Music / The Internet

Digital Media is not a Mirage: Thoughts on Paper Mag’s Interview with The Lonely Island

“There’s a whole generation of people that are like, ‘If it’s not on YouTube, it doesn’t exist.'”

This quote from Andy Samberg is supposed to be a big revelation.

In Paper Mag‘s recent  feature “The Lonely Island Guys Prove Once Again Why They’re the Internet’s Biggest Stars,” the author makes the rather unnecessary or at least dated argument that this irreverent bro pack is the proof of concept for the Internet we’ve all been waiting for.

I think they call this post-Irony?

I think they call this post-Irony?

Is it surprising to anyone else that entertainment on the Internet whether in print, video, or other forms needs to constantly validate itself as a real thing? Thanks Paper Mag – as an online magazine* I’m sure this was a totally relevant piece for you.  Explorations like this article into the totally implausible wonders of internet fame seem unnecessary because it’s not really a debate in my mind, and I’m even about 8 years too old to be considered a “digital native.” However, the photoshoot did speak to this discrepancy between the continuing resistance by maybe the Industry but also maybe a lot of humans with whom I don’t interact on a regular basis to the undeniable ubiquity of digital content.

I guess what surprised me here was that this retrospective piece on the wonders of YouTube came from Paper Mag, whom I generally consider “hip and with it,” and not like, Rolling Stone, who seem to constantly need to re-prove their relevance; this is an issue I have with the reporting, not the subject. People get Internet famous and then Real Famous all the time and making a distinction at this point seems like a formality. This shrinking gap between let’s say crowdsourced fame and Industry-approved fame is actually what TLI themselves argue in the interview – but is not the stance of the piece itself, which is where all this righteous indignation on behalf of New Media is coming from. The author felt the need to distinguish the article’s stance from that of its interviewees to make a position on entertainment & the internet that isn’t that revolutionary  in 2013 sound  so (which it doesn’t).

Anyway this is getting too angsty. I actually really liked the article mostly for the photoshoot, but also for the look into these guys’ careers, how their miraculous YouTube fame came about, plus, their love of classic hip hop, and funny glasses. But anyway, have a look, wax nostalgia on some claaaasic YouTube moments, and ponder who and what are the people who are pushing comedy forward.

Got dat finger on the pulse.

Got dat finger on the pulse o’ pop culture, yup yup.

*Ok Ok they are originally a print magazine and you can get it here. Maybe this piece has something to do with their conflicted identity as both print and online, having been born into the world at just the pre-dawn of the digital era? (1984). For the record, I love what you do with your mix of irreverent writing and relevant pop culture news, Paper Mag. I promise – I follow you on Twitter!

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