Why Ridiculousness is Sticky

Ridiculousness

If you catch me sitting on the subway or out running, I am most likely glued to my iPhone listening to some music. I definitely cannot go on a run without having music blasting through my headphones.

When I run, practically the only thing I listen to is mashups. Mashups, or the mixing of different songs with each other, always seem to keep me more motivated than listening to one entire song at a time. Perhaps it is the unpredictability of the music, but I can run for miles listening to some of my favorite mashups.

That’s probably why I find Auto-Tune the News so appropriate to the new ways we receive and discuss news. Auto-Tune the News is a political comedy web series featured on YouTube released every few weeks featuring the ever-popular auto-tune found in practically every pop song. The videos are made by the Gregory Brothers, several siblings living in Brooklyn who have an eye for political commentary and auto-tune. I see Auto-Tune the News the video version of a mashup.

Yes, the videos are a little crazy. Gorillas dancing, Katie Couric singing, Joe Biden in space, and a lot of awkward pauses. But with our retweet and reblogging culture, it is not surprising that music or video mashups, particularly with timely relevance, can become popular. In a time when fans truly define brands, organizations, and even politicians, mashups and remixes of content can redefine or remix a message.

This is exactly what John Palfrey and Urs Gasser discussed in their book “Born Digital.” Digital natives, according to Palfrey and Gasser, are best suited to be at the forefront of finding new ways to express themselves online, and are often doing so through mashups. Palfrey and Gasser say that,

“The creative revolution in cyberspace is not only about who gets to say what to whom. It is about the question of who gets to control the shaping of culture, the making of ‘meaning.”

So, even though mashups and videos such as Auto-Tune may seem trivial, they are truly reshaping how we view music and news creation. Remixes and mashups create new meaning, even when they are at the intersection of politics and auto-tune.

Image Source: Keith Trice

8 thoughts on “Why Ridiculousness is Sticky

  • Great post, Carla! I agree with you on the ipod/mashups bit while running. I do the same thing. The bottom line: people either need to be shocked or entertained. Either way, both are sticky as long as they fall into the right hands at the right time.

  • I think matching the ridiculousness of auto-tune in every pop song with the seriousness or political issues is of shock value- and definitely works judging on its popularity!

  • This is a cool post. It really makes me think. Are there other art forms that are unique to “digital natives”? Are they being documented in any way? Could an auto-tuned Gorilla go triple platinum? Great stuff guys.

  • To me, this is a critical reminder of how important free (as in freedom, not as in beer) licenses like Creative Commons (http://www.creativecommons.org/) are. If the future of content production by Digital Natives is the “remix culture” (as termed by Lessig and others), that it behooves all of us to make our content quotable and remixable, no matter the form (text, images, video, audio, etc.).

    I personally license all of my online content with CC-BY, and my software code with a BSD license (similar to CC-BY, but more explicitly oriented towards software, and without a viral component like the GPL). I'm always glad to see professional bloggers such as you and Stu license their content with CC.

    I'd be interested to see a post from you guys on why you chose the license you did for The Lost Jacket… how it motivates sharing your content, etc.

  • To me, this is a critical reminder of how important free (as in freedom, not as in beer) licenses like Creative Commons (http://www.creativecommons.org/) are. If the future of content production by Digital Natives is the “remix culture” (as termed by Lessig and others), that it behooves all of us to make our content quotable and remixable, no matter the form (text, images, video, audio, etc.).

    I personally license all of my online content with CC-BY, and my software code with a BSD license (similar to CC-BY, but more explicitly oriented towards software, and without a viral component like the GPL). I'm always glad to see professional bloggers such as you and Stu license their content with CC.

    I'd be interested to see a post from you guys on why you chose the license you did for The Lost Jacket… how it motivates sharing your content, etc.

  • To me, this is a critical reminder of how important free (as in freedom, not as in beer) licenses like Creative Commons (http://www.creativecommons.org/) are. If the future of content production by Digital Natives is the “remix culture” (as termed by Lessig and others), that it behooves all of us to make our content quotable and remixable, no matter the form (text, images, video, audio, etc.).

    I personally license all of my online content with CC-BY, and my software code with a BSD license (similar to CC-BY, but more explicitly oriented towards software, and without a viral component like the GPL). I'm always glad to see professional bloggers such as you and Stu license their content with CC.

    I'd be interested to see a post from you guys on why you chose the license you did for The Lost Jacket… how it motivates sharing your content, etc.

  • To me, this is a critical reminder of how important free (as in freedom, not as in beer) licenses like Creative Commons (http://www.creativecommons.org/) are. If the future of content production by Digital Natives is the “remix culture” (as termed by Lessig and others), that it behooves all of us to make our content quotable and remixable, no matter the form (text, images, video, audio, etc.).

    I personally license all of my online content with CC-BY, and my software code with a BSD license (similar to CC-BY, but more explicitly oriented towards software, and without a viral component like the GPL). I'm always glad to see professional bloggers such as you and Stu license their content with CC.

    I'd be interested to see a post from you guys on why you chose the license you did for The Lost Jacket… how it motivates sharing your content, etc.

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