MASKS look terrifying at the best of times. View them in fade black and white and they look macabre. The wearer instantly looks like they are up to no good. Episodes of cartoon show Scooby-Doo routinely ended with the criminal being unmasked. Why did Michael Jackson dress his children in masks? Paris Jackson said: “I was really confused. I didn’t get why I was wearing a mask.” Masks don’t make you ignore the wearer; they make you stare. What’s beneath it? A death mask, made from a facial impression of the recently dead, is disconcerting. It’s the person stripped of all signs of life. The mask makes you see what isn’t there.
Masks can work as a device. The Rubberbandits are an Irish comedy duo who wear masks made from plastic bags. They are very funny. Their song Up the Ra invites the coward to give it up for heroes of the Republican cause, like Ayrton Senna, Sharon Stone and R2-D2. Here, the masks give them freedom.
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