Saturday, January 9, 2010

Michael Jackson and the National Film Registry

So the music video for "Thriller" has been inducted into the National Film Registry, the first music video to be so honoured. Great, I thought. Wonderful. A worthy honour. After all, not only did Michael Jackson recently die but also he is recognised as a pioneer of the music video industry, and "Thriller" is usually seen as his greatest (or at least most iconic) visual achievement.

Then it occurred to me that I didn't have the first clue what the National Film Registry was. It is, Wikipedia tells me, a list of films deemed 'worthy of preservation' in the Library of Congress. I love that word: preservation. In other words, after World War III, we'll be left with cockroaches and with Michael Jackson dancing like a zombie. I bet the roaches will love it. Or alternately, it's great to think that on the off chance that Sony Music, the Jackson estate, Jon Landis and any one of the seventy million people who have viewed it on YouTube happen to, you know, forget its existence, the Library of Congress will make sure history remembers it. Very noble.

Sorry for the sarcasm, but it does occur to me that not all accolated are created equal, and what at first seems like a big deal might ultimately turn out to be a very small deal instead. Oh well. If nothing else, it creates nice headlines. For a few days. Yay Library of Congress!

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