We’re basically talking about how old people are wrong week to week. Specifically how they are wrong with new media in relation to academia now. Not seeing the possibilities that new media can offer for academia but rather how academia as they know it is being destroyed by the amateurs and “them”. And to a degree they can be right. Shirky, in Here Comes Everybody, has valid opinions to consider about mass amateurism on the internet. I’ve read Village Voice articles that are embarrassingly bad and editorial-less that make it on their blog when there would be something stopping them from reaching print, but journalism in general is a dwindling art when you consider the corporate web of everything on the internet and how this evil corporation owns a website dedicated to “discussions” about how culture=bad. Also, twitter, facebook, and comment sections are nightmares that are framed with other nightmares.
But I’ve been thinking about John Oliver Hobbes and Pearl Mary Teresa Craigie. John Oliver Hobbes is Pearl Mary Teresa Craigie’s screen name. She exists in a pre-internet George Eliot world. She can’t be Pearl Mary. She has to be John. She exists in a sphere where the woman writer is lesser to the larger academic and reading public or these old people who are just getting older. There is an old idea and old structure holding her back. She adopts John Oliver Hobbes to be taken seriously even though she is always satirical.
In this pre-internet sphere, Pearl Mary Teresa Craigie remixes high cultural references. Going through and annotating A Study in Temptations, I’ve noticed every high art reference I’ve annotated is always working under a parodic tone or the high art references are in relation to idiot characters. Characters who are painting their “Madonna” and getting wrapped up in thoughts instead of actually painting a Madonna. The high class has this grasp of high culture, but as it circles into farce, it becomes useless. Craigie is using a vast vocabulary of allusions as a weapon. She is not referencing for the sake of the reference, but for the sake of noting a clear juxtaposition and she being John Oliver Hobbes, smuggles herself into literary tradition and this literary culture. She hacks a literary sphere that would not necessarily allow her. She had to go through more hoops than now. Now she could just blog.
The internet is less hoops. Culture in general is becoming much more democratic. Culture and “getting the reference” is a google search and not a diploma or a moldy house with moldy books. We can use culture as a much more effective tool as old culture grows older and old culture’s restrictions dismantle and rot away and as we use older ideas in new ways with this remixing.
Now we can do stuff like this more effectively.