Michael Jackson: Two years later
Genius frozen in time
Looking back on it, June 25, 2009, will forever be an indelible chapter in the history of Los Angeles. The announcement of Michael Jackson's death was a moment eternally suspended in time – a moment when the whole world would simultaneously feel a loss, so sudden and so keen, it was like losing a family member.
In Los Angeles, where Jackson passed away, the emotional blow was especially visceral. Disbelief was overcome by sorrow as reality began to set in. In a city built on fame, Jackson crafted a legacy that was closer to mythology than it was to mere stardom.
In both life – and now, two years after his death – Michael Jackson casts multiple reflections. To some he is the "King of Pop," a magnanimous philanthropist, an icon and a superstar of the highest caliber. To others he was a criminal and a monster. Attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., got to know Jackson well. Mesereau defended Jackson in the pop star's 2005 child molestation case. He is thoroughly familiar with the allegations against his former client, but also spent a lot of time with Jackson and got to know the real man in the mirror. LA Canvas interviewed Mesereau because his track record as an attorney, coupled with his reputation as a man of uncompromising integrity, speaks volumes about his credibility. Dozens of people utilized the coverage of Jackson's death to get in on as much airtime as they could; Mesereau was not one of them. The Michael Jackson he knew was a kind and gentle man, trapped by distorted public perceptions of his reclusive personal life. Mesereau opened up about his memories of the case, meeting Jackson and his thoughts on how the media handled the whole thing. "Michael just might be the nicest client I've ever represented," said Mesereau without hesitation. He added, "The biggest surprise about Michael was how down to earth he was to deal with." As Michael's fame grew, so, too, did the target on his back. And with every accusation against him, members of the media constantly had him in their sights. "People took what they thought was unusual about him and tried to magnify it into criminal conduct," noted Mesereau. "The way he was tortured by people that wanted to profit off of his eccentricity was one of the great tragedies of our time." If the public thought his life was a media circus, his death provided an even more blatant example of just how selfish and abhorrent people could be. The coverage was a Who's Who of pundits, and Michael Jackson "associates," presenting a twisted display of unfounded thoughts on why he died, presented as fact. "There were people, including lawyers saying they were close to him and to the family, and making all sorts of representations that were not true," recalled Mesereau about the coverage surrounding Jackson's death. He continued, "It was absolutely disgusting. I was hearing outside the hospital, there were people claiming they were close to him that were running from media booth to media booth trying to capitalize on his passing." It is impossible to overstate what Michael Jackson meant to the world. The effect of his death, much like the effect of his life, superseded race, ignored socioeconomic status, and required no cultural translation. From the hardest of criminals to the most innocent of children (some of whom were not even born when Jackson last recorded an album), Jackson's impact was and still is universal. As both an artist and a humanitarian, Michael Jackson has humbly set world records that will probably never be broken. While he did have serious criminal accusations lodged against him, it is often overlooked that his accusers always stood to profit from these alleged transgressions, none of which he was ever convicted. "The biggest misconception is that he was a criminal and a child molester," said Mesereau. "Nothing could be further from the truth. "And unfortunately, because he was so famous, and because he was an eclectic artist and an artistic genius, people took what they thought was unusual about him and tried to magnify it into criminal conduct." Mesereau added, "He was not a pedophile. He was not a criminal. He was not a child molester. And the way he was tortured by people that wanted to make him controversial and profit off of his eccentricity was one of the great tragedies of our time." Above all else, Jackson leaves behind an uncanny ability to unify people through his music. Like Michael Jackson the man, Michael Jackson the musician promoted peace, love and equality. Though he is no longer with us, his music and his permanent effect on humanity will forever be frozen in time.http://www.lacanvas.com/los-angeles-music/item/michael-jackson-two-years-later-2?category_id=176