During the Holocaust, one of the many cruelties inflicted upon the unfortunate souls that found themselves within a Nazi Concentration Camp, was the possibility of being included in one of the often fatal medical experiments carried out by the regime’s doctors.
Unimaginable horrors were performed on captives in the name of science, producing archives of experiment after experiment that, through means of torture, furthered the Nazi's understanding of the human body's reactions to extreme conditions, gases, and experimental medicines.
As the war subsided, an ethical quandary emerged within the international medical fraternity as to whether it was unethical to utilise the data from these abhorrent experiments, even if that data could ultimately lead to a great benefit to humanity.
The issue is the subject of countless philosophical and medical academic papers that, with few exceptions, tend to lead to a similar conclusion. The evil from which this valuable data was derived from has no bearing upon its actual value. Furthermore, accepting the value of the data today has no bearing upon the evil that was perpetrated so many years before.
I haven’t watched the latest documentary that alleges the terrible crimes perpetrated by the late ‘King of Pop’. Not due to any intentional restraint but due entirely to apathy. I would not be surprised if he was indeed a pedophile, however the revelation would have virtually no bearing on my view of the World.
My opinion on Michael Jackson as a person is extremely limited and inconsequential to my life. He has however, indisputably, created a thing of value. His music.
Now as I find my newsfeed awash with moralistic declarations that to even listen to his music is somehow an endorsement of the value of the man who created it, I am obliged to point out some simple realities about humanity.
If you are unable to distinguish the value of a thing from the creator of that thing then I trust you will refuse to gaze upon the infinite number of monuments built by emperors with the blood of slaves. I hope you refrain from ever drinking a drop of Fanta once you’re aware that it was concocted by Nazis. I expect that you do nothing less than refuse the convenience of electricity once you learned of the many evils carried out by Thomas Jefferson to pursue its harnessing.
Michael Jackson may indeed be a bad person, or at the very least a person who committed acts of evil. The conversation to determine this is of great importance to the alleged victims and those with a personal interest in defending his legacy. However it is entirely irrelevant to whether the things he created are to be perceived as valuable.
His biography may yet be amended to include an asterisk or two, however the chords of his songs, the base lines, and the beat remain unchanged. To demand we hear them differently because of the actions of their creator is not only unreasonable, but redundant in its goals. We glorify his music, very few of us have glorified the man.
So just as the medical fraternity concluded that the value of the Nazi’s experimental data existed independently from the evil men that created it, we as music lovers should be free to value the creations of Michael Jackson with only a passing thought to the moral integrity of the man who created it.
To value only the creations of men and women whose character was, and remains, unimpeachable induces an impractical, or willfully ignorant, existence.