Do You Still Listen To Michael Jackson’s Songs?
A fair question I must ask, on the 10th anniversary of his death. I’ve been a fan of Michael Jackson for as long as I can remember, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m still a fan of Michal to this very day. I have a favorite song of him, a favorite music video and a favorite album. And no I’m not going to tell you about them. This is not that kind of post.
But in the aftermath of the documentary about him- regarding his alleged sexual molestation charges against children, a great deal of the perception towards him changed drastically. There was even boycott to ban all of his music and so on… and I’m not going to waste this post debating whether he’s guilty of that or not. That’s for others to decide, not me.
But before writing this ports, I also read an article from Deadline in which Dame Judy Dench discussed the legacy of the accused. Their artistic legacy, not their tarnished and shameful societal legacy. She mentioned Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein, and pointed out that their legacy will live on despite their felonies.
“What kind of agony is that?” asked Dench. “Are we going to negate 10 years at the Old Vic and everything that [Spacey] did and how wonderful he’s been in all those films? Are we just not going to see all those films that Harvey produced?” She continued, “You cannot deny somebody a talent. You might as well never look at a Caravaggio painting [the Renaissance painter was also a murderer]. You might as well never have gone to see Noël Coward, Dench said.
And I can’t help but wonder. How can you draw a line between the Kevin Spacey –the man and Kevin Spacey – the artist? He has plenty of amazing movies and although his career is on hold right now, are we going to stop watching his previous work? Is that the biggest punishment we could find? Or is it the only punishment that we (the fans) are actually capable of implementing?
Let’s say that it’s Saturday night. You just arrived home and you see that it’s The Usual Suspects (Brian Singer’s movie) playing on one of the channels. Will you turn the channel off and not watch it because Kevin is in it and Brian Singer made it? No. It’s a good movie and you should watch it as much as you please. The same goes with Michael Jackson’s music. Are you not going to listen to it when it’s on the radio? Heck no.
But I guess, Judy’s point is not so much about forgive and forget. No. Those who abused power, those who committed the crimes should be punished, and she’s not defending them personally – just their work. But where the career and the artistic merit of those people fall into? Is it in perpetual state of limbo? Is it on pause until the times change and the perception of that artist changes again?
Can we separate the man from the artist and learn to love one but not the other? I sure can. So can Judy apparently. And I still listen to Michael Jackson. And I still watch Kevin Spacey movies. How about you?