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Who was Michael Jackson?

The Radical Notion of Michael Jackson’s Humanity

Slate's Tanner Colby, who authored a book about Michael Jackson, writes on how Jackson's humanity is dismissed by those attempting to caricature him.

The idea of Michael Jackson as a human being remains a radical notion. But during the process of writing the book, that is how I came to know him. Through Bill’s and Javon’s eyes, I got to see the everyday person: Jackson helping his kids with their homework, Jackson grabbing a basketball and corralling his bodyguards for a game of HORSE in the driveway. The eccentric behavior was still eccentric, of course, but seeing it in context, a lot of it actually made sense; I gained a better understanding of why he made the choices he made.

As for the allegations of abuse, once I really started digging into them, what surprised me was not just that the allegations are unfounded, but that they are so obviously unfounded. The first claim, made against him in 1993, was debunked by a thorough piece of investigative reporting in GQ. The second claim, made a decade later, was soundly rejected by 12 reasonable jurors as being without merit. These facts are available to anyone with five minutes and an Internet connection. Yet the questions about his innocence persist. The “Wacko Jacko” stories haven’t gone away.

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