Sunday, January 29, 2017

Michael Of George: A Few Words, A Brief Pause (Plus: Professor Higglediggle's Unique Take)

And here I was, making fun of Wham!'s trip to China, having a jolly old time. Well then. It looks like Father Figure: The Socio-Political Implications of George Michael In The Post-Modern Landscape has taken an unexpected turn for the somber.

Nevertheless, I come to praise George, not to bury him. I must ask myself questions. Intense, probing questions. First of all: does the artist's death alter the goal at hand, or merely reinvigorate it? I tend to prefer writing about '80s pop star careers that haven't been given the kind of scrutiny one could find elsewhere. It's odd to see so many others scrutinize a career I'd already been scrutinizing so scrutinizingly. On the other hand: no, this only confirms my resolve, buttresses my belief, strengthens my commitment. The truth is, the essential nature of George Michael's '80s catalog has not changed. It was already fixed within history - and outside history - even though the man behind the art continued to live on into the '90s and the '00s, and then ultimately departed once and for all. Observations made about "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)" while George was alive hold just as much relevance today as observations one might make about "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)" now that George is no more. We must continue to laugh, to observe, to mock, to admire. I truly believe that George ... *sigh* ... would have wanted it that way.

In the midst of all the tributes, I couldn't help but be curious what Professor Horton J. Higglediggle, author of the obscure but invaluable tomé which I have been referencing so frequently, might have thought of Mr. Michael's passing. Surely he could be counted on for a slightly more idiosyncratic observation, a pointed requiem, a eulogy devoid of cliché and excess sentiment. Although notoriously slow in responding, Professor Higglediggle has, at last, sent me a brief reply, which I thought I would share with you:
Ah yes - a comment on the supposedly premature departure of the subject of my study (although here we must note that only recently in anthropoid evolution has 53 been considered "premature," but this attitude is anathema to the current cultural grievance construct, I understand).

The residual media commodification is an unfailingly regrettable process, normally a marginal and insignificant aspect of the artistic recontextualization that occurs upon expiration. However, one curious item standing out amid the pre-existing symbolic clutter of Michael's cessation strikes me as quite worthy of discussion - more discussion than it has appeared to receive. It must be noted that Mr. Michael shed this mortal coil on December 25 - Christmas Day. Although many individuals experience termination on this date - indeed, statistically, as many as on any other date - few have come to appreciate the singular irony of December 25, 2016 having literally been Mr. Michael's last Christmas. Much has been made of Mr. Bowie exiting only days after releasing his final album, a final meta-conceptual flourish appended to the career of the ever-conceptual changeling. Not to be outdone by an idol, Mr. Michael's eerily appropriate date of ascension serves as the macabre wink to the hyper-libinal cosmos, a last act of ideological reductionism, only to be appreciated by the non-commodified subcultural elite - a semiotic slippage which, I assume, will fail to be improved upon in the near future.

On a different note: 10 years and still going. How about them apples? That sure is a long time to be blogging. While the world may never know if Little Earl's time might have been better spent doing something arguably more productive over the last ten years ... what's done is done. He certainly never would have guessed, in January 2007, that he would still be blogging on the same silly blog ten years later, or that the blog would have taken a swift and seemingly irreversible turn toward '80s music at about the halfway mark. He has seen co-bloggers come and go (it appears Herr Zrbo may still be with us); since January 2007, his fellow Cosmic Americans have gotten married, sired children (some more than one), and I believe one co-blogger even ended up getting a divorce! Little Earl's life, while a little different as well, is not quite so different, but through the ups and downs, one constant has always been there. He couldn't say what the future holds for this strange Blogspot apparatus with its low-quality graphic design, but on this occasion he'd simply like to stop and utter a hushed, dignified ... "Holy shit."

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