Thursday, July 23, 2009

All Michael all the time

Just like everywhere else on the planet Brazil has experienced a firestorm of Michael Jackson video clips, news stories, retrospectives and tributes on the tube and elsewhere: magazine covers, store CD displays, conversations in bank lines, and especially among my younger English students.

“Teacher, do you like Michael Jackson?” “Teacher, do you like Thriller?” Teacher, what are your favorite Michael Jackson songs?”

There does not seem to be all the crass words here about Michael’s legal problems and rumors about inappropriate behavior with children. The kids are definitely not talking about it.

I asked one Brazilian adult why they thought people were not preoccupied with the seedier side of Michael’s legacy. He suggested that Xuxa, a hugely famous TV personality who caters to child audiences was friends with Michael Jackson and visited his Neverland estate more than once. After the child molestation allegations came out Xuxa apparently went on television and stood up for Michael, insisting he was innocent of everything. Case closed.

Whatever the case may be – Michael’s songs have been coming out of every stereo speaker and car radio since his untimely death. I was in an absolute dump of a luncheonette the other day in a poorer section of town (near one of the schools I teach at) and the video jukebox was blaring “We Are the World” while nearly everyone in the place sang along (in English).

Quite the superstar, for sure. May he rest in peace.

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