Michael Jackson Is Now A Respectable Person
He was the man who changed the appearance of pop music and came to symbolize the excesses of a vain showbiz lifestyle. But after Michael Jackson's death due to cardiac arrest in his rented Hollywood mansion, people are now shutting their eyes against his frailties, shortcomings and alleged child molestations.
As Los Angeles and the world is getting ready for what is expected to be one of the most watched memorial services in history, a new picture of Jackson has emerged: a once-in-a-generation musical genius and tragically misunderstood celebrity, a man who even as a young child star had an old soul that understood the adult emotions of love and longing, and a doting and loving father whose affection for his own children and compassion for others made him a symbol of universal kindness.
"Wacko Jacko", as the British tabloids used to call him, is now Saint Michael.
But the media hagiography of Jackson is not without its critics. New York Congressman Peter King on Sunday blasted Jackson as a paedophile and pervert - and slammed the US media for giving him so much fawning coverage.
"He was a child molester. He was a paedophile. And to be giving this much coverage to him day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country?" King asked. "We're too politically correct. No one wants to stand up and say, 'We don't need Michael Jackson'."
His comments sparked a storm of online controversy about the King of Pop, whose every move made headlines in life and in death. From the moment he stepped into the spotlight at age 11, Jackson's musical prowess set him apart from other performers, as he led his family pop group the Jackson Five to the top of the charts in 1968 with hits like "ABC", "I want You Back" and "I'll Be There".
He was to fulfil his undoubted musical potential in his first solo albums.
But, gradually, Jackson created fewer hits and more tabloid headlines because of his odd behaviour and plastic surgery. He spent his life sealed off from the world in his fantasy estate, named Neverland, after the setting of the book "Peter Pan". He appeared increasingly unhealthy whenever he was caught in public.
But at the centre of his scandal-ridden life were his strange relationships with boys.
He was twice accused of child molestation at Neverland, in 1993 and 2003. Although he settled the first case with no admission of wrongdoing and was cleared of all charges after a criminal trial in the second case, the ordeals wreaked havoc on his already fragile psyche and turned him into a media freak in the world's celebrity sideshow.
The cause of his death is still unclear, but evidence is mounting that he was probably a chronic abuser of prescription drugs.