Jonathan McIntosh describes himself as a “pop culture hacker and transformative storyteller”. What he does is make videos. Videos he describes as “political remix”. Of all his work to date, Right Wing Radio Duck is my favourite. The video is made of hundreds of snippets of Donald Duck cartoons from the 30s and 40s spliced together with audio from a modern radio show hosted by American right-wing DJ Glen Beck. Right Wing Radio Duck tells the story of a hard-working Duck who loses his job in a depressed economy. As the increasingly despondent Duck struggles to make ends meet (including his mortgage payments) he starts listening to the Glen Beck radio show. The short film is poignant, funny and a biting political satire on American right-wing rhetoric.
To learn more about the video:
- News story about its reception
- Further information on the video, its reception and a complete list of source materials
- New York Times interview on how Right Wing Radio Duck was Made
To learn more about Jonathan McIntosh the best place to start is his website rebellious pixels (or his Youtube channel). Here you will find all of his videos, as well as a lot of explanation about the works, the process of creating them and why they were made. There is also a lot on McIntosh’s wider interest in political remix video. His YouTube channel includes examples of other artist’s work that he admires, as well as interviews and talks he has given about his work.
What I like about McIntosh’s work, besides the extremely high technical quality, is his great sense of storytelling. Although his works all have a serious point to make, they do so within a well-told story that is usually incredibly funny. Even if you are not interested in the politics they are great little shorts to watch.
McIntosh uses the medium of pop culture – literally – to express how he feels about the world he lives in. He cuts up pieces of media culture and rearranges them to “talk back”, that is to tell alternative narratives. McIntosh believes that he is not “hacking” the medium, but the message. In fact, he uses the conventions of pop media genre like TV drama, commercials, cartoons, music videos, movie trailers, news broadcasts, game shows, TV talent shows, reality television etc., but subverts the embedded cultural and political messages that often get conveyed within the media we “consume”. This message subversion allows his audience to experience the pop culture they regularly engage with in new ways. Hacking the message is what he believes makes his work political.
McIntosh’s next project looks especially interesting. He plans to shift the focus on the Batman. He wants to look at Bruce Wayne through the eyes of Gotham City’s disfranchised. How does the Wayne Corporation look from the other side of the social divide? Is the Batman and the system he protects always right? If anyone should ever doubt how much research and sheer hard-painstaking work McIntosh puts into his projects – this is what is already sitting behind the alternative Batman tale – impressive!
However, it looks like that before McIntosh gets back to Batman he has been signed up to the Feminist Frequency project on tropes in video games. Feminist Frequency, after an extraordinary Kickstarter campaign raised over $US150, 000, but in the process had to put up with the vilest of cyber bullying campaigns. Anyway, despite all the ugly the project looks like it’s well on track to do interesting things. Though, I hope he’ll still have time for Batman!
- Digital researcher profile: Jonathan McIntosh of Rebellious Pixels
- The two-source illusion: How vidding practices changed Jonathan McIntosh’s political remix videos
- A history of subversive remix video before YouTube (Jonathan McIntosh)
McIntosh gives a radio interview - http://www.flickr.com/photos/felipegil/5599691923/
With the copyright monster - http://flavors.me/jonathanmcintosh