By Roy Kasten
By Kris Wernowsky
By Chaz Kangas
By Joseph Hess
By Julie Seabaugh
By Mike Appelstein
By Rachel Brodsky
By Kelsey McClure
The portion of the interview that has everyone buzzing, though, shows Jackson holding hands with Gavin, a twelve-year-old cancer survivor who's slept in Jackson's bed. Gavin says, "and I was, like, 'Michael, you can sleep in the bed,' and he was, like, 'No, no, you sleep in the bed,' and I was, like, 'No, no, no, you sleep on the bed,' and then he said, 'Look, if you love me, you'll sleep in the bed.' I was, like, 'Oh, mannnn.' So I finally slept on the bed."
It's hard to imagine that anyone who's thought about the charges brought against Jackson in 1993 (which were dropped after Jackson paid the plaintiff a reported $25 million) didn't shudder with disgust at that moment. Jackson claims that he slept on the floor but did admit that he's "slept in a bed with many children," including Macaulay and Kieran Culkin.
In a later interview, he defends his earlier remarks by telling Bashir, "When you say 'bed,' you're thinking sexual. They make that sexual; it's not sexual. We're going to sleep, I tuck them in and I put a little like, er, music on, and when it's storytime, I read a book. We go to sleep with the fireplace on. I give them hot milk, you know, we have cookies. It's very charming, it's very sweet; it's what the whole world should do."
It's hard to know what exactly Jackson hoped to achieve with this interview. If all he wanted was a spike in record sales, he may have gotten it. In London, at least, it was reported that sales of Jackson's old albums increased by as much as 1,000 percent.
But in the long run, Jackson may be forced to face the truth: He was betrayed not by Bashir but by his own willingness to show himself in full freak mode. It's his life and opinions that are out of step with the rest of the world -- even a world such as ours that accords celebrities so many privileges. Jackson may ultimately wish that he had stayed as silent as the Sphinx, another famous figure whose secrets may be better left untold -- and whose nose, not incidentally, slowly but surely disappeared.