Thursday, July 16, 2009

MJ, celebrities, society

So much to say, but my biggest question right now, is WHY?
I remember when I was eight years old- older than my daughter but younger than my son. I might actually have been seven when my MJ obsession started. I thought Beat It was the best song in the world. My aunt was a big MJ fan and would pick me up for sleepovers and we would listen to that album the whole time we were together. When I was eight I was allowed to get my ears pierced. After six weeks with studs in my ears I was allowed to get my next pair of earrings, and I remember my aunt and I going to Claires at the mall and picking out a pair of "dangling" (as I said then) earrings with this picture on them. I remember getting my first radio with a cassette player, asking for the same album, and falling asleep many a nights listening to that album. "Human Nature" was usually the song that brought the slumber ;)

The funniest thing I remember, looking back it being funny, is my trying to sing the songs not knowing the words, just making the sounds. I remember thinking about that as I watched David Cook do Billy Jean. Unfortunately for MJ, that was really the only thing I listened to until Debbie Gibson stormed my scene in my middle school years. MJ, besides the bigger hits, was a backburner entertainer to me except for the Smooth Criminal video (because of the choreography) and maybe a couple of others.

Now, anyone who knows me, or has read any of my personal ponderings on parenting and my own childhood before, knows that there's a blaring neon disclosure close by stating I was not raised as a Christian, and I OFTEN wonder WHY my parents allowed me to do the things I done! Even with the generational gap, I would NEVER allow Hannah and Jackson to listen to MJ's music! (and, anything else I listened to in my younger years, which I still question to this day whether the influence of music in my younger years led to the behavior I exhibited in my teen years.)

That being said, the first thing that always come to my mind when hearing his name is him being fabulous entertainer. The songs seemed to always end up sounding the same in parts, so I was not mesmerized by his music, but his ability to perform. It was different. It was creative, and if you tried to mock his dancing, you'd best pay close attention. When he was accused of inappropriate actions with minors, I did not follow that. I was a little busy what with a three year old and pregant and carrying Hannah and all. I was not a news-follower back then. I found out about 9-11 through online message boards, if that tells you anything. (Although, to my defense, I found out before the towers fell and had the TV on then.)

I've seen a lot of talk over the past few weeks about this man, for good and bad. I've realized just how out of "the loop" I've been over the years- then again you're not hearing me complain about that. However, I have pondered some things ...

With all the talk about MJ being such an icon for the 'black community', where were they to hold him accountable when it come out he was possibly abusing prescription drugs?

If his family is that close knit, where were THEY, when it was suspected he was abusing prescription drugs?

What parent, allows their children to have sleepovers at an adult man's house?

What responsible adult, in charge of a child's safety and well being, allows said children to have sleepovers at an adult man's house?

Have we, as a society, elevated celebrities to such a level that we have no standards of living anymore? MJ is not the first celebrity to have a doctor wrapped around their finger- where are the standards?

Why does it seem our country will celebrate this man when he's dead, but he was deemed a "weirdo" when he was living? Where were alllll these people who speak so highly of him now that he's dead, when he was standing alone accused of said charges?

Why is it ok to deem him a pariah for his accusations, when he was found not guilty? I'm talking about us every day people- since when has it been ok to condemn someone when we were not even in the situation to make any kind of true discernment about what happened or didn't happen?

Here's an additional challenge / thought for Christian readers:
If a man was found guilty and served time for said crime, and was born again while he was in prison. He was repentent for his sins and determined to live out his life serving the Lord for the rest of his days: how differently would you look at him? Any?

---> I guess having had these types of accusations happen "close to home" for me, the idea of just letting things "be" and not saying anything at all was better than the alternative of condemnation when it did not directly apply to me. The bible says sin is sin. That sin is not set apart in the bible, it is no different than gossiping, and how many of us do that? Someone accused of such a thing is in no different position in the eyes of God than the woman in the next cubicle from you, or your next door neighbor if they do not profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. <---

Why NOW, are they showing the video of the Pepsi commercial with his hair catching fire? That's horrible! Just let the man be dead already! Sure, that just might have been when his prescription drug problem started, but why didn't someone get concerned back then- why the hindsight?

Have we as a society become so idolatrous that we allow celebrities to essentially kill themselves? Yes, they're famous, but they are still people, too. They still should be treated as people. I'm personally not very big into "celebrity following", but take Jon & Kate for example. This is a real family. If one of my family members had a TV show like theirs, I would watch it. I would want to support my loved ones with my support via ratings. If they wrote a book, I would support them by buying their books and promoting it. (I'm doing that right now!)
Honestly? I've loved Kate Gosselin since day one. She is a woman you either relate to, understand, or "love to hate". Everyone should (have) watch(ed) that show with the idea that not everyone is going to see things the same, and not a single one of us have ever been in her / their shoes having twins and sextuplets following three years later. I had one, then followed with one three years later. I can't possibly pretend to know what I would exactly do if I were in her shoes. As a professing sister in Christ, she's been on my heart from day one.

On June 22, 2009 they announced their divorce. I was so saddened. I was shocked, however, to hear of their intentions to continue taping the show. I cannot condone this. I've watched from season one, but I will NOT condone this with my support via ratings! Other people agree, I've shared more in this post. My point is, this is a real family. Why would society choose to continue watching this show, when those precious children are having their parents' divorce played out on national television? Mady and Cara are going into third grade this year, right? Every kid in their school could be watching what is going on in their family. Is that fair to them? If the parents are not using the good sense the Lord gave them and are continuing with this, then WE can use the good sense the Lord gave US, and CHOOSE to NOT watch it and participate in this.

We can choose to do a lot more of this, too! If the ratings were not there, the smut that is on TV and in movies, would not be there. However, we must reward the good, too. When the Kit Kitteredge movie come out, friends still looked at me funny when I said I was taking Hannah. Why wouldn't I take Hannah to see a rated G child's movie in the midday? Maybe if more people did take their children to see wholesome, family friendly family movies at the theaters, then Hollywood would wake up and make more wholesome, family friendly family movies, instead of the smut that is typically put out, now. It is such a shame to see such talented actors result to taking on such poor roles that will mean nothing in a few years, whereas we ALL remember our favorite movies as children, don't we?

I believe if the conservative sect of society done two things, that by the time our children are faced with parenting decisions, we just might be able to make our country a better place in terms of entertainment:

1) Stop enabling celebrities to become idols. Treat them as people, too. No amount of talent in the world is going to get someone to heaven. Pray for Hollywood! (I was so tickled when Jackson told me he had been praying for Tony Hawk's salvation :) Hold them accountable. Make your voice heard when possible that certain things are not acceptable, like Jon and Kate. Consider refusing to support actors that do not share your values if they are extreme. It's possible that less people will work with them if they become a liability. Create a demand for politically indifferent actors in Hollywood. Like Michael Jordan said so long ago "Republicans buy shoes, too."

2) Support good entertainment. When possible, don't wait for movies to come out on DVD. If DVD sales are the going thing, the film industry will make straight-to-DVD movies. We all know those are not as good as the ones that hit the theaters, and the theaters is where the buzz spins among the world. Not to mention, how will we know when a movie is released? About all know when a movie is being released in the theaters. Create a demand for good entertainment. Our children need us too! If you do not attend the movie theater by conviction, look for other ways to support the rise of good, moral entertainment. If you have some ideas to share please comment! *

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