Galactica: Sabotage smash-up

Wired reports on Katie King’s excellent video Galactica: Sabotage, a kind of mash-up/homage to Spike Jones’ video for the Beastie Boys’ song Sabotage.  The new video substitutes clips from the recently ended Battlestar Galactica series, but in a way that almost perfectly tracks the images from Jones’ original video.

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the original and new video.

I’m glad to see that nothing (yet) has been done to try to take down the video.  The video also makes me wonder about what we mean when we use the term “mash-up.”  As far as mash-ups go, Galactica: Sabotage is dissimilar to Danger Mouse’s mash-up classic Grey Album, which juxtaposed music samples from the Beatles’ White Album with vocals from Jay-Z’s Black Album.  In such a mash-up, you simultaneously hear portions from both sources.  It’s music with music.

However in form (but perhaps not function), Galactica: Sabotage is different.  Same music, but new video clips substituted for the original.  Perhaps such mash-ups by substitution are more like “smash-ups,” i.e., substitution + mash-up.  Like the Grey Album, there’s still juxtaposition, but the juxtaposition is provided by what’s absent rather than by what’s present.

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Musings on the Shatman

I have to admit that I’m an unabashed Star Trek fan. (Not a surprise, I suppose.) I recently read William Shatner’s new book, Up Till Now: The Autobiography (co-written with David Fisher). I highly recommend it. It’s well-written, informative, and witty. Shatner alternates between self-effacing charm, unabashed pomposity, and a gleeful hawking of goods available through his website. At times, the book is poignant, such as when Shatner recounts early career disappointments, the break-ups of multiple marriages, and especially the tragic accidental death of his third wife, Nerine.

Among other things, the book details Shatner’s efforts at being a recording artist. In his records, Shatner doesn’t really sing; instead he speaks the words dramatically. His recent recording effort, Has Been, is actually very good and includes musical talents such as Joe Jackson, Adrian Belew, and Henry Rollins. It was well-received by reviewers. (Over 200 readers on gave it on average 4.5 stars out of 5.)

But as Shatner’s book recounts, his earlier musical efforts were not well-received, such as his infamous cover of Rocket Man at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards. Shatner also discusses his cover of The Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, which I do think is pretty darn awful.

Below is a wonderful YouTube parody mashing together Shatner’s cover of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds with images to gently mock Shatner, Star Trek, and The Beatles (as well as Lucy Ricardo and Lucy Van Pelt):