Nothing exists in pop culture without a mutant. Craftsmen have borrowed( or merrily plagiarized) from their peers for centuries, but with the highway meme culture raucously spreads online, every bit of today’s pop art–rap psalms, Marvel attributes, memorable representations from Bravo reality shows–ends up repurposed by fans through add-on. A 25 -second clip from The Real Blac Chyna is reframed as an Oscar-worthy performance on Twitter. Netflix’s psycho-dating drama You learns surprising resonance on YouTube, where it’s morphed into a multi-episode “hood” parody shared in group verses. Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” makes on new necessitate through countless homemade videos. The mutant is becoming increasingly astringent on TikTok, where white teens recklessly lampoon pitch-black culture under hashtags like #CripWalk and #Ghetto. These differences live as fragments, glittery shrapnel in a persistently expanding ecosystem of cultural concoctions, but they also point to how art increases brand-new represent, in both fanciful and lethal access, when it’s modified by others–especially on the internet.
The thing about creating culture out of mutants, particularly when they’re done by devotees, is that the end is never clear or predictable. A song like “Old Town Road” events its first life on SoundCloud, where it’s uploaded. It then catches fire on TikTok, where it becomes a global trend. The veer feeds into another foaming phenomenon on Twitter, The Black Yeehaw Agenda, both now toy off each other. As a arise, other digres digital ephemera are sucked into this eddying body–fashion photos of NBA baller Chris Paul, a random clip of someone’s dad–all of them in conversation with one another. All of them helping to create a larger macro-narrative.