Conrad Murray, that is. "Doctor" to the late Michael Jackson, and the man being publicly lynched for being the superstar entertainer's killer.
Murray went on trial today in Los Angeles, with the government intent in proving he mismanaged Jackson's medical care. Personally, I'm content in waiting for a jury to sift through the evidence in a court of law and render their verdict. At least, before we render ours.
But does Murray's trial being in Los Angeles give you much confidence that his jury's verdict will be the right one? Recall, if you will, another black man defending himself in the City of Angel's televised courts, who got off Scott-free because a shriveled-up glove didn't fit his football-player-sized hands.
Even if Murray is as guilty as many in the international media have already made him out to be, it's not hard to have at least a smidgen of sympathy, considering the circus through which he's being forced. From the evidence we've been told by the press, Murray never was a stellar physician and he'd made more than his fair share of financial and medical mistakes during his former career in Houston, Texas. But he's not on trial for any of that.
Apparently, he became as star-struck as many folks in Jackson's narcissistic entourage, and we'll see if his defense attorneys can quell the populist surge of anger over what has been described as a reckless abdication of his Hippocratic Oath in favor of currying favor with the King of Pop.
Let's face it: nobody would be interested in this trial if the patient Murray is accused of mistreating was Jackson's maid. And considering how much most people loathe Jackson's father, Joe, if it had been him who died on Murray's watch, the doctor would probably be lauded as a hero.
I'm not being disrespectful or crass. Just realistic. Los Angeles tends to chew up and spit out its celebrities with irreverent savagery. Whatever fits the public's perception is considered fact, even when the truth is something else entirely.
If Murray is indeed innocent, yet his lawyers can't pull a lot of rabbits out of their hats to wrench media sympathy in his favor, his will not be a life worth living among the fabled communities of southern California. It won't matter that Jackson's personal lifestyle had already eclipsed sanity and relevant responsibility. Should the guy who infamously dangled his infant son over a German balcony, for example, be considered sane enough to hire his own doctors in the first place?
Remember, Jackson bleached his own skin, even as he purported to serve as a role model for blacks. He'd flirted with bankruptcy caused by his uninhibited extravagance and inability to befriend trustworthy financial advisers. Sure, he'd been raised by his money-hungry parents and some of MoTown's kingmakers as a performance protege, with no control over the trajectory of his life until it was too late to change course. But in the end, we're all accountable for our own decisions.
The very reason Jackson's death - and the inevitable trial of his hapless doctor, Murray - are as newsworthy as a mention in my blog makes them, stems from the reality that too many people derive too much satisfaction from the way people like Jackson make them feel, and the revenge with which a guilty verdict for Murray may console them.
Granted, Jackson's fame can't be marginalized simply as trite sensationalism, since his bold artistic flair I wouldn't dare deny. He was indeed unique and probably the grandest entertainer the world will ever know. For whatever that's worth.
But doesn't becoming so consumed by his aura, his sudden death, and his doctor's trial serve to denigrate true injustices that permeate our world and affect many more people far less defenseless than both Jackson and Murray?
Earlier this week, for example, the Saudi Arabian government said they'd consider giving women in their strict kingdom the right to vote. Then today, they found a woman guilty of driving a car and sentenced her to ten lashes.
Get a life, people.
"No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself then make that change..."
- Man in the Mirror; written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett; performed by Michael Jackson