Maralyn Lois Polak is a Philadelphia-based journalist, screenwriter, essayist, novelist, editor, spoken-word artist, performance poet and occasional radio personality. With architect Benjamin Nia, she has just completed a short documentary film about the threatened demolition of a historic neighborhood, "MY HOMETOWN: Preservation or Development?" on DVD. She is the author of several books including the collection of literary profiles, "The Writer as Celebrity: Intimate Interviews," and her latest volume ofMore ↓Less ↑
Filled to the gills with media spew-and-bilge about Michael Jackson’s trial yet? The worst moment for me so far in this humiliating, degrading, and therefore utterly riveting-to-the-masses chapter of American history was when someone mentioned if a tardy MJ didn’t show up for court in 10 minutes on the day his accuser was to speak, the judge would issue an arrest warrant.
Jail, even overnight, would be MJ’s ruination. Accused pederasts, let alone convicted ones, don’t always last long behind bars, as Miguel Pinero’s gripping melodrama, “Short Eyes,” attests.
Naturally, I was certain MJ had taken his own life, a thought rather than a wish, later temporarily obviated by a shaky Mr. Moonwalk himself showing up for court in his jammies, having created a faux diversion by claiming hospitalization for a bad back.
Then “reports” began surfacing he was suicidal. See, I told you! His money and luck were running out? He couldn’t pay his staff? They were beginning to walk away? Soon they’d doubtlessly sign multi-million-dollar tell-all mega-book deals while I’m still begging my literary agent to call me back.
Life certainly is unfair, isn’t it.
Meanwhile, someone offers a million dollars to Terri Schiavo’s self-styled “husband” – the selfish, heartless opportunist who wants to pull her plug so he can collect her estate and marry his paramour with whom he has two children – to let the poor woman live. Her desperate parents had been seeking a divorce for their daughter.
Until now I’ve refrained from commenting on the Terri Schindler Schiavo case. To me, it’s open and shut: Don’t be cruel. Take her away from that sham husband of hers. Give her back to her parents – literally, her own flesh and blood – who love her unconditionally. Surely they’ll be conscientious caretakers. Let her live, until she dies naturally. Being forcibly disconnected from a feeding tube by court decree is neither civilized nor humane. No one deserves “death by inches.”
More Florida “justice”?
Euthanasia – either by omission or commission – makes me uncomfortable. No matter how you prettify it, it’s murder, and therefore reprehensible. At the risk of being labeled a Dirty Fundamentalist Traitor to the Progressive Cause, I still don’t believe humans should usurp the Deity’s prerogatives. And please, let’s not get into the A-word here, except to say the S-word, shaddup, and the C-word, condoms.
Terri Schiavo’s nightmarish plight could be a lesson to all of us: Get a living will NOW! Otherwise, you may someday be at the mercy of some adulterous SOB who calls himself your husband while betraying you, shacking up with another chick, fathering a passel of illegitimate brats and waiting to pull the plug on you so he can collect your insurance and become a millionaire.
What’s especially awful about this scenario is once upon a time, Terri loved and trusted this worm.
But not so fast. Perhaps, as an upstate New York nurse/counselor suggests, there’s no quality of life being attached to a feeding tube. It’s not for me to say. If human beings revert to a more primitive consciousness, does that make them unworthy of life?
In the sporting spirit of that fount of biblical wisdom, King Solomon, I have a better idea. King Solomon (970-928 B.C.), you may recall, ruled the realm of ancient Israel, built the holy Temple in Jerusalem, has 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs to his credit, and was famed far and wide for his cleverness as a judge.
So, down to the proverbial brass tacks of my Solomonesque solution: Trade Michael Jackson for Terri Schiavo. Set her free; return her to her parents’ care. Dispatch him to Florida, that bastion of Bush-dom. Hold him under hospital arrest in Terri Schiavo’s former place of incarceration-and-feeding-tube-torture. Let him sell his stash of Beatles’ songs to fund endowing a new wing in his own name.
Place Michael Jackson behind glass there, in a combination hyperbaric chamber-nursery, all to himself. Get him a life-sized teddy bear. Let him sleep with that instead of live children. He’ll get used to it. We all do.
While we’re at it, why not give him some serious Swiss sleep-cure? Put him under for the next 20 years – he’ll age naturally, without further drastic surgical intervention. During his long, long nap, the hospital can make millions of bucks for the needy uninsured by having his wing as a tourist attraction: Watch MJ take slow shallow, sonorous breaths behind glass. Turnabout as fair play and all that. Your show of shows.