This week's eye-opening Oprah episode with Michael Jackson's family brought some surprising positives (the kids) along with some not-so-surprising negatives (looking at you, Joe).
Prince and Paris seemed like the most normal kids to come out of the Jackson family, in spite of their weird history of disguises and having Michael Jackson as a father. By all accounts Michael was a very loving -- perhaps a tad too permissive in some ways, smothering in others -- father who was also a darn good cook. Poor Blanket seems painfully shy, but what would one expect from the youngest Jackson child named Blanket and most famous for being dangled out a window?
All of this is to say: Michael Jackson is a better father than his own dad.
We already suspected Joe Jackson wasn't father of the year, especially when Michael Jackson told Oprah in an interview that he was afraid of him. But now we have proof.
Katherine Jackson, Michael's mother, confirmed that Joe beat the kids with a strap. Joe tried to avoid the conversation, but finally admitted it with the caveat that none of his kids have wound up in jail.
Well, first of all, Michael did almost end up in jail. But second of all -- if your only goal in child-rearing is to keep the kids out of prison, your bar might be a little too low.
Some might point to the unbelievable musical accomplishments of not just Michael, but his siblings. The Jackson family truly made a mark on American entertainment like no other musical group. Janet is an unbelievable performer as well. Their talent combined with Joe's severe form of discipline probably did keep them working so hard that they became the most famous musical group in the world, and Michael, the biggest superstar of his time.
But at what cost? One look at Michael's mangled face, drug problem, and legal troubles should tell you he was not okay. An abused child faces a host of problems, more than just staying out of jail. I'm sure Tito and the rest of the gang would agree.
And using a strap on children is abuse. There's no prettying that up. Can you create a superstar by beating them into submission? Sure. But don't be surprised when that superstar crashes and burns in a spectacular fashion because of what you did to him.
Would you beat your child with a strap in the name of discipline?
Image via Oprah