Residence: USC, from Portland, Oregon
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/18/15
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Chinese
ABOUT THE INFORMANT:
My informant is a senior graduating this semester from USC. He is a biomedical engineer, and is the oldest son of two immigrants from China.
“Okay so first of all I have to start this one by saying there is obviously nothing funny about rape, sexual harassment, intruders, and whatever else happened here. That all said this is hilarious.
So I guess that this started by a news, like a news report, or cast, like a newscast that went viral. I guess this guy went into this family’s house, and then she like saw him or something and ran away.
But that all doesn’t really matter. The part of the story that is important is that they interviewed the victim’s brother. And right away he comes on screen, he just stands out. It’s just really funny. He just gets into the camera, basically calling out the guy, “You are so dumb. You are really dumb, fo real.”
“Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, and hide yo husband, because they raping everybody out here.” He’s so matter of fact. And animated. It is just perfect.
So I think that the video went viral. And then this group took it, auto tuned him, threw a beat over it and remixed it into a song. Which I actually think is kind of catchy. Like you definitely start bobbing your head to it.
But it also kind of makes it a little bit more emphatic. Like he looks less ridiculous now. It was almost always meant to be a song.
So then that went viral. Fast forward hundreds of millions of views and a few years later, and I’m watching that new show, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”. It’s on Netflix. Tina Fey made it. And the intro, like she basically, not Tina Fey, this other girl, Erin from “The Office”. She was kidnapped as a girl. That’s the premise. So she got taken by this guy, who is like a cult leader. And so she is thrown into this cult where he brainwashes them to think that the world has ended. So the intro is them being found. Like by the police. So the beginning of the first episode is them being rescued, and then it cuts into this newscast. Where they go to interview the guy who found them, who is like just as animated as the guy from this video.
But then the video starts getting like remixed. Just like this. So then the theme for the show is actually a remixed version of the news coverage from the show. Which of course brought me back to this guy. And so I Youtubed it again. And I found their channel, and I saw that the guys who made this, actually made that video too. So I thought that was kind of cool.”
This is unique because it is an example of how folklore actually infiltrated into the mainstream. After doing some research there was a video of the “interview” of the character from the television show who is remixed. Meaning that the writers probably wrote the script for the interview, and then really gave it to the makers of the other songifyed videos and let them go to work, which is kind of cool.
The original of course is a mashup in that it is someone on television news being remixed. Who is the owner? Who is the genius? The man, the music, or the producer for choosing to interview him and keep him on air for that long? It really it could be argued any of them are. It is interesting then that the television show, which is on an entirely online streaming platform, Netflix, chose to tap into this internet folklore. It is savvy to attract the younger viewers, it’s catchy, and it is true to how it is that we interact with news stories like this normally.