My First and Last Word On Michael Jackson

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Jul 152009

I know it would seem I’m late with this post about the recent death of Michael Jackson, but the drama continues to unfold and will for some time. The story is no where near its end, but the dust is settling some, and media hype is now down to a dull drone. I thought this would be a good time for me to offer my opinion.

Jackson was definitely the consumate entertainer. It really isn’t going too far to proclaim him “King of Pop.” He was innovative, talented, and I believe genuine in his wish to please his fans.

One of his sisters was said to have made a comment that he was, “the greatest person who ever lived.” I think I’d take exception to that. I have given him credit as an unmatched influence on popular and popular culture, but I hope she was just a little carried away in her grief.

As is so often the case with a person vaulted to such a lofty place in our pop culture at such an early age, Jackson definitely had his problems. He certainly became and extreme eccentric, and in the end, it became his undoing. As with so many who gain his level of fame and fortune, he became surrounded with sycophants who never him accountable for his own actions, and who encouraged his every eccentricity.

A lot of people spent a lot of time referring to Jackson’s legal issues over the molestation charges, and calling him a perverted. As noted, he was certainly eccentric, but the charges were never proven, and he was, in fact, acquitted. In this country, that means he is innocent, and we would do well to remember that applies to everyone all the time.

Frankly, I don’t believe Jackson ever did molest anyone. I really don’t think he was very sexual at all. But he did certainly exercise some very poor judgement, and had some ideas about how one should relate to children that make most of us uncomfortable. Did he sleep with these kids? Most likely he did. That’s weird for most of us, but not illegal.

You have to face the fact that this was a high profile crime, and the prosecutor and police were under tremendous pressure to get a conviction once the charges were made. But despite that, they were not able to make a winning case. Also, we have to remember that Jackson was a high-profile and potentially lucrative “target” for these parents.

But let me state again, he did exercise poor judgement and engaged in unacceptable behavior.  Continue reading »

Feb 242007

I have the greatest respect for educators in general, and believe they are generally under-valued in our society.

BUT, apparently, as in every other field, a few idiots manage to gain entry.

In Murray, KY, a middle school teacher trying to buy pot was arrested after she sent text messages to state trooper instead of a dealer, police said. Trooper Trevor Pervine was at dinner with his wife and parents celebrating a birthday when his phone started buzzing with messages about a marijuana purchase.

At first, Pervine thought the messages were from friends playing a joke, but a couple of phone calls put that idea to rest, and Pervine responded to set up a meeting. Authorities say Ann Greenfield, 34, arrived at the meeting point and found Pervine and other law enforcement officers waiting for her.

Closer to home, a popular Principal at Van Bueren Middle School here in Tampa, was arrested at school Friday after he got an undercover officer, posing as a drug dealer, to delivery crack to his office at school. He was arrested as he escorted the officer to the lobby of the school.

He taught emotionally handicapped children in 1991 at Young Middle School and continued working with special education students at Jefferson High in 1997. Two years later, he was appointed as a coordinator at James Exceptional Center and five years later became site administrator at Dorothy Thomas, where his work earned praise from Hillsborough County Children’s Services.

Giancola also had glowing reviews in his personnel file, saying he is “dedicated … and willing to go the extra mile.” Students affectionately call him Mr. G; students he occasionally fed pizzas, paid for out of his own pocket; the needy students he bought yearbooks for. Of course, there were plenty of children around.

Good as he was it appears, the word is the drug use began when his marriage went bad. And while I would normally more sympathetic, to have it delivered to school, apparently with the intent to smoke it at school (he allegedly told the undercover officer he wanted “to hit it right there”), removes any degree of sympathy I could muster.

The cops couldn’t do it after school, or make the arrest in his office and whisk him out quietly. They have to make a big deal out of it.