Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Mother and Michael Jackson

     What is guilt?
     Is it a fact, or is it a public perception?
     One day I was talking to my mother.  She was saying I should fight the government and exonerate myself.
     "It makes me sick, what they're doing to you," she said.
     "It makes me sick, too," I told her.
     "Well, you'll show them.  They'll see you're innocent."
     Who will see I'm innocent?
     I wanted to explain to her that at the end of a trial it wouldn't matter whether my innocence was reinstated or not.
     "Take Michael Jackson, for instance--"
     "Oh, that man.  What an awful man!" she interrupted.
     "Wait a minute, Mom!"
     "What he did to those children!"
     "But Mom--"
     "I'm glad they took him to task."
     "They didn't take him to task."
     "People like that shouldn't be allowed to be free!"
     "People like what?"
     "You know what I'm talking about!  Harming children."
     "Mom, Michael Jackson sat through five months of trial, and at the end the jury acquitted him of all ten charges.  He didn't harm children."
     "The jury!" she said, exasperated.
     "Mom, he was declared innocent.  Don't you know that?"
     "People know right from wrong, regardless."
     "I don't want to talk about it any more," she said.  "It upsets me."
     Innocence is a fact, but it's a fact only known with certainty by the person who's innocent.  The onlookers render a verdict based on whatever's traipsing through their minds at the time.  It's usually some form of bigotry.
     However important an acquittal might be, therefore, it doesn't register in the tribunal of public perception.  The public believes what it wants to hear, and every day for five months it heard that Michael Jackson was a child molester.  Jackson's world was ruined.  When his innocence was confirmed, it hardly mattered any more.
     Ask my mother.


  1. This post begins with the question, "What is guilt?" That is a huge question. As you read this post, however, you soon realize the question is far narrower than the initial question might you lead to believe.

    "Guilt" poses a very interesting question for moralists, psychologists, humanists and any one who takes the human situation seriously.

    The reader of this post quickly realizes, however, that the initial question about guilt has little to do with these larger questions. The word "guilt' here is used in a narrow, juridical sense. That's too bad, because the initial question is worth pursuing by anyone, but especially by the author of this blog, an obviously very sensitive and perceptive women.

    I would say that in its most expansive sense "guilt" has gotten a bad rap. Guilt makes you change. It's a creative force once you makes friends with its power.

    I can make the same point in a more vulgar way if I write that the people who I know who don't feel guilty are more boring than people who are more prone to guilt. Yes, I think that's it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I can't explain it to you.

  2. If I remember correctly, "Guilt is the question, Love is the Answer", by Joan Boresenko, though as I said I may have it wrong, though Joan had it correct, and Ona has it correct... as for you Jimmy, you may want to reassess your brain activity. No offense intended...

  3. The guilt of Original Sin, which we can't sidestep, is different from the guilt one invites by breaking the rules of one's social group, which we can avoid--except in social groups where the rules have been piled up in such masses of confusing complexity that any participant could, if the judicial fraternity chose, be caught in its web. The guilt of Original Sin is guilt before God, whose rules stem from a set of inherent ideals, or natural law; whereas guilt in the guild of humanity is a byproduct of rules that have been manufactured by men, sometimes as entrapments.

  4. What did Walmart and Michael Jackson have in common?
    Boys pants, half off.