Tag Archives: memes

Kanye: Symbol of a New Art

Interesting article in the Guardian (via OzMark17) about how Kanye’s blunder is being mashed-up in all kinds of ways, and how that’s indicative of a growing popular art form (though I don’t think the author, Sam Leith, he calls it art except in the title).

Here’s how I would respond if this were a student paper:

What I like: It’s great, Sam, how you use this overdiscussed Kanye incident to bring up a larger, much more interesting point: the growth of memes in general, including all those over-the-top videos putting new subtitles on Hitler’s rants and one I didn’t know about: “WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS?” Understanding these trends will, I think, do a lot toward helping us understand how cultures of sharing, showing-off, being really funny, and making important rhetorical moves all meet online.

Areas to Improve: You seem unnecessarily interested in the questions of authorship and origination with regards to these memes. You write:

The question that’s always asked about jokes is: where do they come from? They circulate, like funny little ripples in the collective unconscious, but it’s next to impossible to establish who first wondered aloud why the chicken crossed the road. Memes can be traced to their origins, however. And sometimes, like the Hubble telescope peering back to the beginnings of the universe, you can catch sight of one actually beginning.

The question you should ask yourself, Sam, is, “So what?” It seems to me like your concern for who created what is applying an older construction onto a newer art form that thrives in a world of collaboration, sharing, and author-less-ness.  And that’s ok!

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