And below, I just wrote this up for Time Out New York's music blog, a sort of "memories of Michael Jackson" piece, but I might as well share here. MJ trivia to come at the next quiz or two, for sure…
For anyone born when I was—1975—Star Wars has the ingrained importance of a folk legend, and Michael Jackson strode like a titan within popular culture. He was easily the most important man on earth when I was at that formative age, and I wasn't even a fan (I preferred Hall and Oates).
Bowing to some kind of pressure, the administration of my elementary school herded us all into the auditorium one afternoon to screen the extended
"Thriller" video. (One girl's parents got upset; they were crazy Christians and the occult content offended their sensibilities.) Around the same time, my fourth-grade teacher gifted honor students with Michael Jackson posters (I gave mine to a dumb girl I had a crush on). I opted for Thriller as my monthly cassette tape purchase in early 1983, not because I really wanted it, but simply because I felt I needed it as a human being. I'm sure adults at the time had a different perspective, but I remember Michael Jackson uniting the culture in the way that the Beatles had earlier (I'm told), and in a way no one ever will again in our media-fractured society.
For the record: I later developed an appreciation for most of Thriller, became a fan of his Jackson 5 work and never believed for a second that he molested those kids.
UPDATE: We're jamming on the MJ for the next quiz: Monday, July 6, the audio round will now be "Maximum Michael Jackson." Plus more Bubbles-friendly trivia during the night. Sham-ON!