Sunday, February 21

Anatomy of a meme: Epic Beard Man

Below are random media theory thoughts (b.s.) on a recent viral video phenom referred to as "epic beard man". In other words... most people won't care to read this.


It's interesting to note that the modern phenom of image and video remixing may be part of a higher purpose. Through remixing video becomes codified and formalized as a form of language.

Through viral memes we are identifying / citing / developing a formal video based language combining multiple types of audio and visual information.

This new language is in many respects the same as written, spoken and visual language. However what is most interesting is this phenom in combining different types of language which include literal (i.e. spoken word) and abstract information (i.e. body language) thus becoming a sort of complex meta-language.

If only on a basic level parallel audio visual cues (often pertaining directly to the human condition) are through memes such as "Fail" or the "play it off cat" identified and classified.

It is in a way a game of audio visual "go fish" that teaches us a whole number of things not only about oft repeated patterns but also different universal aspects of the human condition.

What's more there's the fascinating prospect that out of negatives such as the above linked to conflict commonly referred to in the "epic beard man video" and others we can see some evidence that there is potentially a new means for establishing consensus on a cultural / moral code.

To be specific the original maker of the video receives negative feedback that is to some degree from an active organized group campaign called Anonymous regarding her own actions in instigating the fight and and racial tensions. Such statements as "kick his white *ss" and the use of the term "pinky" to describe the white male.

She then feels the need to acknowledge and address through a follow up video those specific issues which others feel are outside the boundaries of some cultural / moral code.

In her response we are seeing how on low level new moral issues / boundaries can be identified resolved and codified.

In viral memes we are seeing a new social phenom. It is the meanings and ramifications of these phenom that I find so fascinating.

Update: On the other hand the visual meme generator is absolutely chuck full of racist comments. :(

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