By Sue Murphy
It didn’t seem possible, and yet, there he was–Michael Jackson performing at the Billboard Music Awards. It was a flashy number, too, with glitter and lights and backup dancers. The kicker is that the pop star was…well, dead.
The word “dead” seems so harsh, doesn’t it? Passed away? No longer with us? Maybe. All I know is that a lot of passed away/no-longer-with-us celebrities have been making appearances lately. Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe–they’ve all been called upon to be glamorous for retail causes from beyond the grave.
I wonder whether the celebrities would have approved. If they were still passing by/with-us and were able to wield a pen, would they have signed up to enrich the coffers of a car manufacturer? A candy company? A soft drink empire? And now that they’re pen-challenged, how is the appearance choice made exactly? By a preordained legal representative? Wouldn’t that present a conflict of interest seeing as how the representative would personally stand to gain from the transaction? According to the news, Michael Jackson’s assets have become part of a third party estate, and there are a lot of parties out there trying to get their hands on that magic pen.
If a person’s holographic disembodied image is included in an estate manager’s holdings, we all have something to worry about. Some more than others, I realize, I mean, no one cares what car I’m driving now. Nobody is choosing their soft drink based on what I keep in my fridge.
Still, there is a remote possibility that my future/former self could show up on a screen somewhere. Think about it. Every movie and TV show needs extras. Every commercial has a few people meandering around in the store aisles. A director might decide that it would be cheaper to sign on a few dozen dead people than to hire the real live thing. Dead people don’t need coffee breaks. They don’t have car trouble. They don’t step on anyone else’s lines. He could command a cast of thousands who had no more issues than a zip drive.
So, it just seems prudent at this point to set forth how I would like my future/former image to be used:
Please (please) do not feature me in a remake of “Titanic” and don’t put me on a doomed space station hurtling toward earth. I don’t want to be a zombie, either, or one of those people who are blindly following some cult leader in the wilderness of Montana.
I would rather not appear as a murder victim on a slab in the morgue, unless it’s on “NCIS”– not Los Angeles, the original. If you have to be dead you might as well be dead with Mark Harmon gazing down at you.
Given the choice, I’d like to be part of a virtual crowd at Disney World. Put mouse ears on my head and an ice cream bar in my hand and I’d be happy from wherever I was sitting.
I’d be OK being cast as a backup dancer for just about anybody. There’s not a lot of video footage of me dancing right now, but I’ll upload some clips of my best moves and the director can sort them out later. If you can’t use me on stage, put me in the concert audience. Ideally, I’d like to holographically see the Beatles play, if their holograms are in town.
So, legal representative, let’s recap: death and destruction – no, music and laughter – yes. Unless Mark Harmon is involved. I’d holographically follow him anywhere.