Mutually Exclusive

A big issue in the news lately has been the shocking documentary called “Leaving Neverland”. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.

And I, like many people, used to love Michael Jackson. I still have his History album on cassette (audio tape, for you young’uns. Google it) and used to listen to it a lot throughout my childhood and sometimes still do.

Now, I’m not going to comment on the documentary. Yes it’s shocking beyond belief and everybody seems to have an opinion on it.

But there was something the director of the documentary said which sounded weird to me. He said:

“We’re going to have to reā€‘evaluate the way we see Michael Jackson… People will have to listen to his music in the knowledge that he was a prolific child rapist. If they’re comfortable doing that, fine. If they’re not, well perhaps listen to something else for a while.”

Then I heard that many radio stations in New Zealand have declared that they will not be playing Michael Jackson songs on the radio anymore. Radio stations that had played his music as number 1 of the top 500 songs of the ’90s for several consecutive years.

I think this is kind of ridiculous.

People are trying to make others feel guilty for listening to music. As though they somehow become a privy to his crimes or his character just because they play his music on their phones or radio stations. The music isn’t tainted.

I don’t get why his music has to take a hit. Especially 10 years after he has been dead. What about the 30+ years they were being played and listened to around the world when he was alive and doing the things he’s currently being accused of? Just because there wasn’t enough “proof” of what he was doing when he was alive, his music was okay to be played, but since this documentary, suddenly it’s tainted? These allegations were around when he was alive too, you know.

People seem to be acting as though his songs are no good anymore. And anyone who listens to them are also somehow supporting his paedophilia.

And that makes me very confused.

He is not his songs. The two are mutually exclusive, in my opinion.

I listen to Bad and Beat it and appreciate the music. The music alone. Even if they were sung by someone else, they’re still great songs.

You can’t associate an art with a person to the point where you have emotional attachment with that person. If you believe that every famous person is good and pure, you’re living in a very naive world. Everyone has something hideous about them. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t super talented and can’t produce something that everyone loves.

Every singer/actor you like probably has something you would find horrifying about them. About their character. You just don’t know about it.

I don’t think there’s any point mixing the two up. He can be a terrible person and still make great music. It’s like that saying about giving the devil it’s due. And listening to his music isn’t something you should feel guilty about. They’re still bops. You’re not supporting his crimes or anything. You can still listen to his music and not approve of the things he did when he was alive.

Just appreciate the art for what it is.

A Moment Of Silence For Humanity
Recently saw this in the news. It’s from the state in India where I spent my elective. Basically, a pregnant woman was transfused blood for anaemia. She then tested positive for HIV. She was tested because the man who had donated his blood underwent an HIV test at a government hospital as part of a job application.

He had donated his blood twice in the last 2 years. He was HIV positive both times.

3 people at the blood bank in the government hospital are under suspicion for negligence. Because both times he had donated blood, no one had alerted him to the fact that he was positive for HIV. He would never have found out he had this disease without being tested himself. And the woman who was transfused his blood would never have found out she had received HIV positive blood unless the donor had approached the hospital to have himself tested for a completely different reason.

The pregnant woman was all over the news. Because she was pregnant and she was transfused HIV positive blood. She is currently undergoing counselling and antiretroviral therapy for her unborn child.

The donor, was not mentioned at all on the news anywhere.

Except for today.

When it was mentioned that he had committed suicide.

Things like this makes me lose faith in humanity.

The discussion about this that followed in my house was one about stigma. I was extremely shocked that the man had killed himself. My sister said that he would’ve had no other choice. He wouldn’t get that job he did the test for, he would be shunned and ridiculed the rest of his life because nobody knows how he acquired the disease.

This sickened me.

Stigma about health problems always make me really angry. It’s as though people think humans request the universe for a particular medical condition and enjoy having it and/or spreading it.

The pregnant woman in this case had someone to blame. She could blame the donor for giving her the disease. But how did the donor acquire HIV? Everyone would assume promiscuity. If this were the case, I’d think he would have found out he had the condition sooner. But the point is, he could have acquired it accidentally just like this. From a transfusion or some other blood  contact.

If anyone is to blame, it would be the blood bank that didn’t inform him he had the condition. He was being a good person, donating blood for those who need it, and he had never known he was donating contaminated blood. He had found out that on his own.

Did he deserve to die?

What bothered me was that my sister was right. People do attach a whole lot of stigma to certain medical conditions. And it is so unnecessary. Nobody wished to live with a medical condition. And nobody feels good about it. To shun things and people who have conditions like HIV or a mental illness or anything they don’t have control over, is in my opinion, a crime.

The man could have also received the same antiretroviral therapy the pregnant woman was receiving. But he didn’t have the chance to. He was a young man. Everyone probably blamed him for donating blood. His own family may have shunned him for having HIV. He had no choice but to end his life.

I think that’s a sad day for all of humanity. For all the progress we have in the world today, people still shun others for things they don’t have any control over. And this is far too high a price to pay.

Stigma like this makes people hide illnesses they have, makes them isolate themselves in society, it even makes them refrain from receiving the treatment they require. Fear of being labelled as a “patient” of a certain condition stops people from receiving life-saving interventions. Even improvement in quality of life is vital. And they miss out. Because everyone in society would look at them differently.

Pushing someone to the edge where they feel so lost and lonely for something they didn’t even do, is a crime committed by everyone involved.

The little things people judge others for makes me lose a lot of faith in the world. I hope one day all of this ends. And no more lives are lost to small minds.

A moment of silence for the man, and all of humanity.