Michael Jackson must be smiling down upon his beloved Neverland Ranch as the new owners take steps to turn the 2,800-acre estate into a school for musically inclined kids, and name it after the King of Pop himself. The corporation that has owned the ranch for some time announced its idea for a Julliard-esque school where kids can study drama, music, and dance, but they still have some logistical hurdles to conquer. Turning an estate into an institution involves a whole lot of challenges and the County of Santa Barbara, for one, must also give its approval to the renovation project.
I would say there are some PR challenges, as well.
Of course, Jackson hadn't lived in the fantasy land he created for himself, and for children, since 2003 after he went to trial for child molestation. But still, talk about a taint hanging over a school before it even accepts its first application. Enough of a taint that would make me think twice before sending my child to the Michael Jackson School of Performing Arts.
Sending my kids to the estate that Jackson filled with elephants, giraffes, and carnival rides feels a little creepy, especially if you've seen the interviews with Martin Bashir. While at the same time a school for teens pursuing musical education seems completely appropriate if you look at the venture as a tribute to the man's talent, rather than the scandal that followed him in the two decades before his death.
Personally, I'd much rather separate the Michael Jackson we know as a superstar from the beleaguered weirdo who was constantly under scrutiny for his odd (some say criminal) behavior around children. Why not build a shrine to the gloved one? It would rival Graceland in strangeness and tourist dollars and probably make the current owners more money than they could imagine. This way the true believers will have a place to go to pay tribute to their hero. Imagine the lines on MJ's birthday!
Usually I'm not one to say a school shouldn't be opened, but this time I'd prefer to pay money for a ticket to gawk, rather than endorse a man's behavior around children by sending my own child to a school with his name.
Would you send your kids to a Michael Jackson's School of Performing Arts?
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