Whitney Houston’s hologram is scheduled to 'perform' in the US - am I the only person who finds this creepy?

Grace Dent was content with our current earthly set up, where dead meant definitely dead and the only alternative to this could be seen in fictional dramas like Walking Dead Season 5

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It is increasingly evident, to me at least, that the eerie dystopian world we fret about for our grandchildren is actually already here. We were just too busy updating our iPhone iOS, in heady hope of a new hotdog emoji, to notice. Or tracking ASOS parcels, or uploading Snapchat videos of ourselves vomiting rainbows. Meanwhile, earlier this month, the Whitney Houston estate announced a live date in 2016.

Eagle-eyed pop culture buffs may have noticed Whitney Houston is dead. That's completely the opposite of "live". I know this as I sat through four solid hours of her funeral on Sky News. All those whispers over the past decade about Whitney's lifestyle, explaining why she was a tricky person to schedule, turned out to have some substance. But not to worry, Whitney is much more manageable now. She's the perfect showbiz diva to work with. Her hologram will perform at a venue in the US and the concert will be live-streamed worldwide by a company called FilmOn.com owned by a Greek billionaire.

I am, it seems, almost the only person on earth in 2015 who finds this remotely creepy as well as morally awry. We can't begin digitally digging up corpses, editing together our own subjective idea of their best bits, before shoving them on stage for profit. Ok, we clearly can, because I made noises like this when a CGI version of Tupac – also totally dead – played Coachella. No one but me seemed to view this it as a Stephen King-style "End of Days" scenario.

I was content with our current earthly set up, where dead meant definitely dead and the only alternative to this could be seen in fictional dramas like Walking Dead Season 5, which is no bloody trip to the seaside I can assure you.

"My demands were once quite standard: just make sure I’m dead before you bury me"


One of the reasons Radio 4 does not invite me on erudite debate shows such as The Moral Maze is because some questions like: "Is it ok to pimp out corpses to reap profit we couldn't when they were breathing, human, flawed and less reliable" are blatantly obvious. They can't stretch a 43-minute show out of me shouting "of course it sodding isn't!" at Michael Burke before flouncing to the Artesian Bar at The Langham Hotel over the road for an Old Fashioned and bar olives.

However post-Twitter, in the age of the Hive Mind, absolutely anything can be justified and the naysayers shouted down. If you asked Twitter whether you should bake your own dead grandmother into a pie there would be a wave of disgust, followed by general posturing that cannibalism is the natural reaction to the unfairness of earth's food dispersal, quickly leading to an e-petition to remove you from public life due to your untenable cannibal-phobic attitudes.

And now to my list of post-death requirements I've had to add, do not put my corpse to work as a hologram writing columns via some sort of random Grace Dent word-aggregating software. It's feasible. Just programme the hologram to spew out 800-950 word chunks on a tri-weekly basis about wimmin, Carlisle and Labradors, email them and invoice. It's debatable if anyone would notice the difference.

Previous to Whitney's reboot, my demands were quite standard. "Just please make sure I'm dead before you bury or cremate me", I'd said to my family. Being dead, I thought, must be enough of a bummer, but being burned alive in a box while my family watched would be an absolute shit-show of a send-off.

But there is a sense post-Whitney that some women are far less trouble as malleable, heavily reliable corpses. Hologram Grace would file all her columns to the editorial team by at least last Wednesday and then hover in the ether awaiting last- minute commissions of page filler about Kate Middleton's hair.

Hologram Grace would swoosh into every business meeting, drinks function and TV studio fully rested and clad in a different new, on-trend outfit in vibrant, yet complimentary, colours. Hologram Grace would still have enough downtime to honour numerous charity commitments. No refugee or disenfranchised Lambeth youth would go unhugged. Hologram Grace would pack the little brown envelopes with Friday money herself and dispense it while singing "The Greatest Love of All".

Hologram Grace would never cry off or cancel anything on her frankly horrific iCal. Her fringe would never grow over her eyes leading to her to resemble an Old English Sheepdog. She would adopt at least two African babies meaning her hologram was often tailed by frankly bewildered Malawian children.

As I write this, it becomes apparent to me that Madonna and Angelina Jolie may well be holograms. Something tells me that Whitney Houston, although I never knew her, wouldn't want to be so compliant. If there was any justice in this world Whitney Houston's hologram would malfunction at the last minute. In death, a woman should have the right to cancel.