Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Reappraising the Residual, pt. 1

Posted by emmaeled on February 15, 2017

Feb 16th, 2017

Clothing has always been a profound medium through out cultures and time periods, as stated in the essay A Global History of Secondhand Clothing”. What we wear and where it is from conveys a message to those around us. We are what we wear in many ways. Secondhand clothing tells others that we are our mothers daughters or that we love 80’s hairbands and old t-shirts that still smell like concert arenas. Even today in a world where you can buy a haute couture Elie Saab ball gown for the price of Mercedes G-Wagon, there are girls who buy their prom dresses at Goodwill. These girls aren’t shopping at Goodwill because they cannot afford a Sherri Hill gown they do it for the fun, the nostalgia of it. Secondhand, a little rough around the trim, almost comical, but the unique character they possess is what brings these customers in.

When I read the YouTube and Archives in Educational Environments essay I felt that Goodwill was sort of like a platform of different user created content all gathered together. There are several different types of clothing in a goodwill, you can find almost anything you need from goofy t-shirts to wedding dresses. They are created, passed down, sold and sometimes modified, dyed, cropped, or taken apart for trimmings for the new owners personal gain. Much like example given about the student who showed the clip about Hitchcock and not being able to tell it was actually fake. YouTube offers millions of different genres of videos, clips, short films and many other forms of media that it is hard for the internet, and internet users, to keep tabs on where the original came from and how it was first portrayed. It raises questions like, should we be researching every YouTube video we watch to make sure its the original? Why did the reposts go viral if there was already one in place? Who has time to remix 5 minutes of an interview to make it a rap song? I never actually thought how many times I’ve had to google what I was looking for and put the word “original” afterwards until I read this essay. We have to take these extra steps when we look for things to make sure we are getting what we look for.


One Response to “Reappraising the Residual, pt. 1”

  1. katemilner9 said

    Your Goodwill analogy is a good way of thinking about this. By the time an article of clothing ends up there, its lived many lives, which is what feels true of many YouTube videos, if they spread to the level you write about. But in the case of second hand clothes, you say the extra mileage makes them fun and unique, can the same be said of multiple replications of popular YouTube video trends?

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