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Friday, June 26, 2009


Michael Jackson (click on image to enlarge)

For many years I taught the United States History for non-history majors, at Moorpark College. I had no illusions about the students' motives for taking the class (easy grader - least painful way of completing their history requirements etc). At the outset of the lectures, I asked students if they thought sex, drugs and rock and roll were interesting - and, then asked them, "Have sex, drugs and rock and roll played part of history?"
Will the music and life of Michael Jackson be considered important when future historians write our lives and time?
- I think so! What do you think?
The decision of what is important, and worth our attention, is often a very personal one. Some would have us ignore pop culture because it belongs chiefly to the young or because it is often disrespectful to matters considered more important. Since our nation has several military academies and a Department of Defense (once more honestly called the Department of War) and no academies of peace, one could say that it is evident what has greater importance in our culture.
The Los Angeles City School District has just removed the arts from its curriculum. An either-or scenario has been bought into play, with the arts removed from our classrooms - and ours is a city whose entertainment industry owes its existence to artists and the arts.
Michael Jackson lived among us in Encino for several years, and had just finished doing rehearsals for his planned show in London, in Burbank, California.
Your Museum collects works and artifacts concerning the life and performances of Michael Jackson.
It might surprise you that we also study and collect information about the Mexican American War, the Van Nuys company that distributed Smirf figurines, Lockheed Aircraft during World War II, and the lives and deeds of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini and Charles Manson.
Why is your Museum so interested in Michael Jackson?
Simply, if for no other reason, because Michael Jackson was the most influential entertainer in the world in his lifetime.

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