The XX Factor

Follow the Second Star to the Left and Straight on ‘Til Morning

Now that Michael Jackson has gotten what always seemed to be his wish for eternal youth, I expect participants in his secretive life will emerge for a last reminder of the extremely gifted pop star’s lifetime of sad dysfunction. The Jackson Family will surely have a stake in resolving who will attain custody of Jackson’s offspring. Any dispute will no doubt also involve Debby Rowe , the dermatologist’s nurse who bore Jackson his oldest two, 11-year-old son Prince and 10-year-old daughter Paris. Rowe seems to have upheld her end of their strange bargain, but their businesslike marriage ended in businesslike divorce . (He found a less personally taxing way to reproduce by using a surrogate to create his third child, also named Prince II, but nicknamed Blanket).

Speaking of mothers, I doubt we’ll hear again from the housekeeper at Jackson’s amusement park ranch, whose son testified he was molested by her financially generous employer, nor from many other characterless characters characterized in Maureen Orth’s vivid Vanity Fair reporting of Jackson’s icky legal saga. The cataloging and carving up of his convoluted estate, however, will surely be a subject of much scrutiny. What about the Beatles music? Who will get the collection of unpaired gloves? I just read the new owners are already refurbishing Jackson’s former playground ranch .

I went to a Jackson Five show in Las Vegas in the early 1970s. I remember a number that featured tiny family member Janet, then about 6 years old, singing and dancing in a pink boa with her youngest big brother, the adorable teenage Michael. He’s gone from this world, but I hope that boy who performed with his baby sister has found his way to the original Neverland , where nobody has to grow up.