Cadaverous hand stretched taut and skittering with beetles from the loam of the grave, John Lennon shills the OLPC, with Yoko Ono’s consent. It’s terrible. And not just plain terrible: we’re talking “cutting out the mouth on a standard picture and then holding it in front of your face while you do a John Lennon impression” terrible here. That Lennon appears to be pervertedly smirking throughout doesn’t help matters.
Worse, it’s nonsensical. “Imagine every child no matter where in the world they were could access a universe of knowledge. They would have a chance to learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want.” Universe of knowledge certainly has a grand and poetic feel to it, but as an achievable goal, it means nothing: what, you mean something besides the universe of knowledge we were all squirted into post-utero? Dimensional transport, perhaps.
And then: “I tried to do it through my music.” Failwhale, Mr. Lennon. I’m not saying that you didn’t write some pretty awesome songs, but I wouldn’t say “Strawberry Fields Forever” encompasses the sum of all human knowledge or anything. Somehow, the spot manages to cheapen both the woefully compromised OLPC initiative and John Lennon’s legacy. This couldn’t have been anyone’s intent.
Resurrecting the dead to shill modern products is not going to catch on. Digitally, it’s creepy, and reeks of defilement no matter how well done: celebrity muff diving gone necrophile, with long licks down the furrow of the uncanny valley. There’s something inherently more loathsome about Lennon’s OLPC commercial, though, than Fred Astaire dancing with a vacuum cleaner. What is it that makes the former seem so much more cynical than the latter?