Thursday, December 22, 2005

In Defense of The Kids

Well as long as things are already controversial, let’s just do it up. It was happenstance which sent me hurdling into The Michael Jackson trial. I kept my mind, my eyes and my heart open and I emerged a lot more enlightened, a little bit stronger and a whole lot more aware of the human capacity to spiral out of reason into a place where logic is twisted in upon itself.

I’m writing this to help myself sort things out. I am trying to determine what I’m supposed to do… something or nothing or something in between?

What’s happening right now is that the family of the young accuser is under attack. The weapon of choice is the internet. What I’m deciding to do here is return fire.

Star and Gavin

The boy, Gavin was living under a new name, Anton in a new town. He had just turned 16 years old. He and his brother, Star, 15, now going as Daniel are both High School Freshmen on the JV Football team. Since the trial, this family has not said a word publicly, nor have they attempted in any fashion to profit from the unfortunate events. They wanted only to return to what little normalcy they could find, following such an enormous episode.


They were beginning to feel safe and accepted. Their step-father, Jay had shipped out for a year in Iraq. Their mother, Janet is expecting a baby in January. A few days before Thanksgiving, either a Michael Jackson fan or employee posted a blog under the assumed identity of Gavin, Using his new name, Anton, and revealing his identity as Michael Jackson’s young accuser.

This imposter posted pictures taken from the school’s web site and from stalker photographers who had followed the boys during the trial. He then went to Anton and Daniel’s My Space pages, and emailed all of their friends with a link to the blog.

Gavin and Star had to walk into school the following morning knowing that everybody knew.

A “fan” is now appearing on the boys’ school campus, posing as a CIA agent and asking kids if they know Anton. This stranger is saying cruel, vicious things about Anton and asking the children to spread these stories around school.

The trial has been over for six months. Michael Jackson was acquitted and he left the country for Bahrain. The family of the young accuser tucked themselves back into their little community. They were flooded by interview requests, book offers, knocks on the door from reporters. They have refused to talk to anyone. They want no money and no attention and yet the battle rages on, but why, and who is waging it?

I think that in most heated debates, there are several ways to look at something and our view on any given issue is informed by basic ideologies we adopt and adapt as we learn and grow. Issues such as abortion and corporal punishment can be honestly and heatedly discussed with no one answer being completely correct. These topics are sensitive and complicated and many believe there is only one answer, but to me, they are "hot button issues," precisely because the two sides are worthy opponents.

On the issue of Michael Jackson, however, there is a finite truth. Either he did it or he didn't. And since we don't know for certain, it does, like the other hotly contested issues come down to a belief. The people who firmly believe that he didn't do it, and could never do it begin and end their day with that tenet as the basis for all reasoning that follows. My trouble with this is that their belief in his innocence has become a religious calling and anything they do in service to that belief is, in their view, righteous... Be it hollering "INNOCENT!" outside a courthouse or slandering a child and his family.

I believed the boy, my friend, before the trial. After seeing the evidence presented in court, I now believe resoundingly beyond any personal doubt that Michael Jackson is guilty. The fans and I, have different beliefs. However, I do not, nor would I ever consider taunting or harassing them or their loved ones. It would be pleasant if they showed the same respect. But they don’t and they won't. They will continue their smear campaign in service to their idol. It's dangerous for any among us to place so much faith in a person we don't even know.

My view and my belief in this boy and the veracity of the State’s case is firmly intact and it will not be swayed by anything I read or hear. For those who believe Michael, their faith is just as strong. However, harming the children doesn't help Michael. The fact that they think it does, is what saddens me.

This family very bravely went forward and testified in a criminal case against one of the most popular and powerful figures in show business. They have read a lot of ugly untruths about themselves here on the internet. They are, in fact, fine, decent, loving people who tried to do the right thing so that no other child would be hurt. They now would like to be left in peace.

If you wish to lend your support and let them know that they are not in this fight alone, please post a comment here.

This is not a forum to debate the case. All such posts will be deleted. Thank you.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Joining The Band Again

"The Spirit of Christmas," is: Tony, Me, Greg, Anthony
This is a warning. We are rapidly approaching my next Join The Band Live and In Concert Musical Event, which takes place on Sunday, December 11th around 4:00 pm at Cozy's in Sherman Oaks.

If you missed the last concert and you're thinking of trying to catch this one, be advised. I am now the drummer and the lead singer, so bring cotton balls and/or earplugs.

It's Join The Band's Christmas event so all of the groups have been given festive names befitting of the season. Ours is called, "The Spirit of Christmas." For about seven minutes it was switched to "The Spirit of the Holidays," for political reasons and then switched back to "The Spirit of Christmas," for common sense reasons.

We will be performing, "And Your Bird Can Sing," originally popularized by a little combo called The Beatles, "Learn to Fly," from the Foo Fighters and The Romantics' classic, "What I Like About You."

If you think that playing the drums while singing is easy, come watch and you'll find out that not only do I not make it look easy, I make it look extremely difficult.

Bass Man, Greg with Join The Band Leader, John Mizenko
This is not really an invitation. It's more of a dare. Also, I haven't blogged in a while and I really like my new band-mates. They are cool guys and they sound great.

If you can't make it, send flowers to the stage door.