Father John Misty Questions Virtual Reality on SNL

Once you see the topic of Virtual Reality on SNL, you know the technology is getting into the public’s consciousness. Saturday Night Live didn’t do a skit, but the American singer, songwriter and guitarist Father John Misty sang about the frightening potential of VR to seduce us. For all our talk about immersion and sense of presence, the flip side of these developments is that

. . . the images have all become real

And someone’s living my life for me out in the mirror

Listening to the song and reading the lyrics, I don’t see it as anti-technology so much as a warning. A warning that we are venturing into a radically new world. A world where we lack the conceptual framework to grasp the blurring boundaries between illusion with reality.

That seductive power of illusion has always been an issue. Think back to Plato’s deeply unhappy relationship to art. We survived so far and we will continue – but only if we’re critically engaged with new media. For those of you who are educators, the song makes clear that there’s so much more at stake than a narrow digital literacy. You better be thinking about the future of humanity.

So enjoy being indispensable. It’s exactly what you’ve wished for.

Virtual Reality on SNL

Here’s Father John Misty’s performance and the lyrics to “Total Entertainment Forever”.  Think about it the next time you put on your VR headset.

“Total Entertainment Forever”

Bedding Taylor Swift

Every night inside the Oculus Rift

After mister and the missus finish dinner and the dishes

And now the future’s definition is so much higher than it was last year

It’s like the images have all become real

And someone’s living my life for me out in the mirror

No, can you believe how far we’ve come

In the New Age?

Freedom to have what you want

In the New Age we’ll all be entertained

Rich or poor, the channels are all the same

You’re a star now, baby, so dry your tears

You’re just like them

Wake on up from the nightmare

Come on

Oh ho oh


Oh ho oh

No gods to rule us

No drugs to soothe us

No myths to prove stuff

No love to confuse us

Not bad for a race of demented monkeys

From a cave to a city to a permanent party

Come on

Oh ho oh


Oh ho oh

When the historians find us we’ll be in our homes

Plugged into our hubs

Skin and bones

A frozen smile on every face

As the stories replay

This must have been a wonderful place


Father John Misty