Friday, June 26, 2009

Generation Gap

Big news is big news, and it impacts us all in some way. But people and events hit us differently at different points in our lives. Virtually every blog I read is written by someone younger than I am, and usually 10-20 years younger. And it's clear that the death of Michael Jackson has hit this generation very hard. People talk about it being "too soon" -- which it was -- or remembering where they were when they heard.

Don't get me wrong -- I believe Michael Jackson was a really important figure in entertainment. He has been a part of the pop landscape for almost my entire life. But he was never really mine. My younger sister was crazy about the Jackson Five, but I was a couple of years too old to be caught listening to ABC. And by the time the "King of Pop" was born in the 80's, my formative years were behind me. Billie Jean, Man in the Mirror, and much of the other work done there is still some of the best video music that has ever been made, but the emotional connection for me is obviously not what it is for the thirty-something generation who learned what music is by listening to MJ.

For us it was the Beatles, and I guess the parallel event is the death of John Lennon. I was watching SNL in my new apartment with my new wife on my new pit sectional when I heard. And the world changed forever on that night. So while I don't have it, I get it. While we will all mourn the real American idol for myriad reasons, those of you for whom he provided the soundtrack for your coming of age have my sympathy. Bust out your one glove, crank up Thriller and don't be afraid to shed a few tears for childhoods that will never return.

Via con dios, little Michael.


  1. Odd as it was, Ex and I actually watched 'Thriller' on YouTube the day before MJ died. (me for the first time - when it came out I was at a party in DC and couldn't watch it -- as you know those were the days before Tivo and taping...). Weird huh? And BYW, you are so correct about the Beatles (Still the greatest and most influential band. Ever). When my fave, John, was assassinated, I was sitting at the kitchen table in the house I rented above Dickson Street in Fayetteville studying for a final. My world caved and I felt a million years old. When Excy lived in the Dakota in NYC he had the apt above Yoko and escorted her across the street on the anniversary of John's death, to Strawberry Fields. Hard to believe she was alone, but he was riding in the elevator when she turned to him and asked it he would mind escorting her......

  2. nice capture. i've been quiet about the death because it doesn't resonate... but the cross check on Lennon? helps me gain some empathy... but i gotta say, assassination is a bit more of a shock than a freakish circus ride into the big dirt nap...