Father of the Century

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

Joseph Jackson, you are officially out of the running.

If you subscribe to the logic that parents are responsible for how their kids turn out-- or at least largely responsible-- take a look at Michael Jackson's father, Joe.

Joe is 79 years old.  Joe tried to manage the careers of 8 of his children and all 8 left his management for others and some didn't speak to him again for years.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact he forced them all to call him Joseph and he regularly beat them, verbally abused them and forced them to endure endless rehearsals. 

Two of my favorite parenting techniques I learned from Joe:
1. A recounted beating of Michael by holding him upside down by one leg and beating him with his hand on his legs and back.  He also favored the occasional shove of his boys into walls.
2. One night while Michael was asleep, Joseph climbed into his room through the bedroom window. Wearing a fright mask, he entered the room screaming and shouting. Joseph said he wanted to teach his children not to leave the window open when they went to sleep. For years afterward, Michael suffered nightmares about being kidnapped from his bedroom.

Read #2 again.

After seeing this, I am no longer shocked about learning Michael went to sleep every night watching Donald Duck and listening to classical music.

This is a father who's actions made his kids (Michael) throw up when they saw him.  This is a father who went to an awards show two days after his son died and sounded cheerful, then mournful, then had a family spokesman read a statement, then talked about his new hip-hop recording project.  The same hip-hop recording project he talked about at a press conference alongside Jesse Jackson two days later BEFORE praising Michael's life and work.

Joe Jackson.  His unique parenting style that you might call a mix of John Kreese, Charles Manson and tough love, is probably the reason Michael had some unusual tendencies.  Michael has said it was his dad's ridiculing of his nose that made him change it through plastic surgery over and over.  And there's his odd love of children, former companion Bubbles the Chimp, obsession with plastic surgery and changing his face and skin color, and almost total secession from reality. 

Michael had issues. 

Way to go, Joe.  A dad every other father until the end of time should look at and examine to learn what NOT to do.

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