Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farewell to Youth

When FOX started displaying a report from TMZ that Michael Jackson was dead, I didn't fully accept it. This may reflect on the questionable reliability of a gossip website, but I think it goes a little deeper. The sudden death of an iconic global figure (well, has-been icon) attempting a comeback is a classic, almost textbook, tragedy. That pill-popping may have been a factor should shock no one where MJ is concerned with everything else in his past. Regardless of his personal struggles and eccentricities, there is no denying his tremendous contribution to popular culture and music. Michael Jackson represents the 1980's and America at its best - exuberance, creativity, success, hope for a better world - and worst (overextravagance, hubris, commercialism, crotch grabbing, body dysmorphia).

For me, the timing couldn't have been more cosmic, as I turn thirty in four days. Additional coincidence is that I plan to go out for some 80's dancing on Saturday. Growing up, I spent hours singing along to Thriller on my Fisher Price record player, starting songs over if I didn't get all the lyrics right. My mom had a hard time tearing me away from "break dancing" to his hits on my babysitter's living room carpet. I still remember watching the video premiere of Bad on network television with my next-door neighbor. Michael's death carries a symbolic passing away of my childhood, a marker that I really am not a kid anymore. No longer can I blame actions on being young and stupid. Yes, people are cushioning the blow of aging by declaring that thirty is the new twenty. In my opinion, it's just rationalization for shirking personal responsibility and perpetuating emotional immaturity. Then again, I don't believe that you can't trust anyone over thirty.

So goodbye, childhood. Bring on thirty, as well as the inevitable VH1Classic lovefest of MJ tribute music videos on repeat.


Oman Holidays 2010 said...

Lots of things happening now have a feeling of ‘fin de si├Ęcle ‘ about them; I wonder what it all means