This week Jared Leto took another step into his journey to becoming one of the most polarizing figures in pop culture.
Why? Because when he released this You Tube video, which he detailed as tribute to Kurt Cobain, he lit a firestorm.
In perusing the video comments, there seems to be no in-between ground in people’s opinions- they speak of all-out admiration or seething hate.
Some made the point that, as both an actor and musician, Leto paid tribute to Cobain in the best way his unique combination of abilities could offer. Others felt that Cobain as an icon is sacrosanct, and Leto’s characterization of him, no matter how erstwhile or well done, was nothing short of heresy.
Some just worship Kurt…or Jared.
Some just hate Jared…or Kurt.
But NO one has NO opinion. And therein lies the genius.
In Hollywood, where “there’s no such thing as bad PR” is a popular phrase, this then can be seen as a coup. Had the world at large LOVED the video, they might have viewed it, and shared it with a few friends. But the cyberworld loves few things more than to HATE. Rebecca Black proved that in spades a few weeks ago. She rode waves of hate right into (dubious) stardom.
Furious Nirvana fans flooded Facebook, Twitter and inboxes with links and expletive-flled rants. Leto supporters took to their timelines to defend their man. Site after site posted the video, along with the obligatory snarky commentary or accolades. Attention was paid. (Even here:). The sharp division between viewers’ reactions ensured debate would not only occur, but continue…and keep both artists in the public’s literal and metaphorical eye…at least for awhile.
Perhaps this kind of ‘cyber love/hate’ will cause artists to be more fearless- when there is seemingly nothing to be lost from the public’s scorn, and only gain to be reaped from controversy, maybe we will see more experimentation and greater artistic advances.
Or we just may have more crap to hate.