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No More Wacko Jacko Jokes?

When I was ten years old my dad took me to The Wherehouse, a music/video store in California, and bought me my first three albums. The first was Weird Al Yankovic. The second was The Beach Boys. The third was Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

I distinctly remember a time when Michael Jackson was synonymous with cool. My dad took me to Disneyland three weeks before Captain Eo -- the 3D sci-fi short film starring Jackson -- came out, and I actually gave him grief about it, I felt so completely robbed.

I remember the first time I saw the video for "Billie Jean" and freaked out because the sidewalk lighting up effect was...it was breathtaking and amazing.

I also remember turning 13 and growing more and more embarrassed to call myself a Michael Jackson fan, and moving away from pop music as I grew more sullen and pop became more bloated and ridiculous as its heroes -- Jackson and Madonna in particular -- became ever more ridiculous parodies of themselves.

Somehow Michael Jackson turned into an alien weirdo who was completely unrecognizable from the guy who sang Thriller, and it all became very strange. Then there was the child molestation thing, and the hanging the baby out the window, and it just got weirder and weirder.

Jackson, whether he was the King of Pop or Wacko Jacko, has been a fixture in pop culture for the entirety of my life. And now he's dead. Much sooner than expected.

It's a little surreal.

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