International Communication

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Some concepts que me gustan

For this blog post, I would like to go back to some of the concepts we've previously discussed, simply because some nice discoveries compel me to do so. In the last few days, I've seen a few nice examples of (1) hybridity and (2) participatory culture.

The first one is a mix between Latin American culture and cyber culture, which is highly influenced by American culture. It's the “Me gusta” video, which uses the Venezuelan song “Me gustas” and pairs it with the “Me gusta” face from the Rage comics. For those of you who are not too into cyberculture, here's some examples of rage comics and some explanations about them.

Me gusta is a Spanish phrase, which English speakers on the net have appropriated and paired with that weird face. But these Rage Comics are widespread, and there are Spanish versions of them. For example, there's a Puerto Rican group on Facebook called Partido Trolinista Revolucionario (Revolutionary Trolling Party), which creates and shares a lot of these. In fact, their logo is a mix between the Me gusta face and Che Guevara. Underneath it says: “Che gusta?”. So Spanish speakers have retaking the phrase and appropriating the face. Yet, they're still able to share the joke with English speakers because they added subtitles that perfectly go with the song.

These are also an examples of participatory culture. In the case of the video, the creator took the images (which have no copyright and are freely available on the net) and a portion of the song, and made a creation of his own to share with other users. The Partido Trolinista also represents an example of this. It's the sort of satire that one of our papers was talking about in the context of China (though, obviously, we do not have the same censorship problem). Those who in other times would have been consumers of satire are now also producers. It's a great tool of empowerment and political speech.

My last example is this fan movie that was posted on MTV recently. Great example of participatory culture! Sailor Moon is a manga and anime that was popular in the 90s. With a $5000 budget, Elana A. Mugdan made a 20 minute film based on the manga that even has an IMDB page. According to the page, the money came from fans around the world and the producers' personal savings.

These are fascinating examples of how far consumers' imaginations can go with the aid of new technologies. They also show how the Internet is a meeting place for different cultures, but also a place where they converge, remixing and transforming some of their elements.

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