Modern Ethical Dilemmas – Part 1

Something that I’ve been pondering today: will it be acceptable to listen to any of Michael Jackson’s music should he be found guilty? I suspect not. It’s a real shame because, let’s face it, there’s a bucket load of quality party tunes on Off The Wall and Thriller. Even Bad isn’t that, erm, bad. It was never acceptable to listen to anything subsequent to that anyway (Earth Song, anyone? Nope, me neither), so there’s no real issue there. But it’s certainly an ethical dilemma. Could you still enjoy listening to Beat It given that he liked to masturbate 13 year old boys?

Is there any other precedent for this? Gary Glitter’s “music” hasn’t been much in demand the last few years, nor Jonathan King’s, but they weren’t particularly enjoyed by anyone anyway. With MJ we’re talking one of the biggest stars to ever live and breathe; one whose musical output is stitched deep into the fabric of Western pop culture. Potentially this could all just disappear. Will radio stations want to play the music of (not to mention pay the royalties to) a convicted paedophile? Will record shops be keen to make profits selling his CDs? Will his own record company continue to produce the albums? It could be an unusual situation where the biggest star of the last thirty years will just be written out of history. It’s a strange one alright.


Centrist. Atlanticist. Dry liberal. Anti-totalitarian. Post-ideological pragmatist. Child of The Enlightenment. Toucan.

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3 comments on “Modern Ethical Dilemmas – Part 1
  1. Splee says:

    It’s a tough call. While, if convicted, he won’t be a popular person his music isn’t directly derived from his sexual tastes. His music is almost seperate from him and what he does with his life. His musical achievements can’t just be scratched from history.

    It’s like saying “Hey, Neil Armstrong didn’t land on the moon anymore people, he didn’t pay his taxes last year”. Ok, that’s not the best analogy I’ve ever come up with but you see where I’m headed.

  2. Anonymous says:


    However didnt Gary Glitter do ‘Rock and Roll volume II?’ Or whatever that song is? Its still being played in every sports stadium in America….

  3. Citizen Sane says:

    Splee – I see what you’re saying. But should we be comfortable enjoying the music of a child abuser?

    Anon – Interesting that GG’s music is still played in sports arenas. He’s probably too busy scouting for children in Cambodia to care though. Vile.

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Citizen Sane
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