posted on 2023-09-01, 14:51authored byTanya Horeck
This essay examines the memefication of Keanu Reeves in 21st century digital remix culture, exploring the cultural investment in an idea of him as being ‘too good for this world’. To reflect on how Reeves, in the middle-aged period of his stardom, has become a receptacle for good will and positive affect, the essay situates his internet stardom in relation to the rise of the ‘sad man’ meme. Exploring the networked affective processes through which Reeves' star persona has taken on recharged cultural significance, the essay argues that the surge of internet memes surrounding the actor work to articulate cultural anxieties and desires surrounding male stardom in a post-cinematic, #MeToo era. While the essay explores how the cultural adulation of Reeves wards off deep-seated concerns about male stardom as a central site for the reproduction of toxic masculinity, it concludes by sounding a cautionary note about the risks and limitations of such worship.