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home : blogs_old : off the cuff September 15, 2014

Off the Cuff
By Chris A. Porter
WNI Web Developer and PVtrib.com webmaster shares his perspective on technology, local and national politics, and life in the Quad-city area.
Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blog: Worlds collide - O'Reilly goes "Gangnam Style"

 Chris A. Porter
WNI Digital Media

Courtesy photo

In my lighthearted journeys across the barren wastelands I call the int@rwebs, I sometimes run across nuggets of material that truly jar all my preconceived perceptions, leaving me a quivering shell of my former self. For example, consider the Akin fiasco from just a few months ago. Yes, I sometimes still wake up screaming, but at least I was able to shake it off in a fairly reasonable amount of time.

Be it the culmination of slow news day, or an legitimate appeal to relate to younger, 'hipper' audiences, this time, we witness a public figure (or, in this case, two) crafting a response to a particular element in pop culture that is so bizarre that some individuals have little choice left than to revel in the aftermath chaos of its perfectly engineered awkwardness. Said outcome might have some individuals questioning their whole collective purpose, and perhaps they may suddenly grasp that there may be indeed something to this whole 'Mayan prophecy' theory after all...

Is our species doomed in the near future? See for yourself and make the call.

Fasten your seatbelts, Ladies and gentleman, because I give you Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly & network favorite, psychiatrist and New York Times author Dr. Keith Ablow offering their candid, yet insightful critiques about the internet sensation & phenomena known as "Gangnam Style!" Oh, the humanity...

To begin, here's the original video:

And now, here is O'Reilly & company discussing it on his show. Play at your own risk:

What just happened, here?

Yikes. In O'Reilly's video, it seems apparent that he is flummoxed, nay vexed, by the viral popularity of "Gangnam Style" (first video). He would know, of course, because when you think: "supreme chancellor of coolness," you think of only one person that can fill those infinite shoes, and that, of course is the grandmaster Bill O'Reilly. *facepalm*

I admire videos like this simply for the uncharted depths of absurdity to which the players are willing to sink. This particular virtual train wreck captures the essence of the real thing quite impressively, without the unfortunate side effects from things like flying tons of steel, explosions and an untimely fiery death.

The painful part isn't that most of us are already well aware of the fact that pop culture just ain't ol' Bill's schtick. In fact, of all topics on every subject matter to cover in the entire universe, most of us safely assume that there are roughly a few billion more qualified people on the planet that are likely better suited to the job. No, the truly painful part is the rigid enthusiasm O'Reilly and his head shrinking buddy take in dissecting it with all the charm and charisma of a $.03 sheet of plain legal paper.

Bill O'Reilly = master of understanding youth trends

"He's just doing the pony," O'Reilly croons in his self-satisfied I've-got-it-all-figured-out manner, but I interpret something much more depressing lies beneath this confident veneer: that being, no one under age 65 has any clue what he's talking about, and he probably has no lucid idea himself. Mentioning a dance made popular before much of the demographic he is attempting to patronize was even born is what the younger folks call an 'epic fail,' Bill.

I believe there should be a clause in O'Reilly's contract somewhere about covering subjects that should be off limits to him indefinitely, and the penalty for non-compliance should be on-camera death by silly string, or a similar fate. But I can't berate his judgment too much, because even he is overshadowed by the perfect density of the real star of this horror show, Dr. Ablow.

Dr. Ablow is not amused

Ablow believes that when a video surpasses the viewer numbers of *gasp* Justin Beiber, there's something sinister and alarming about it. He capitulates its popularity is a result of Americans "not wanting any meaning," especially with all those "unintelligible words" being bandied about in the song. Woe we of little insight.

Ah yes, unintelligible words. Now I get it. Having a Korean superstar named Psy choosing to sing his own song in Korean, his native language, is just not permissible in our polite American society. I beg your pardon, this particular fact must have slipped my mind. Who does this "Psy" character think he is, anyway?

He should be communicating his music clearly and wholesomely to American audiences, using examples like, "Louie Louie," "Rock the Casbah" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit!" Songs should always carry a deep meaning, like "Macarena," "Horse With No Name," and "Are We Not Men? We Are DEVO!" Clearly, this foreigner needs to get with the program!

The crazy gets kicked up a notch

O'Reilly weighs in on the dancing and the ethical implications of the video as if any of that has anything to do with the sum total experience for most viewers. The good doctor profoundly ends the segment by dialing the bizarro-meter up to eleven with his peculiar condemnations, saying the video transports people from "real thought," "deep feeling" and acts as a "drug" to mask people's real personality. Oh my!

"It's the same as getting high in miniature," - I still can't wrap my head around this one. Whoa. Yep, I'm pretty sure that one broke my brain. Sorry, folks.

With all his shiny best sellers, PhDs and other titles, it would seem Dr. Ablow still doesn't possess the level of good sense with which God graced the standard house cat. It's as if Ablow is actively campaigning for the title of "stiffest man in America," and yet all other challengers have been dead for centuries.

Off the Cuff - My Take:

All that pseudo-intellectual pedantic nonsense, and both or them totally miss the three little letters that fully nail the motivation behind this phenomena perfectly: F-U-N. It's fun. Yep, there you have it - that's the big mysterious secret of "Gangnam Style." Some like the music, others like the silly dancing, and even others think the video is clever. Fun doesn't require any deep meaning, you bunch of stuffed shirts!

Imagine the awkward horror of your grandfather unexpectedly breaking into his best a capella impersonation of an Adele or a Nicki Minaj tune in the middle of Christmas dinner, or explaining the finer points of "gettin' slizzard" or "crunking out" while noshing on a turkey leg. *shudder*

This is the level of just how uncomfortable I was made at Dr. Ablow's overly harsh critiques of a totally benign internet trend. I can't decide whether to ROFL or :( at this point. It's as if either of these fellows shows a thread of hipness or creativity, they will burst into flame. Hmm. Then again, THAT might actually make for some captivating television...

I suppose I never realized Fox was the place where trends apparently go to die. Alas, some things cannot be unseen. They just sear your soul, and there's nothing you can do about it.


...And now for something completely different, it's my mother Patricia's birthday tomorrow. Happy Birthday, mom! Love you.

Thanks for reading, and as always, your thoughts are very much appreciated.

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Political Evangelist

Very entertaining commentary. You nailed it. FUN. I wonder if Bill and Keith dissected all of the entertainment they enjoyed in their younger days? Psy is a wild thing while Bill and Keith are pachyderms. If Psy reflects generational dysfunction then the old guys reek of crusty nostalgia. Even though I am as old as the crusties I hope never to enter their realm of dooms day prepping.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: m m

Anyone ever heard of a sense of humor? I think that Bill has more intelect than any of your comments. Hey he has his own show, what do you have? Nothin, thats what I thought!

Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012
Article comment by: Discussion Not Emotion

@For the love of...

If you truly think Fox News is unbiased, you are simply not living in the real world.

MSNBC presents factually accurate information, but then supplies a very liberal opinion on those facts and events. Definitely a left lean, no argument there.

Most other news networks at least TRY to be center and moderate, but sometimes that effort leads them to bring on people that we really shouldn't even give the time of day, like creationists or anti-vaxxers. I guess facts have a liberal bias.

Fox presents opinions AS facts, and then offers opinions on their opinions. A great part of their "information" is factually inaccurate. Considering how unbelievably wrong they were about polls and the election just recently, I'm frankly surprised you value their input on anything.

In any event, Bill O'Reilly, Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, and Hannity can say some ridiculous things, worthy of ridicule. Then there is Rush and Beck, a whole 'nother catagory of ridiculous.

Be careful what you believe, whatever news channel you trust....especially if it is Fox.

Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012
Article comment by: Discussion Not Emotion

You pegged it, Chris. It's FUN.

I agree with your assessment, but I think I'd add something else. Bill spends an awful lotta time trying to convince his viewers that plenty is very, very wrong with America, and this sort of thing plays right into his world.

"See, viewers? The future is doomed! THIS is what we've sunk to! The next generation is anti-God, anti-freedom, anti-capitalism, and anti-TASTE..."

The vast majority of psychologists, psychiatrists, and sociologists simply dismiss this type of social phenomenon as inconsequential, just another manner of expression and an outlet for stress release and enjoyment. Nothing more.

I'm surprised Bill didn't also mention that this video came out of a socialist country.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: For the love of..

You Fox news haters NEVER quit! It is evident you will not stop until the ONE SINGLE un-biased news outlet is toppled. The astounding thing here is the depth this guy went to just to smear Fox News. Hey Chris, you need a life man. Let us know when you decide to critique Chris Matthews, or Rachel Maddow. We won't hold our collective breath.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: old goat

Gangnam Style is fun, funny, and self-deprecating! Oh, and I'm 66.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: D B

Bill O'Reily, Rachel Maddow, Howard Strern aren't reporters they are sensationalists that get people to watch or listen to them. The PSY video is popular because it is fun entertaining and has people doing crazy things that your inner child would like to do.If no one is watching.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Bridget Morrissey

OMG, I think I lost a few brain cells listening to O'Reilly and the quack offer their interpretation.

The song is great fun and Psy deserves all the attention he's getting because if anything it pokes fun at everything and proves that we mustn't take ourselves too seriously.

Ultimately, we only live once, enjoy a few silly things along the way.

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