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The clock “Tik Tok”s on the remix culture

It seems a deluge of examples have come to the fore in the last few days of what Professor Lawrence Lessig calls the Remix culture. Zeitgeist examined the recent parodies / mashups of the brand hijacking of Nike’s enormously popular “Write the Future” campaign as well as the intellectual property implications behind them recently. Last month, The Simpsons, now in it’s 22nd year of broadcasting, opened one episode in a montage using Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” as the background music (see above).

As evinced by the below video, the song clearly made an impact in Israel as well, tasteful or otherwise as you may think it. It shows the power of popular culture to permeate through all levels of society, as well as the inherently democratic nature of content creation today, from hit TV shows to amateur – very amateur – dancing soldiers. They are fun videos but pose a serious question; how are brands or products affected when they are co-opted by something else that gives them an altogether different meaning? The dialectics involved can lead to poor associations. St. George’s flag is currently seen as the banner of xenophobic nationalists in England, and Hitler casts a perpetual shadow over Wagner’s wonderful music. Now, more than ever, releasing content into the public domain means you are immediately relinquishing control over the meaning it may take on in the future.