Tuesday, June 06, 2006

King of the geeks.

Remember the Numa Numa guy? You know, the kind of chubby kid that lip synched and "danced" (arms thrusting sharply into the air) to a Romanian pop song. It made the email forward rounds a couple of years ago. Douglas Wolk just published an article in the Believer tracking the history of Numa Numa from its actual release as a song in Romania to its cult status here in the US. The history of the song itself is kind of uninteresting, but what it has become on YouTube and GoogleVideo is pretty amazing. People haven't chosen to mock the Numa Numa guy, as they have with some other internet cult figures like Star Wars Kid. Rather, it seems that they want to be him. The remakes are almost entirely copies of the original. Here's what Wolk has to say about it:
These kids aren’t mocking the Numa Numa Guy; they’re venerating him. They are geeks honoring the King of the Geeks, and they’re beautiful to see, because they’re replicating and spreading his happiness. They’re following a ritual that’s meaningful if not yet venerable: learning the dance, lip-synching the song, documenting their performance just so, making it available for the world to see.
It's worth it, as Wolk recommends at one point in the article, to scan through the first thirty seconds of some of the imitations that are floating around out there. Just check out these kids, or this kid. The emotion I detect isn't derision, but pure joy.


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