Wherein unreasonably free time is dedicated to proving Jonah Hill is funnier than you.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Deez Postmodernuts

I've recently encountered two fairly old memes:
1) Lolcode, a "love letter to very clever people who are slightly bored" which is dying as a meme even while I write this.
2) DeezNats apparel[1], in particular, the "Mets Suck Deez Nats" shirt, which is at least a year old in meatspace time.

Both are examples of what I call "the pomo rake bit." Kung Fu Monkey[2] defined the notion of "the rake bit as:
Something that's funny, goes on too long so it's not funny, then goes on so long that it becomes INCREDIBLY funny.

A "pomo rake bit" transcends time and/or space to reference a prior joke, especially a prior rake bit. I advance this neither as a new theory or new phenomenon, but as something I enjoy. Layers of indexicality often elude me in other genres/media, such as musical motifs, literary allusions, and cinematographic styles. Comedy, however, is often brash and immediate; consider that if you reach the proverbial parking lot before you get a joke[3], then it's relatively deep. You are not supposed to need to unpack a joke, and so to have referential rake bits — to have humor that on its face proclaims to always, already entertain — is both comforting and refreshing.

Some people might think that either rake bits are lazy and/or appropriating them under the aegis of postmodernity/irony/unabashed-hipsterdom just highlights the cultural bankruptcy of the contemporary era. We might be so far removed from originality that reiterating a phrase that was tired a decade ago, or making an ever-increasing-array of websites dedicated to games of write-your-own-caption is what passes for clever. I admit insecurity regarding where to demarcate the distinctions between smugness, salience, and stupidity when the object of contention is Star Trek-cum-kittens.

Then I think about would I would do if I saw a "d33z n4+5" shirt: sigh, chuckle, and write a contented blog entry about it. Maybe[4] it's just me.

[1]Why not "DC's Nats"? Too far from the urtext?
[2]I've actually been calling it "the rake joke" for at the past year or so, which is still better than what it's called on the TV Tropes Wiki.
[3]Ron G told a joke once and said, "That's some clever stuff; you gon' get that in the car." How did Ron G not win? Anyway...