White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Miachael Jackson

I was never a fan of Michael Jackson. I like a few of his tracks such as heal the world, but generally I found his music ok. However I always admired his influence on the pop music, specially on the visual pop music. He certainly elevated the quality of staged music and music clips to a large extent.

In my opinion, Michael Jackson's fame was the first major crack in the anti-western wall that existed in Iran in early 1980s. In an atmosphere that most western things were prohibited by the regime and a large portion of the population, Jackson's video clips and dance style which had a lot of novelty at its time, changed the course. Till around 1984, there was not much sign of new western pop culture materials in Iran. But then, suddenly there was talk of this new Black-American guy who has conquered the world attention. I clearly remember the Friday afternoon when I saw the Threaler's clip in one of our relative's house who had a VCR. And I found it the whole show and dance quite different than whatever I had seen. And I remember that I had seen signs of his popularity in southern Tehran where my grandma lives and also in the city of Isfahan and Sari.

In those years, the celebrity culture was an undefined idea and the government was always fighting with its entire notion, even when it came to the domestic artists. So it took me a while to understand the celebrity culture and the strong fan base that someone like Jackson has.

Michael Jackson and to some extent Madonna are probably the last two world-level popular figures. The course of pop culture was eventually changed in the 1990s where there was never a dominant idol in the field. So for me and probably many people, Jackson is the reminder of days that there were kings and legends in the pop culture.
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