Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Back, bushed, and befuddled.

Well, I'm back from my recent travels - and utterly exhausted. I've been trying to catch up on my sleep for a week, but that doesn't seem to be actually working. Last night, for example, I slept for a good eight hours and still woke up exhausted. This is disturbing, as I have a long list of requests from friends, clients and fellow travelers that I'm trying to get to (250+ such requests in my inbox greeted my return Stateside with the pitiless chirping of tiny flaming hell-birds) and this lack of energy, simply put, ain't helping. If yours is one of these requests that I've not managed to get to yet, I deeply apologize - it's entirely likely that it's one of the ones that requires some Serious Thought, or perhaps some Intense Labor. Either way, I'm doing my best to get to your request in a timely manner. Please stand by.

In other news, I'm finding myself somewhat befuddled by today's death of Michael Jackson. After Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett, my fiancée and I were discussing how this is sort of how it goes, and how weird it will be when Brad Pitt dies, et cetera et cetera, but Michael Jackson dying is something truly beyond the pale. Michael Jackson dying is like Mickey Mouse dying. The King of Pop was less a person and more of a persona, perhaps; you can almost hear Obi-Wan Kenobi sadly shaking his head over one of Michael Jackson's surgeries and intoning, "He's more cartoon than man now." 'Iconic' doesn't begin to describe it. It's just... Odd. True, the Michael Jackson of recent years had devolved into something truly bizarre, and especially his recent fiscal scenario was a completely befuddled mess, but still... My friend Derek also adds another strange insight into the whole fiaso: "Oh, I forgot. We're not supposed to speak ill of child molesters who bought off witnesses once they're dead. Right." Whether the whole lawsuit was trumped-up or paid off is still a matter of debate (the Wikipedia page on the 2005 case of The People of the State of California v. Michael Joseph Jackson notes that all charges were dropped and the plaintiffs seemed to be a bizarre, lawsuit-happy bunch) but D has a point - Jackson certainly does leave behind an unsettling, surreal biography.

Still... Still, it feels weird to have him gone. I was never a Michael Jackson fan, to be honest - that is to say, I can sing along to "Billy Jean" and "Thriller" when they come on the radio, but I've never owned a Michael Jackson album. Growing up in the 1980s, I had an odd distrust of Michael Jackson and Madonna alike, perceiving both of them as weird. I always preferred U2 or R.E.M., Duran Duran or Genesis, even especially more out-there acts like Information Society. Michael Jackson and Madonna were, to me, oversexed sideshow acts that somehow held the entire world in thrall, and I wasn't interested. Looking back, Information Society may have been even more bizarre than Michael Jackson, but any techno band that sampled Star Trek (, 1988, although this video of "Repetition" is way better) won points in my book - and, for extra nerd points, I discovered InSoc on the CD+G sampler that came with the Sega CD add-on I bought for my Genesis. Aw, yeah. Old-school nerdery, right there.

Like I said, I'm exhausted and now I'm rambling. I'll leave with a quote from Kevin, another of my friends: "I am speechless. A deeply troubled man, sure but what an unbelievable talent... In spite of the rest, he was capable of greatness." If you get a chance, check out the eulogy Roger Ebert wrote for Jackson (and Kevin referred me to), "The Boy Who Never Grew Up". "Michael Jackson was so gifted, so lonely, so confused, so sad," Ebert writes. "He lost happiness somewhere in his childhood, and spent his life trying to go back there and find it."

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