June 29th, 2009

red panda eating bamboo

Othering considered harmful.

Making Light linked to this blog post about Michael Jackson.

Here is the comment I left:
I thought Rossney's post started out well enough, but by the time he got to saying MJ was "no longer really...human in any meaningful sense" and saying "it feels strange to call him 'a man'," I had serious problems. Human beings who are seriously damaged are still human beings. Men who are seriously damaged are still men. It's disrespectful to the damaged people and to the rest of us to deny this. It's also misguided, because it creates a false sense of otherness and a false sense of security, a sense that this sort of thing could not happen to real people. Well, it could and did.
(This part wasn't in the original comment.) This might well be something going on only in my own head, but I also have the uncomfortable sense that MJ's race is partly involved in the blogger's othering him, especially because of this sentence:
(it's a mark of how profoundly damaged Michael Jackson was that it feels strange to call him "a man", just as it feels strange to recognize that when he died he was older than the President of the United States)
For the record, my opinion of MJ is that he made some music that I loved and that he had a big influence on pop music, and that he seemed like a pretty unhappy person during the latter part of his life. I also know he is accused of child molestation, and I didn't follow the stories about that, so I don't have an opinion. If he did it, I am sad about the damage caused.