Flutterby™! : Before and After

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Before and After

2019-05-14 05:39:17.670064+00 by Dan Lyke 0 comments

I mentioned before that I was so far out of the popular culture that, in high school, when sheet music for "Billie Jean" or some such was handed out in marching band, I asked "who the hell is Michael Jackson?"

Eric took me to task for that, pointing out that Michael Jackson's place in cultural history as someone who effectively bridged the racial divide as a black artist finding acceptance in white culture as essentially white culture, was an amazing achievement. My beliefs on race have evolved quite a bit since then, but I still find myself torn between, for instance, seeing that "The Wiz" was an amazing cultural touchstone, and fundamentally a bad movie.

But as I try to embrace more popular culture, both of now and of my peers, which means my high school years, I have a couple of Michael Jackson tunes that I use in square dancing. And I've kinda been wondering whether I can ever use them again.

Ann Powers on NPR: Before And After — What it's like listening to Michael Jackson now

This is the impetus behind the idea of canceling Michael Jackson, which has been raised and endlessly debated in the past two months. To cancel, according to the social media forces where the term originated, means to make an individual decision to eradicate a cultural presence — a pop star, for example — from one's consciousness. ...

I was kinda reading through, pondering my own slightly negative feelings against his work, but realizing that his music can move a floor, and read:

Jackson's contribution to the public conversation about sex in the 1980s and 1990s was grounded in the very fixation on perversion and paranoia that now seems so perverse. The darkness of individuals that runs through popular art only resonates because it reflects impulses — maybe not the same ones, but connected ones — in its audience.

And maybe this is it. Rather than exploring the taboo in the way that Madonna did, rather than exposing the desires, in lyrics like "Annie are you okay?" Jackson was creating a voyeuristic spectacle that conflated... I dunno... domestic violence with CPR training. Or something.

At any rate, I think I'm not gonna miss those few songs from my catalog, even if Thriller does make a decent Halloween patter. I'm okay with canceling Michael Jackson. And I haven't even seen Finding Neverland.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Interactive Drama Music Erotic Sexual Culture Movies History Space & Astronomy Sociology Journalism and Media Work, productivity and environment Art & Culture California Culture Pop Culture Race Archival Aviation - Helicopters ]

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