Cultural Revolutions

King of Pop's Trial

The Michael Jackson trial is underway, and the media is licking its chops each day in anticipation of all of the lurid details that will continue to surface over the next several months.  Jackson, who is 46, has been charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy who was, at the time of the alleged incidents, a recovering cancer patient.  And the fact that the self-proclaimed King of Pop regularly engages in what nearly everyone agrees is bizarre behavior has some in the American jury pool leaning toward a guilty verdict even before the testimony starts.

Oh, for those halcyon days of 1984, when Michael Jackson had not yet completely mutilated his face (only one nose job by then, according to some sources), when Thriller was number one (for 37 weeks), when he talked in a relatively normal voice.  Far from the professional joke that he has become in the eyes of so many American consumers of pop music, Jackson was, in the Year of Orwell, at the top of his game.  In February 1984, for example, he was nominated for 12 Grammys and took home 8 of them.

Times have changed, however, and, today, Jackson is in trouble.  It is difficult to imagine any future Grammy nominations for the King of Pop.  And, since the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial, the 24-hour-a-day U.S. infotainment industry has lived from one celebrity trial to the next, allowing us to revel in other people’s shame.  (Covering such...

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