Monday, June 29, 2009

Perspective on a Pop Star

Another celebrity has died and is now being lionized for his talents. For several days it seems that all news has stopped. Nevermind that a revolution may be brewing in the streets of Iran, nevermind that a military coup has apparently occurred in Honduras, Michael Jackson has died. The gloved one, the self proclaimed "King of Pop," the man who turned his home, Neverland, into a carnival ground.

What is being glossed over are the multiple charges of molestation and pedophilia. The first case was settled out of court for a reported $20 million dollars and the second ended in acquittal. However, to those familiar with the case, clear doubts remain as to his innocence. Professionals who work with victims of abuse will note that Jackson clearly displayed a number of behaviors that point to a "grooming" of the victims. Such behaviors include: gifts for the victims, becoming friends with their families, assisting the victims and their families, etc. With wealth and celebrity it was easy to bring people into his reach.

The costs of being a celebrity include the loss of privacy and the inability to know if people want to be near you just for fame or wealth. Jackson, having been famous since age 10, never knew a normal existence. Constantly hounded by the media, he became stranger and stranger in the public eye. Demonstrating a racial ambivalence and an addiction to plastic surgery, he slowly became a running joke in the media. Despite all of this, he inspired a devotion in his fans that was unparalleled. No matter how strange, or how many accusations against him, fans flocked to be near him. Some seemed to use Jackson's interests in children as a means to contact him.

It is the parents of those children who were left to spend the night, to have sleep-overs with Jackson, who are the offenders who most need examining. For the reflected glory of being near a celebrity, parents left their child in the care of an accused pedophile. Whether he was guilty or not, what parent would leave their child in the care of an individual who had previously been accused of this crime?

I remember seeing an interview with Jackson years ago in the midst of the allegations where he attempted to deflect the charges by stating how innocent the sleep-overs were, how he had "little McCauley Caulkin here and .... (some other child whose name I can not recall) on the other side." Jackson continued in the interview to discuss his love of children. As the interview progressed I remember thinking that he seemed to be convicting himself with every sentence. At one point Jackson proclaimed that it was "all very innocent." At the time he was around 35 years of age. The idea that a 35-year-old man is innocently sleeping with 9-year-old boys strains credulity.

After the first allegations against him one would think that a reasonably prudent person would try to avoid any further actions that might even allow people to make such charges. Instead, he continued to invite young children to his bed (as if it were a compulsion) and to act as if no one could possibly see anything wrong with his behavior.

Pretending that Jackson was a great hero overlooks the legacy he may have left. According to estimates, the average pedophile may have 150-300 victims in their lifetime. That's without the fame and the amusement park.

Ray Bawarchi has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs

  • 11 workers killed in initial blast
  • Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
  • 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
  • Gulf Fisheries Industry
  • Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
  • Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)

Worst Oil Spills

  • Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
  • Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
  • Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
  • Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
  • Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
  • Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
  • South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
  • France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
  • Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
  • Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
  • Source: Mother Nature Network. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.

Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)

  • 1957 Windscale, UK
  • 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
  • 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
  • 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
  • 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
  • 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
  • 1989 Griefwald, Germany
  • 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
  • 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
  • 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
  • Source: Benjamin Sovacool

Mining Disasters (Under Construction)

  • China 1942 - 1549 deaths
  • France 1906 - 1100 deaths
  • Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
  • Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
  • South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
  • Source: Epic Disasters Website
  • Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.

OIL IS OVER! - Resources

  • Hibbert's Peak - "The" source that explains why Oil is Over.
  • Tragedy of the Commons -Garrett Hardin
  • The Land Ethic - Aldo Leopold
  • Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight - Thom Hartmann
  • Eco-Defense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching


  • The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
  • The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
  • Demian - Herman Hesse
  • Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
  • The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
  • Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  • Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
  • The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
  • The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
  • Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
  • The Quiet American - Graham Greene
  • Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
  • We - Yevgeny Zamyatin


  • John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
  • Patti Smith
  • The Clash - the only band that matters
  • Billy Bragg
  • Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
  • Art Blakey
  • Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
  • PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Michael Franti (Spearhead)
  • Public Enemy
  • Ray Charles - the Genius
  • Bob Dylan
  • Velvet Underground
  • Flaming Lips
  • John Doe & X
  • The Beatles

opiate of the masses

  • God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
  • I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
  • The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
  • If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
  • No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
  • When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
  • If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
  • Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
  • God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer