Michael Jackson: Debt is his real legacy

Everyone is busy with eulogies these days about this guy. What a true artist he was, how popular, what a glorious career, what an icon.

My ass.

I don’t give a monkey if this guy released Thriller, or popularized the moonwalk. And yes, I am super-familiar with his career, since I was a huge fan of his in the ’80s and early ’90s. Everyone who knew me during high school can attest to that. Even saw him live once, at a concert in Germany (and made a big fuss about it to my then-fiance to go see MJ live). Many times I had fought with my father for the TV’s remote control for me wanting to watch.

What concerns me instead is his reported $200-$400 million debt he leaves behind. That’s what’s bugging me. His current estate and future sales will pay for part of this debt, but it won’t be enough to pay it all back. Naturally, his children — and their children — will have to work all their life to payback their father’s careless overspending. Unless MJ’s girlfriend, Tinkerbell, allows for a miracle to happen, these children will never be free. Update: Reader Steve says in the comments that in the US the kids won’t be held responsible paying off that debt. Let’s hope that’s how it’s going to play out.

Some will say “separate the man from his art”, but in this case, the man has more impact to me than his art. I am sorry to say, but this debt is the only “legacy” I see Jackson leaving behind. Its effects on his children are so powerful in my mind, that overshadows everything else he accomplished in his life and career. I can’t stand listening to his music anymore because of the person he became (and no, I don’t even count the pederasty allegations). He let himself to get hooked on drugs, became careless about his spending, and on top of all that, he wanted children! What for? As new puppies?

The usual argument against all this is “but he had a hard star-child life”. Well, that’s all bullshit. He had TWENTY+ years to SORT OUT his psychological problems. Thank God, during the ’80s he had enough money to employ top-shrinks to help him out. So putting that “child star” argument over and over, is weak after a few years. He has absolutely no excuse. Neither he, or his close family for not reporting his addiction/psycho problems to the police to not allow him to take custody of his children (that’s what responsible people should do, even if they end up alienating themselves). Then again, after watching this, I don’t believe that anyone in his “family” ever gave a shit about MJ.

So let him rot in hell. Spare me the eulogies that the internet and TV is full of (I can’t even escape iTunes/Amazon’s top-10 lists). My only hope is for a way out, for his children.


JIm wrote on June 28th, 2009 at 5:55 PM PST:

I agree with you Eugenia, but for different reasons. After the first accusation of Child Molestation, apparently he didn’t change his lifestyle like any reasonable person would and he continued to have sleep overs and hang out with kids. What ever marks he made in music were made decades ago. I think it surprising the media who until last week were calling him “the self proclaimed King of Pop” or the “so called King of Pop”.

In the same way Elvis Presley took a 14 yr old girl into his home, gave her drugs, screwed, but that is OK with the public because he eventually married and loved her (she wrote a book about the sex and drugs with Elvis) to me this is child rape, but I guess Elvis and Michael can do these things because they were Kings.

Michael did co-write the song “We are the World” which raised many millions in relief, but in general, his life looks like a waste to me and I feel it is a waste of my time to be bombarded with his news. I feel the newsmedia has no integrity and if Michael Jackson was not guilty of child rape, he sure lived his life to give the impression that he WAS guilty!

It saddens me that Farrah Fawcett passing is quieted by the shadow of Jackson’s death. She at least made effort in fighting cancer to help others. To me Michael Jackson was a very talented person who let his talent get wasted and does not deserve notoriety except as a freak.

RRoffel wrote on June 28th, 2009 at 8:14 PM PST:

I wasn’t aware that the debts of the fathers would be on the shoulders of their children. I’m afraid that your analysis is way off and incorrect.

What will have to happen is that the creditors will look at his assets, not his children, for whatever repayment options are viable.

Sometimes debts can be consolidated and payments will be made that equal less than the original debt. Sometimes an estate sale will be able to pay off some of the debt and creditors will make an arrangement with the estate for a percentage of the proceeds.

His children may not have to worry, in any case, since I am sure that with his status and caution (criminal charges notwithstanding) he has provided for his kids.

Whatever debts he may have left behind, he did put his name and his music on the pop culture map for all time. No-one should ever forget that.

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Eugenia wrote on June 28th, 2009 at 9:07 PM PST:

This is what I say above: that some of his estate will pay off the debt, but the debt is so big, that it won’t pay for all of it. In many countries/states the children have to pay off for their parent’s debts. I fail to see how the creditors won’t go after the children.

blover wrote on June 28th, 2009 at 9:07 PM PST:

I’m just speculating, but I’d guess the MJ royalties and his estate would go to any debt collector.

After that though, although it’s sad that the family will have to fight off debt collectors, I don’t think they will pay anything.

Let’s not forget about how much he’s already helped the family and let’s also not Forget about Janet Jackson.

Steve wrote on June 28th, 2009 at 9:48 PM PST:

Fortunately for Michael’s kids, he did not live in one of those countries. In the USA, you’re responsible for your own debt. Your kids, siblings, and parents have nothing to do with it. We don’t even have debt prison in the US. IOW, the “think of the children” argument doesn’t really fly.

In any case, nobody is in any position to say anything until the matters of the estate are settled. In other words, you really don’t know anything about the liquidity of his estate and even the alleged debt has $200 million worth of play. He’ll certainly be remembered as a man who was bad with his money, but it’ll be a while before we know whether he’ll be remember as man with ridiculous debt (if those numbers are ever actually revealed).

I don’t think Michael’s drug use was much different than that of most celebrities. His known drug use is hardly going to be a stain on his name considering every other aspect of his life. I think you’re just nitpicking.

If drugs end up being involved in his death, like I think the toxicology reports will reveal, I’m betting they’ll all be prescription drugs. Just another guy who dies from a combination of an inability to deal with life and doctors who never miss an opportunity to prescribe vicadin and prozac.

However, I think that’s a much bigger problem in the healthcare system just Michael Jackson. It kills thousands every year and most of them aren’t even millionaires. Either people game the doctors or just shop around until they find a dealer-doctor.

So now that I think I’ve done a pretty good job of destroying your non-sensical opinions, I think it’s odd how you gloss over Michael’s *REAL* legacy.

1) Pop artist
2) African-American Hero
3) Pedophile
4) Eccentric
5) Self-hating shapeshifter

The last four can move around however you like. I don’t think you can understand number 2 unless you’ve lived in black culture, at least in the US (e.g. for the same reason that most white people didn’t understand the celebrations after O.J. got off when everyone knew he was guilty).

Personally, number 3 is how I’ll remember him. I never much cared for his music. But at least I acknowledge that I’m in the minority. I’m just one voice in the overall impression that will establish the man’s legacy. His reputation as the King of Pop is very well established, more sure than even Elvis’s King of Rock. None of us will live to see the man dethroned.

Soulbender wrote on June 28th, 2009 at 11:05 PM PST:

“2) African-American Hero”

Yeah, he sure sets a great example by trying his best to become white.

“for the same reason that most white people didn’t understand the celebrations after O.J. got off when everyone knew he was guilty”

Please explain the difference between white people cheering for a white man getting off when his guilty and black people cheering for a black man getting off when he’s guilty.
Surely black Americans have better role models to look up to than pederasts and murderers.
Hitler did some good stuff too but it’s not like us white folks cheer for him. At least not any sane white folks.

Also, he’s not King of Pop. That’s bullshit.

dimosd wrote on June 28th, 2009 at 11:21 PM PST:

You can choose to collect any heritage, attached debts and pay the taxes or you can deny it. What you describe does happen in India AFAIK but not in Europe-USA (any more).

So at worse, his children will start their lives as broke as you and me 🙂

Matt wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 12:04 AM PST:

From everything I’ve heard, his massive debt is still smaller than what he has in assets. His ownership of the Beatle’s songs is estimated to be worth almost $500 million alone, and everything he has is several hundred more. It will be interesting to see exactly how much he did have left, but I would be very surprised if his children aren’t quite rich at the end. Don’t forget they’ll still be pulling in what I’ve heard is $20 million in royalties each month.

Optimus wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 5:14 AM PST:

OMG, Michael’s father looks exactly like a pimp! 🙂

I actually wasn’t touched at all, I haven’t heard his songs at all (only accidentally, when someone else near me played it on the stereo, or on the TV), I may remember how his most succesful albums are called but that’s all. To me the references about it in the mass media and the internet seemed too much (even if it’s expected such things to make big news and bring lot’s of discussion).

Adam S wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 5:45 AM PST:

This is one time, I’m afraid, where you’re just wrong. History has shown this again and again – art often outlives its artist and its artist’s tale. Though we know Vincent Van Gogh was an opiate addicted hippie, we treasure his works. In time, we’ll forget — and new generations will never learn of — MJ’s “freakish” ways. They will never have seen him go from a stylish black man to a skeletal white monster. They won’t know of his tabloid exploits, his baby-dangling, his oxygen chamber, the plasticized monkey, the elephant man’s bones, etc.

But his contributions to music *will* last. His pioneering of music videos will be remembered. His contributions to the world of dance will be chronicled. In time, the story of MJ will give way to the amazing contributions of MJ. His legacy, much like many in history, cannot be judged now.

Too often, the arrogance of people shines in the form of the belief that they can understand the modern age. It’s impossible. History will remember what’s important, and we can’t see that from our vantage point. Michael’s life is incidental. But, like it or not, his art is legendary.

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Eugenia wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 10:32 AM PST:

>History has shown this again and again – art often outlives its artist and its artist’s tale.

That’s for history and for everyone else. Not for me (which is what my blog post was about). MJ was dead to me already in the ’90s.

Adam S wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 12:17 PM PST:

That’s for history and for everyone else. Not for me

True enough, dat. Just making the point. After we’re gone, I suspect history will still remember Michael Jackson.

Cristian wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 4:50 PM PST:

I really don’t understand what you have against Michael Jackson. Except for the pederasty accusations which seem to me a bit exaggerated (in a pure American style that looks good in court), I don’t see how he harmed anyone. Sure, he could have given more to his children, but I don’t think that they will starve. The world is full of parents worse than him. By the way, could you tell us in what countries are the children held responsible for their parents debts? I still wonder how could you have started from such a false assumption.

Regarding his drug abuse, his lifestyle or whatever, I don’t see what’s the problem. They were his money, and he was free to spend them how he liked. I also don’t think that shrinks could have helped him much more. Shrinks can’t do miracles and they don’t treat you unless you want to. And if you’re buried too deep and too depressed, you won’t even think about calling for their help.

Anyway, the bottom line is that his music was good and his personal life is well… personal. There’s an old saying in my country (Romania), that goes something like this “about the dead, only good things (should be said)” and I think this should apply in his case, as well.

P.S.: Speaking of countries with odd laws, I find it strange that a Greek talks about pederasty as a bad thing 🙂

JIm wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 4:51 PM PST:

Until a week ago, Michael Jackson was a freak vilified by everyone. I have always thought he was an attention whore and loved the molestation trials because it put him as a victem and in the limelight. In the same way dangling his kid who all look caucasion to me over a balcony, seems like attention whore to me. Now if history is repeating itself, Elvis was broke at the end of his life, he spent it all, luxury jets (2)
too many trips to Japan to eat peanut sanwhiches and his ex wife who got control, made graceland a museum open to the public and we have elvis candles and every kind of elvis crap you can imagine. Now one thing Michael didn’t do and I could be wrong, there is no Michael Jackson moonwalk wine, Michael Jackson guitar etc. I suspect that once the get the merchandise going and Neverland will be “restored” and expanded and we will have lots of Michael Jackson crap to buy. Maybe even a all pants half off sale at Macy’s.
His legacy will be the amount crap you can buy with his image on.
And BTW Mark Furman of the OJ Simpson trial is a flaming raciest according to my ex finace who fucked him many times and has known him for over forty yrs

NewbieLinuxGuy wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 4:55 PM PST:

Regardless of who or what the man was- the fact remains that he was a human being and he is now dead.

I think that we should have sympathy for his family and friends at this point in time whether than taking simplistic potshots at the man because of debt. Debt that he may or may not have the assets to pay off. Debt that is ultimately none of our f#@#$$#@ business.

Please folks, a little more compassion. Please.

NewbieLinuxGuy wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 4:56 PM PST:

excuse me I meant rather then not whether than

Stefan wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 5:06 PM PST:

Do not speak ill about the dead. There’s so much wisdom behind this old saying. Only because many times life bites us back hard. We’re all imperfect mortals, let’s respect the man.

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Eugenia wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 5:26 PM PST:

> “Do not speak ill about the dead.”

Yeah, and I will wear a cross to keep away the evil eye. 😛
I don’t see why this guy should get more respect now that he’s dead rather than when he was alive. We still talk about the same person.

Stefan wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 5:51 PM PST:

“Yeah, and I will wear a cross to keep away the evil eye”
I know it’s fancy now to mock Christianity, except this saying is older than that 🙂 it’s just common sense in my opinion, I know I’m not perfect so I’d rather keep my mouth shut. Hey, he did not waste my tax dollars for one thing. And I could never do what he did as an artist.

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Eugenia wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 5:56 PM PST:

>Hey, he did not waste my tax dollars for one thing.

Actually, he bought a lot of crap overseas. A lot of that money is money lost for the US and its citizens.

hanzomon4 wrote on June 29th, 2009 at 6:53 PM PST:

I find it very hard to believe that you know about this man’s personal life so intimately that you feel qualified to make such stinging condemnations. You don’t know what kind of debt or wealth he actually has. Nor do you know what kind of father he was. You also don’t know what kind, if any, mental health care he received. We do know that he gave more then any other celebrity to charity, that he cared very much about the plight of children world wide, and that he was acquitted 19 times by an impartial jury of child molestation. In the states the media jumps on any possible imperfection and magnifies immensely. How many of us would look like wackos if the world was constantly speculating about us from the outside? You have a right to your opinion but do acknowledge that your opinion is based on speculation and not fact.

As far as the drugs and skin thing go… He was a world class performer and sustained many painful injuries. Like many people who get hurt he was prescribed pain killers. These drugs were made for such people, with debilitating pain. They’re dangerous sure but do serve a purpose. The skin thing.. the man had a skin disease that would have left him with large white blotches of skin so on the advice of doctors he bleached his skin to avoid looking like a laundry accident.

You honestly sound like a hurt fan.. stop watching tmz

Halfabrain wrote on June 30th, 2009 at 1:59 AM PST:

“Let him rot in hell”. How nice of you to write such a beautiful thing.

Ashok wrote on June 30th, 2009 at 2:01 AM PST:

One album Thriller can help a man make so much money. And as he could make so much money, Jackson got away with all
obnoxious acts.

And when the public is foolish enough to finance his outrageousness, who is to blame?

His life is as much a waste as are his fans!

dimosd wrote on June 30th, 2009 at 5:36 AM PST:

I don’t hate crazy people

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Eugenia wrote on June 30th, 2009 at 9:20 AM PST:

>“Let him rot in hell”. How nice of you to write such a beautiful thing.

Feel free to write the same for me when I die. I don’t find Jackson a particularly great person to look up to. Someone who’s addicted to drugs, had such huge debt, listens to no one who tried to help him, to me is a lowly person. The fact that he was able to write good music doesn’t clear him up from criticism.

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