Almost too painful to watch

Michael Jackson arrives at court wearing pajamas
Pajama-clad Michael Jackson arrives at court

Save him. Save us

Just when you think the Michael Jackson story can't get any more weird, it does. Last week Jackson failed to show up in court for his trial, supposedly because he tripped and fell while dressing for court and had to be taken to the hospital for back pain. The judge, having already once postponed the trial while Jackson was hospitalized for "flu-like symptoms," issued a warrant for Jackson's arrest and revocation of bail if he did not appear in court within an hour. Jackson did appear, although not within the hour allotted, wearing slippers and pajama bottoms.

Jackson shielded by umbrella

The media, already massed for the trial, practically began to hyperventilate over this turn of events. You could not watch television or pick up a paper the next day without seeing pictures of Michael, flanked by his entourage of family members and retainers bearing umbrellas, shuffling feebly into court. Shuffling feebly, that is, until he heard a fan call out from behind him, whereupon he suddenly recovered sufficiently to turn and wave.

Jackson Five
Jackson Five

Defendant
Defendant

As tempting a target for mockery as this whole sordid affair is, as guaranteed a ratings boost as coverage is for the media, it is time to bring down the curtain on this spectacle. This is not grand opera, although it shares many of the same elements: the cast of thousands, emotionally over-wrought characters, exotic costumes, and so on. Who knows, the fat lady may still sing — Michael's friend, Elizabeth Taylor, is on the witness list! No, this is a human tragedy that is unfolding, and the decent thing to do would be to avert our eyes.

We've all watched fascinated the transformation from talented, charismatic boy to surgically disfigured chronological adult. But in truth what we are watching is a person stuck in childhood, dangerously divorced from reality. And now the forces of greed and celebrity manipulate and feed on him, preventing him from getting what he really needs and needed long ago — psychiatric treatment.

It should never have gotten this far.

It might seem like a cruel joke to say it, but the sure-fire way for Jackson's lawyers to win this case would be to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

To continue the story in the sensationalistic way it is being covered is a sickness of its own. The moral and humane thing is to say "Enough already!"