[ by Charles Cameron — bemused by all you young people ]
Kim Kierkegaardashian is exactly the right amount of Kardashian for me to allow into my life. It’s a twitterstream consisting entirely of combination authentic Kardashian soundbites and Kierkegaard quotes, and it’s usually hilarious.
JM Berger‘s tweet, by contrast, sets out one version of an aesthetic principle which seems to underlie much of today’s culture: mixing pop-reference in with serious culture, for serio-popular effect.
Bashar al-Assad‘s supporters do this, aligning their man with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Salafi jihadists likewise, borrowing footage from the Lord of the Rings. Dan Drezner does it — using zombies to discuss international politics — and wins an Association of American Publishers honorable mention for the 2011 PROSE Award in Government & Politics. Kim Kierkegaardashian does nothing else…
Has this sort of hi-lo-brow mixing always happened?
L’homme armé was a French pop song from the 14th or 15th century, its melody used as the basis for Masses by composers from Dufay and Okeghem to Palestrina — and thence to Peter Maxwell Davies in our own times:
The man, the man, the armed man,
The armed man
The armed man should be feared, should be feared.
Everywhere it has been proclaimed
That each man shall arm himself
With a coat of iron mail.
It must be noted that some believe the “armed man” in question is the Archangel Michael. His fight, unlike Kierkegaardashian’s, is neither with God nor man, but directly with the Devil.