Guilty Pleasures

The chief difference between the O.J. Simpson trial and the Michael Jackson trial is that we hoped O.J. was innocent. We liked the guy, and we didn’t want to think he had stabbed his wife and her acquaintance to death, even though we suspected he had.

Michael Jackson, on the other hand, we know he did it, and we’re glad he did it, because now we finally have a legal reason to hate him. Heretofore, our distrust and antipathy stemmed only from intuition: There was something about him that just wasn’t right. Now we have a name for that “something,”? and it’s a bad enough name that we’re well justified in shunning him forever. It’s a bit of a relief, really. You hate to shun someone forever based solely on a gut feeling.

The most disturbing thing about the Michael Jackson trial, really, is that it forces me to think about Michael Jackson. I have spent most of my life NOT thinking about him, at times quite willfully and conscientiously, and now here is a Trial of the Century (the first of many Trials of the Century, I’m sure), thrusting Michael into my thoughts, with his shrill mannerisms and unsettling elfin behavior. And it’s not just Michael Jackson in my thoughts, but Michael Jackson and his private regions! Sure, in grade school we speculated on the subject of whether or not Michael Jackson even HAD private regions, but believe me, we did not really want an answer. We certainly didn’t want the answer being discussed on CNN, that’s for sure.

Michael doesn’t really do himself any favors, either, does he? Showing up to court in pajamas is fine if you’re going for an insanity defense, or if you are 3 years old. But neither of these applies to Michael. He has no excuse to appear in court in pajama pants, and definitely not pajama pants with SpongeBob on them. In fact, I don’t think Michael Jackson should even be allowed to OWN pajama pants with SpongeBob on them. Doesn’t Wal-Mart monitor who they sell these things to?

We Americans are glad Michael is on trial, because we have a thirst for celebrity justice. We love putting people on pedestals, revering them, honoring them, worshiping them, and then knocking them off the pedestals with baseball bats and setting fire to the pedestals. O.J. evaded us, that slippery devil, but we got Martha Stewart, and now we’re jonesin’ for more. Martha actually did jail time! Do you know what that did just for the careers of people who make lame jokes for a living, people like editorial cartoonists and Jay Leno? The goddess of domesticity in prison — why, the jokes about using pine cones and potpourri to decorate her cell practically write themselves! (In Jay Leno’s case, they actually do write themselves, with the computer program HackComedianPro 4.0.)

And now we are positively salivating over the prospect of Michael Jackson going to prison. We know he’s guilty, and we’re glad he’s guilty, and we cannot wait until he is convicted. If we had a choice between boys not being molested, and boys being molested but a pop superstar going to prison for it, we would choose the latter. We are not generally in favor of that sort of thing, of course, but if a few children have to suffer so that we can see a once-beloved, now-mocked idol go to prison, we are willing to make that sacrifice. We don’t have coliseums (colisea?) in which to feed Christians to lions anymore, so this is the next best thing. Heck, anything to get rid of Michael.

The parenethetical statement "In Jay Leno's case, they actually do write themselves, with the computer program HackComedianPro 4.0" was cut from publication, presumably for space.

The sad postscript, of course, is that Michael Jackson was acquitted and never did jail time. So all those kids were molested for nothing.