There is an MTV “news” video video circulating on Facebook that is an interview with David Bowie. I am surprised they leave it up but perhaps it is like the Kings New Clothes story, only an honest man can see the king is naked.It is a perfect example of Bowie’s genius and part of what gets fans confused. They own parts of his life but can’t swallow the whole.
As Iman says, “I fell in love with David Jones. The other thing is a persona.” David Bowie was a performance and as he got older he got more nuanced and subversive. Yes, he ran into problems at times when he got lost in the story, but that’s what artist’s do. But he survived and continued to jar our perceptions right up until the last.
An artist questions it’s audience. We think he/she is naked, we dress him/her in what we understand, but we only become naked ourselves in our own misunderstanding.
This is the point when we can change, when we can laugh and be open and compassionate because we all are these frail and imperfect beings, naked in what we thought was our brilliance. Like stranded aliens, seeking a home, a definition of selfhood and stumbling on the cost of these things, when we see our reflection.