen so far, AEG is willing to play as dirty as they have to in order to win this case, thus guaranteeing the media no shortage of dirt.  In any event, I sense the stage is being set for another media feast the likes of which we haven’t seen since 2005.

In light of this, I wanted to share with you an interesting article sent to me by a reader (thank you, shelly!) that was written in 2005 near the close of the molestation trial. It was written by an NBC news correspondent, of all people, yet sheds a lot of insight into the way the media operates and, in particular, how and why they reacted to the Jackson trial in the way that they did:

Endgame, Finally

By Mike TaibbiCorrespondent

NBC News
updated 5/31/2005 2:08:46 PM ET
COMMENTARY

SANTA MARIA, Calif. — A silver-haired attorney stood and said “The defense rests,” not calling any of the rebuttal witnesses he’d been expected to call, and the vast machine of the Jackson trial press corps poured out of the courtroom to report the news. After 13 weeks, 60 days of testimony, 140 witnesses and more than a dozen years of allegations, rumors, intermittent tabloid frenzy and Ahab-like persistence from a local District Attorney, the question of whether an entertainer of world-class stature is also a pedophile is about to be answered by a jury.

With no final defense rebuttal, the last piece of evidence presented by the prosecution to the 20 local citizens in the jury box (12 primary jurors plus eight alternates) was an hour-long videotape of the understandably sympathetic first police interview with Jackson’s young accuser. Mumbling and with seeming reluctance, the boy related the sordid details of his alleged molestation by the faded popstar over a few nights in the winter of 2003.

“Once you share this you’ll feel better,” prodded Sgt. Steve Robel. The boy, a cancer survivor, fidgeted in his chair, eyes downcast. Robel asked what sports he liked, he said “football and baseball.”

“I wanted to be a pro ballplayer,” the veteran cop said. “I was scouted by the Philadelphia Phillies, they came to talk to me and my parents. But certain things got in the way… it’s called politics.”

Taped allegations
Soon enough the boy told his story. That Jackson trolled internet porn sites with him on the night they first met at Neverland. That he gave him wine, vodka, scotch and rum. That he talked often about sex, shared his collection of pornographic magazines and, “…maybe five times or so,” reached over as the two shared Jackson’s bed, after both had been drinking, and fondled him.

The jurors had heard those specific allegations before when the boy had testified earlier in the trial. I watched the boy on the tape: Were his hesitations and lack of eye contact evidence of the established difficulty male victims of male pedophiles have in first disclosing their molestation? Or was it a performance by a skilled and experienced liar as defense witnesses made him out to be? I looked at the jury box a couple of times: They were watching and listening, but gave no obvious hint of what they were thinking.

“You’ve been through hell,” Sgt. Robel was saying near the end of the interview. “What he has done to you, he is the bad person, not you. You, your mom, your sister, your brother… you’re the good people. You guys are doing the right thing, you’re helping a lot of people.”

Robel asked the boy if he’d “be open to making a phone call to Michael”– a pretext call in hopes that the popstar would make a damaging admission.

The boy shook his head. It was going to be his word… and that of his mother, sister and brother…against Jackson’s. Period. Four months later, with virtually no further substantive investigation beyond the interviews with the accuser and his family, one of the most famous people on the planet would be arrested. The tape ended.

The courtroom lights came back on. The silver-haired lawyer, Jackson’s lead attorney Tom Mesereau, stood up, said his three words, and sat down. A defense source had told me Mesereau had studied the tape and “wasn’t worried about it,” convinced, the source said, that the jury already had an indelible picture of the boy and his family as grifters out to skin any available mark, especially celebrities, with the boy’s sickness as their currency of persuasion.

I ambled deliberately out of court while other reporters raced past me to spread the news worldwide. Jury instructions and final arguments after the holiday weekend, and then those citizens in the box will do their thing. And then, thankfully for me, home.

I have never liked this story and would never have chosen this assignment. Of course there are others among the thousands of stories I’ve reported in nearly four decades at this craft that also would not have been my choice, and an assignment, in my business, is an assignment; but few have left me feeling dispirited and soiled at the end of a day’s work, as this one has. There are others in this press corps who feel the same way, and many of my colleagues and friends and intimates back home have declined to follow this story at all.

It feels voyeuristic, and for a dozen years it has been voyeuristic. There are “journalists” who’ve maintained careers by chasing down and breathlessly reporting every Jackson rumor peddled by real or would-be “witnesses” to the singer’s every move. Many of those rumors, enhanced by each sale and re-sale to the tabloids (print and broadcast), became embedded in the public consciousness because, in the past decade and a half, mainstream journalism itself and its relationship to “tabloid” stories have changed.

‘Buying’ witnesses
I think it began on the day in 1990 when the mainstream press covering the William Kennedy Smith rape trial in Palm Beach (I was there) was restrained outside the courthouse police lines as the key witness in that case was escorted into court on the arm of a “reporter” for one of the newly-popular tabloid TV shows… because that show had “bought” that witness and locked her up exclusively.

And because mainstream news organizations do not “buy” witnesses, the only way to compete on stories the tabloids increasingly “owned” was to legitimize the tabloids themselves. Thus, in the OJ Simpson case, the vaunted New York Times held its nose and started quoting the National Enquirer, because the tabloid (through whatever means) was often out front on that story. And CBS News, on its “Evening News,” used tape and information attributed to the television show “Hard Copy” in its reporting on the 1993 Jackson scandal.

The 9/11 effect
In the meantime, over the years, the preferences of news consumers seemed also to be changing. Or maybe they were being changed. I think—and, let me stress, this is just my opinion—that 9/11 contributed to that change in a fundamental way: The event itself was so incomprehensibly awful that news consumers (consciously or unconsciously) suddenly wanted something different from the news organizations on which they’d depended for years. Less bad news, fewer investigative reporting efforts that required hard work on the part of viewers and readers. Keep it simple, make it pleasant or safely entertaining, make it diverting. The great newsmagazines on the major networks fought shrinking audience shares by changing their fare. Reality television arrived… and exploded as the genre of audience choice. In the cable universe the trial of a fertilizer salesman accused of killing his wife and unborn child became the lead story for a year… audienceswanted that story, the ratings instructed. There was live coverage of Joey Buttafuoco’s sentencing on the same day the realignment of NATO earned a 30-second reader on one network newscast.

And, since November of 2003, the question of whether Michael Jackson fondled a young boy from a family of graspers who may also be con artists has been the epicenter of a worldwide reporting effort by scores of news organizations.

I’m a reporter assigned to this story, so I’m here. Soon, though not soon enough, I’ll be home because one story– Jackson’s guilt or innocence as determined by this apparently hard-working jury—will be over.

But the other story and the bigger one in my mind– how and why we all got here in the first place– is yet to be told.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/8015799/site/todayshow/ns/today-entertainment/#.UXw8daKcf5t

 

If there is any silver lining in this, it is that the media, for the most part, does have a tendency to be pro-prosecution. We have seen this play out in many high profile cases, including-no huge surprise here!-even the Murray case. So perhaps it is also possible that the very thing that worked to Michael’s disadvantage in 2005 could work to his advantage now.

Perhaps. But remember that the trade-off in 2011 was that, while Michael ceased being the villain, he became “the victim”-a figure on a gurney; a naked man on an autopsy table; his entire life reduced to his medical history and the gruesome, clinical details of his autopsy report. Not exactly a great alternative.

Ultimately, whether Katherine wins or loses the case,  Michael loses. No one from AEG is going to serve prison time; there is no real justice other than that, if the Jacksons win the case, they get some money out of it. It won’t bring Michael back; it’s not going to bring real justice (no matter how it turns out). In the meantime, we-a “we” that includes Michael’s children, as well as his fans-must once again relive Michael’s death and all of the tragic circumstances that led to it. A doctor was said to have proclaimed that being forced to testify would be “medically detrimental” to Blanket. I would say it’s going to be detrimental to all of them.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/21/showbiz/paris-jackson-testimony

At what point can we simply celebrate Michael’s life, and cease rehashing his death? At what point will we be able to celebrate his many strengths and accomplishments, without constantly having his every human flaw and weakness held up for scrutiny?

This past week, country music legend George Jones passed away. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Mr. Jones’s artistry. But as a human being, George Jones was certainly a very flawed man. He was an alcoholic, a drug addict (whose abuse included recreational as well as prescription drugs) and a deadbeat dad. Yet all of the media write-ups, such as the obituary which appeared in The New York Times, have been quite respectful. And if you read the comments left by readers, there is no ridicule, no finger pointing, no trolling. None of the disgraceful and downright dehumanizing kind of comments that we see accompanying anything that is written about Michael. Even the recent story of Ozzy Osbourne’s  fall from the wagon was treated with more respect in the press than anything we will be apt to see reported on Michael Jackson during this upcoming trial. The fact is that while so many talk, talk, talk about “personal responsibility” one really has to ask the question…why are there so many people who apparently are so invested in one man’s “responsibility” for his own death? And what part of the word “homicide” do these people fail to get?

This isn’t exactly sour grapes, but the double standard does bother me; always has. Certainly Michael Jackson’s flaws-such as they were-were no greater or worse than many celebrities-including many of the artists I most admire. Yet the media will always relish in his flaws far moreso than any other celebrity. It is always as if Michael has twice as much to prove, and twice as much to lose, with every bit of negative publicity. And if we are honest with ourselves, it is the negative publicity that we fear most about this trial.

A Grieving Mother Out For Justice...Or A Monster Out For Money? There Is Going To Be No Shortage Of Opinions, From Both Camps
A Grieving Mother Out For Justice…Or A Monster Out For Money? There Is Going To Be No Shortage Of Opinions, From Both Camps

But is that the selfish way to look at it? While many are bashing Katherine, we should keep some things in perspective. She is the one who lost her son. And if this trial is something she feels has to proceed in order to bring closure and justice for what happened to her son, do we have the right to question it? Katherine had to have known the negative consequences of this trial, yet she has felt strongly enough about this case to proceed. I’m sure that having gone through the ordeal of being by Michael’s side every day during the molestation trial, and the toll of being there almost every day at the Murray trial, the last thing she really wants-anymore than the rest of us-is to go through the ordeal of another trial.

Is it just about the money? I know some will say so. Many have convinced themselves so. The word “greed” is used so often in conjunction with the Jackson name that I’m surprised there isn’t a Jackson family photo in the dictionary when one looks up the word “greed.” But personally, I don’t believe it’s about the money. Perhaps I am naive and idealistic,  but I believe Katherine genuinely wants justice from those she feels are responsible for Michael’s death, and this civil suit is as close as she is going to get to any sense of justice. I also know the fur is going to fly these next few months; things are going to get very ugly and heated. This trial has already further polarized an already divided fan base. It’s only going to get worse.

I know there are passionate and ardent defenders on both sides of this case. I also know there are many who are so anti-Jackson family that they will automatically criticize any action the family takes, even down to demonizing Michael’s own mother. And some who are so anti-estate that they have allowed the poison of this hatred to even taint how they portray Michael’s own children.

When “fans” are even attacking Michael’s own mother and kids-the very people he loved dearer than life-what is next? For sure, I know that Michael had some private reservations about his mother. He was very careful who he confided those reservations to. But I still think he would be very unhappy to see how his mother is now being attacked in some circles. Michael’s relationship with his parents was complex, just as most of our parental relationships are, but does that give us the right to judge? Michael certainly never made it any secret that his mother was someone he held in high regard.

I can certainly understand not agreeing with this trial, but I don’t get those who are so pro-AEG that they will attack Michael’s own flesh and blood to defend an organization whose only vested interest in Michael Jackson was as a commodity. Just because I don’t approve of this trial doesn’t mean I hold them blameless.

Let’s not lose perspective on this. For me, there is no love lost for AEG. AEG was nothing to Michael except a corporate entity; Michael in turn was nothing but an entity to them. It was a business arrangement, pure and simple. Whether Michael lived or died; whether he was happy or miserable, sick or well, meant nothing to them as long as a show went on.  It was in their best interest, of course, for him to be well and happy. But in the long run, as long as they got their 50 shows, it didn’t matter.

My sympathies, for sure, are with Katherine and the kids. But that doesn’t mean I don’t question the wisdom or folly of this trial. The Jackson family have been guilty of some pretty bonehead statements and actions (let’s see, there was “Grannygate” last summer, and all that nonsense regarding body doubles in This Is It, etc-I could go on but I won’t). The point I’m making is that, while I may sympathize with them on many issues, I certainly do not always agree with them-or the actions that they take. For sure, there have been times when the family has irritated me to no end. But I am a firm believer in that,when push truly comes to shove, blood is indeed thicker than water-as it should be. with katherine

And something else that bugs me about all of this…if indeed Katherine Jackson has a case, does that mean AEG sold us a lie with This Is It? It’s a question that has been on my mind for over three and a half years. I suppose it is because part of me still wants to believe that Michael was indeed that guy we saw in the film, fully in control and in charge, vibrant and ready to take on the world again; a man excited to perform again for his fans. I used to be the first to scoff at the This Is Not It faction; I put them down as just a bunch of people (haters, perhaps even)who wanted to see the film fail and Michael’s legacy destroyed.  These days, given the facts that came out during the Murray trial and more recent developments that have come to light, I am not so sure anymore.

Perhaps the best clue as to how Michael was really feeling about his life, the shows, and most importantly, about AEG was revealed by Paris during her recent deposition (and I believe his own daughter would certainly be in the best position to know):

Paris also states that Michael told her schedule for TII was “too much” for him and “Phillips and them were out to get them” 
Retweeted by MelanieLOVESMJONE!
Expand
Ivy @Ivy_4MJ 37m
Paris states Michael was happy about the ticket presales for TII tour & excited about the tour & he wanted concert footage to be 3D

http://fr.scribd.com/doc/131734184/AEG-Motion-to-set-deposition-date-f or-Paris

Her comments seem an interesting contradiction, but not an unfeasible one. I think it is very possible that Michael was excited about the shows, but not with the undue pressure he was being put under to suddenly have to perform 50 of them. I certainly have no intention of tossing out my copy of This Is It. For what it is, I still think the film is a precious momento of Michael’s last days, and I like to think that all of the stories of how excited he was to be performing again are at least partially true. So in light of Paris’s words, I think it is possible that there is truth to that, and that what we get in the film is at least a truthful representation of those last, few days when Michael reached deep within himself  and connected with that fire again. I have to believe that. But I am sure I can’t be the only fan for whom the desire to reconcile that belief with much of what we now know from the Murray trial and of AEG’s bullying/”tough love” tactics presents a bit of a conundrum.

Michael Caught In A Beautifully Ecstatic Moment Of Rehearsal During This Is It. I Like To Believe This Is How It Was...No Matter How Briefly
Michael Caught In A Beautifully Ecstatic Moment Of Rehearsal During This Is It. I Like To Believe This Is How It Was…Even If Only For A Little While

I’m sure my comments are going to invite a barrage of heated opinions from both camps. But that’s okay.  As always, I will try to respect most opinions.  For myself, I have usually found it’s best to keep a somewhat neutral perspective; if nothing else, it enables me to see the facts clearly without allowing my own bias to cloud my judgement. So for now, perhaps it is safest to say that my official “position” is to have no position. Or at least, to keep an open mind until we hear all of the facts of this case.

I don’t agree with this trial. I wish with all my heart and soul that it wasn’t happening. But it is, and it’s  here. And seeing as how it is here,  I am not ashamed to say that my heart, my prayers and my full support will certainly be with Katherine and the children during these next few, difficult months.

AEG, I am quite certain, can fend for themselves just fine. After all, the only thing they “lost” on June 25th, 2009 was a business deal.

ETA (04/28/13):  I am excited to announce that, due to the demands of keeping up with this trial over the next several months, I have decided to open up an Allforlove forum.

http://www.allforloveblog.com/vbulletin/activity.php (Link is also included in the right menu, underneath the new “Social” heading).

I know that events will be unfolding rapidly; far more rapidly than I can keep apace here. This way, you all can post updates as necessary, while leaving the comment section on the blogs  only for comments relevant to that particular entry. I have created three sticky threads for the time being-a thread for discussion, one for media postings only, and one for transcripts as they are made available (or if they are made available). More threads can be added as needed; these are just a starting point. The forum at present is just for discussing the trial. I haven’t decided yet if I will want to continue the forum as a permanent feature after the trial is over, or simply lock it down and keep it as a ‘read only” archive. I really never embraced the idea of having a forum; I had operated a forum once before (not related to MJ) and had said, “Never again!” I rather like just having my little corner here where I can express my thoughts about Michael, without all of the madness and responsibility of running a forum. But after much thought (and much persuading from my better half, lol) I have decided that the demands of keeping up with this trial are going to require a much more interactive medium than what I currently have.  Another advantage is that it will keep the blog open for other topics as well. (The idea of writing on nothing but this trial for four months on end is, frankly, a depressing thought to contemplate!).

You will have to register to be able to post and comment. I am the administrator, but not the moderator (just so you know). I decided it would be best to delegate that responsibility to someone else.

I will be posting daily updates on the trial on the Allforlove Facebook page and (yes!) my soon-to-be-active Twitter account (which I’ve actually had for some time, but just never got into the swing of using it; I am slow to come around to change, haha.  But again, with the demands of this trial, I think it is going to be a necessity).

https://twitter.com/emailraven

I will post trial-related blogs as developments warrant, but mostly those will be limited to developments that I feel require in-depth analysis or response. Otherwise, look to the forum, Facebook and Twitter for most of the daily trial bites.

And, as we move forward, let’s keep in mind these words that Michael wrote, which are going to apply these next few months more than ever:

In Our Darkest Hour
In My Deepest Despair
Will You Still Care?
Will You Be There?
In My Trials
And My Tribulations
Through Our Doubts
And Frustrations
In My Violence
In My Turbulence
Through My Fear
And My Confessions
In My Anguish And My Pain
Through My Joy And My Sorrow
In The Promise Of Another Tomorrow
I’ll Never Let You Part
For You’re Always In My Heart.