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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Educational Oddities are my Specialty, It seems


If I made this stuff up, you'd think I was "too far afield from reality"...

Yale is offering a course called Michael Jackson 101.

NEW HAVEN — Walking to a beat of sorts, a college girl leaving her Yale University seminar believes no one is in earshot when she hums to herself, muffled through a winter scarf:

"‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night.
And no one’s gonna save you from the beast about to strike.’"

The rhythm to "Thriller" is still intoxicating 20 years after one of the best-selling albums of all time was released.

But the song’s allure pales in comparison to that of its maker: Michael Jackson, who because of accusations and escapades always seems to be in the headlines.

Now the pop icon is center stage at Yale University. Jackson is the centerpiece of a seminar this semester, dubbed, "Sexuality and Popular Culture: AKA Michael Jackson 101."

See!!!! I told you!!!!

Some classes analyze English literature. Professor Seth Clark Silberman’s class dissects Jackson’s "Thriller" and "Beat It" videos.

The class looks at how Jackson addresses sexuality almost directly through his music and videos, and reveals conflicting images in his very pubic lifestyle.

Ok, you reply. This is one of those poorly attended, niche classes that Universities offer, right?

So many students showed up the first day of class, it was split into two sections to accommodate the overflow.

"We were expecting 14 to 15 people," Silberman said. "Forty-five people came."

That's right. Ivy League graduates in the past were destined to become the leaders of our country. Now I'm not so sure. Glad I didn't spend the big $$. At least Ball State University doesn't offer a course on Michael Jackson...at least, I don't think they do...

Yale junior Quinn Hamilton said, "Michael Jackson is part of the attraction" of the class, but that there’s more to it than that. "It’s about sexuality and popular culture."

The class will study other aspects of sexuality and popular culture, including how the old-time horror flicks addressed sexuality. Even that subject leads back to Jackson, who borrowed heavily from famous horror flicks in his musical videos.

While seducing the public with otherworldly behavior, Jackson somehow speaks to generations of society and their conflicts regarding sexuality and race, the instructor contends.

There's more...but I'm weary.

This concludes the Tuesday Tri-fecta of Educational Absurdity

We now return to regularly scheduled programming.