CM Thoughts #3


Following up with a bit more cyber-goodness for your brain:

(I don't have your responses in front of me, so I am going from memory.)

1. The movie Polar Express was filmed ENTIRELY in motion capture, as I heard Tom Hanks tell everyone on Letterman Tuesday night. WOW….that takes my Arizona paper and cranks up the dial.

2. If it is true that Michael Jackson has a "skin condition" that coincidentally happens to "whiten", that still doesn't account for the plastic surgery on his nose. I know this is somewhat unrelated, but I wanted to propose a theory: certain top-level entertainers are so used to being objectified that they begin to *self-objectify* and begin to take actions that allow their object form to have a better sales curve or longer shelf life. Thus, the number of young actresses that receive breast implants, and the number of aging entertainers that take drastic plastic surgery measures to stay "young" (see: Cher).

In the case of MJ, his subject identity has always been one of peace, love and harmony (yes?). When you combine this into the hybrid that is Michael Jackson the Brand Name, you get the same effect, but shifted cause: his body (and all of our bodies) is a container that prohibits the very message he is trying to promote. So why not modify the Object, by whitening the skin, narrowing the nose, straightening the hair (for visual reference, see "The HisTory of Michael Jackson's face").

"They will still love me," he thinks, "because my essence is NOT based on the racial tropes that made me so endearing to the mainstream as little Michael Jackson of the Jackson 5."

But we don't love him. We think he is a freak. We don't understand his radical body modifications, nor the post-racial message they are intended to convey. And sensitive man that Michael is, he retreats into the sanity of the Neverland Ranch and his missed childhood.

3. Your point that the videogame version of "cyberface minstrelsy" has an additional layer of mediation between subject and floating cyber-signifier is true (ie. the videogame producers), but I would argue that they are all working from a common pool of tropes: the thug, the hypersexualized black male body, etc.

Put another way, I would suggest that if John Walker Lindh was using the electronic equivalent of blackened cork to assume his identity, the videogamer is purchasing and consuming a commercially-packaged minstrel kit. Minstrelsy is now an act of consumption!!




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