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New Media Immaturity

by Ethan Tussey

I agree with the characters in this TV clip that I made: Tumblr, a platform “not not for porn,” is “so ancient.” The clip compiles references to tumblr in two sitcom episodes from mid-February. In the first segment, a stand-alone excerpt from a scene in the Blackish episode “Andre From Marseille” (ABC), Yara Shahidi, playing the hyperbolically popular teenager Zoe, introduces through dialogue Mischa Nixon, someone who “still uses tumblr,” implicitly a dated site yet a point of fascination. Tumblr is dated again in the sequence that follows, a cobbled together thread about media technology in the Looking episode “Looking for Gordon Freeman” (HBO). Andrew Law’s Owen inspires an entrepreneur with a chicken shack straight out of Mildred Pierce and a cache of, as Doris puts it, naked selfies showing your butthole, to use tumblr for advertising.

What about using tumblr for accessible scholarship? For an archive of stylistic historiography? These are questions for a 2015 SCMS workshop titled Making the Past Visible: Best Practices and New Adventures in Digital and Material Archives.

This post, created to promote that event, merges cable TV and tumblr pages representing my research. The first tumblr, timmietoday, repurposes a gif-set-as-article-illustration gone awry. It juxtaposes sitcom writing and editing remnants with animations related to a 1968 series I rescripted in Feminist Media Histories 1. The second, queerpursuits, also explores genderqueer dynamics across print and programming repositories. Zoom in or out, click and drag, flick around and arrange the documents. Together, the tumblrs and clip refigure stigma. The work spotlights disparagement, excessive recovery, crossover, and everyday retrieval.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” “Do you not know what a tumblr is?” “Did you not hear me say that Mischa Nixon still uses tumblr?” My clip, the cut-up slash fiction of a sampling anti-fan, combines with the tumblr pages to index queer multiplicity through new media immaturity. “What do you think of domsjuicychicken.tumblr.com?” “Not not for porn.” “So ancient.”

New Media Immaturity

Quinn Miller's IMR Post "New Media Immaturity" for the theme week Making the Past Visible.

from Blackish and Looking (2015)
Creator: Quinn Miller
Posted by Ethan Tussey
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