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If anyone doubts that America’s corporate media are celebrity-crazy, just look at the hours and hours that television devoted to the recent arrest of Michael Jackson on child molestation charges.

The known facts of the case can be stated in less than three minutes. Three search warrants were executed. Police have not said what, if anything, they found. Multiple charges of child molestation were filed. Jackson posted a $3 million bond. Arraignment is set for Jan. 9.

End of story. Whether he’s guilty or innocent of these particular charges, his own statements and eccentric behavior have raised suspicions in the minds of many people, perhaps unfairly. All pedophiles say they love children, and they do, in their own perverted way. All pedophiles say they would never harm a child, because they don’t consider sex with a child as harmful. Jackson caused a lot of his own troubles in the public-relations realm by admitting that he sleeps with 12-year-old boys while denying there is any sexual contact.

If you read the statement of the boy whose family decided to take millions of dollars in 1994 rather than file criminal charges against Jackson, you can see the classic pattern of pedophile seduction. Befriend the family. Befriend the child. Buy the child gifts. Lavish him with attention. Gradually grow more and more intimate, all the while telling the child that what you are doing is perfectly normal and merely an expression of love and affection.

You can read that statement at www.thesmokingun.com.

We as a society proscribe sex with children because we recognize that a pre-pubescent child lacks the knowledge and experience to give informed consent. Pedophiles know this, but they rationalize their behavior by telling themselves that as long as they don’t use force, they are not harming the child.

Horse apples.

If Jackson is convicted, I hope they send him to the general population of the meanest prison in the state. He will never survive his sentence.

The only general lesson to be learned is the corrupting power of money and celebrity. Jackson’s public-relations machine is already starting to discredit the latest alleged victim’s family. It will go after the family because even the most cynical and amoral lawyer knows that a jury would not take kindly to attacking a 12-year-old cancer patient, which is what the alleged victim is.

I have never understood the mentality of the fan and groupie. There are some performers whose talents I admire, but I have zero interest in their private lives and no desire at all to be in their presence. Performers, like writers, might or might not be nice folks, but all we pay for and all we are entitled to is a performance.

Nevertheless, our society is certainly celebrity-crazy. It is one thing to admire people of genuine talent and accomplishments, and quite another to go nuts about some mediocre talent manufactured into a celebrity by a marketing machine. I can’t recall a single song Jackson has ever sung. His music is mediocre. His voice is mediocre. His fame is testament to the dumbing down of the world.

That goes for a lot of pop stars today. They have their 15 minutes of fame and then vanish like a meteor. Many people these days simply can’t recognize good music and good performers. They have to be told by the marketing machines which singers and groups they are supposed to like. If most of these bimbos could actually sing, they wouldn’t have to prance around half-naked to distract their audience.

So, OK, dude, I’m out of it, and glad to be. I have no interest in pop culture at all, but if you allow celebrity and money to get away with sexually exploiting children, shame on you. If you as a parent allow any adult to seduce your child, shame on you.

If I had my druthers, child molesters would be handled with a rope and a gun and not by a court system where, like everything else in this country, justice is for sale.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner.

© 2003 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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