Fantasy Ted Talk: Mom’s Spaghetti

I did not do anything classy for this assignment. Instead, I decided to do a take on an old meme that refuses to die.

Eminem Speaking Passionately at his TED Talk

Eminem at his TED Talk, available for use under the Creative Commons Share-Alike 3.0 Unported License

“Eminem knew he had one shot to make himself relevant again. It clearly had him nervous after his absence from the lime light. He needed to be taken seriously, but his downfall was that he just couldn’t stop talking about spaghetti. The audience was expecting him to speak in-depth about how his experiences growing up and as a rapper could inform better education plans nation-wide. Instead, he began his presentation by wheeling comically oversized sized bulk packages of spaghetti onto the stage. He ignored them for the rest of his time onstage, and rapped his presentation about to the beat of “Lose Yourself” while his powerpoint ran in the background. Admittedly, this was a well-rehearsed and passionate performance. He turned an otherwise boring introduction to molecular gastronomy touching through the story of his mom’s spaghetti. His rhymes were in synch with his slides. But none of this makes his performance any less baffling. Even after watching the recording multiple times, we’re still not entirely sure what it was supposed to be about…besides of course, different kinds of spaghetti. The only thing clear after this debacle is that Eminem’s passion for spaghetti may be better suited to a chain of Italian restaurants than to improving the American educational system.”

External Images used:

  1. Bonnie Bassler’s 2009 TED Talk by Steve Jurston under the Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License
  2. Boite’s Spaghetti, uploaded by Arnaud 25 to the Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons SA 3.0 Unported License
  3. Eminem in Southpaw by through Non-profit Educational & Parody fair use

“Making of” after the break.

Making Of

I cleared original presenter and slide out of the image by carefully selecting them and using content-aware fill. I pasted eminem in and used quick-mask mode and the eraser tool to do the majority of the extraction work. I used the burn and sponge (in desaturate mode) tools to reduce the strength of the red light reflections on Eminem’s clothing.

I made the pie chart myself through a combination of the Google Docs Spreadsheet and Photoshop. The powerpoint slide was a mostly transparent image once flattened. I used skew and scale transforms to make it line up with the screen, and then set the layer to Screen mode at partial opacity to get it to blend nicely. The cans of spaghetti were cut out in the same manner as Eminem. I then bent them into shape with a combination of skew, perspective and warp transforms and a reversed sphere distort filter (Filter > Distort > Spherize at -42%) to correct for some perspective and lens distortions.

I also enlarged Eminem relative to the original scale of the presenter on stage to make him more recognizable. I’m not entirely sure if that’s possible since he’s no longer as relevant as he was a decade ago, but I’m hoping the “Mom’s Spaghetti” meme should be enough of a cue for people to recognize him.



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