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Prince the Artist Formerly

PrinceEverybody has something to say about Prince, RIP, the artist formerly known by a pseudo-hieroglyph. Of his own design, it was pseudo-silent and un-typeable so he became “Formerly Known as Prince.” Before that he was the single-named Madonna-esque “Prince”.
 
The media’s gushing last chance push of the Prince back catalog reminds me how completely the “independent” maverick was integrated in the pop crap industry.

I’m addressing Prince’s pioneer branding because up until today his musical legacy was illusory. An earlier hit gave Prince a comeback when “1999” became relevant to the turn of the millennium. The musician’s second act was to impersonate a Hendrix tribute icon. Tormented, gifted, undead.

WHAT PRINCE REALLY TAUGHT US was that you can forbid the media to speak your name and they will obey.

What a crock! You try it! I have a friend who goes by just “Lotus”. He has a hell of a time getting local journalists to report his name as only that. They usually write “Lotus, he doesn’t use his last name, etc.” Often they don’t quote him because one name is too weird. By royal purple edict apparently, Prince was even let to declare his hieroglyph was unpronouncible.

The real lesson was about everyone’s complicity in the manufacture of marketing campaigns.

You’d think that the music business or our corporate celebrity culture might be reported like news. It appears to be. It certainly makes up most of mainstream news. Its happenings are not irrelevant to a consumer economy. But no.

Instead, publicists dictate how their brands are sold, just as lawyers insure trademarks aren’t violated, and the media divisions of the same entertainment corporations comply. If the news tellers don’t play along, products like Prince wear no clothes.

One thought on “Prince the Artist Formerly

  1. I was more impressed by Father Berrigan. Life and death.On the other hand he won’t be sensationalized in some supermarket tabloid. Prince has been declared to have been murdered, overdosed accidentally, died of AIDS and suicide all on the same day and the same “news” paper rack at King Soopers.

    I don’t pity him mostly because it’s too late for that anyway. I wonder if one can mourn or pity a legacy?

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