I liked the new old pop culture from the Internet better.GI Joe: Rise of Cobra or Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, even if they immediately go home to write angry Facebook status updates about how badly the movies sucked.
But Hollywood isn’t the only one digging up pop culture graves. There are lots of others doing it on the little screen.
So on the eve of the new blockbuster release GI Joe, lest we forget the animated GI Joe PSAs. Yes, the ones on YouTube, redubbed and recut from 80s cartoon source material. One of these things takes itself seriously and wants you to like it, the other is a jerkily-animated fever dream, unapologetically bizarre.
The commercial reproduction of art and entertainment used to get philosophers very sad and down about the mouth back when most people had no choice but to consume products of the dominant cultural economy (ack!). GI Joe, He-Man, Transformers… pretty much half-hour toy commercials, right?
But people have been digging up those graves, chopping them up and stitching the bits together to make mutants.
With creative editing, a convincing voice-over, and the uplifting sounds of Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill,” Kubrick’s The Shining is boiled down into a preview for a happy family flick.
Another brilliant mutant is Wizard People, Dear Reader, an unauthorized alternative soundtrack for the entire first Harry Potter film. It’s a linguistic tour de force, out of keeping with a kid’s film, with weirdness, intelligence, and perversity that would never fly in a commercial medium.
Another example: Commander Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation takes up painting. His work is the most wretched stuff deviantart.com has to offer. Geordi deactivates him and he’s jettisoned into deep space.
Don’t remember that episode? All it took to make was patience, editing skills, a Star Trek: TNG DVD box set, and a sick sense of humour.
So copyright lawyers, focus groups, and censors stand clear; people know how to talk back to their flickering screens now. And mass media is so much better when it’s two-way.
– Michael Collins
Links mentioned above
Best of the GI Joe PSAs
“Wizard People, Dear Reader” (all 30-something chapters queued up, hence tinyurl.com instead of huge insane youtube url)
ST:TNG Episode 10: “It’s Not Lupus.”
Other things which might be pertinent / of interest:
Bert and Ernie perform “Ante Up”
Similarly, Miss Piggy performs “Fuck the Pain Away”
Live action My Little Pony trailer
Christian Bale’s on-set freak-out, remixed most wonderfully
MacDonald’s Japan ads, chopped up. May fuel nightmares. Worst/best of all.