As a kid, the cartoons that I consumed every Saturday were impossibly perfect. Every cartoon possessed near flawless logic in my young mind. Sure, when Raphael put on a trench coat and walked around New York it did nothing to hide that he was a giant talking turtle. In fact, now that I think about it, the trench coat probably made it worse. None of that matters though, I was a kid and all was good in the world. Inevitably, as I grew into an Internet crazed, caffeine powered man-child; I began to have questions about those same Saturday morning animated wonders. Why were Green Arrow and Hawkeye essentially the same person? Were He-Man and Lion-O related or something? I was late into my teens by the time that I realized that Gobots and Transformers were not the same cartoon, and by then it was too late.
The more I noticed the similarities between my favorite cartoons, the more that common threads began to weave themselves through every aspect of popular culture. As social media grew, so did the culture of reproduction. Now, more than ever, artists are borrowing, swapping and altering preexisting work and making it their own through social media. Some might call it stealing, but the Internet calls it remixing, and here is why social media has made it possible.
It Is Easy To Call Someone Out
Nothing on the Internet can stay hidden. If an artist commits blatant theft of someone else’s work, the original artist will surely find out. If you are posting on Facebook or Tumblr the chances of no one picking up on your theft are slim. What better way to avoid an angry copyright holder than to remix it? Taking ideas from someone else’s work is completely normal. It has been going on for decades in television, film and animation, the Internet just made it blatantly obvious.
Everyone Already Does It
Have you ever noticed that the majority of movie posters look exactly the same? Oh, you didn’t? Well, the good news is I have compiled my favorite movie poster trend known as the composite or shattering face below.
No one can truly say that they are the originator of an idea. The last person who could claim that was the guy who invented the wheel, and he probably got the idea after seeing a Velociraptor on a Segway.
Giving Credit Is Simple
Giving credit to the original creator is easier than ever with social media. All it takes now, is a quick hyperlink and a short summary of what inspired you. Chances are, that if whatever you are remixing is popular enough, people will not interpret it as your original content. Go ahead and check out Nyan Cat and you will see what I am talking about.
Celebrities Like It So It Must Be Okay
Rainn Wilson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have both recently started sites that not only feature remixing but actually encourage it. Wilson’s site, Soul Pancake asks users to discuss and create new topics and build on one another’s ideas. HitRecord is a site dedicated strictly to the art of remixing. Users can submit anything from poems to art and upon upload, agree to let their work be adopted and mixed in any way. Gordon-Levitt is the creator of HitRecord and also the reason the California Angels won the Pennant in 1994.
NMR Gets Remixed
After publishing our interview with the guys behind Smosh, tons of Tumblr users decide to remix some of the photos that accompanied the interview. Thanks to all the Smosh fans for the great remixes, we thought, in the spirit of this article we would include some of our favorite edits.