Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Very Jackson Breakfast

I was only a little surprised to find myself standing next to Jermaine Jackson at Starbuck's this morning. It's happened before. The Jacksons live all over Encino, and I have, at various times, co-coffeed with Jermaine, Randy and one or both of those non-Janet sisters (I can never tell them apart). Usually, though, it's at the "other" Starbucks -- the one I only go to if I just happen to be shopping at Barnes and Noble next door, or they run out of toffee nut syrup at my "home" Starbucks. Today, Jermaine was at my Starbucks.

Today, he stepped onto my turf.

This was the first day I've seen a Jackson since Michael's trial ended, and I found myself wanting to reach over and slap his perfectly coiffed head!! I was shocked at the level of my animosity. I suppose it's misdirected. It's Michael who has behaved badly. But the weekly show of support from his family was somehow infuriating this time. Walking in and waving to the crowd as if they were going in to perform at a reunion concert. Sickening.....

Should I be mad at Jermaine for supporting his brother? It seems to be unfair, when taken out of context. I'm usually the first to understand when a mother, father or a family member says, "Johnny's been so misjudged. The prosecutor is just on a witchhunt. Johnny would never do that." What are they going to say? Only when faced with the most egregious, incontrovertible evidence (such as with Jeffrey Dahmer) will parents say, "Yep. Johnny did it, the no-good little bastard." For the record, even after admitting his guilt, Jeffrey Dahmer's mother said, "But he's my son and I can't help loving him."

Totally understandable. He may be a monster, but he's her monster, dangitall, and it was her right to love him.

So why am I so peeved at the Jacksons? I think it has to do with what most people believe is the root cause of Michael Jackson's problem -- whether its pedophilia or just plain felonious whack-assedness.

His family.

Starting with those parents, Joe and Katherine (frankly the name is too good for her). He of the driving ambition and the reputedly hellacious temper tantrums. She of the Haldol-sanded edges and the submissive, "anything my husband says is fine with me, let's go shopping," passivity. Michael Jackson grew up in a house where only one person ever said no to him -- his father. Once he was out from under Daddy Joe's vice-like grip, he went wild. No one's crossed him since. Oh, sure, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office has tried -- TWICE. But to no avail. I'm sure, once Thriller was released, even his brothers were, like, "Yes, Michael. Anything you say, Michael. Just keep paying Mom and Pop's mortgage, so they don't got to come and live with us!"

In a few months, after things die down, Michael will go back to his slumber parties and his spikey coke cans and his Neverland daze. And his family will stand by and do nothing. Jermaine Jackson is a daddy, with children (nearly grown now) of his own. How can he stand by and watch what is, at it's best, highly, highly inappropriate behavior between a grown man and children, and what is, at its worst, child molestation, and do nothing?

That's what I thought of today as we both waited for our grande lattes, side by side, with me using every ounce of self-control to stop myself reaching over and just smacking the side of his head like a tetherball on a kids' playground. "See evil and do nothing, will ya, Jermaine? Well, take that! And that! And THAT!!" You get the idea.

I used to have a crush on Jermaine. He's by far the best looking of them all. When I was twelve and Jermaine was sixteen, I wanted to marry him. But it's all over between us now. I'm sure, if he had any idea of that, he'd be devastated.


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