WKU POP 201

Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Missed blog posts part 1/2 (September 6, 8, 22)

Posted by Alex Malone on November 27, 2016

Also known as I’m an idiot, hahaha wheee. October posts will be up this evening.

Sept. 6: Producer-Audience Relationships and the Moral Landscape

I was ten when my first AMV got muted by YouTube. Thankfully, it is no longer available anywhere on the Internet, but as the first thing I ever lovingly storyboarded and downloaded the free trial of Sony Vegas for, its sudden disappearance on what seemed like a ridiculous pretext left me a little miffed.

Some eight years later, in December 2015, the developers of a freely available Super Smash Bros. Brawl mod known as Project M, which had just months earlier been featured at a tournament with a $9,000 payout, preemptively halted development after taking the possible threat of legal action under advisement. The scene knew this had been coming for a while, but it still rekindled feelings of resentment towards and separation from the game’s developer Nintendo, who are often seen as having taken an openly anticompetitive attitude towards the series since Brawl‘s 2008 release; Nintendo even attempted to shut down the game’s predecessor Melee‘s coverage at the 2013 Evolution tournament, to which the game’s recent competitive renaissance is often attributed.

Many simply attribute the disconnect between the game’s developers and its competitive community to shifts in the development staff or in Japanese corporate culture, and some more optimistic others choose to note instead the relative openness with which the company’s American branch met the tournament scene at the next year’s Evolution tournament. In recent years, the producer-fan relationship appears to have lightened slightly; Project M is still played, even considering streaming limitations and smaller, more insular communities, and Melee continues to grow in popularity more than fifteen years after its release. The next few years look very promising for the scene.

No word on future AMV releases from yours truly.

 

Sept. 8: Oh jesus fuck not more politics.

Well, I have the odd privilege of writing this after the election. So I’ll say this: I am hoping that the Fusion videos we watched in class for this purpose prove to have missed the point. I also have the more bog-standard privilege of being able to think about the consequences of this election without having to fear for my safety or really any sort of attack being made on my lifestyle, and, having calmed down a smidge, I think it’s entirely plausible that the oncoming Trump administration proves to be at worst a massive exercise in mismanagement, and not the sort of thing that embeds itself into the national or global consciousness for the rest of my life. I don’t think the American system of government will do anything so egregious as tank the economy or undo the progress we’ve made on civil rights in the past decade or more. And if either happens, I believe in the American people etc. etc.

Actually, is it possible that some of the material (at least some of the Bassem Youssef videos) is/was just satirizing the media and public furor that this election cycle brought with it? This was probably a fairly simple conclusion to draw, but I think I wasn’t paying attention and/or was on brain-saturation mode from whatever was in the news around then. Although it was the sort of thing that made its message fairly clear at the outset, I think it’s at least plausible to look at it as a funhouse mirror held up to what’s often on CNN or HBO these days.

And can I get a video that satirizes the sexist white-nationalists that I can’t seem to get away from on Twitter and Reddit? I suspect there are already a few, but I don’t really want to go looking for them. It would probably just worsen my mood anyway.

 

Sept. 22: Oh I guess I didn’t need my lunch anyway.

My roommate uses an Axe knockoff body spray. I don’t understand why. It’s certainly not for the purposes of attracting women. It smells terrible, especially combined with the musk he already generates and general shower moisture. One would think he’d be on to this by now. Whatever. I didn’t mean to roast you, Mitch.

The only thing named Axe I like is the Pikachu player. So I bristle pretty strongly at scientific findings that deodorant-type materials are “masculinity enhancers.” I also want to puke at any mention of the word “game” in the context of male-female relationships. I think it’s dumb as hell that the linked article, and any number of people, feel that having a certain degree of masculinity is a prerequisite for a committed relationship. But I’m not in any position to judge other people for their sexual preference.

What I find interesting is how these norms are reinforced by the media in service of a profit motive or something marginally more sinister. I don’t really want to talk super at length about this because a.) I don’t know the first thing about it and b.) this isn’t a gender studies class. But I will just say that the supposed necessity of looking and acting a certain way drives me up and down the wall. Okay.

At least I can sleep at night knowing that I can do someone over the Internet. I like that idea a lot. It gets me thinking about the possibility of certain online communities embracing and interfacing with that idea and okay one person throwing up today is enough I think but that solves so many problems and it’s just such a brilliant idea. You don’t have to worry about your condom breaking. You don’t have to endure the cultural problems that come with people frantically seeking sex in whatever capacity that may be. You don’t even need a camera, strictly speaking. There’s no tacky identity issues to clean up afterwards. I could rant about this all day, but I won’t.

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