When the late Tupac Shakur “appeared” via hologram at the Coachella festival, everyone ooh-ed and ahh-ed. It wasn’t the first time a dead celeb had resurfaced in hologram form (Celine Dion sang a duet with a hologram of Elvis Presley on “American Idol” in 2010) and it won’t be the last time, either (Simon Cowell wants holograms of Amy Winehouse and Michael Jackson to appear on “X Factor”).
In fact, during this week’s Republican National Convention, a hologram of Ronald Reagan was rumored to make an appearance outside the convention center— but was then pooh-poohed because organizers supposedly didn’t want holographic Reagan upstaging Mitt Romney.
It’s just as well, in my opinion: bringing dead people “back to life” via hologram is kinda wrong.
The estates of rich and famous people are able to decide (within parameters dictated by the deceased’s will, of course) how their works, image/likenesses are used. It has only been very recently, however, that “likeness” has been able to mean a real-life-looking hologram accompanied by audio. Now, I am not a lawyer, but it does not seem entirely ethical to me to play around with images of deceased influential people in ways that imply an endorsement. Whether they were going to cobble together Reagan’s words like a “Call Me Maybe” mashup or he was going to “endorse” Romney via his mere presence, I’m not sure. But for all we know, real-life Reagan might have thought Mitt Romney was a douchebag; real-life Amy Winehouse might have thought “X Factor” was shit; and real-life Elvis Presley may have cringed at the idea of a duet with Celine Dion. (Sorry, Winona.)
It may look cool, but I find the whole thing icky when we don’t know if it’s what even these dead celebs would have wanted.