The Chicago Sun Times has printed a very positive article about Michael called 'Worry About Your Own Kids, Not Jackson's'
Worry About Your Own Kids, Not Jackson's
by Sue Ontiveros (Sun-Times Columnist)
December 7, 2002
Everyone is looking for a great deal during the holiday shopping season. Well, I've got one for you today: two columns for the price of one:
When entertainer Michael Jackson showed off his young child recently to adoring fans in Germany, boy, did he set off a controversy. In what I figure was a spur-of-the-moment deal, Jackson dangled the infant over the balcony.
Would that we all were as concerned about whether our country will soon be at war with Iraq. Nope, that isn't the sort of thing that gets our collective attention. An aging pop star's misguided moment, now that's what will set off the outrage in so many of us. Now, high-profile California attorney Gloria Allred has asked California's child welfare services to determine if the singer's three children are endangered.
Rather than judge Jackson's parenting, I just wonder: Are any of these self-righteous folks guilty of the following activities? For example, tossing an infant in the air and catching him. Maybe because I'm such a bad catch, this act strikes fear in my heart every time I see it. ''But he likes it'' is the usual response I hear whenever I've suggested it's not such a good idea. Yeah, the kid likes it all the way to the emergency room when someone misses.
A lot of those kids who ''like'' being swung in circles by their arms end up in the emergency room, too. But I'm sure none of the Jackson censors has done that, either.
I'm sure none of the Jackson critics ever left their child in a car while it was running ''just for a minute.'' Surely none of the outraged are the folks driving with the kids who aren't strapped in by seat belts. Couldn't be.
And none of them is one of the parents in summer who are sunning themselves but allowing their toddlers to maneuver crowded pools or beaches because there are a couple of teenage lifeguards on duty. Of course not.
There isn't a parent around who hasn't had a reckless moment. My guess is the real outrage over Jackson stems from the fact that we find him pretty odd. Being odd does not disqualify anyone from parenthood.
While Michael Jackson's actions didn't particularly alarm me, I do have to question the parents I read about in a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor. It seems coed teen sleepovers are gaining in popularity. According to the article, more than half the respondents in a survey of youths by TeenPeople magazine have attended coed sleepovers.
Parents of young teens figure since there are more boy-girl friendships, the coed sleepovers are platonic and harmless. The article mentions cross-gender pop culture role models, such as the title characters of ''Will & Grace'' and Elaine and Jerry from ''Seinfeld.''
I have to think these parents have very short memories of their teen years or are in deep denial. Let me remind you that the sexual curiosity you had as teenagers remains alive and ready to act, given the opportunity, in today's teens. And a coed sleepover sounds like prime opportunity.
Just about every television show and pop/rap song around deals with having sex any time all the time. Today's teens are bombarded with the message that ready or not, they too should be having sex. Do they really need coed sleepovers as another way to push them toward physical relationships they may not be ready for emotionally?
Oh, and those TV pals, Will and Grace, Elaine and Jerry? Each couple has slept together. So much for ''platonic'' TV role models.
Thank You Note
December 9, 2002
Dear Ms. Ontiveros:
On behalf of The Michael Jackson Fan Club (MJFC) and Michael Jackson fans worldwide, we would like to thank you for your recent column, "Worry about your own kids, not Jackson's." It was refreshing to finally read an article that was written unbiasly and focuses on the facts as opposed to speculation about Mr. Jackson's private life and his appearance. It is very unfortunate that we live in a society where the innocent actions of one man can overshadow current events that honestly do call for our attention such as an impending war. That we live in a society where children are being harmed and abused everday and no one is taking any interest in them or their specific situations.
MJFC has taken the liberty of adding your article to our website, http://www.mjfanclub.net, under the "Defending Michael" section and the news section. We have also made our members aware of your recent column via e-mail, so it is very possible that you may be recieving a lot of reader response in regards to your article. Again, thank you for taking the high road and not the low road with regards to this situation. We can only hope that your words might open the eyes of those who chose to throw stones and then hide their hands.
The Michael Jackson Fan Club (MJFC)