Now that 14-year-old Paris Jackson has selected Twitter as her weapon of choice to launch offensive attacks on her aunts and uncles — and they’ve responded in kind via public statements — we are now privy to one of their most salacious disputes. Millions can click the tween’s public account to find out whether or not she’s heard from her grandmother, who in the family is on Team Paris, and the contention she feels about how she’s being treated.
But is this something millions need to know?
Paris, in all her adolescent angst and righteous indignation, would likely say yes. From her end, her grandmother’s clandestine whereabouts, the family’s concealment of that information, and an alleged physical altercation are grounds for taking it to the streets. When a famous father’s death is shrouded in mystery and you haven’t seen your guardian in nine days, maybe it’s time to put your shady family on blast.
What about under less sensational circumstances, though? In cases where no lives are in danger and no one’s gone missing, is it ever OK to take to the Internet to air a private family dispute?
I’m part of an online Facebook group created by members of my maternal extended family. It’s a peaceful little closed forum, used mostly to update one another on various milestones in each others’ lives. We wish each other happy birthday and cheer our children’s graduations. But no member of the group has typed a rant to another member or an open letter stating a grievance with all of us — or worse, taken the situation to a family member’s public wall or open Twitter account, where not just relatives could read the heated exchange, but anyone with Internet access. This doesn’t mean we don’t have disagreements, maybe even big ones. We just believe in that old adage “Don’t air out the dirty laundry.” It’s best to deal with something like that via phone or face to face (and not with a on-looking crowd with next to no stake in the matter), right? Granted, we’re not celebrities, but even celebrities can keep a family quarrel quiet by refusing to issue statements about it.
Everyone’s different and the Jackson’s are more different from most. But if police had already been called, missing persons reports filed, assaults investigated, and the whereabouts of Katherine Jackson established, it may not be the best idea to feed the media machine that leaked all this to the public, especially not by vowing to make folks pay for their involvement in this sordid ordeal.
Sometimes, the quieter the dispute is kept, the quicker it’s resolved. Then again, sometimes, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. And in Paris Jackson’s case, if squeaking will get her grandmother’s comfort, love, and protection back, maybe it’s best to squeak on.
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a very public family dispute? Were sides taken and lines drawn? How was it resolved?