Michael Jackson. The name used to be synonymous with great music. Throw on an old Jackson Five record or the "Off the Wall" album and you'll know what I mean.
But 10 years ago, Jackson became notorious for more than his music. After his domination of pop music in the 1980s, Jackson's career took a nosedive after charges of child molestation surfaced in 1993. Jackson managed to silence the accuser with a multi-million dollar settlement, but his reputation was permanently damaged.
Last week, Jackson was arrested after a 12-year-old boy came forward with similar accusations. The district attorney of Santa Barbara County has said Jackson will be charged with multiple counts of child molestation. Each count would carry with it a three- to eight-year prison sentence.
Jackson's attorney is Mark Geragos, who is also representing Scott Peterson in the high-profile Laci Peterson murder case.
In today's era of 24-hour news networks and Court TV, Jackson's case is sure to be a media bonanza. So I hope America is looking forward to being blasted with images of Jackson's bizarre mug, which oddly resembles a warped Minnie Mouse. Jackson is starting to look like an extra from the set of his "Thriller" video. The media has already plastered Jackson's police photo all over the news.
Jackson's brother Jermaine was on CNN denouncing the accusations as "nothing but a modern-day lynching." Jackson has tried to play the race card before when his most recent album did not live up to expectations, crying racism at his record label.
Of course I don't think very many people bought into the racism charges then, and somehow I doubt anyone will now. Nice try, Tito? I mean Jermaine. Jackson's skin is so freakishly white that if it gets any lighter he'll be transparent.
I'm sure America is in store for even more bizarre accusations and commentary from the Jackson family as the case unfolds.
I'm guessing that the only way I will avoid being accosted by creepy images of Michael Jackson and his family is to shut off my TV for a few months. I've been meaning to get some reading done anyway.
One ray of sunshine in the upcoming media frenzy is that Jackson has not yet sought the help of his former publicity-hungry attorney, Johnnie Cochran, who defended Jackson when he was first accused of child molestation.
It's a shame that with Cochran on his side and millions of dollars at his disposal, Jackson was able to silence his last accuser. I hope that this time the boy's family will not drop their case for any amount of money. If Jackson is guilty of what he's been accused of, then he's the worst kind of criminal and he doesn't deserve to be treated as anything else.
Billy Corriher covers government and politics for the News Daily. He can be reached at (770)479-5753 Ext. 281 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.