Thug Lit

I didn’t choose the Thug Notes; the Thug Notes chose me. Okay, I clicked on the sidebar of recommended videos on YouTube, but that didn’t sound as gangster.

Today, I’ll be writing an appreciation of one of my favorite sources of internet entertainment that also teaches me a thing or two. What started as a preferred procrastination venue quickly turned into a notify-me-every-time-they-upload-a-new-video scenario. I’m talking about the YouTube channel, Wisecrack, and my admiration for two of their brilliant segments. Previously, I have discussed and included some videos from what served as my introduction to the site, the series called Earthling Cinema. Hosted by the thickly-eyebrowed Garyx Wormuloid, Earthling Cinema frequently delves into the “Hidden Meaning” of films by studying the influences of the film and filmmakers, the source material (if there is any), and the philosophical questions pondered by the film as a whole, all the while making humorous quips that riff the film and pop culture. Earthling Cinema is unique in that it views the films it analyzes from the perspective of an intelligent alien race in the far off future who routinely dig up “artifacts” of long-gone Earth civilization in the form of movies of all sorts.

Earthling Cinema continues to churn out some great videos that you can find here.

Garyx and the gang in a galaxy far, far away were the ones who first turned my attention in the direction of Wisecrack, however, a large part of my frequent revisitation is the mad knowledge dropped on all those books we had assigned in high school by the series, Thug Notes, a street smart look at the themes and ideas behind some of the most well-known titles you probably watched the wrong movie version of instead of reading. Whether or not you did read and understand novels and stories like 1984 or Hamlet is not a problem, because the one and only Sparky Sweets, Ph.D. is going to tell it like it is in terms a rags-to-riches rapper would normally use in conversation. Thug Notes is the Cliff Notes we deserve, with detailed summary and analysis in every episode. Starting with a gangsta take on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment in 2013, Thug Notes has snowballed into a force of educated internet critique appropriately sporting the motto, “Classic Literature. Original Gangster.”

Now I don’t consider myself to be an incredibly well-read balla, but thanks to my high school reading list, and occasionally my own interest, I have read my fair share of the stories Sparky has thus far laid down the word for, such as:

As well as:

Julius Caesar


The Grapes of Wrath

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Oedipus the King – the Valentine’s Day episode

Dante’s Inferno

The Crucible


Heart of Darkness


The Scarlet Letter

The Odyssey

Animal Farm


Fahrenheit 451

Of Mice and Men

The Hobbit


The Catcher in the Rye

Lord of the Flies

There is also an interesting influence from a tale in the The Brothers Karamazov in the film The Dark Knight that Sparky explains as only he can.

You can find the complete playlist of all Thug Notes videos here.

Thanks for reading and watching! I hope you enjoy Thug Notes‘ take on these classic stories as much as I do. Be sure to check out the rest for yourself, and while you’re at it, explore the rest of Wisecrack’s channel especially Earthling Cinema. Anyone interested in philosophy should peruse their 8-Bit Philosophy and The Philosophy of series. My interest in their work started with their critique of cinema, but clearly they have much more to offer! As always, send comments, questions, and requests to or simply drop them down below. Roll on back here next week for some mo’ happening humor and knowledge, or at least a paltry attempt at it.




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