Whether one likes or dislikes Michael Jackson’s music, he was incredibly talented. I’m certainly not his greatest fan, but I was amazed with his Thriller video and his moonwalk as were millions of others. No matter which story you read about Mr. Jackson’s death, they will all talk about his strange and controversial off-camera lifestyle.
The first lesson we can learn is to separate a person’s accomplishments from his or her lifestyle. Michael Jackson is not the first person of accomplishment to have his non-performing life cloud his accomplishments. The greatest opera composer, Richard Wagner was a virulent anti-Semitic. As a Jew and one that respects all religious beliefs, his anti-Semitic views disgust me. However, there is no doubt that he was the greatest opera composer.
The sports world is full of these examples. Pete Rose is forever tarnished because of his gambling. However, as for his baseball accomplishments, he should be in the hall of fame. One’s accomplishments and one’s non-professional behavior are two separate categories and should be judged separately.
The second lesson to learn is that when you are in the public eye, you have an extra burden of responsibility. Many say they do not wish to be a role model. That is fine and understandable. Unfortunately, when you achieve fame, you have no choice. Your behavior will be judged and whether you want it to or not; you are judged as a role model. It comes with the “uniform.” People of certain professions are held to higher standards. Police officers, teachers, religious leaders, and celebrities. If you choose a profession in the spotlight, understand the responsibilities that our society places on that profession.