I’m finding subtly and digging for meaning two different beasts when it comes to remix works. And this isn’t anything new.
The commentary and narrative arcs found in vids are usually buried so deep that for me, an outsider to the community, I miss most of them. The one posted above is a relatively ‘easy’ vid; it’s pretty accessible.
This True Blood vid captures fan frustration at the character of Bill Compton. Bill, a vampire, is given to us as heroine Sookie Stackhouse’s primary love interest, but he’s a disappointment in many ways: a patriarch, a whiner, and a bore; or to put it another way: bloodless. – Francesca Coppa
Vids (and anything feminine or female-related) are often devalued in online spaces. I try to keep this in mind and follow through on the author’s narrative cues and begin to read into the comments left by a community of creators and scholars who bring a heavy theoretical background to the discussion. And in the end, I’m happy I did. I’m left with a much richer understanding of the author’s intent, the source material and the context. I leave fulfilled.
When I’m watching a remix, I, more often than not, have to dig down deep to find an alternative meaning. Sometimes I feel like I’m digging so deep, I’m fracking. This is a cause for concern. Let me give you an example.
It’s funny and ironic. It’s definitely a remix. But it doesn’t have a deeper theoretical purpose or meaning. (Feel free to prove me wrong in the comments). Does this even matter to remix? Should it?
I posted this “Who’s Afraid Of Julie?” remix before. Originally I thought it was a simple and ironic look at gendered toys, giving voice to female anger. Then I started digging deep into the source material.
The movie Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf? (and original play on which it was based) stunned and outraged American audiences because it contradicted the image of the happy family idealized on television shows like Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best.
The irony of this particular Julie doll understanding you is that none of the couples in the original Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf? communicate to each other and opt instead for excessive yelling and humiliating put downs to relate to one an other. Seen through the context of a gendered toy ad in this remix, we realize how often children are called upon to parent their parents, deal with their anger and negotiate patterns of abuse.
But you have to be familiar with the original source material (Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?, in this case) to grasp this, or any, deeper meaning. For the first remix, Must Love Jaws, all I had to know was that these two main characters weren’t originally animal-lovers.
So how much emphasis do we place on the original source material in traditional remixes like these? Is a remix with a deeper theoretical meaning more valuable? Perhaps my contextual additions to Who’s Afraid of Julie? are mearly a byproduct of numerous Google searches and a late night surge of energy inspired by a delicious cheeseburger dinner.
I’d like to think not.
While we have been taught throughout our early schooling that being subtle is a more desirable quality in creative works, most of us have been turned off by any complexity found in remix and online video works. The ability to bury our ideas and themes, keeping them from being overtly obvious to a reader is valued in Western culture’s creative works, so why not in online video?