Herbert describes US culture, like Jackson, as extremely immature, grotesquely irresponsible, and as refusing to know the truth of things. Herbert sees a misogynist, pedophiliac U.S. of the 1970’s through the 1990s as hidden behind a “spasm of the culture opting for fantasy over reality.”
“We don’t want to look under the rock that was Jackson’s real life. As with so many other things, we don’t want to know.”
Herbert article here
Check out readers’ responses to Herbert’s notion that many people insist on fantasy, adamantly refusing to know what is painful, sexist, and racist in the world. here
Excerpts from a few comments are listed below.
81. Sadly, Michael truly epitomizes the age we live in. A victim and a perpetrator at once, both black and white but never fitting in with either, dazzling on stage and riddled with self-loathing.
104. On all levels there has been an abdication of ADULTHOOD,…In the name of cultural, social and sexual freedom,…we have instead opted for preying on the most vulnerable members of our society and across the board we have gorged on a culture of cheap consumerism….A chronic, impulsive abdication of all responsible business practices that led to the complete financial meltdown we live with today.
163. The predations of Michael Jackson are simply a manifestation of the ‘it’s all good’, ‘who are we to judge’, and ‘hey, I just wanna have fun’ mentality that is propogated by the entertainment and media industries. Chickens. Home. Roost.
173. here is a man that bleaches himself, basically buys white children and we’re supposed to regard him as a symbol of black america.To paraphrase spike lee from a few days ago-black folks had better not hear anyone speaking bad about michael jackson. come again?? Really?? Barack Obama is the leader of the free world, but black america still feels the need to rally around michael jackson as its champion? Come on, that is insulting.
176 “We don’t want to look under the rock that was Jackson’s real life.”
To be fair, we don’t want to look under the rock that is OUR real life.
— Sanctimonious political blowhards who talk about “the sanctity of marriage” and “family values” who turn out to be the most egregious hypocrites.
— Congress being commanded to stand in silence in respect for … MIchael Jackson?!!! Understandable, when you consider a national holiday for the horrific Christopher Columbus.
–Our delusional trust in “free markets”, the “financial system”, alleged “regulators”, bought and sold elected officials and investment charlatans.
–Belief that “God” is a violent real estate agent (MIddle East), speaks to gay bashers, domestic and foreign terrorists, et al and tells them whom to hate and maim, demands institutionalized inferiority of women and has, apparently, all the needy and dysfunctional qualities of a very troubled pre-adolescent boy in need of psychotherapy.
We are not yet able to conduct our business as non-delusional adults.
191. How do we respond to Herbert’s thesis? Unthinkable as it may be in our society of where fast trumps thoughtfulness, one should reflect on how we might see our nation’s reality as it truly is; and make daily personal choices to get a grip on how much we feed the cancerous growth of a culture which rewards mindless, adolescent behavior cloaked as acceptable social interaction.
239. Whatever his tremendous talents were we should not be praising and idolizing a pedophile. There’s something quite repulsive about all the crying and all the adulation from these fans.
247. Is it really that weird or odd that in the United States, a rich young Black man might grow up to feel he would be better liked, considered more successful, but most of all, safer in a white-skin than a Black one?
Yes, he was trying to step outside of and leave reality behind. But I ask you, what exactly was the reality being offered to him as a young Black man? We want Black boys to head towards manhood with full macho-ness, while society has made clear that once they embrace that manhood, they will be targeted for violence and death.
We want to pretend that children can be repeatedly physically and sexually abused, and then expect them to grow-up to be adults who are completely at ease with their bodies and sexuality. If that’s not an entire society living in a fantasy world, then what is? And we want to pretend that they then won’t turn around and hurt others in exactly the same way they were hurt. Instead of seeing their actions as a cry for real help, all we do as a society is condemn.
260. Americans by their nature don’t like the truth, truth inherently causes pain because just as in life not all news is good news so much of the time the truth is told it makes people uncomfortable.
Be it Michael Jacksons sordid life or the fact that Ronald Reagan was not a great President the people don’t like the truth. The people never wanted the truth about New Orleans and how many people really died through government failure or the inability to if not repair New Orleans at least to clean it up.
Michael Jackson is just a microcosm of our society as a whole, they just don’t want the truth.
270. “We” are all responsible — each and every one of us. Because every day we look the other way while horrific injustice and abuse takes place: around the world, and right next door, and perhaps right in the next room.
“We” are all Michael Jackson in a way: terrified of the world, self-loathing, trapped in our fantasyland, yet fascinated by the glitz and the parasitic hype that surrounds us. We deify the ethically and psychologically deformed, glorify the hypocrite, mouth empty moralisms, kowtow to money and influence, regardless of its source. We want instant gratification, and we undermine serious, honest attempts at dialog, growth, and reform. And, for most, when the time comes to stand up and be counted for something worthwhile, we turn away and melt into the herd, hoping there is safety in numbers.
294. Justice was the roadblock that careened his existence off the landscape- and was the failure of our society. As a society everyones needs would be better served if he was in jail right now.
330. One word can be applied to what you describe…narcissism. The root cause of the greed, excess, and avoidance of reality you describe comes from a culture which has over-indulged self-love and extreme individualism; Michael Jackson, the spectacle of reality TV, the rise of celebrity culture.
363. This is a seminal moment in human history. The Roman Empire relied too much on a standing military abroad, slaves at home, lead-tainted wine, and feeding Christians to the lions to dull its citizens to the long-term consequences of their unsustainable lifestyle. Rome’s empire lasted half a millennium. Ours will be lucky to last half that long. Either we get it right now or we moonwalk our way into civilized oblivion.
373. What is good about Herbert’s piece is that it does not make the mistake of blaming our decadence as a society on a loss of “family values,” but rather on a tendency to indulge our fantasies about the potential for greed and unrestrained capitalism to shield us from reality. When did the American dream become a bubble designed to keep us hiding from our obligations to one another?
394. Our corporate MSM seems to be saying: “Michael Jackson was a really great entertainer and a good guy. Except for all of those children he molested.”
427. The fact that he named ALL of his children after himself, girl included, is also a clue to his narcissism.
448. Michael Jackson was exploited as a child and as an adult. He in turn exploited children and some adults. He acquired 3 children by paying for them, lied that they were his biological children, and kept their heads covered so no one would know. His closest associates apparently never knew right from wrong and were unwilling to tell him “no”. If he really weighed 112 pounds at death he should have been in a hospital. Obviously nobody really cared about him.