June 24th, 2011

Masks

Sweetened Sugar Topping Glazed Sugar

I found this video a few days ago--it may be the single most insipid thing I've ever seen;



It's like mainlining maple syrup. And yet I want to have sex with all of these girls. That's how they get you. With the sex. Though I guess part of the intended appeal is that they're virginal. 58 virgins--according to the Wikipedia entry, AKB48 holds the current world record of pop group with the greatest number of members. It's run like a theatre troupe--the group even has their own theatre in Akihabara, which makes me think about how old patterns of life manifest themselves in the modern world.

Once a country with an intricate, legal prostitution industry, Japan now has the distinction of an extraordinarily low sex drive. One might say what pop sensations like AKB48 represent is that absence of sex is the new sex.

People used to thinking a certain way about how pop idols appeal to people might question the point of a group with such a large number of members--in the video, it's difficult to get a real impression of any one member's personality, but this is of course the point. Each member has superficial personality traits hardcore fans obsess over, but the overall goal is to create an interchangeable army where even the dream of intimacy is impossible for being so diluted.

So often, when I see things like AKB48, I feel compelled to think of the other side of the screen, the over 40 million views the video has--think of the content, it's basically a blitz of non-specific love and acceptance. Think about the deep, fundamental, ongoing psychological pain someone must be in that this is all they can take. As an artist, it makes me feel like a parent who wants to make millions of kids eat their broccoli.
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