Photo courtesy of ultra520.
Without touching too much on the old news of the 2Pac hologram that debuted this year at Coachella (which wasn’t actually a hologram at all), I’d like to plot out a few ideas worth thinking about while imagining holographic and digital performers as future alternatives to American pop stars. There will be talk of bronies, so like, prepare for that and stuff. Or don’t. Actually – just don’t. Brony up now.
1. Firstly, most “young” people never saw 2Pac live, or for that matter, alive. 2Pac or, as he is known on his social security card, Tupac Shakur is from the past (i.e. he’s “dead”) to many youths and youthettes. He is known through recordings and past interviews, (and maybe that video of him having sex with ladies – who I just learned were not hologram’d in). Dr. Dre, M.D., the de facto public voice for the Digital Domain backed AV Concepts project (the folks behind the hologram), said that he hopes to see the two very dead stars, Marvin Gaye and Jimi Hendrix, make their own holographic appearances in the near future. This is an excellent idea. Let’s continue to exhume the surviving memories of music deities so that we won’t have to continue to entertain the idea that blond children with bowl haircuts happen in 2012. Sometimes I feel like I’m Danny Tanner, but I don’t understand – and don’t want to understand – my annoying children. What I mean to say is that I’m Bob Saget. Sup.
2. Fame blows. It blows in the winds of trend. Typically, Americans don’t put to rest the iconic entertainers who die early or take off before we’ve grown tired of them enough to start hating them. Take comedian Dave Chappelle, for instance. The man (human, not deity) was ridiculed for voluntarily taking career leave at the peak of his fame, often by naive young white kids who became dependent on the unfortunate ways that Chappelle’s comedy enabled casual racism. Not to mention all those out of work puppets and children who have nowhere to go without him. But bowing out gracefully is only for the transcendent performer, like Phil Collins. Sadly, Phil Collins has not done this; this is “Sussudio,” a great, great song — a personal favorite. On “Point the Finga,” 2Pac aptly raps: “And the media is greedier than most/You could sell ‘em your soul or they’ll be on ya ‘til a niggaz ghost.” He just recently recorded a quadruple album called “What’s my hologram’s billing address?”
3. We are cyborgs, and half of a cyborg’s favorite things are made on a computer. Yes, we’re cyborgs, but we’d rather not acknowledge it for fear of letting a computer tell us what we know, like, and want; Google and Facebook. The ever-expanding wireless organ permits the organic self to recognize select computed images and beings as familiar to the point of sympathy (the singularity), and if the liberals get what they want, we’ll all be gay-marrying ponies and appointing aging felines as ambassadors to foreign countries. NObama! NObama!
4. Japan has this holographic bullstuff already, and they’ve been doing digital pop stars for literally millions of years (a literally unverified claim). Futurist novelist William Gibson’s conception of Japan as the “global imagination’s default setting for the future” is rooted in the, to much of America, inconceivable suspension of disbelief held by much of Japan’s population regarding their sources of entertainment. Either that, or they truly are unable to tell the difference between artificial pop stars and authentic human beings. In which case they must think the global population is up in the quadrillions, at least.
5. Are holograms immune to the tabloids? Unless they’re programmed to be faulty and human, then there’s no legal recourse that I know of for a hologram hypothetically doing anything holographically illegal. Imagine 2Pac’s hologram getting shot by the actual Suge Knight, who thought the hologram 2Pac was the authentic 2Pac. Would Suge go to jail? Should Suge sell seashells by the sea shore? Would hologram 2Pac react and get holographic on Suge’s ass? More importantly, will they be able to make hologram Private Stock for hologram Biggie Smalls? Or build a hologram whiskey bar for hologram Jim Morrison? There are so many more idiotic questions I have to ask!
6. Distrust in mass media is trending upwards. Trust in mass media has declined dramatically over the last four decades, and with distrust in the main source of information comes a chaotic search for alternate truth. Alternate truth being the willing belief in a vast consortium of fiction. What is truth, anyway? If I knew, I wouldn’t have bought all these damn seashells for Suge Knight. He’s a very persuasive man, that Suge Knight.
7. Live dubstep is very popular. That’s both the beginning and the end of that complete thought.
Your parents and grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grand dogs do not want to understand any of this, even though they might, deep down, feel a strong affinity to holograms because of Princess Leia (and to some degree, this little girl who will also one day be hologram’d). As for the skeptics in the 18-34 age range, or whoever the hell you are, let’s at least attempt to understand the allure of a celebrity hologram, or even a digital celebrity, because how much stranger is that than loving someone’s digital personality without intimately knowing them in physical reality? There are countless popular internet personalities whose live-action social playing is far less engaging than their live action role-playing, or even their ability to find all the most awesome dragons to slay in Azeroth and then lead you there, because those are way cooler things to do than get a stupid coffee at Starbucks with some boring jackass whose fingernails are always dirty and talk about why your parents don’t approve of your obsession with My Little Pony.
“It was love at first sight,” you told them as they looked disconcertingly at one another, as if their son had just come out of the necrophiliac closet.
“But son,” your dad says, “how could you love…a cartoon?”
With eyes filled to the lashy brim with joyous tears, you boldly proclaim with your mouth a quiver, “I love all of creation, Mom and Dad, even the ones who can’t love me back! Especially the ones who can’t love me back!” Tired from all the unnecessary socio-physical interaction, you look off into the distance, turn your computer on, realize that you’ll never love a human like you love those sweet little ponies.