Rest in peace, Michael Jackson–and a substitution game

26 Jun

Much has been written about Michael Jackson’s life, death and legacy in the past year, particularly these past few days as the first anniversary of his untimely death approached. Regardless of what anyone thinks about his lifestyle, his eccentricity, his body-image and family issues, one thing is clear: his music changed the lives of generations and will live with us for a long time to come.

Rest in peace, Michael–and thank you, for the many hours of joy, past, present and future.

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Now, for the substitution game.

Reading this article written on occasion of said first anniversary, this paragraph struck me:

“(There is an idea) that somehow glossy dance music is easy to do well and that being dark and negative and self-searching is somehow hard to do,” Bayles said. “I think that’s an artifact of the critical standards that people have now about popular music. To have that kind of exuberant energy that his music had at its best isn’t easy. If it were, then every boy band in the world would be successful.”

After a second I realized why–let me rewrite it for you:

“(There is an idea) that somehow romance novels are easy to do well and that being dark and negative and self-searching is somehow hard to do,” Bayles said. “I think that’s an artifact of the critical standards that people have now about the romance genre. To have that kind of emotional impact that this genre has at its best isn’t easy. If it were, then every romance novel ever published would be a best seller.”

Indeed, it seems that for the critics* in any area of human endeavor, if it’s popular and makes you happy, it must be trash.

Their loss, if you ask me.

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* critics: those who believe they know better (i.e., often self-appointed experts) than the rest of us pedestrians.

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