Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mash kicking

So, some time ago, I was readying some observations about the state of mash-ups. Examples of this internet idiom are ubiquitous - you can't go to Tumblr or any pop culture aggregator site without running across one pretty quickly; sometimes two or three pieces in a row will be about mash-ups. The one that kicked off my rumination was this one - "Charlie Brownson" it's called:

I don't get it. After the initial shock of the juxtaposition, what's there? Does this tell me anything? I mean, some mash-ups illuminate one thing by mashing it against another - if I insert the crew of Serenity into the Breakfast Club poster, I am (hopefully) letting you know something about how to see each of the characters. Turning the Justice League into a D&D party says something about the creator's understanding of both superheroes and tabletop RPGs. Turning Calvin & Hobbes into Lex Luthor and the Joker was actually a work of small genius, explicating all four characters.

But this? Charlie Brown's chronic depression will lead him to soul-killing violence? What? What?

As I said, I was readying these observations in the hopes of producing a short essay, but it seems that the watershed has already been reached and all hope is lost. Check this out:

It's masterful, I'll give the guy that. There's about 200 movies beautifully edited together there - that must have taken a lot of work. And his choices were almost all OMG-epic. But to what end? There is no consistency of visual tone or sensibility, much less any sort of narrative energy, even implied. I see that the guy who made this is a trailer editor by trade, and I imagine this functions as part of his portfolio, but I swear it is so po-mo that it makes my ears bleed.

Has it come to this? Do we just want the cool bits of everything thrown in a blender to enjoy without intent, or meaning, or message?

Man, it's enough to make someone want to read a book.

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