Tag Archives: pop music

Across America’s Racial Divide: Michael Jackson, Rest in Peace

michaeljackson.01Barack Obama has certainly brought Americans together in unprecedented ways, but America’s black and white racial divide still exists.

And every once in a while, an event happens that starkly reveals how just deep this racial divide remains.

The untimely death of Michael Jackson is such an event.

Last week, at a meeting of progressive Democrats in Southern California, I heard speaker after speaker bemoan the fact that Michael Jackson’s death had taken over the cable news, shunting to the side what they believed to be obviously more significant topics – the revolt in Iran, the fight in Congress for new health care legislation, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I see similar comments from many of my politically progressive Facebook friends.

None of them seems remotely aware that their disdain for the wall-to-wall news coverage of Michael Jackson’s death is a reflection of their own racial perspective – or that black people might view it differently.

For many, perhaps most, white people, Michael Jackson was, at best, a fading pop star and entertainer, someone whose music and persona they may have liked in their childhood but not now.

For black people, Michael Jackson was, and remains, a cultural figure of heroic, almost mythic, proportions, someone who changed not just music but the world, and who tirelessly worked for African and African-American causes and charities.

Today Michael Jackson will be honored and memorialized as a hero.

As a white American, I may not really get it.

But I get why I don’t get it.

And for that reason, I give my respects today and I say:

Michael, Rest in Peace.

Advertisements

Best American Car Songs (Now with Video Links!)

pink-cadillac-car-posters

The news about the death of the U.S. auto industry has gotten me thinking about all the great music that American cars have inspired.

Here is a list of some of my favorites:

Pink Cadillac (Bruce Springsteen)
Fun Fun Fun (Beach Boys)
Little Deuce Coupe (Beach Boys)
You Can’t Catch Me (Chuck Berry)
Brand New Cadillac (The Clash)
Mud on the Tires (Brad Paisley)
Long White Cadillac (Dave Alvin)
Mercury Blues (Alan Jackson)
Little Red Corvette (Prince)
Guitars, Cadillacs (Dwight Yoakam)
Hot Rod Lincoln (Junior Brown/Commandor Cody)
Mustang Sally (Wilson Pickett)
Ball and Chain (Social Distortion)
Thunder Road (Bruce Springsteen)
Pontiac Blues (Sonny Boy Williamson)
Racing in the Streets (Bruce Springsteen)
Rocket 88 (Jackie Brenston with Ike Turner)
Chevrolet (Donovan)

1951oldsrocket881

409 (Beach Boys)
Dead Man’s Curve (Jan and Dean)
Surf City (Beach Boys)
Blue Chevrolet (Beat Farmers)
Gun Street Girl (Tom Waits)
16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six (Tom Waits)

Feel free to add your own.

One rule:

The song must mention a particular American car or car company.