The naked, karaoke version of you

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It’s no fun if you’re good at karaoke. It’s equally annoying to laugh while you’re signing. You’re supposed to be so bad that your friends can’t ignore you. Said it’s Japanese creator Daisuke Inoue:

“I was nominated [as] the inventor of karaoke, which teaches people to bear the awful singing of ordinary citizens, and enjoy it anyway. That is ‘genuine peace,’ they told me.”

One could say we live in the “karaoke age” of social media, where posting stories on Instagram and Snapchat is supposed to reveal our strengths and our weaknesses. Of course, the opposite happens too: people share an edited version of themselves. Some people even become social influencers, turning pleasure into a business, forgetting that sharing was intended to be fun and unprofessional.


Says karaoke hobbyist Alexandra Molotkow in her essay Sing to Me:

Good karaoke performers are often likable for what they’ve forgotten they’re not: famous, or even all that good…Karaoke is a way of performing your shortcomings, which implies the hope of transfiguring them — flaws become eccentricities, which add up to character.

What makes karaoke genuine is what makes acting behind a smartphone screen look fake: it exposes your vulnerabilities in public. Anything less than acting poorly on the mic will make people think you’re a flake.

Most social events are transactions. It’s no surprise that at the end of the day, we make friends with individuals who strip us of our restraint and give us the freedom to express ourselves. The real you is already naked and famous.

Karaoke presents as much naked you as most strangers could possibly enjoy; but it’s still mostly an add-on, something you mustn’t confuse with the you that requires permanent renovation. Whoever you are, you are worthy of attention and approval. May we remember what to keep to ourselves.

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