Why pop culture is stuck in the recycle bin: A conversation with remix provocateur Kirby Ferguson
Kirby Ferguson
September 19th, 2012
01:42 PM ET

Why pop culture is stuck in the recycle bin: A conversation with remix provocateur Kirby Ferguson

Editor's note: Rob Salkowitz is an author and business analyst specializing in the future of entertainment, media and technology. His latest book is "Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture" (McGraw-Hill, 2012). Follow him @robsalk.

"Star Wars." "Raiders of the Lost Ark." "Kill Bill." What do these canonical works of nerd-cinema have in common?

They’re rip-offs!

That is, they pay “homage” – through the wholesale appropriation of scenes, characters, plot structures and even shot-framing - to the objects of their directors’ obsessions. Still, they are all recognized as vastly influential, popular, and, yes, original works.

So maybe they’re not really rip-offs: they’re remixes.

This process of “innovation through imitation” is how most creativity functions, according to filmmaker, TED-talker and cultural provocateur Kirby Ferguson, maker of the wildly popular series of web videos “Everything is a Remix.” And, he points out, the artists and inventors who break through with new ideas that capture our imagination are frequently folks who have obsessed endlessly over the details of whatever genre, style or body of work that captured their fancy.

In other words, they’re nerds. And that’s what made them great. FULL POST

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Real pirates don't say 'Aaaaarrrrr'
"Captain Jack Sparrow," center and "Pirate Bob," right, rest with a crewmate after finding some treasure at the Tybee Island Pirate Festival.
September 19th, 2012
10:46 AM ET

Real pirates don't say 'Aaaaarrrrr'

Editor's note: Here's an oldie but a goodie that we published back in 2010. If you're wondering how to quickly broaden your pirate vocabulary, read on, scurvy dogs. But beware: you might want to venture further into this rum-fueled community.

Want to party with a guy who looks like Johnny Depp? How about carouse with "rock stars" from the 18th century who wear heavy eyeliner, speak the King's English and keep flasks of rum on them at all times?

If the rum runs out, one could always order a beer thusly: "Alesman, me cup be dry as an old woman's slipper!"

In celebration of "International Talk Like a Pirate Day," people all over the world will unleash their "inner buccaneer."

Why pirates? While pirate characters are charming rapscallions (like "Jack Sparrow" from "The Pirates of the Caribbean" movies), villainous but not too scary (like "Captain Hook" from "Peter Pan"), intelligent and even acrobatic (as Errol Flynn was in 1935's "Captain Blood"), the persona of a pirate offers fans even more.

"With pirates you have the carefreeness [sic] of the sea," said Wade Finch, a network administrator for Georgia Tech who cosplays as "Captain Jack Sparrow."

"Of course you have the killing and the pillaging and all that, but we don't celebrate that side of things. We celebrate the happy-go-lucky nature of things being free and the camaraderie of your fellow man like the crew aboard a ship," he said.

A thriving community of pirate fans has turned foul-mouthed, rum-fueled revelry into a lifestyle. FULL POST

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