Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Instead of writing about Janet Jackson (and her now-legendary right breast bared in the Superbowl halftime show), I’m going to write about her brother Michael.

I have a theory about Michael Jackson. I think that his fundamental problem is cluelessness.

I mean that in a nice way. I think Michael is quite out of touch with mainstream society. Whether or not he’s a pedophile, I think he literally doesn’t see why anyone would think it odd for a grown man to share a bed with a bunch of kids.

Have you ever met someone who was judged guilty for something even though s/he was innocent, and literally cannot understand why? Some people act as though they expect that the truth is transparent and obvious to everybody. Sadly, it’s not. I think that Michael Jackson is like that; he’s convinced that what he’s doing is okay, and can’t see why anyone would misunderstand that.

This is what’s meant by the phrase “perception is important.” Even if you’re right, people can reasonably assume you’re not. If you don’t think accordingly, you can get into very serious trouble even though you’ve done nothing wrong.

Thomas began to dance.

A person interacts with VR primarily with hand and arm motions, pointing at objects and gesturing in a particular way. Different gestures spark different responses. In fact, a major feature of teen chatrooms were hand-crafted objets that only responded to rude and obscene gestures.

Interacting with multiple objects is difficult, as each one may require a completely different gesture. As a result, manipulating several objects at once requires a complicated and delicate set of motions, as well as intense concentration. If someone is very good at this, these motions resemble a dance.

Thomas was very, very good at it.

Cartoon characters winked in and out before him. Windows sprang into existence, grew, shrank, and were gone. He began to sweat with the exertion. He was thinking several commands ahead so he could transition from one gesture to the next with minimum effort and motion, and waste no time with actions he could combine or prioritize more efficiently later.

Then the world disappeared, leaving a few dull green windows glowing in the inky black void. Thomas froze. Nothing moved for several seconds, and he lowered his arms.

He’d been shut out.

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