Friday, June 2, 2017


A few weeks ago I unearthed a DVD a friend had given me of Michael Jackson's Dangerous: The Short Films. It's basically a compilation of all the videos from this album, with “making-of” and other material in between. Obviously MJ's videos are always impressive, and I was happy to share them with my boys, who were exclaiming, “Michael Jackson is the King of Pop!” by the end of the show. Watching those videos was also a walk down memory lane to the early 90s, which were simultaneously full of problems (the mounting AIDS epidemic, the conflict in the Balkans, racial tension and riots in the US, increasing awareness of global warming) but also full of hope that we might be making progress on these and other issues. I was surprised to see how Jackson used his pulpit at the height of the pop charts to unashamedly and unambiguously celebrate black culture (including, perhaps especially, reclaiming the beauty and community found in the blighted inner city), call attention to global problems, and protest injustice. It was bittersweet for me to reflect that many of these problems of the early 90s are still with us, and often without the naive hopefulness that a solution is in sight. What if the world had in fact begun to take definitive action on global warming in the early 90s?  I'd certainly have a much nicer, healthier planet to pass on to my kids.

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