The “Hollowed Out” Image
By now, everyone has had a reaction to that hologram of Michael Jackson performing on last night’s Billboard Music Awards Show. Lots of folks felt creeped out by the spectacle, and others were elated (but seriously, those audience members openly weeping? Just…No!).
I think my favorite Twitter reaction was from one Awesomely Luvvie, who simply tweeted:
*throws water at TV*
Oh, honey, you ain’t lying!
That zombie/ghost/vampire, whatever that thing was… being passed off as a “hologram”…was probably the most disturbing thing I’d ever seen in the world of pop music. Far creepier than any zombie in MJ’s Thriller music video!
But more than anything, I’m deeply disturbed by the way vultures in the music industry will continue to reap rewards and financial benefits over Michael Jackson’s dead carcass.
That’s one of the things I find really problematic about the image-production of our pop stars and celebrities. So often we’re expected to only respond to an Image, a Simulation, that the real soul or essence of a person can be discarded.
This is why I don’t get super-invested in certain images fans have erected of David since we don’t know the guy, but why I also appreciate a live performance, a tweet, or a vlog from David because he shares certain elements of himself without relying on a Super-image based in artifice.
The saddest thing about MJ, I think, is that the image of himself had shot through the stratosphere, so much so that he himself could not live up to it. What else accounts for all the plastic surgery, wigs, and make-up?
And, yeah, if you’re going to resurrect a Michael Jackson hologram, why not bring back the brown-skinned brother from Off the Wall or Thriller we had come to love? Why this bleached-out, artificially looking CGI that couldn’t even do a decent moonwalk? 😦
As someone who remembered the “King of Pop” when he was alive, I’m not fond of some hollowed-out image. Nor am I impressed with an industry that thinks that, because I’m a fan, I would be willing to settle for any subpar image (and subpar songs for that matter – seriously, how do we know Michael Jackson would have ever wanted any of his backlogged songs to see the light of day?).
I think our admiration and adoration should raise the standards of what to expect in the pop artists we admire.
More than anything, let those stars who have passed on really Rest in Peace, and let the ones who are still here have a real chance at developing their artistry so that they can rise to the level of legends of old. Indeed, let them take the talent to the next level.