🧐 Intertextuality is the way similar or related works integrate with and influence each other. On TV we call it a crossover. On the internet, we might call it insidery AF. Really, it’s a mashup.
Intertextuality is one of the most common themes in meme culture. Memes that play on pop culture references, for example, fall under this umbrella. Ella, ella, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh…? See what I did there? That’s intertextuality. Sort of.
Let’s vibe on some examples, shall we?
Condescending Wonka is a meme that features Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka coupled with text that is dripping with condescension, not unlike Wonka himself. Here, the meme is implying that you are not, in fact, a huge Star Wars fan because you are mixing your references incorrectly. In sum, this meme is calling you a poser.
This example combines the common Wonka meme with references from Star Wars, Twilight, The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter – successfully integrating 5 movies at once while keeping with the ever-present theme of sarcasm this meme is known for.
How Nice Guys™ Think Sex Works
In case you’re living under a rock, Rick and Morty is an animated sci-fi sitcom series for adults that is aired on Cartoon Network as part of their late-night programming. This mashup shows Morty holding a punchcard for how many times he’s treated women with respect, exhibiting the expectation that he (the Nice Guy™) is entitled to sex once he has filled his quota. The text on the punchcard was added later, here is the original screen from the show.
This meme plays on the generalization that (SOME 🙄) men who consider themselves to be Nice Guys™ will express directly or indirectly, feelings of entitlement for the Nice™ things they do for women. They use those things as evidence that they deserve sex, as though they have earned it. Women are tired of this, by the way. Stop. That’s not how it works… That’s not how any of this works!
What we have here is a pop culture reference together with a feminist topic that is increasingly relevant.
As an example of how life imitates memes, this graffiti showed up in Melbourne, Australia which then showed up on Reddit, which then showed up basically everywhere.
Starting to see how this works?
Macaulay Culkin and Ryan Gosling, T-Shirt Bromance
A picture of Macaulay Culkin wearing a t-shirt of a picture of Ryan Gosling wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Macaulay Culkin.
This is the definitive example of intertextuality. PS: Ryan Gosling started it.
Somebody That I Used To Know
In 2011, Gotye released the song “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring New Zealand singer Kimbra. The popularity of the song prompted countless YouTube covers of which Gotye created his own incredible mashup.
😎 I showed you mine, it’s only fair if you show me yours.
I mean, look at my punchcard!
What’s your favorite example of an intertextuality meme?
Throwdown in the comments.
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