All Geared Up: Elvis the Transhumanist

Elvis2 Occasionally an idea will come to mind that's claimed quickly and eloquently by someone else before you have a chance to execute it. When Michael Jackson died I began dabbling with the subject of Jackson as Transhumanist, but my piece was only half-written when RU Sirius pretty much nailed the topic. Nick Gillespie at Reason found the key lines from Sirius: “Michael Jackson is obviously not an example of transhumanism to be followed. But he is a signpost on the road to post-humanity. I believe the future will study him from that perspective, and in some odd way, it will learn from his many mistakes.”

Well said, and lesson learned: When it comes to the world of ideas, if you snooze you lose. (Unless you enhance your work capabilities with Provigil, of course, in which case you won't do as much snoozing.) But although the Michael Jackson moment has come and gone, a new event was commemorated this week: the 75th birthday of Elvis Presley. Elvis was the primogenitor, the Omo I of rock and roll culture. He didn't just “ship a lot of units,” as they used to say in the record biz (back when there was a record biz.) He changed everything.

Elvis was certainly considered different. From his early days on he was an agent of radical transformation in sexuality, culture, and appearance. At nineteen, he and his musicians seemed so unusual to the announcer at the Louisiana Hayride that he was asked, on the air, “You all geared up with your band there?”

“I'm all geared up!” Elvis answered.

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