Recent Comments

Welcome to Twin Peaks and Pretty Little Liars Signs
Jason Mittell
Dana Och

One element I find interesting about this allusion is how unselfconscious it is, not calling attention to itself in any playful or overt manner. Given that the young PLL target audience in 2010 would be highly unlikely to know TWIN PEAKS, I’m curious how the intertextuality plays for fans. Is this a shoutout to the demographic beyond teen girls, a dog whistle for older viewers who might be savvy to TV history that PLL is acknowledging its own antecedents and offering appeals to the parents of the core audience? If so, it reminds me of the “kidult” appeals that are typical in children’s media, where offering something distinct for parents is a crucial way to secure a family audience (think the parodies on SESAME STREET or sophisticated references in Warner Bros. cartoons). Does this strategy seem to have worked for PLL?

Perin Gurel

That is a great question. I cannot speak to any specific Bernie ads, but since Ferguson where has been a visible resurgence of Afro-Arab solidarity around issues of racial oppression and empire. I say resurgence because this predates the twentieth century (Lubin 2014; Feldman 2015). Of course, these solidarities are both strengthened and complicated by histories of black Islam (Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali etc) and the fact that a significant portion of U.S. Muslims are black even though the popular media collapses Arab and Muslim.

Forest on Twin Peaks
Rebecca Williams

I think the association between the series and the woods/trees is one of the most enduring things I remember. The scenes of the wind blowing through the trees always seemed really creepy and I think also leads back to the horror genre and its use of the woods as a place of potential danger although TP always managed to subvert those more obvious expectations and associations really well.

Forest on Twin Peaks
Ross P Garner

Thanks for this, Karra. The video works well to bring the points that you’ve made to life. Have you seen the new official poster that Showtime has released over the last 24 hours? Seems that the iconography of the woods and forest will remain as important to the new episodes as well.

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak

It is interesting that this ad’s visuals also allude to black communities (both in images of people and signifiers of hip hop and African identity). Does other Sanders material attempt to draw parallels between the oppression of Muslims and the oppression of blacks?

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak

Thanks for a brilliant piece. Indeed non-white male Sanders voters have found ways to connect and communicate outside of conventional channels. At www.traxonthetrail.com we have located a huge number of Bernie-inspired songs, many of which were created by amateur rap artists. Of course rap has served as a form of social critique for a long time, but I cannot think of too many instances where it has been used to praise a white politician. Might there be a “Bernification” of rap on the horizon?

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak

Bernie has certainly inspired more “love songs,” but some videos have offered a love fest for Hillary Clinton as well. There are two parodies of Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom” (2003) that are particularly good. This one was released recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRdyQjSHcJE. Similar to “Talk Bernie to Me,” “Chelsea’s Mom” positions Clinton as a sexually and politically desirable object. We see the loyal voter/fan (Dave Days) follow Clinton on the trail, as well as watch her “tail,” so to speak. (Her backside faces the camera as she gives him a come hither stare while lounging on the hood on a Corvette and leaning over a pool table.) Again, we see a heavy reliance on standard music video tropes with regards to gender representation and visual aesthetics. While conventional in this regard, the video decenters the idea that young, perfect bodies are the most desirable. The song’s narrative takes its cue from the original video (which starred model Rachel Hunter), but offers a twist in the end—the lovesick boy runs to the podium, passionately embraces his mom crush, and ultimately becomes “first man.” (A far cry from the original video, where the boy “relieves” himself in a bathroom while gazing upon his unattainable love.) While I have not seen any recent examples of queer desire, there is of course this gem from 2007, a parody of the Obama Girl video titled “Hot for Hillary:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Sudw4ghVe8.

Perin Gurel

Hi Melissa,

Thank you for this thoughtful piece! The push to consolidate the neoliberal center in this election has been extremely powerful. What is weird to me is how the purported white male-ness of Sanders supporters operates as a part of this rhetoric. I mean, what is more “norm(al)” than a white male? Yet in this instance, white maleness is aligned with the unacceptable margins of political discourse? What is going on?

Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash
Perin Gurel

Hi Ben,

Thank you for this informative post! I have two comments/questions. 1) While browsing the Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash (BSDMS), I noticed a lot of women would make Bernie or Hillary? memes on make-up practices and products, like comparing fancy Sephora eyeshadow to drugstore eyeshadow or badly done winged eyes to impeccable ones. Have you seen these as well? I wasn’t personally able to connect with these since my own make-up experience is prosaic, but I am wondering whether these might be a post-feminist reclamation of the “sexist” meme cycle. 2) Again on BSDMS, I saw a Bernie or Hillary? meme comparing “Memes.” The Bernie box had a green creature I didn’t recognize (obviously I am not cool enough) and the Hillary box had what one might call “a mom meme” with a Minion, saying “Exercise? I thought you meant extra fries.” This makes me wonder whether all memes are “millennial” and dank, or whether these loose millennial communities have begun marking gendered and agist categories within the broader meme category after the meme concept went mainstream. Thoughts?

Perin Gurel

Hi Dana,

Thank you for kicking us off on such an interesting note. There is so much talk about “the enthusiasm gap” between Hillary and Bernie in this election, and the video’s mashing of sexual desire and politics made me wonder what would be an interesting text to compare on the Hillary side. Specifically, your analysis of parody made me think of the scene where the Broad City hipster girls run into Hillary (http://www.cc.com/video-clips/5zgtr5/broad-city-hello—hillary). How do we consider this (staged and managed) spectacle of female-to-female desire with “Talk Bernie to Me”? I think this scene parodies romantic movies and utilizes the dangerous coolness of queer desire to attempt something similar. Does it succeed? Thoughts?