About a year and a half ago, on the day after Sean Taylor's murder, I ranted about my belief that we shouldn't mourn a celebrity when so many people's deaths go unnoticed. Of course, as so often happens, reality hit me square in the face yesterday and showed that it's stupid to write in such absolutes. I have been following the happenings in Tehran over the past couple of weeks with horror, but I've done little other than read here or there. Meanwhile, I happened to catch the news on Michael Jackson from the very beginning and I spent the next hour refreshing Twitter, listening to the radio, and flipping between CNN, MSNBC, and E! to see what everyone was reporting. When the word finally came that he had passed, I was both shocked and really, really bummed out. Here's a guy that had become a pariah, so I was confused about why it would have hit me so hard. The obvious answer: nostalgia. Jackson had such an immense impact on our popular culture and on my own love of music. It's not just that Thriller is the inarguably best pop album ever, but it came out when my tastes were at their most malleable. I played the s*** out of that tape in my walkman and I'm sure most of my friends did the same. So, in this space I'll remember the impact that the King of Pop had on our culture by posting, in the usual Random Music Video spot, not Jackson videos but examples of his music used elsewhere in pop culture.
We'll start tonight with the most famous one in recent memory. We'll put aside the scene's place in the movie and Kevin Smith's great camera work with Rosario Dawson. Instead, let's focus on the music and how it just makes you want to dance. The Jackson 5's "ABC" as featured in Clerks II: