“Justin Buber,” “Kantye West,” and “Kim Kierkegaardashian”

Screen capture of "Justin Buber." Twitter profile of @Justin_Buber displaying two of his most recent tweets; the avatar shows a picture of the pop singer Justin Bieber with Martin Buber's beard. Text: "Combining the pop stylings of Justin Bieber with the existential wisdom of philosopher Martin Buber / Every actual fulfillment of relation between people, means acceptance of otherness. Get your hands up if you're an out of town girl! / The bullies in the school yard can't take our hugs and our kisses from us -- no! -- for man is undone only by man's own doing."
Open “Justin Buber,” “Kantye West,” “Kim Kierkegaardashian”

These three anonymous Twitter accounts (@Justin_Buber, @KantyeW, and @KimKierkegaard, respectively) all find poetry in remixing the purest expression of high culture, philosophy, with perhaps the lowest expression of popular culture: the pop celebrity tweet.

This is not to disparage the celebrities who tweet about their lives and gather a following of readers so massive that the comparison might drive the best published contemporary philosopher to existential despair. There is simply a great market for persona, and Bieber, West, and Kardashian— whatever other cultural products they create— have carefully crafted and cultivated theirs. Their Twitter streams are simply a quotidian and spontaneous trickle in a veritable torrent of cultural production and media coverage. That being said, these Twitter streams are far from literary productions, though I imagine Bieber and West save their best lines for their music.

Enter the philosopher and pop star mashups, which make humorous juxtapositions of their writings to produce clashes in tone, voice, theme, and intellectual value, while sharing a frame of reference.

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These don’t do the celebrities any favors and even contemporary pop culture seems ridiculous in the comparison. To be fair, remixing excerpts from carefully written philosophical treatises by Martin Buber, Immanuel Kant, and Søren Kierkegaard with spontaneous tweets from artists performing their personae is a mix of completely different modes of writing.

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Aside from their humor, there is poetic interest in these works because from the pun-inspired account names to the schizophrenic tweets, these accounts are born from an engagement with language, its textures, and meanings.

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