The Day Michael Jackson Told Me He Could Save Hitler

How the messiah complexes of modern celebrities divorce them from having to face reality.

BY: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach


Michael Jackson's comparison of himself to Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the videotaped testimony that recently aired at his trial will strike some people as yet another example of a bizarre man's stunning flight from reality. But it would be unjust to single out Michael as a warped celebrity with delusions of grandeur when in reality such far-fetched self-appraisal is thoroughly in keeping with how American celebrities see themselves.

That American celebrities see themselves as gods and messiahs explains why they can behave so crassly and experience no shame. This belief that he is different-more elevated, more sensitive-than ordinary folk, and thus not subject to rules of right and wrong led to the destruction of the life and career of Michael Jackson, a man who once had considerable good in him. If you thought he was having too much plastic surgery, well, as a mere earthling you could never understand the image needs of a superstar. And if you thought that sharing a bed with a child, however platonic, was disgusting, well, that too is because seeing it from your mortal vantage point could never enlighten you as to how the self-proclaimed `voice for the voiceless' sees it.

I shall never forget how, when I was close to Michael and still believed that his celebrity could be used for positive ends, we sat down to produce, for the purpose of publication, hours of conversations about what he saw in children. The conversations were fascinating-Michael is much smarter and more insightful than people would otherwise believe.

On one occasion, the conversation turned to evil historical figures who had had abusive parenting, which helped to explain why they had grown up to be monsters. Michael said that there is good in everyone, and that he believed he could reach it, as the following transcript shows:

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