This Michiko Kakutani piece in the NYT bashing mash-up is stupid in many ways, which you can judge for yourself. (Useful commentary here and here)
I wanted to point out a tangential irritation, however. The notion that mash-up culture is somehow a lower form of art, simply because so much of it is garbage, seems misguided:
To Mr. Lanier, however, the prevalence of mash-ups in today’s culture is a sign of “nostalgic malaise.” “Online culture,” he writes, “is dominated by trivial mash-ups of the culture that existed before the onset of mash-ups, and by fandom responding to the dwindling outposts of centralized mass media. It is a culture of reaction without action.”
In recorded history, 99.99% of all artistic output has not survived the test of time. How many contemporaries did Beethoven have, long since forgotten? How much doggerel polluted newspapers and books, while Emily Dickinson toiled alone? How much terrible early rap music shared boombox time with Grandmaster Flash and Kool Herc?
It is easy to point out the huge chunks of really bad mashup. How, though, do you argue with the good mashup? The great mashup? For every 10000 trivial mashups, there is one chunk of gold, just as for every 10000 terrible sonatas of the 19th century, there was one Appassionata.
Which is a good segue for this: