Intertextuality and Mainstreamed Media Activism

I’m currently reading Barbara Warnick’s Rhetoric Online: Persuasion and Politics on the World Wide Web, an insightful look at prominent communication strategies used online. Warnick highlights one of my favorite Internet parodies, Jib Jab’s “The Drugs I Need, as an exemplar of how a discourse with a high degree of strategic intertextuality can “appeal to as many audience orientations as possible” (114). What I find compelling about this claim is that, different than the kind of intertextual mainstreaming that a lot of television employs (e.g. see George Gerbner’s Cultivation Theory) — which steers clear of producing controversial appeals in order to appeal to as broad an audience as possible — this form of Internet media activism is able to aggressively target the drug industry through a mainstreaming strategy that does not lose its critical power. See the classic video below. The Drugs I Need