Sunday, July 26, 2009

Not the “Michael-Jackson-Kinda-Generation”

My youngest sister has just turned 17. She is a smart girl with interest that most girls her age share: make up, boys, and parties. My mom’s age is not really significant, and her interests surely look different from my little sisters.

When I grew up, my mother had two pictures on her fridge, one of Madonna, and the other one of Michael Jackson. She was in her twenties, and those two pictures probably represented artists she truly adored (besides Tina Turner, who she has more in common with one would wish for). At that time, my younger sister has not even been planned until 10 years later. One of her first daughters (my older sister’s) words were "Michael Jackson". So, when "the King of Pop" passed away, it was very significant to our family. At least most of my family members were struck by Jackson’s death. My mom had called me and told me what had happened, so did my twin sister, and both had expressed their grief.

At work, the first words my boss had greeted me with were, "What are you thinking of Michael Jackson’s death?," to which I replied that I thought it was sad, but that I was already tired of the media coverage that was to be expected to be negative and rip his image and life apart.

Last week, when I visited my mom, she proudly represented a special edition magazine that had cost her a small fortune of almost 10 euros: a Michael Jackson special. A couple of days ago, I found myself watching “You Tube” instructions and practicing the moon walk. To my surprise, I had not gotten tired of the media coverage, and actually embraced the fact that his music became present again. When I was walking by a busy road, a car had passed me, and the speakers blasted “They Don’t Care About Us” by Michael Jackson. And although that would have, before his death, called for anything but understanding for playing such an outdated song, his passing involuntary called for something everyone should be remembered for: accomplishments in life. Michael Jackson seems to finally be remembered for his music.

However, it was clear that people my age, I am in my mid twenties, surely had one or more Michael Jackson stories to tell. Just like my boyfriend who likes to say “jimona”, and told me how him and his family used to listen to The Jackson Five. These stories prove how many lives Michael Jackson had influenced. I believe there will truly never be another artist like him.

The one thing that seemed unclear to me was, that if people close to my age or older seemed to be definitely relating to the Michael Jackson era, or at least be remembering him for someone who truly earned the title “King of Pop”, I was unsure about the generation after me. So I turned to my 17 year old sister. I was prepared for an in-depth interview, to find out what her feeling towards him were. I wanted to see if the generation after mine, who did not directly witness Jackson’s accomplishments, but relied on the media coverage of the most recent years, thought about him. So I asked, while she was putting on her make up:

“How do you feel about Michael Jackson’s death?”

She turned around for a split second and immediately turned back to the mirror to apply another layer of mascara.


“What do you mean?,” I asked.

“Huh? I mean I don’t care about him.”

I quickly abandoned all the questions I had laid out in my head, had I been ready for an extensive interview with her. I must confess, I had expected a little more–if not adoration, at least a discussion about how crazy she thinks Michael Jackson was. But nothing. So much for her generation. I left her room after that, sat down on my mother’s couch, to browse through her Michael-Jackson- Special-Edition-Magazine-Picture-Book, her answer still lingering in my head.