The canon of great art, as most first-year arts students will excitedly tell you, is mostly bullshit. This doesn’t mean that classic works of literature, film, or music are worthless, but that the rigid confines of institutionally determined lists of “important art” necessarily exclude plenty of important work created (often by anyone who isn’t a straight white guy) outside that institution’s traditional frame of reference.
In recognition of this fact, the internet has cooked up a new meme designed with no other apparent purpose than to gleefully slaughter our culture’s sacred cows through a bunch of intentionally shit-stirring comparison charts.
Consider, for example, whether a single Lady Gaga vocal run has had a greater cultural impact than the American national anthem.
The meme is currently dominated pretty heavily by some of the world’s most devoted fan groups (there are roughly a million comparisons featuring K-pop stars), meaning that, yes, Gaga shows up at least one more time.
Outside the realm of fervent fans, though, the meme really picks up steam. Because they’re The Beatles (and maybe because the doggone kids these days aren’t listening outside the singles often enough), the massively popular band is a frequent target. The classic band is shown coming up short when compared to Lady Gaga’s meat dress, Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi,” Brittany Broski’s very good TikTok videos, and an episode of The Office.
Elsewhere, people are looking further backward in order to come at brilliant composers and Citizen Kane through cultural impact graphs.
The best use of the format so far, though, is wider-ranging than specific musicians or works of art. Free-thinkers, finally allowed to express their full opinions, have weighed in the impact of on sex education policies and the Industrial Revolution against Degrassi storylines and Twitter jokes.
The meme’s all in good fun right now, but don’t expect that to last much longer. The brands have already sniffed out a new trend and, as they’re eager to show, they understand how to use it, uh, perfectly.
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