Thursday, August 12th, 2010
21

Man Explains Joke To Other Man Who Claims Not to Get It

Art is anything you can get away with"While I really can only speak for myself–and, to an extent, for my friends Josh Cagan and Storm DiCostanzo, the other two initial developers of the meme–I would say (hopefully in a slightly more civil manner than a couple of the other commenters) that these cartoons weren't intended to be seen out of the context of the associated hashtag. So that you couldn't *not* know that they were Kanye West tweets–just like you couldn't not know they were New Yorker cartoons. And as such, they're not *intended* to be funny outside of that context/label, because the humor is entirely *based* in the context, and not in some innate "meaning" beyond the mashup itself. If any of the mashups ended up being "actually" funny outside of that context, it's mostly by accident, at least on our part–because even the best matches between caption and image (a couple examples: http://twitpic.com/2bbn1a / http://twitpic.com/2b19sl / http://twitpic.com/2b1cci ) were still only mildly funny without the context. So we instead mostly concentrated on mashups that intentionally *didn't* match well (the example you posted above; others like: http://twitpic.com/2b17f4 / http://twitpic.com/2b0yi2 ), the humor then being the incongruity of New Yorker cartoons' traditional measured, aloof, wry tone and Kanye's stream-of-consciousness, raw, unfiltered Twitter musings. The vast majority of followers of the meme on Twitter seemed to inherently understand this. Put more simply: Twitter, the hashtag, and knowledge of both Kanye's tweets and New Yorker cartoons basically *are* "the joke" (to grossly mis-apply McLuhan, "the medium is the message"); to divorce them of that context and then accuse them of not being funny is inherently unfair."
-Paul Sabourin, originator of the popular Kanye West Twitter/New Yorker cartoon mash-up meme, defends his creation against accusations of humorlessness made by an actual New Yorker cartoonist. It's the kind of Internet-only debate that makes you wish everyone, including yourself, were dead illustrates the vibrancy of this new digital culture in which we all participate.

21 Comments / Post A Comment

mjfrombuffalo (#2,561)

I think he should have used more **** and ((())) in his explanation.

gumplr (#66)

Can't we all just ))(( forever?

saythatscool (#101)

Kanye says "My wife is a slut."

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Not to get into Kanye semantics, but I believe he called her a whore.

roboloki (#1,724)

how does kanye know stc's wife?

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Because she's a slutty whore.

djfreshie (#875)

It's Kanye at the complaint department. He wishes he was taller. Don't you get it? It's not a normal complaint.

Can we get Sabourin to explain other memes to death? Like demotivational posters?

I also hate when people over/mis-use "inherently" and "innately." Especially "inherently." It's not a term of emphasis people!@@!@@E#

katiebakes (#32)

Maybe Sabourin should explain each actual NYer cartoon.

Mister_Neutron (#5,921)

John Kerry Ruins Your Favorite Jokes: (starting @ 4:45)
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-october-23-2008/gaffe-in

Hamilton (#122)

Christ, what an asshole.

Slava (#216)

Ha!

KarenUhOh (#19)

The same device, deployed with David Remnick's Twitter account, has been universally hailed as hilarious.

Joey Camire (#6,325)

Subscribe.

dado (#102)

Wake me when anyone's twitters are illustrated with the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.

C_Webb (#855)

Is it just me, or is Mankoff equating "incongruous" with "black?"

sigerson (#179)

"The Overthinking of Unimportant Issues" — from Paul's comment — this is the new title of my memoir, which is dope.

NinetyNine (#98)

Fusilli, dog, internet, etc.

yasdui (#244,930)

While I really can only speak for myself–and, to an extent, for my friends Josh Cagan and Storm DiCostanzo, the other two initial developers of the meme–I would say (hopefully in a slightly more
mushrooms

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