Friday, December 14, 2007

Remake how we got to where we are.

By now you've probably seen the "Chocolate Rain" video. Well maybe you have. I'm never really sure, because it's hard to know exactly where the "veil of geek" drops. I spend a lot of time on the internet, and so do many of my friends, and after a while I forget that a lot of people live normal, healthy lives in a world where Chad Vader and the Alabama Leprechaun aren't fixtures.

But just in case you're not familiar with the internet's canonical works, let me enlighten you on one of them since it's important to today's post. I give you Tey Zonday's "Chocolate Rain":

Let's pause here for a moment and think about what you just saw. Was the song really "bad?" Can you even call it that? I wouldn't say it's "good." I'm certainly not burning it to a CD and Sharpie-ing the words "Driving Music" on the top.

Yet I can't bring myself to classify "Chocolate Rain" in such simple terms as "bad" or "good," because that's not what I take away from it. What I really want to say is "I can't believe this thing exists, but it does. Holy Crap." Is there a word for that?

But I'm not here to talk about "Chocolate Rain," I just needed you to know about it before I got into my real subject.

"Cherry Chocolate Rain"

I've already discussed with you the soda industry's desperate pleas for attention, as you might remember. This season Dr. Pepper is up to their usual antics with "Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper." And guess how the Dr. Pepper company decided to advertise their new assault on adjectives . . .

Oh yes . . .

Yes they did . . .

When I watched that video the first time, something BROKE inside of me. I felt it about the time "Mista Johnson" came out and started rapping about Tey's "move away from the microphone" note. There was a loud "pop" in my head, and suddenly I felt like I should be doing something outside.

It's hard to explain exactly what happened to me, but I'll do my best:

Imagine if you helped to invent the first automobile. Just you and some machine-loving friends, old railroaders and steamboat workers probably, building it inside an old shed. And then you started a company, with you and your buddies on the forefront of an exciting new field. As the years passed you kept up with every innovation, every major shift in thinking, because cars were your thing, darn it, you were there when it all began! Even when you started getting old and knew it was time to retire, you found it hard to walk out the door because you still loved those machines so much.

Then one day you came into the office and someone had invented a hover-car. Yep, Steve in R&D made anti-gravity, and got it to run off of your light-compact engine.

And for some reason, you knew you were done. It wasn't that you were upset about the hover-car. You were proud, in fact, that someone from your company had accomplished it. But you were done. Buy me a cake, hand me a gold watch, nice working with you fellas, but I'm out.

That's how "Cherry Chocolate Rain" makes me feel. I was around when this whole "internet" thing started. I watched it grow and change and develop into what it is. And even when "Web 2.0" sites like Wikipedia and YouTube came along, I was ok with that. It was a weird thing to think about, the users of the site providing all the content for the site, but I got it.

I understood how someone could perform one of the most bizarre songs ever and get twelve million people to watch it, specifically because it was weird.

But when that someone then got paid to sing a song ABOUT his first song, and used that second song to discuss how weird it is that he's famous for performing a really strange song, well . . . I don't know. I'm not mad about it. Good for him. But I'm done.*

*This does not have any real implication. Also, I still can't spell "chocolate" on the first try.

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