The problem I have with the heavy handedness of Bashir's, ahem, journalism (and yes Mr. Moore-ibid you too)is that it just isn't any good. Which would be alright if Martin didn't have this almost pedagogical desire to come off as a concerned Smarty McSmarty. It doesn't take an intellectual heavyweight to see that Michael Jackson obviously has deep, deep trauma that's surfacing in a variety of disorders. A psych student would label him body-dysmorphic with their eyes closed. So why does Bashir keep beating the same questions to death? Does he expect Jackson to break down and admit that he's had 20 zillion operations? That he spends money in a vacant equilibrium? That he is constantly surrounded and protected by people that share similar delusions, and gosh darn it, that his problems might also manifest as sexual deviancy? Yes thank you, move on: There's enough pop-psychology out there for reference material and you're not really helping-just airing Jackson's subconscious demons. But that's exactly what Bashir doesn't do; instead he panders, and condescends in an annoying I-can-see-what-you-don't-Mr-Jacko-the-wacko way. That's not journalism, it's reporting. What would have been far more interesting is if Bashir didn't treat Jacko as some sort of man-child, a weird oddity to be probed and prodded, but used the interview time to understand the depths of one man's isolation and distortion of reality. Parents can leave their children for sleep overs in 'neverland'; doesn't that speak volumes about our current society, celeb status not withstanding. What about Michael's family? The father angle has pretty much been done to death, but the sibling moments haven't. Surely that would have satisfied Bashir's rabid tabloid fantasies while simultaneously exposing the underlying psycho-drama that must exist in the Jackson household. Instead we get Michael through the celebrity lens-bright and devoid of grit.
I'm not asking Bashir to throw away his vapid, objective reporting to create a far more emotionally challenging (and personal) work-it's not his style. But the least he could do is allow for a far broader commentary on the subject matter (and I'm not talking about shots of ogling fans). As of now 'Living with Michael...' is caught in some sort of limbo between paparazzi snapshot and good old fashioned nuts and bolts journalism. Is it too much to ask that Bashir make up his mind?
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