Monday, January 19, 2009

The Best Phrase That I Would Like To See Make The Jump Into Pop Culture Because Of Me.

Remember "Limecat?"

I sure do, but I don't know how I know about Limecat, and how I heard about Limecat. I just did. And I first heard about Limecat a long time ago in the olden days (2002) when people didn't hear about things as quickly as they do now, when texting and Digg and even the Internet were not as big a deal as they are now.

Don't believe me that things weren't that big a deal back then and that as recently as 2002 it was much, much harder to spread the word about back then? It was, and I can prove it: Youtube wasn't founded until 2005; before 2005, you couldn't find videos instantly on the Internet. Myspace wasn't founded until 2003. Facebook began in 2005. Even text messaging wasn't so big then. Text messaging grew exponentially after 2002. In 2001, 250 billion texts were sent. That sounds like a lot -- but by 2004, that number was 500 billion. It doubled in two years, which doesn't sound so big, either, so instead, picture it this way: Imagine 250 million text messages. Now, imagine another 250 million text messages.

Pretty big, huh?

The point is really, though, that nowadays, it's much easier for people to hear about things, for people to be plucked from obscurity and have fame thrust upon them no matter how little they might actually deserve it, or for people to start laughing at something for no apparent reason, or for someone to decide to make a book out of something that really didn't need to be bookified.

And the point is, too, that thanks to the Internet, we now know how things get passed around and how everyone hears about everything and how jokes can spread and who is responsible for starting trends. In the past, it was hard to say who was responsible for such great or horrifying trends and styles. Who first started wearing Izod shirts with the collars up? Was it in a movie, or did the movies copy some kids, and then other kids copied the movies? How did the word cool spread as slang for something that was good or neat or fun? Why did people around the world start using the phrase "A buck two-eighty" to mean $2.80?

Okay, that last one may not have been universally popular, and in fact probably was not universally popular. It was, though, a phrase in a home movie my uncles made called "The Buck-Two-Eighty Kid," a silent film in which my Uncle Bob was accidentally electrocuted and then brought back to life, a la Frankenstein's monster crossed with the Six Million Dollar Man, but a Frankenstein's monster/Steve Austin who wore only gym shorts and had a light bulb in his mouth and, for some reason, a pincer hand made out of tinfoil. "The Buck-Two-Eighty Kid" was a very popular movie for us nephews to watch -- the only one that was more popular was their karate-themed movie "Weedhopper," a movie that featured the most awesome fight ever. How awesome was it? Let me tell you: At one point, one uncle (wearing full karate gear) tries to kill the other uncle by ramming him with a chopper motorcycle missing a front wheel. And they did this in my grandma's basement. That's how awesome it was.

They were Tarantino before Tarantino was alive, or at least when Tarantino was very young. But they were Tarantino with no budget and with no way to promote those movies, which were shown at family gatherings and that was it. Nobody outside of our immediate family ever saw "The Buck-Two-Eighty Kid," or "Weedhopper," or even the docudrama "The Day That Began With The Sun Coming Up," (a classic in which Grandma's dog, Cinnamon, was the star) because back then there was no Internet, no texting, no cellphone cameras, no way to spread the word about something that you thought was cool and wanted other people to see.

If Weedhopper were made today, it'd be on Youtube in 30 minutes and would have 25 million hits not much later. If the Leave Britney Alone guy can film himself in a tent and get offered a tv show out of that, I am absolutely 100% certain that "Weedhopper" would have resulted in a three movie deal for my uncles.

That could all make me sad, I suppose. It could make me sad because more people know about Limecat than will ever know the fun of watching my Uncle Bob take the chopper out of the back room and ride it towards my Uncle Mark and then take a piece out of the wood-paneled bar in the rec room. But it doesn't, because, hey, those are the breaks. And also, it doesn't because I live in the current era (2009) in which I can harness the awesome power of the Internet and use it for my own ends, as I do with publishing my writing, and my other writing, and my other other writing, and as I will do now, when I give you The Best Phrase That I Would Like To See Make The Jump Into Pop Culture Because Of Me.

The phrase is this:

You shoulda put a ring on it.

I get that phrase from the Beyonce song, "Single Ladies," a song I would show you the video for but Beyonce for some reason does not want anyone to see the video; she won't allow it to be embedded anywhere, so please, honor Beyonce's wishes and DO NOT under any circumstances watch her video.

Instead, I'll show you this video so you can hear the song without horrifying Beyonce by watching the video she put on the Internet but doesn't want anyone to put anywhere ELSE on the Internet:

That video helps kind of prove my point about the Internet and hearing about things, although to be perfectly honest, I'm not 100% certain that I know what my point is, anymore.

That video, the one I've chosen to show you, is am amalgam of a video that was made a while ago, "Walk It Out Fosse!!":

Which I'd never heard of before, but which someone made and put on the Internet back in 2007, and which apparently Beyonce saw and liked, because Beyonce then made "Single Ladies" and copied...

... wait, let me amend that because Beyonce may not just dislike people watching her videos; she might dislike being called a copycat...

Beyonce paid tribute to by filming her own video (which she doesn't want people to watch) and which then drew so much attention (by being on the Internet, where Beyonce doesn't want people to see it) that it got mentioned in Entertainment Weekly, where I read about it, and went to find the video on Youtube (where, luckily, Beyonce will still let it be seen, but remember, it will bother her if you watch it anywhere but there) and then I went to watch the original Walk It Out Fosse!!

And, yeah, I realize, all you Internetties out there that I am way way behind the curve and everyone else is probably all past "Single Ladies" right now, but I'm forty, so leave me alone and stay off my lawn, you darn kids, and also, that's not my point.

My point is, at least I think my point is, that the Internet made it possible for people around the world to watch a video of Beyonce copying... tributing... someone else's video and that without the Internet I might have never heard Beyonce's song and liked it so much that I not only watched the video, but I downloaded the song and have played the song a lot, and also, without the Internet, I might never have decided that not only could I co-opt...

... that is, pay tribute to...

... a phrase from the song, but I could maybe use the Internet to convince others to do just that, and I could be the person responsible for injecting a phrase into pop culture.

Well, me and Beyonce. But I'm sure she'll share credit. As long as we don't embed the credit anywhere on the Internet. She just strikes me as a nice, kindly, beautiful, sharing, non-suing, nonlitigious person who by reading these words has hereby released me from any claims or liabilities known or unknown whether now or in the past or in the future and also has agreed that I am solely responsible for popularzing this phrase..

Ha. Don't mess with a lawyer, Beyonce.

The phrase that I want to popularize is, of course, if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it. Beyonce (in the song) uses the phrase to mean that her boyfriend should've married her, but I think it can be so much more than just that, and I've started to use if for more than just that -- since, after all, telling people they should've married me has only limited uses in my current life.

So far, all the spinoffs and remakes and such of this video have focused on the dance, or the words, or otherwise kept the idea tightly focused. Well, I want to end all that (and garner some credit for myself) and get the ball rolling on using if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it in a variety of contexts.

So picture this: You and someone else are both angling for that prime parking spot and you beat the person to it, prompting them to honk, or give you the finger, or maybe shoot you, depending on where you live. Do you honk, finger, or shoot back? No. You tell the person If you liked that spot, you shoulda put a ring on it. You take them out, Beyonce-style.

Someone finish the last of the leftover pizza, prompting someone else in the house to complain that there was no leftover pizza for their breakfast? Just tell The Boy... I mean, just tell someone, "Hey, I didn't see no ring on it," and you're off scott-free.

The possibilities are endless. See a sports play that you was so great, you liked it a lot? Shout out: put a ring on that play, baby! and tell the world that you liked it and wanted to put a ring on it. It works for movies, too: I woulda put a ring on "Paul Blart, Mall Cop." Guys, when your wife asks how an outfit makes her look, tell her good enough to put a ring on you, even though you may already have done that, and she'll love you for it.

So get out there, Internet masses, and start describing the things you like as things you'd put a ring on, and the things you take from others as things they didn't put a ring on, and get this phrase going.

Just remember to give me credit because while Beyonce waived her share, I put a ring on this idea.

See how it works?

Also, if you think of it, throw a little "Buck-Two-Eighty" around.

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Lisa said...

Seriously? Was "limecat" really a thing?

Briane P said...

It really was, for a while at least. Probably because of me.