This has nothing to do with teaching... but it has to be said.
I watched a lot of Red Sox on TBS over the past week, and I saw the same creepy commercial about twelve times. And I don't mean the Viagra commercial with the randy old guy dancing around his house.
No, I'm talking about the Direct TV commercial based on the 1982 film Poltergeist. By now, you probably know the deal with these commercials: the Direct TV folks, using their way-cool CGI wizardry, can take actors and put them back into some of their familiar roles.
So they insert new footage of Sigourney Weaver into 1987 Aliens scenes, or they take a modern Robert Patrick and have him reprise his role as the evil-liquid-metal-guy from Terminator 2.
Most recently, Craig T. (which stands for "The Guy from Coach") Nelson filmed a Direct TV ad in which he finds himself in the same haunted house from over 25 years ago.
The commercial also reunites Mr. Nelson with that little girl from Poltergeist, Heather O'Rourke, the one who said those iconic words, "They're here."
Brinigng the two back together would be kinda sweet, except for one thing: Heather O'Rourke died 20 years ago, at the age of 12.
Somehow, putting Heather O'Rourke in this commercial strikes me as all kinds of wrong, even though I can't exactly explain why. I didn't mind when Tom Hanks shook hands with JFK or sat next to John Lennon in Forrest Gump. When Celine Dion sang with Elvis on that American Idol special, I was impressed. And I wasn't creeped out when Natalie Cole sang "Unforgettable" with her dead dad. (OK, I'm lying: that was pretty creepy.)
But at least John Lennon and Elvis and Nat King Cole had careers; maybe Lennon and JFK and Elvis died too young, but not as young as Heather O'Rourke. The girl was twelve years old when she died. Twelve. Her career, her life had just begun. (Then again, she was on the last year of Happy Days. Do you think she got to meet Anson Williams?)
I know someone will say I'm making too big a deal out of this, but to me, using the image of a dead child in this way seems so irresponsible, on the part of everyone involved. Yes, in some sense, it's cool that the technology exists to resurrect a person who has been dead for twenty years. But, as always, just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
It's just spooky.