EVERYONE WANTS TO BE POPPY
The first time I heard about that Poppy was through a conspiracy website analysing the illuminati, MK slave imagery behind this creepy and strange YouTuber. After the first video, I found myself, an hour latter, having watched half of her channel. It’s easy to notice that all her videos carry through a similar style, mood and message, drowned over by some hypnotic music. In some videos she lists all the things that make her happy, in others, she expressed worrying doubt on who she is, being loved, whether God exists and the scary but all the while pleasing idea of having numbers climbing higher and higher after her name. Her videos seem to be creepy versions of all the other you tube videos such as “how too…”, “Get ready with me…”, “I apologise…”. She has conspiracies haunting her with symbols such as 3:36 referring to Mars Argo’s video.
Everything is in the name. Poppy’s name is a reference to the fact that she is a Pop singer. Pop being a diminutive of «popular» reminds us of the You Tuber’s main focalisations: being popular, being liked. When she repeats «I’m Poppy» she defines herself by the music she produces. Furthermore, we can see a link between poppy and opium, the hallucinogenic drug. A dream-like atmosphere is emphasised by a hypnotic background sound, engulfing Poppy’s monotonous, sweet voice as she recites mantra-like phrases such as «pink dress» or «I love the internet». This gives an idea of Poppy’s cryptic videos, in no way short of symbolism. Poppy’s videos are directed by a seemingly omnipresent figure called Titanic Sinclair, who has a aesthetically similar You Tube channel. Titanic Sinclair is another pseudonym. His name bears symbolism as well. We can remark the paronomasia between Titanic and Satanic, but also the reference to the gigantic Titans, a name almost describing their most apparent characteristic. Some videos on You Tube analyse it as meaning Giant source of light (Sinclair), being the sun. He would therefore be the omnipresent deity or, consequently the narrator. Titanic Sinclair also directs Poppy’s music videos found on her official Vevo channel as she is signed to Island Records and has released an EP titled Bubblebath. Many articles waste too many lines trying to explain – and therefore describe That Poppy’s videos and channel. Her videos seem random, devoid of any consistent story line throughout the channel. However, recurring themes such as celebrity obsession, voyeurism and fame will begin to surface. The theme I will try to delve into is the underlying question of the alienation of reality and therefore, offering a wider reflection on fiction through the means of the internet.
Poppy loves the internet
The internet is the new scroll. Before the codex – also known as the book – we read and wrote on a scroll. We scroll and swipe through infinite internet pages. The internet is a matrice, a new from of canvas, a it interweaves streams of information, worlds. In the same way that Umberto Eco analyses the text in relation with its etymological root: textus, meaning textile, we can add that videos, even though they are not black letters imprinted on a white page sown along with other pages to form a book, videos are analogical codes forming a structure, a series of codes, transmissions and information, forming a web within a web, contributing to the collection of scrolls forming the internet. This enables us to see where Poppy is situated within this world wide web, which we can liken to a form of universe where galaxies, solar systems create points of gravity, organising units in which people are drawn to. Poppy and Titanic Sinclair have created a form of meta-fictional reflection on how new webs are created, meaning that they have created a world, its space is the internet and it lives within the minutes the pastel pink colours appear on our screens. We can identify this as being meta not simply because some of Poppy’s videos include mise-en-abime, but also because they include references to the narrator (in this case, the director) as Poppy is his subject, she refers to «them» and in one video, we see «the maker», Titanic, in her glasses’ reflection and in another video she asks «what do I say?» while holding a T-Shirt with her brand on it. Poppy also refers to the medium through which she is brought to life, the camera, the internet, You Tube. Poppy’s bio stated that she was trapped within this box, the screen. She only lives within the internet, through her fans, that is why she has a worrying fear of not being loved by her fans.
From this, we can develop one of Titanic Sinclair’s underlying themes: reality and internet being an alienation of reality. It is a virtual reality, being a man made reality imposing itself as a reality. This is why Poppy pushes the possibilities of reality to the absurd, neglecting the codes of reality television feeding the audience’s desire to know more about the celebrity in a need to be reassured that the celebrity is like them, normal and relatable (see Poppy’s video «I like being relatable»). Hence by creating absurd, almost surrealist performance pieces, it is as though Poppy were telling us that this virtual world she is talking to us from is as real than these videos of celebrities filmed candidly. Poppy’s scheme is the opposite of the Kardashian’s, whose lives we can lear into, unabashed, and everything is given to us. An expression that is often used to express this is «we have seen <insert Kardashian> grow before our eyes», in the same way scientists watch lab rats. In this present society where fighting fake news is one of our main concerns, this blurring of lines between what we see as information on the web and what is in reality allows us to reconsider where real life is. Titanic Sinclair, reproached for his arrogant bluntness, reminds his twitter followers that they have lost touch with reality and that is why they pay so much attention to their on-screen personae. By creating these pseudonyms, Titanic Sinclair and Poppy disassociate themselves, creating a dual persona. An alienation occurs when Poppy’s videos are handed to her «Poppy Seeds», her fans, as the videos are no longer hers but are subject to the viewer’s perception. This, in many ways reflects what we duo ourselves on an everyday basis. As social platforms are multiplication of space of reality, we double our lives, create legends (from latin: legenda, meaning what must be read) as we pick and choose what we want to show of our lives. However, who says filters says illusion and disillusion as we see the world through an alternative, artificial light, and who says frame says excluding what we want to hide and creating a keyhole as we guide a viewer through one microsecond of apparent perfection. When I create my Facebook page, I create a new thread within the web, I upload my information creating a profile, an online entity – my virtual self.
After having analysed the medium through which Poppy is diffused to her fans, we shall analyse the matter, the story that seems to sneer us into wanting to believe that this is reality, therefore leading us to reflect upon fiction and the pact that occurs between the narrator and the viewer.
Poppy and the spiders from Mars (Argo)
Titanic Sinclair and Poppy, through their videos, develop a similar story line to David Bowie’s Ziggy and the Spiders from Mars: the overworked famous rock/pop star played by a new comer who gains a cult following by doing so. We never see Poppy trying to be famous, she already is, as she thanks her fans and replies to strange questions diverting from the subject in itself: the music. Miranda Sings, another You Tuber plays with the idea of the regular girl who is under the illusion she is famous, fills her room with portraits of herself. Ricky Gervais’, through David Brent’s character, equally explores a regular guy’s pursuit of happiness as he awaits a public’s approval. These cases are shown as a sort of side effect of reality television shows, who often advertise the lives of relatable people, going from rags to riches, they seem to tell us: this could be you too. What also gives life to Poppy’s world and storyline is the the vast array of conspiracy theorists on You Tube, making videos trying to explain the symbolism found in Poppy’s cryptic video. The very cryptic aspect of Poppy’s videos creates a sense of discovery, finding easter eggs in the vast field of the internet. The fact that both Poppy and Titanic Sinclair’s identities and personal lives are hidden, the viewers are drawn to do the very thing that they seem to criticise: spending hours to find more information about a celebrity.
All of Poppy’s videos are signed in the description with Titanic Sinclair, and upon researching this first clue, you find Mars Argo who seems to be Poppy’s prototype, her original. Most of the videos Titanic Sinclair made with Mars Argo, called «The computer show», have been deleted except for a select few, such as «Delete your Facebook» and a strange, dark video starring Mars Argo on her own. This dark video shows an anxious Mars Argo, threatening to kill herself, and towards the end of the video, blood spurts out of her mouth. Mars Argo’s video can be qualified as being more «hipster» and arty with a whimsical atmosphere than Poppy’s aesthetic reminiscent of Tumblr’s pastel coloured world and obsessively organised pictures, their music is also more interesting then Poppy’s Kawaii infused Pop. Unlike Mars Argo who wishes she were a dumb pop star so the words wouldn’t matter to us, Poppy sings simpler, more repetitive lyrics than those found in Mars Argo’s videos. This enables us to see one aspect of fiction: destroying a world to build another. Fiction, fingere in latin, means to fabricate, it gave fingendi, meaning to sculpt. Fiction is therefore the act of sculpting reality, letting some parts go to make a shape. In Poppy’s video Lowlife, the video opens with her sitting in the same position as Baphomet, you can see more of this sinister creature in conspiracy videos, but the logic found is relevant to our point: solve et coagula: to break apart and reconstruct. This is the very logic behind fiction: break apart the world ans representing it by putting the pieces you (the hubristic narrator) want back together, making the new substance artificial. They break the previous world (Mars Argo) to create a new one, in order to make a new, whole one.
You Tubers such as Yoel Rekt ! describe Titanic Sinclair as a marketing genius, a self generating marketing plan alternating between Mars Argo and That Poppy. He might as well be, and if he is, we fell in his trap.
I’m going to stop my article here, because I’m falling into their game, the very game they criticise in their videos.