Michael Jackson was a good father, good employer, good musician, and good human being.

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The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, August 1, 2009. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at PsychologyToday.com.

In Praise of Michael Jackson

I've gotten a number of responses to my blog "The Waste of Michael Jackson" like these two:

Someone with as much class as yourself should hope that people don't say hateful things about you during your passing. Lets remember that this man does have a family and regardless of what your opinion is, you should try to make a point objectively.

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You should have done more reserch before you write an article. Or perhaps you just prefer the one way opinion? Michale Jackoson got vitiligo and lupus which caused his skin color changed, don't you know that? And he donated more than 3 hundred million US dollar to lots of children caring foundations, I guess you just don't know about this? By the way, he sang great and also wrote and composed lots of great song, so sad you know so few about him..it's a shame.I did list good things about Michael in my original post, although I said they had all been supplanted by the bad. And, let's face it, dying prematurely with a (figurative) needle in your arm is a bad epitaph for a person. The news since his death has, at best, been mixed (usually involved the word "addicted").

But his many good points have been introduced by neutral observers, not involved in fighting for his money or protecting their own reputations, including one young female protégée and his chef. Among his positive traits:

  1. Jackson was a good employer. Jackson was considerate and appreciative of his staff, regularly thanking them and avoiding the kinds of tongue-lashings (not to mention actual physical assaults, a la Naomi Campbell) that those in power over others are frequently capable of.
  2. Jackson reached out to others. His youthful protégée described how Jackson heard her sing and then recorded a song with her while she and her family lived with him at Neverland for several months. He was never anything but generous and helpful to the young woman.
  3. Jackson was a talented, even a consummate, professional. The young woman described the mastery of music and recording Jackson easily demonstrated while working with her. Simply put, he knew his job - which after all had made him multi-millions over decades.
  4. Jackson parented nice kids. Everyone seems impressed with how well-behaved, nice, and disciplined Jackson's children are. They aren't prima donnas, don't stuff themselves with junk food, are playful and happy. It's hard to say something more positive about a parent than this!
  5. Jackson was a sensitive man. Despite his own prestige, and his pain, Jackson seemed to be capable of fathoming and responding to other people's feelings. His relationships weren't all about him and his needs - despite the large staffs and great resources put at his disposal.

I hope his children are well provided for emotionally, although I fear his final autopsy will not present a pretty picture. But, then, don't we all have problems.