April 4, 2012 at 1:28 PM ET
Is Lana Del Rey, a real life pop star, less authentic than Hatsune Miku, a completely digital diva?
That's the argument proposed by Mike Rugnetta in the second installment on the PBS Ideal Channel, the public broadcaster's new YouTube presence.
Del Rey, one of indie pop's hottest acts in the U.S., is a singer/songwriter best known for the song "Video Games" (which in fact, is not about video games at all). Despite her popularity, a lot of people don't like her.
Meanwhile, in Japan, there’s Hatsune Miku. As a "vocaloid," or female persona of a singing synthesizer application (comparable to the Auto-Tune), she's a beloved face within the anime subculture.
Miku starred in the series of popular rhythm games, and has headlined concerts in the form of a projected hologram. In the video below, Rugnetta states his case: How a made-up android from the future is more real than a real live female born in New York City:
As Rugnetta explains, a major reason for the resentment towards Del Rey is that she is perceived an obvious and feeble attempt by the music industry to appeal to the hipster audience, who more than anyone has the biggest aversion to manufactured pop stars.
But with Miku, there has never been a pretense that she's a real person. As Destructoid points out: "She's a visual metaphor, a unifying banner for all vocaloid artists to stand behind. There's nothing dishonest about that."
And for those who missed it the first time, here we have Rugnetta explaining why "Super Mario Bros" is the world's greatest piece of surrealist art:
Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.