The internet loves mixing things with other very disparate things. I believe the young people call these combinations “mash-ups.”
I’m so hip.
Snoop Doggs and Little Mermaids. Louis CK and Cathy comics. Tom Selleck, waterfalls, and sandwiches. WHAT ARE ALL THESE THINGS DOING TOGETHER? And yet, it’s hard to argue against their suitability, especially when like DOZENS of different people in different cities on different computers are all, This screen shot from Harry Potter would be much improved by a line from Mean Girls.*
I mean, they ain’t wrong.
LOOK HOW NEATLY THESE TWO THINGS DOVETAIL.
Those pairings are ACCURATE. I’m a big fan of accuracy. And there’s nothing more accurate than these Samuel Beckett Motivational Cat Posters.
‘With a side of kittens’ is literally the only way I can stomach avant-garde French playwrights, myself.
Getting increasingly meta is this Tumblr of Lemony Snickets scenes mashed up with…uh…more Tumblr.
Famous first lines perfectly paired up with rap lyrics is neither on Tumblr, NOR does it have any visuals, so I almost didn’t even click through.
I am the Gastoniest
I would have missed out on gems like this George Orwell/Kendrick Lamar collaboration:
It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen
And if you hard then wreck your car and walk up to my crime scene
(1984 and “Ignorance is Bliss”)
And I’m CRYING at this William Butler Yeats/Run-D.M.C. duet:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
I won’t stop rockin’ till I retire
(“The Second Coming” and “King of Rock”)
Also lurking outside the fumblr forest is @KimKierkegaardashian, a Twitter account that blends the brain-products of Kim Kardashian and Søren Kierkegaard into glorious, mind-bending quotes. “Use one tenth of the power which is granted to you, use it to the utmost. Be the hottest mom in the entire world” is my new motto.
But as much as it is LOL’d at and retweeted, the juxtaposition of so-called “high-” and “low-brow” culture isn’t always played solely for laughs. Saved by the bell hooks is a fairly recent and wildly popular Tumblr that pairs quotes from author bell hooks with stills from a beloved ’90s sitcom and, as one internet writer points out, “calls out the race, gender, and class stereotypes that are perpetuated in much of the popular culture we have been consuming nonstop since childhood.” Much lawls does not preclude a thoughtful interrogation of often-unquestioned subject matter.
And it’s no accident that many of these mash-ups mix otherwise largely inaccessible thinkers with brain candy. Not everyone can charge through Either/Or, but anyone can bite down on 140 characters. People older and crankier than even I am come down on the current generation for a too-short attention span, but every age has its own mode of communication, and it’d be too bad if our great thinkers went unheard because their particular venues had fallen out of fashion.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go slap some Thomas Hardy quotes on Tom Hardy’s pouty mug.
What’s your favorite internet mash-up?
*Totally granted that many of my “literary” examples are screen shots of the film versions thereof, but dude. A Mean Girls quote underneath a descriptive Harry Potter quote doesn’t have half the pizzazz.