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No. 779: Making Garfield Slightly Worse

Making Garfield Slightly Worse

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Strip by: Manyhills

{Garfield watches TV}
TV: Let's take a look at the news.
TV: Oh, that's just awful!
TV: Well, it's better than Vista.
Garfield: True.

The author writes:

As Garfield has its throng of reinterpreters, so too does xkcd; I've already mentioned one of them. But the one that has most in common with SRoMG is probably Making XKCD Slightly Worse. There are key differences behind the scenes - the biggest being that xkcd is generally held as awesome by the Internet whereas Garfield, er, isn't - but the products themselves are similar: we see simple joke removal, we see the same patterns of memes and commonly-used strips and remix strips building on previous remix strips until we reach something which isn't actually funny until you're several layers deep and by then it's surely too late... as we had pudding pops so xkcdsw weathered the squirrel, the Kama Sutra, and the subject of this strip (this started with a SRoMG submission, remember? REMEMBER?), the Better than Vista meme.

I first became aware of sampling about a year ago (at time of writing), on 20th May, 2010. Now hang on, you say, how does that work, but I was a child of the 1990s so - despite how much I go on about it now! - I wasn't interested in music at all until well into my teens, preferring video games for my thrills. When I did start taking an interest it was all very rock, mostly vintage, not the sort of thing where sampling would get much of a look in. And then I searched for something on Google and it took me to the blog Popular and it looked interesting and I made a mental note to delve into the archives sometime. On May 20th, 2010, I did, and I saw this piece on "Pump Up The Volume" by M|A|R|R|S, and - though I admit I mostly ignored the text of that post - I looked approvingly at that striking sleeve (that's 4AD's graphic design for you) and I got the song up on YouTube and wow...

The whole sampling thing didn't matter to me at first, what did was that bassline and the slashes of guitar across it, but after more and more listens the construction of the song, how it was built up from lots of bits of other records, fascinated me - you may recall one of the results of that fascination - and I craved more, more of this curious process, whether it be this or this or Christ almighty this, and my obsession with this idea started to transcend one medium and go into found art and subverted art and taking other people's art - for most stuff is art, low art or high art or good art or bad art but art all the same, as long as it doesn't grow out of either of our species' two basic instincts: survival and reproduction - did you, like me, want to punch him in the face every time he used "comics" as a singular noun? - and eating it and using it for whatever you wanted, whether that first art was a song or a painting or a film or a comic...

While it's true that true innovation is a necessary part of artistic progress, it shouldn't be underestimated how much can come from just bashing two things that already exist against each other and seeing what happens...

...all music can only be the sum or part total of what has gone before. Every Number One song ever written is only made up from bits from other songs. There is no lost chord. No changes untried. No extra notes to the scale or hidden beats to the bar.
I guess it's up to you how much of the above you read as inspirational, and how much you read as an attempt to justify stealing a lame, overdone meme from another webcomic and bringing it here. I suggest all as both. Do you get the idea now? :)

Original strip: 2011-05-11.