One of my beefs with the internet age is the lack of a universal cultural touchstone. People today exist on virtual islands in a way that wasn't possible thirty (!) years ago. So, I've decided that a cultural phenomenon is a generally good thing, and that's what my generation witnessed with Michael Jackson. For your average thirty something, the death of Michael Jackson really hits home. He's our John Lennon, or Elvis, the famous guy that dies and takes a part of your childhood with him.
I was just getting into holding hands when Michael Jackson exploded with "Thriller," and, like billions of other people, I learned to Moonwalk. "Billie Jean" was the song to grab your girl for an intense, amateur hour style couples dance. I had clothing with too many zippers, watched too much MTV, and I understood that Michael's lone glove made him appear "enigmatic." Jackson's music still gets played in clubs. Pop music and the way we think about it changed because of this guy, no matter how "out there" he became.
I have to admit it, I secretly longed for the day when Michael would renounce his strange activities and record the best album any of us will ever hear in our lifetimes. Alas, it was not meant to be. It is small consolation that we are now permitted to openly appreciate and show our affection for the man who entertained two generations of the entire world.
August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009