(Celeb-)Reductionism

Just finished William Gibson's Virtual Light, and I will have to admit that of his novels I have already read (which also include Neuromancer and Idoru), it is my least favourite. However, a motif that weaves its way in and out of Gibson's work is the nature of celebrity, and I wanted to capture a sample of it from Virtual Light that I found quite interesting:

Separated at Birth was a police program you used in missing persons cases. You scanned a photo of the person you wanted, got back the names of half a dozen celebrities who looked vaguely like the subject, then went around asking people if they'd seen anybody lately who reminded them of A, B, C … The weird thing was, it worked better than just showing them a picture of the subject. The instructor at the Academy in Knoxville had told Rydell's class that that was because it tapped into the part of the brain that kept track of celebrities. Rydell had imagined that as some kind of movie-star lobe. Did people really have those? Maybe Sublett had a great big one. But when they'd run the program on Rydell in the Academy, he'd come up a dead ringer for Howie Clacton, the Atlanta pitcher; he didn't remember any Tommy Lee Jones. But then he hadn't thought he looked all that much like Howie Clacton, either (p.94).

Connected ramblings:

ESPN.com's Here's Looking At You

Access Control and Security Systems: a trade mag look at the introduction of facial recognition technology to the 2001 Super Bowl

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