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Annie, are you okay? July 24, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Family, Music.
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Tonight was an amusing collision of generations, experiences, decades, and tastes. These collisions must happen often for children of the 70’s and 80’s who are now parents.

So, I already have Thriller among other MJ CDs, so my kids already knew his music. “Beat It” is also on one of Karaoke Revolution games, so the kids can even sing along with that one. However, I had not been aware until the recent MJ saturation that the kids were missing what was such a massive and integral part of Michael’s ability to entertain. They were missing the visual.

To remedy this injustice and to assuage my dissatisfaction with the little grainy YouTube videos I’ve been watching, I bought a DVD with loads of Michael’s music videos, and watched them all with kids # 2 and 3. (Kid #1 is in China, of all places. I’m pretty sure MJ videos are illegal there.) The result was not really what I expected.

They were duly impressed by the dancing, I think. Mostly, though, they commented on other aspects of this wonderful visual medium. The clothes that are so familiar to me are shocking to them. Hannah seems to have summed up the collective sartorial contribution of the 80’s in saying, “He just looks ridiculous.” Rebekah, when she looked up from the pillow into which she kept burying her face (I might have scarred her for life with “Thriller”) became not the first to astutely question the gender of the King of Pop. I laughed out loud when she kept looking for Dirty Diana in that killer video, asking, “Is that Diana?” when the screen would show the gloved one.

The girls were horrified every time Michael shed his shirt. They were amused by the hair of the dancers and musicians. Mostly, they were like foreigners in a strange new land, marveling at everything that’s different. There was a lot that was, well, “different” about the 80’s. There was also a lot that was, well, awesome.

For my part, once again I’ve vowed to learn one of those iconic dance breaks, like the one in Beat It, or Thriller, or Smooth Criminal. I make this vow every time I see these videos, and I have yet to learn the first step. I’m also not sure what I would do with this skill if I did manage to pull it off. I just know that it would make me awesome. Maybe one day.

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