Saturday, March 9, 2019

Nukular and Neverland

Here's our newest orchid blossom -- a small pale yellow one. We still have several more plants with buds, including two that I rescued from the trash and haven't seen in bloom yet. It will be interesting to see what they look like!

I took this photo of a sticker on a lamppost in New York way back in 2004. (Remember when George W. Bush seemed like the craziest thing that could ever happen to the U.S. presidency?) I thought of it yesterday because of an incident at school.

It's a long story, and not very interesting in the details, but suffice to say that I was trying to get a group of 8th Graders settled in the library -- telling them to sit down and be quiet, basically -- when one of them mimicked me. I turned to that kid and said, "I don't appreciate being mocked." Well, an 8th Grade teacher happened to be passing through the library at that moment and she ordered the kid out of the library and banned him for the rest of the school year -- and because she didn't see what happened, but only heard it, she unwittingly yelled at the wrong kid! So then we had to sort everything out. The kid who mocked me eventually apologized, and as far as I'm concerned the whole incident is over. I appreciated the teacher's intention to help me out, and I thanked her for it, but I think she went awfully harsh awfully quickly. In other words, she went nukular.

Dave and I watched "Leaving Neverland" this week. As I've written before, I am not a huge Michael Jackson fan. I've never owned any of his albums -- although they were certainly all over FM radio while I was growing up -- and I don't have the emotional investment in him that some fans do. To me the documentary seems completely believable. As I remember, even before there were public allegations of child abuse against Jackson in the early '90s, there was buzz about his peculiar attraction to young boys. I think we all suspected something was up. What's interesting is the pushback the film has received from Jackson's supporters -- yesterday a London bus passed me bearing a big advertisement for a pro-Jackson web site that refutes the movie's allegations. Who paid for that, I wonder?

It's fascinating how entire families were utterly blinded by Jackson's stardom. They were literally star-struck. The powers of celebrity and his naif persona were apparently incredibly magnetic. Anyway, regardless of how you feel about him, it's an interesting and tragic movie.


  1. Star-struck fans are mostly very reluctant to countenance the smallest speck of suspect tarnish on their idols.

  2. I disliked every piece of "music" that Michael Jackson put out. Utter pop trash in my view. The guy was a paedophile and should have been locked up but he used expensive lawyers and lies to get himself off the hook.

    It is good that the cheeky kid in the library apologised. I bet his parents would have been mortified if they had seen a video clip of his behaviour.

  3. Having taught inner-city high school, I developed a pretty good shell, but some comments could hit me inwardly as though I was one of their peers.
    I've never disputed that Jackson was truly talented, but I was never a fan. He went from screechy voice in his childhood to really creepy adult.

  4. Eighth graders...bless their hearts. Bless ALL our hearts because it's probably harder to BE a kid that age than it is to deal with one and we all do it. And mostly survive.
    As to Finding Neverland. Well, unlike Mr. P., I realized early on that Michael Jackson was an incredible talent. I will have to disagree with anyone who thought his music was "utter pop trash." And as for being a performer- well, few could top him.
    But I will certainly agree that he was a pedophile. And anyone who could take the star-blinders off their eyes could see it plainly and when that all became apparent, I was done with him. How many children was he able to molest because of who he was? Accusations first started coming long ago and still parents let their children attend his slumber parties.
    Don't get me started.
    Obviously the man was tortured. No one goes to such lengths to destroy how they look (Man in the Mirror, anyone?) without some very, very serious pathology going on. And I have no doubt that he was abused in more ways than one when he was a child. But as I said in a comment on someone's post on FB, he had every resource in the world to help him not continue the cycle of horror. I don't even know if that's possible, though. I do not understand pedophilia.
    But what absolutely astounds me is that people are astounded themselves that HE COULD HAVE DONE THIS. Or deny that he did.
    Of course he did.

  5. I haven't seen the movie but, I've seen plenty of interviews about it. I'm not sure how anyone could believe there wasn't something not-so-nice going on with him. I agree with Ms. Moon, he was a tortured soul. His family is in complete denial and will stay that way while the money keeps rolling in.

  6. I was not a Jackson fan. He was a very tragic unhappy figure.

  7. I haven't seen it either and won't. Never was a big fan and basically echo Ms Moon's comment. rich people get away with whatever they want, witness Manafort's sentence.

    can't wit to see your other orchids especially the ones you rescued. that yellow one is lovely. makes me want to get some orchids.

  8. I'm a bit surprised that a teacher would ban a student from the library without hearing any of the details of the incident. I'm glad it all worked out.

    I was never a Michael Jackson fan, but I did absolutely recognize his talent. I always thought that his pedophilia was an obvious aspect of his home in Neverland.

  9. I bet that poor teacher is so fed up with those kids that the least provocation will set her off. I hope the snot nosed brat was totally senile and ashamed when he apologized.

    That's a good one, thinking that George W. Shrub was the worst thing that could happen to the presidency. But I hold him and his father and the 1980s Republicans, including John McCain (remember who he chose as his Vice President?) all responsible for the destruction of our working democracy.

    I loved Michael Jackson's album Off The Wall. It got me through 1980 - 1982 when I was in the Peace Corps but yes, he was weird and I was never in such awe of him that I could rat ionize away child abuse -- which is just a nice way of saying "child rapist". I hear the same refusal in Catholics who stay with the church when it's been proven time and again that the hierarchy, the bureaucracy, and the existence of the Catholic Church is evil.

    I went to see the last installment of the How To Tame Your Dragon films and it is wonderful. It will take you away from Brexit, Trump, Jackson, the Pope, climate destruction, and all that is so crazy-making in the world today.

  10. It's nice to have a defender, even if they got the wrong student.

  11. Why yes I DO remember when we thought George W. Bush was the craziest thing that could happen. That seems so long ago. We were SO in for a surprise, in a bad way.

    Glad you got the problem in the library sorted out. I've dealt with innocent children who have been blamed for something that was never corrected, and it's not easy for the child at all. My mother saw the same thing when she taught, except, in that case, it was an unprincipled principal doing the blaming, and he would not listen to a mere teacher.

  12. Just wanted to add, regarding Michael Jackson - musically he was a genius but that doesn't mean he was without flaws; however, he had a hard upbringing, never had a chance to be a child himself, and that, I believe, should be also considered when making a judgement of him.

  13. The photo of the orchid is so beautiful. I have mixed feelings about the other teacher. I think she was probably fed up with dealing with rude students. But when I was teaching, I wouldn't have appreciated another teaching going over my head in my classroom. As an art teacher, I was probably in a similar situation as you are in the library. The teacher dropped the class off and then picked them up after art time. I had my own rules in my classroom, and my own disciplinary system. If there was a problem with a student that I felt I should address with the classroom teacher, I did that. I think if the teacher wanted to discipline the student, she should have approached you first about it and gotten your okay. Don't you wish we could get rid of all those disciplinary issues and just be able to teach?!

  14. Testy teacher...probably in every sense of the word. Pretty sure that that event hit all of the kids on the forehead and you will never be mocked again, forever!

    Also pretty sure that there are many talented star quality folks out there who use that to their advantage, but given Jackson's up bringing and his asshole father, the fact that he never had a childhood and was likely molested, certainly abused, it is no mystery, never was, really.

    Besides , traditional, the Greeks did it, the Romans too, not to mention the Churches and , well, you know...

  15. Alphie: It's true, and especially in this case. His defenders are fierce!

    YP: I didn't dislike it, exactly. It was fine as radio fare. But I never felt compelled to spend money on it, especially as Jackson got older and more and more bizarre.

    Marty: It wasn't even all that serious, what he did. It just became a much bigger issue because of the other teacher's intervention.

    Ms Moon: I'm sure Jackson WAS a tortured soul. He clearly knew how to manipulate and I suspect he learned it from people who manipulated him. But as you said, he could have used his star power to break the cycle.

    Sharon: I wonder how long the money will roll in? It sounds like Jackson's estate is losing some income as a result of all this.

    Red: He was indeed.

    Ellen: The thing that's surprised me most about these orchids is how easy they are to grow. Just keep them damp and well-drained and they produce flowers year after year. I think these are all varieties of phalaenopsis, or moth orchids.

    Robin: The other teacher definitely jumped the gun. She was trying to help me, but still -- no need to Go Nukular!

    Vivian: Back in the days of "Off the Wall" Jackson was pretty normal, at least outwardly. It was only after "Thriller" that he got really weird. I forgot you were in the Peace Corps!

    Catalyst: Well, exactly. That's why I thanked her, even though I disagreed with her approach.

    Jenny-O: Who knows what's coming after Trump? It boggles the mind! I think the argument that Jackson had a tortured childhood only goes so far. A lot of people have difficult childhoods and they move beyond them, including a lot of child celebrities. Look at Shirley Temple -- she became an ambassador!

    Sue: I think the teachers are trying to look out for me because I'm NOT a teacher -- I'm an assistant -- and they think the kids won't take me seriously. But I think I have a pretty good relationship with most of the kids and so I can manage them, more or less. Our kids are mostly very well-behaved, fortunately.

    Linda Sue: The Greeks and Romans also used to kill with impunity! We don't want to mimic them TOO closely. But yes, you're right, Jackson is hardly alone in his manipulation of others -- I think it's just an especially egregious case given the age of his victims.

  16. I watched Leaving Neverland this week too, and I find both men to be completely credible. What Mrs. Moon said, every word.