A few months back I was at City Winery in New York, enjoying some wine while watching a favorite singer of mine. I loved her show -- it's a rather small venue so she was casual and conversational.
But when she briefly and in jest did a Michael Jackson cover, she joked a bit about him, alluding to his habit of mollesting young male children, and the audience laughed. It was funny. But in apparent fear of being sued, she immediately said, "No judge, no judge."
Being a female folk singer, she's expected to be so liberal as to say that, meaning, Let us not judge others. But I disagree. Judging others is necessary in life today, and it keeps many of us alive. No judge, no judge? I'll be the judge of that. Michael Jackson was, among other things, a pedophile. Do I have the proof? No. But enough people sued him over what he did to their sons to make me think something may have been up. Combine that with all the weird stuff and I'm willing to climb out on a branch and say, yes, he was guilty. No judge? You're right -- there was no judge, because the rich little jerk was able to pay off the parents of all his young victims, so he never had to go to trial.
I don't like that we're supposed to edit ourselves when dealing with a rich and powerful figure. Now that Michael Jackson is dead, comedians are starting to loosen up a bit and say what they couldn't say before. But not much -- after all, his heirs and other Jacko interests could sue. Hell, the old woman who told cameras Jacko's death made for the worst day or her life could probably sue.
Power in our society isn't centered around good people who have everyone's interests at heart. This pervades the fabric of America right down to our neighborhoods.
Good neighbors are not powerful by any means. We keep to ourselves, while bad neighbors and true Neighbors From Hell band together like grease bonding in a puddle of dirty water.
And in all my work, I don't see that changing. It's not in our nature to gang up on our problem neighbor, and we don't have the time to return their harassment. Given time and money and having nothing better to do, we just might be pulled down to their level, maybe just briefly.
I'm glad to be among the good neighbor "underclass," and among the masses who don't do whatever they want -- either because it's socially unacceptable or financially unaffordable -- without respect for neighbors or other human beings in general.
And yet, I'm sure that very singer -- the one whose show I attended and enjoyed -- would fault me for being so judgmental. Ah, so you do judge?