I’ve always loved remix culture and in early 2009 it was having a moment. The Internet was appropriating and mashing up every piece of pop culture they could find in the hopes that something interesting would come of it. I made something that kinda blew up and became a meme.
I saw this on YouTube, which cut 1980’s Brat pack movie scenes to Phoenix’s catchy new song, Lisztomania.
I was mesmerized. It was totally trivial, yet a surpisingly touching tribute to the 80s. I couldn’t get it out of my head and I must have watched it 50 times within the first two days. By the third day I was convinced I needed to make a tribute video to this tribute video to keep this meta-joke going. On the fourth day, I grabbed some friends, gave them a case of wine, put them on a Brooklyn rooftop during an epic sunset, and pressed record. I edited it all down, put it online the next day, and titled it the Brooklyn Bratpack Mashup.
Shortly after posting it we started getting video replies on YouTube. The first one said Manila, Philippines Brat Pack Mashup. It was a group of high school kids making a tribute video to our tribute video of a tribute video. It blew our minds. It felt amazing. Shortly after that, we had one from San Francisco...then Amsterdam, France, Latvia, Brazil, Israel, Italy, Spain, Colombia, Australia, Canada, Moscow, Siberia, Kenya, Taiwan, South Korea, Ukraine and and many more. To this day, there are new remixes appearing.
Then, the cherry on top: Professor Larry Lessig, the father of Creative Commons and champion of remix culture, highlighted us in a TED talk called “Re-examining the remix”. Thanks Lessig. I feel internet famous now.
This meme just became hot again after alt-right trolls discovered that NY Congressional Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was in the Boston University remix and tried to use footage of her happy dancing to shame her. I totally endorse your dance moves AOC.
Wired sums it up pretty well with its article That Viral Video of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Dancing Is a Meta-Meme. Check out additional media coverage in Time, WaPo, USAToday, and Vice.