Michael Jackson: Magic Moments With The King Of "Alleged"

It's a sure bet that when Neil Armstrong dies, coverage will be limited to a two minute retrospective culminating with "One small step for man..." playing over his official NASA photo. Meanwhile, CNBC today is still reporting on the "financial impact of Michael Jackson's death." One walked on the moon, the other merely moonwalked, and yet garments are being rent in grief for the latter all over the globe. Stay tuned for news that Japan and Hungary have both declared national days of mourning. (But do note KHOU's impressive scoop -- a Houston doctor might be involved in it all!)

But far be it from us to question the tsunami of network news coverage given to someone who hasn't been relevant for over 20 years. We're here to do our part to make sure a certain (alleged) child molesting, painkiller-addicted baby-dangler with a Peter Pan complex gets all the attention he so rightly deserves.

5. Black or White - "The Panther Dance" (1991)

MJ's growing disconnect from reality really came to the fore here. A perfectly serviceable -- if lame and annoyingly precious -- music video about looking past the color of a person's skin is marred by a surreal epilogue in which Jackson destroys a car tagged with racist graffiti, then morphs into a panther, probably because Macaulay Culkin told him it was the raddest spirit totem.

4. That Pepsi Commercial (1984)

Personally, I don't think there's been a thorough enough investigation into just how badly this incident fucked Jackson up. He'd suffered some ridicule to this point for things like "the glove" and The Wiz, but the "Wacko Jacko" stuff didn't start until after his hair ignited.

Look at the timeline for yourself:

Pre-Pepsi fire -- Thriller and Brooke Shields;
Post-Pepsi fire -- Bad, Bubbles the Chimp, and Emmanuel Lewis.

3. The Strip Search Speech (1993)

Curious tactic: complaining about your treatment at the hands of the "incredible, terrible mass media" by releasing a statement to same. Not many people know this, but the expression "too much information" was coined shortly after this was aired.

2. The Kiss (1994)

I went to Homecoming my freshman year with a girl who could charitably be described as "extremely uninterested" in my various charms. The dance went as well as can be expected, given her general level of ambivalence and the fact we were double-dated with my best friend, who was dating her best friend. Anyway, when I went in to kiss her goodnight, her reaction was only slightly more uncomfortable than Lisa Marie's.

She's gay now. I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with me...

1. "Throw the Baby!" (2002)

Had Jackson dangled a perfectly healthy baby from a fifth floor balcony back in '84, there would have been calls to have him institutionalized. By 2002, the most we could muster was a collective "Meh."

It also didn't hurt that he did this in Germany, where Jackson Fever has never died and human life has little value anyway

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar