Remixing and the Discovery of “Gizoogle”

“What the heck is Gizoogle?!” Is the question I asked my roommate when he mentioned it. If you haven’t discovered it yet, prepare to be amazed and enthralled.

A variation of Google, Gizoogle acts as a search engine… only in a much different way. Let me give you an example. Taken from a personal piece of my own writing, a paragraph normally reads:

“As a student of literature, I admit to knowing very little about most aspects of science and math. That’s why, when my electrical engineer friend began explaining how currents work, I expected to be lost. Surprisingly, however, he mentioned something that I could relate to: abstract notions.”

However, when you search that specific blog post on Gizoogle, it then reads:

“As a hustla of literature, I admit ta knowin straight-up lil bout most aspectz of science n’ math. That’s why, when mah electrical engineer playa fuckin started explainin how tha fuck currents work, I sposed ta fuckin be lost. Right back up in yo muthafuckin ass. Surprisingly, however, he mentioned suttin’ dat I could relate to: abstract notions.”

Hilarious, right? After exploring Gizoogle to the point where my eyes were brimming with tears and my face hurt from smiling (my favorite search so far has been the biography of the Pope) I began to think about the implications such a website would have.

We spoke this week about notions of remixing, and Gizoogle does just that. It remixes our language, no matter how scholarly or intellectual, and changes it into something almost unrecognizable. It takes any website, article, or anything searchable online and completely alters the dialect in which it is originally presented in. Sasha mentioned in his most recent post that in class, we have discussed to a great extent the separation between old and new forms of scholarship, and how there is a deep set anxiety in older scholars of the gradual irrelevance of professionalization.

Lessig asks in his article, “Why is it ‘weird’ to think that you need permission to quote?” He answers this question by suggesting that “writing is the ultimate form of democratic creativity… [where] everyone within a society has access to the means to write… The freedom to quote, and to build upon, the words of others is taken for granted by everyone who writes”(Lessig 52-53). The main difference between Lessig’s version of remixing, and the remixing done by Gizoogle, is that the remixing in his example stays inside the realm of the scholarly.

While I don’t anticipate scholarly works falling victim to such phrases as, “As a hustla of literature”, this anxiety towards irrelevance and declining professionalism found in the Keen article, and in older scholars, resonates to an extent in things such as Gizoogle. What if someone was unaware that the specific piece of writing had been filtered such as it had? While the permalink clearly states in the altered version that it is a product of Gizoogle, the actual page is not altered at all. The layout is the same as the original. The name (in this instance, mine) would still be attached to the work and could ultimately cause unassuming readers to form an incorrect view of the author/scholar. The rise of internet scholarship, proven through Gizoogle, forces us as scholars to have a much more observant eye.

If you haven’t played around with Gizoogle yet, I suggest you do it. Maybe not for academic purposes, but definitely for a few laughs.

*Note: My sincerest apologies for the crude language used in this post. But it’s okay, it’s in the interest of scholarship.

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One Response to Remixing and the Discovery of “Gizoogle”

  1. cleda.choi says:

    I agree with Emily and think Gizoogle is a really cool example of a remix that plays with our notions of language and authorship. I would like to add that the quotations from Lessig, which Emily cites, seem problematic, perhaps overly idealized. The freedom to write is not a universal one, especially outside of the Western world but also within our society as well. I also agree with Emily’s assertion that Lessig’s scholarly context perhaps insulates him from the far-reaching consequences of his contentions.

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