The Once and Future King
August 21, 2002
Understand this: I am an unapologetic Michael Jackson apologist. I was that guy, the one still holding on to hope.
Michael Jackson has had a third child, apparently, of unknown maternity. The child's name is apparently Prince Michael Jackson II. Let me review.
Michael and Prince I
A few years ago, after Michael Jackson divorced (recent Nicholas Cage bride and daughter of Elvis) Lisa Marie Presley, he had a son and then married the boy's mother, Debbie Rowe. Rowe was a nurse at Michael's dermatologist and/or plastic surgeon's office, depending on which source you quote. This child's name is Prince Michael Jackson Jr.
There are several issues here. First, the name Prince is pretty much taken in the realm of eccentric androgynous pop stars of nebulous ethnicity. But we'll forgive that, because Prince wasn't using the name at the time, and because Michael's grandfather's name is Prince and black families with a rich history do things like naming a boy after his grandfather.
The second issue? The boy's name is Prince Michael Jackson Junior. You can't name a boy "Junior" if he doesn't have the same name as his father! I know people who insist that even the middle name has to be the same, and here Michael's trying to get by with a different first name. Bogus.
But little Prince Michael Jackson Jr.'s problems don't end there. He soon had a younger sister, apparently named Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. At the time, I had remembered hearing that her middle name was Katherine because that's Michael's mother's name, but I hadn't remembered there being a "Michael" in the daughter's name, too. Since then, it's appeared in several places, so even if it wasn't there initially, it's part of her name now. There was a secondary story assigning the Katherine dual etymology, to both Michael's mother and his friend Katherine Hepburn. The "Paris" part of the name, of course, was a tribute to the little girl's place of conception.
We will pause here so you can giggle and wince at the commingled concepts of Michael Jackson and conception, and then you may sigh appreciatively as I ask in my inimitable wry rhetorical questioning style, "Well, then, shouldn't her brother's name be Test Tube?"
But all was not well in Neverland. Little Prince Michael Jackson, Jr. and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson's worlds were about to be torn asunder as Michael Jackson's second marriage fell apart and he divorced Debbie Rowe.
Let's fast forward a few years in the interest of our collective sanity.
The kids have grown up under their father's watchful eye. Michael continues to be completely fucking insane ill flipped crazy out of his gourd lost his shit incomprehensible what the fuck got in that boy do you even remember back when he used to be cute and talented and oh my god. Prince appears in a short, insufferable segue on an execrable song on the almost entirely worthless most recent Michael Jackson release, the so-inaccurately-titled-it's-not-even-ironic Invincible. Michael fails to see the parallels between his enlisting of his 5-year-old son for vocal duties on his album and his own forced fronting of the Jackson 5 beginning at, yes, five years old.
Did I mention I was a Michael Jackson fan through all of this? I keep track of it, and know it all from memory, because I still like the guy.
There is some precedent for using roman numerals to mitigate public relations disasters
But then, see, there's this problem. Michael Jackson now apparently has a third child. In a startling inversion of typical rock star behavior, Michael is copping to being the child's biological father while refusing to reveal his son's mother's identity. That's not the wacky part, though. It's this: The six month old boy's name is reportedly Prince Michael II. Assuming standard form, the numerical suffix would be appended to the end of the entire legal name, yielding Prince Michael Jackson II.
It bears mentioning that, after the failure of New Coke in the mid-1980s, Coca Cola renamed New Coke to Coke II after the reintroduction of what has since been called Coca Cola Classic. So there is at least some sort of precedent for using roman numerals as tools for attempting to mitigate the effect of public relations disasters.
It is clear that we have finally reached the point where there's not even the ability to make up a coherent-but-transparently-false cover story, let alone a tale with the sheen of plausibility. Is this new child a clone? Was he built in a factory? Were the names that Michael rejected Child 3.0 and Michael 2002? There's nowhere left to go. It's a situation that defies comprehension, although the basic facts can be summarized:
Michael Jackson has three children, and their names are Prince Michael Jackson, Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, and Prince Michael Jackson II.