Thursday, June 25, 2009

By the way...

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is one lucky guy. The next few news cycles could have been all about him, and now they will be about Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson instead. Hopefully after the flurry settles, the good people of South Carolina will not forget that their governor up and left them for five days without a word, possibly using some state money for his jet-setting get-away.

Who's bad?

I never owned a Michael Jackson album, but many of my youthful memories include his music. I remember watching the video for "The Way You Make Me Feel" on my uncle's 72-inch television, way back before anyone owned large-screen televisions. I remember watching hours of VH1, back when they played music videos 90 percent of the time, and I saw the making of the Thriller video/mini-movie multiple times. VH1 also showed "Moonwalker" often, and for some reason the dance with the Elephant Man always stuck with me. As someone who loves to dance vicariously through others, I can't even count the number of times I got chills watching him, especially in "Smooth Criminal" when they do the leaning trick. In college, we had the mock dorm room that all the tour groups got to see, and we used to play Michael Jackson's music loudly in the hallways when the tours would come by. The digital morphing in the "Black and White" video was groundbreaking. It's sad that MJ got so weird over the past number of years. He was a legend, without whom none of modern pop music would exist in its current form.

MJ's death will likely overshadow the fact that today is the 25th anniversary of the release of Prince's Purple Rain album and the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon. We're getting older. The new generation is stepping up to the line now that the oldies-but-goodies are fading away into the ether. As an almost-thirty-something and thus too young to really remember the height of MJ's and Prince's careers, I likely have no right to lament this fact, but I can certainly sense the torch being passed. It started when Madonna and Britney shared the same stage. Until his recent run-in with the law, Chris Brown was being hailed as the next Michael Jackson. Who will influence the next 25 years of music? Who will lead the way to legendary status? Or in the Internet age, have we moved away from kings of pop and such? Where do we go from here?

RIP, Michael Jackson. There never has been, nor ever will there be, anyone like you. Thank you for all you have given to the world of music. May you spend a peaceful existence in the next life. May people remember not the demons that tortured you later in life, but your genius, your legend, your talent, and your kindness.