Let’s go out and eat hair: Week 5 Digital Story Critique

My digital story selection for this week is the product of lots of exploring and deep contemplation. Upon looking at the remix appendix at the end of Lankshear and Knobel Chapter 4, I noticed a remix type that I hadn’t previously considered: Political Remix. I have been a big fan of bad lip reading videos since discovering them a few years ago during the 2012 Presidential Election and became very excited at the prospect.

ted cruz

Okay, so this photo is obviously a remix too, but I don’t want to focus on that. In fact, I’ve tried hard up until this point to avoid political topics in my academic work because a big part of me considers it unprofessional. Political topics tend to inspire emotional reactions in people and they stop thinking academically (i.e. based on reason and evidence). I have no intention of turning this post into a “dinner table” rant-type discussion of politics. Rather, I shall focus on the kinds of involvement and literacy dimensions in remix below:

Kinds of involvement: This video provides a very effective commentary on American politics. Ted Cruz has vividly established a reputation (I wont say positive) for himself in Washington D.C. and has often been a target for satire and parody. The original videos portray a seemingly wholesome sycophant trying as hard as any candidate to present a positive image. Cruz is shown speaking, meeting with workers, shaking hands, and reading to his children. In the process (and they’ve done many bad lip readings), the author has clearly established a journalistic (or satirical) identity. Everybody (well, almost) has seen or heard of these types of videos and I suspect most people can easily identify the work of bad lip reading.

Literacy Dimensions: The author of this remix has a clear understanding of the political scene and uses the substitute dialogue very effectively. In short, bad lip reading is definitely up on political happenings. With nearly 8 million views, I also think it is safe to say that this is a topic that appeals to lots of people. By uploading it to YouTube, it is certain to get a lot of attention too (the perfect outlet). Furthermore, it is also clear that the author has a strong understanding of juxtaposition and video editing. It is perfectly edited and the words line up very smoothly. The only way in which the juxtaposition element falls short is the fact that it is limited to dialogue only. With more images and other media to contrast with the footage, this would have been much more apparent.

I am pleased to have found a new kind of remix to critique. Although I did my best to stay away from ranting, I apologize if I did so unintentionally (well, there’s a little…).

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