, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 342-346

Michael Jackson: Beloved Enemy

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I don’t know anyone who didn’t have an opinion about Michael Jackson, and felt righteously entitled to it. I had one, too, but mine was less rabid than most people’s. I thought he was inappropriate in many ways and found that lack of grace undermining my enjoyment of his music. I was forever confused, for instance, about why a song denying paternity (Billy Jean) would become such a rampant hit when its message was so misogynistic and anti-child, especially coming from a singer who so publicly proclaimed his love of children. And what was with all the crotch grabbing?

I am in no way a prude, but his presentations struck me as somehow out of sync with his music. But then, Michael Jackson didn’t need my approval and when I would ask other, more ardent fans their view of what I saw as oddities, they discounted my objections and opined that I lacked musical appreciation. Michael’s performances were brilliant, they explained, and I lacked the insight to appreciate them.

When the news broke abo