Okay, so by now we’ve all seen Liam Kyle Sullivan’s 2006 video “Text Message Breakup” (and obviously if you haven’t, either get on YouTube and see it or get ready to get otherized) I think it’s an important video, so I want to try to unpack what exactly it does and how it does it.
The first thing I want to point out is that with “Text Message Breakup,” Sullivan is telling us a story about ourselves. In particular, TMB tries to articulate some shared cultural norms. It does this overtly and definitively for some norms (the most obvious one being “you can’t text message breakup!”) and more subtly and tentatively for others. It defines an in-group, both by opposition