June 29, 2009
What we like to call, with disdain, the media circus surrounding the death of Michael Jackson was predictable. I’m finding, though, that the reactions of people I know are not so much so.
There has been an intermittently stimulating discussion of the list-serv of the American Musicological Society that appropriately asks the question of how fitting the toolbox of the scholarly musicologist is to the artistic legacy of Michael Jackson. Since modern musicology is conversant with the language of reception of art and the influences, upon it and by it, that are not altogether musical, the subject need not be an embarrassment to dispassionate research. But passionate research is what many will enter into when it comes to a figure whose effect on masses of humanity is not yet completely understood.
One blogger has taken up the task of aggregating serious writing on Michael Jackson — a worthy and particularly 21st-century-media thing to do. It will be interesting to watch how it develops. It can be expected to produce a mixture of scientific content wrapped in a commonplace wrapper and commonplace content disguised by scientific lingo (and I certainly know which I prefer).