Retro Viral

My best Internet finds, only a few months late.

Tell me if this happens to you, too:

I spend loads of time on Twitter and Facebook. I regularly read great sites like BoingBoing, trying to keep up with the latest, greatest viral stuff that’s buzzing around the Interwebs. So why do I still always feel like I’m way behind the curve?

Sure, I’m up on the some of the stuff as it happens — usually minor hits like the crazy wedding-procession/dance-number that’s been making the rounds in the past week or so. Those sorts of things are fun for a minute or two, but whenever I happen across one of those brilliant, mind-altering discoveries — things that inspire me, improve my view of humanity, or make me laugh until I cry — it’s invariably months after all the cool kids have already blogged, tweeted, and linked the snot out of it.

So I often feel like I’m behind the curve. But maybe you, Dear Reader, go through the same thing — and maybe you, like me, aren’t reading all the right blogs and haven’t seen some of these great finds yet.

So I’ll start with my favorite (late) discoveries from the past six months or so. And you can chime in with yours.


Once I get past the TV clips, shows and music videos, navigating the user-generated content of YouTube usually means wandering through a jungle of vlogs, kids’ recitals, and people singing into their webcams.

Israeli multi-instrumentalist Kutiman managed to piece all of those formless parts into something amazing. Layering together the audio and video from literally hundreds of user-generated clips, he produced seven album-quality songs, each accompanied by a video collage of his sources.

The Mother of All Funk Chords” deconstructs the process just enough to give you a clue of what he’s doing; my favorites (this week, anyway) are “Wait for Me” and “I’m New,” below:

Auto-Tune the News

Auto-Tune is, of course, a kind of electronic gizmo that makes everyone from Cher to T-Pain sound like singing robots. A guy named Michael Gregory somehow got the idea to apply it to clips of MSNBC, Fox News and the CBS Evening News and ended up with music videos, “sung” by politicians and newscasters, that feature things like Katie Couric talking about dressing like a pimp and the recreational smoking of lettuce. Sure, it’s silly, but as Troy Patterson wrote in Slate the other week, the goofiness often approaches a pretty clever level of satire.

Also hilarious: episode 2, “pirates. drugs. gay marriage.” and episode 6, “Michael Jackson. drugs. Palin.

I also asked my friends on Twitter and Facebook, “Quick — what’s the most brilliant thing you’ve seen on the Internet in the past six months?” The first responses:

  • My friend @genmarshall submitted the perversely hilarious “texts from last night” (also known as “TXTS FRM LST NGHT”), which includes allegedly real gems like “Dude, it’s gettin so bad even my fantasies just wanna be friends” and “I just woke up in my car with half the wedding cake next to me. This will not end well.” (Most of the offerings waaaay more off-color than that.) I laughed a lot — though instead of inspiring me about humanity’s potential like Kutiman does, it kind of makes me want to wash my brain out with soap.
  • College buddy Tess Pohlhaus responded with a link to “The Cool Minors,” a “Bands Reunited” approach to a would-be former boy band from Baltimore. Funny, and Tess makes a significant cameo appearance as a groupie.
  • After initially saying he could “only think of stupid things” he’s seen, Pete Lesko came up with the “Slap Chop Rap,” a very amusing example of what’s apparently an emerging new meme: Auto-Tuned and remixed infomercials.
  • Crunchable contributor Rob Roan chimed in with “White People Problems,” a video that Alex Leo of Huffington Post described as “kind of the rap version” (Of course, it’s also exploring some of the same ground as Weird Al’s brilliant “White and Nerdy.”)

Keep your suggestions coming in the comments!

Article © 2009 by Michael Duck