Michael Jackson and Gay Marriage

(Reprinted, with a few changes, from February 27, 2004)

Kyle McLaughlin, as the FBI man in the Twin Peaks television series, said: When two seemingly unrelated events happen in close proximity, we have to pay attention. So when Michael Jackson is pulled over for shopping at Wal Mart in a ski mask on the same day my daughter asks what I think of gay marriage, I have to ask myself, "Wa sup?"

"It wasn't that he was wearing a ski mask that was upsetting," my wife said, relating the incident in which Jackson was pulled over in Aspen. "It was that he was shopping at Wal Mart. No wonder he was wearing a mask."

Everybody has on opinion about Michael Jackson. Some people say "...of course he's a child molester, he sleeps with children in a place called Neverland. Duh." Others say he's quirky and never really grew up, but that not growing up isn't illegal.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking disclosure about him is that he shops at Wal Mart.

I tend to agree with Bill Maher, who says that Michael Jackson is the black man who won't let himself be backed down. He knows how horrifying it is to some people that he says it's all right to sleep in the same bed with children. But he says there's no danger for them unless there's some danger in sleeping with you. In other words, if you are dangerous for children then it's dangerous for you to sleep with them, and if you are not, it is not.

The real question is, what do we expect from Michael Jackson? If we have to meet each other's expectations, then we're going to find out why we need the protection of the law, because other people's expectations are the law of the jungle. Michael Jackson is a grown man who still has the sexual ambiguity of a young man. That does not portend well, because it suggests he is not maturing. When there is too much attachment to the ego then the integration of shadow, and completion of the Self, can't take place.

The Bible verse which addresses this is the one which says a rich man has as much chance of making it to heaven as a camel has going through the eye of a needle. The literal meaning involves money, but the esoteric meaning involves being too attached to the ego, and thus unwilling to make the sacrifice in order to move on toward wholeness, which requires accepting the shadow as part of your own psyche. This allows one to own the shadow -- the dark and rejected parts of the psyche -- and stay conscious of it, lest it act out unconsciously, or be projected onto a scapegoat.

Unconsciousness involves always looking for the darkest, most dangerous part of the psyche outside ourselves, to avoid becoming a scapegoat. The shadow is quickly projected onto someone who becomes vulnerable to it. And a black child in a man's body, wearing a ski mask over his face, which is itself a mask -- the sad, deteriorating face that wanted to be beautiful -- says there's no crime in sleeping with children? He's bound to win the lottery.

This causes a stir in the population because it provides the opportunity for a human sacrifice. After all, when somebody takes on the shadow, we can remove it from all of us. The sacrifice is typically someone whom the crowd is already primed to dislike, such as Mr. Jackson. A guy who's that freaky needs to stay above reproach, like Caesar's wife.

Which brings me to gay marriage. My daughter said she doesn't think it's of much consequence because marriage itself is of little importance. I told her that it has the importance the two people bring to it, regardless of who they are. That is why it is a religious ritual and not any of the state's affair, except in providing equal protection under the law.

An amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman would be strange, because the Constitution itself cautions that powers not specifically delegated to the United States government do not belong to it. It is the federal power that is being limited to what is spelled out for it. And nowhere do I find anything at all about marriage. That means it is up to the states and to the people.

Whether it's Michael Jackson, gay people, or Muslims, those who do not fit into the ideological purity of the extreme right wing are under the shadow in this administration's political climate of fear and revenge. Which of us does not know that moment of failure or self-hate, when we suddenly lighten life's burden at someone else's expense, and say, "At least I don't work for Jews." Or, "At least I'm not a nigger." Or, "At least I'm not queer." And which of us does not know what it feels like to take on the shadow? Just this morning I was awakened by some guy calling "Jiffy Mart." I told him he had a private residence, and he said, "You're getting your gay marriage license, right?"


"You're in San Francisco right? You getting your gay marriage license, right?"

"Yea. Like I said, you got the wrong number."

There is one help for this negativity I can think of off the top of my head. About two thousand years ago, the discovery was made that you do not have to project your shadow onto a weakened member or members of the group and kill them or subject them to public ridicule to get rid of it. It was such an important discovery that it divided the Bible into the Old and the New Testaments.

It is that the psyche is a pattern reading device, and if you act out the pattern in a ritual, which is done with attention to detail and proper mental attitude, you can stop the human sacrifice by stopping the projections. It led to the concept of equality and democracy through a philosophy of projecting love instead of hatred on those you perceive to be different from you. It became possible for people of diverse beliefs and habits to live together as one people. It made the American Dream of individual freedom and equality possible, even if it is a long term struggle. It provided a path out of racism and elitism.

The way you do it is, you create an archetypal figure in the collective unconscious who represents the "other," or the person to be sacrificed by the group. You give this figure not only the quality of innocence, but also the quality of unconditional love, so that he or she not only can take on all your darkness and unloved parts, but actually loves you enough to want to lift them from the evil little stone behind your breastbone. Then you have a ritual in which you crucify the innocent to your heart's content, drink the blood and eat the flesh. Once your blood lust is sated, you can always arrange for a miraculous rebirthing and do it again next year.

If you don't want to go through all that you can stop projecting away parts of yourself, and acknowledge them. It will provide the same relief when you love them as yourself, and will allow the sacrifice of the youthful ego and the development of a more mature psyche, without all that self-importance. Regardless of all that, do avoid shopping at Wal Mart, even in a mask.

Posted: Wed - May 16, 2007 at 04:34 PM