This year my high school class celebrates its 25 year anniversary. On Facebook, many classmates expressed sadness in Michael Jackson's passing.
Michael Jackson is one of two pop culture icons that defined Pinoy teens of the mid 1980s. During our senior prom, almost all the hits from the Thriller album were played on the dance floor.
In a sense, Jackson's fusion of R&B, rock, pop and ballad styles signified a departure from the past. This is why Jackson's music became a hit among us teens at the time.
The other pop culture icon (or better yet icons) that defined Pinoy teens most especially the high school class of 1984 was "Bagets". However it is plain to see that the Bagets gang, played by William Martinez, Herbert Bautista, Aga Mulach, JC Bonnin and Raymond Lauchengo represent an inculturation of Michael Jackson into Pinoy pop. Bagets launched into stardom, Aga Mulach and Herbert Bautista. Bautista was further catapulted into politics where he serves as vice mayor of Quezon City (and is the likely fav to be mayor the next time around).
That Mike Jackson defined my high school senior year is evident when the consummate performer and entertainer (and joker) in my class, Jopet Pedroso staged a concert at UP Abelardo Hall. Entitled "Raging Mad", Jopet's concert features interpretations of MJ's hits including "Thriller".
Now we are pushing Jopet to re stage it as a tribute to the King of Pop in our 25th anniversary bash! But I don't know if the performers are still flexible enough to moonwalk!
I believe that Thriller represents the summit of MJ's creativity. Perhaps I am seeing this with a tinge of innocence, but following the Jackson's career since then, we were dished out with tales of what cosmetic surgery can or cannot do, child abuse, hush money, lawsuits and all sorts of tabloid fodder. We remember when MJ's hair became a blowtorch in a Pepsi commercial that went wrong.
In a real sense, a star should depart the way that MJ did, with a planned comeback concert tour that will never be. He instantly is apotheosized as Legend. Since his public is unlikely to deal with the shock, I believe that he is the 21st century Elvis. He will provide a distraction in America's travails with recession. Expect zillions of Michael Jackson sightings from now on. Michael has definitely left the planet!
However I believe that comparing his exeunt from the stage with that of Princess Di is uncalled for. There isn't any comparison since Princess Di was viewed as child friendly and Michael to the end was viewed with much suspicion in his dealings with children. Only CNN can dish out this silliness! But CNN may have a shred of truth. Both Di and MJ were lonely at the top.