PSU joins 2013′s first internet phenomenon
Carl J. Bachus | culture editor
Since when do songs make it to the top of the Billboard charts without even playing on the radio?
When a funny video featuring the song gets 36 million views on YouTube, that’s when.
A single video created by five teenagers in Australia spawned the first massive Internet phenomenon of 2013 and Pittsburg State’s joining in on the fun.
Jacob Anselmi was involved in the production of PSU’s “Shake” video that went live on Valentine’s Day.
“Honestly, after watching it, I kind of sat back and said, ‘What the hell was that?’” said Anselmi, videographer for university marketing and communication. “I thought that this might be another fun ‘Gangnam Style’-type video to do.”
After convincing his superior to let him do it, Anselmi rushed to get the video made before the meme died down. The 30-second clip features appearances by Gus, members of the Pride of the Plains Marching Band and even Gumby.
“Some of us brought costumes to make it more fun, and we all had a blast,” said Kelsey Kirkpatrick, sophomore in communication. “Everyone was super-excited and into it, and I think… what makes the video so funny to watch is that you can tell everyone was happy to be doing it.”
Kirkpatrick said that she enjoys the “Harlem Shake” trend, even though she feels that it’s becoming excessive, and that she was really excited to be a part of it.
Neither the videos or the song that inspires them have anything to do with the actual Harlem Shake dance that became popular in the early 2000s, which some students say takes away from the experience.
“They are not the original ‘Harlem Shake,’” said Ca’Lissa Barnett, junior in sociology. “They’re funny, but it’s not the real thing. It’s not what we grew up with.”
Kirkpatrick says she thinks it’s weird that the meme has nothing to do with the original dance, but it shouldn’t take away from the fun of the trend.
“The fact that it’s random dance moves makes it so much more funny to me,” Kirkpatrick said. “The videos aren’t supposed to make sense, they’re just supposed to be funny and make people laugh and I think that’s the overall point.”
The 2012 song that sparked the phenomenon, “Harlem Shake,” by American electronica artist Bauuer, has since become a surprise hit, surpassing Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
“I thought, ‘Oh, that’s funny.’ But it didn’t strike me as the beginning of something,” said Bauuer, in a February interview with The Daily Beast.
PSU’s “Harlem Shake” video is now the university’s second most-viewed YouTube video, behind the Pitt State “Gangnam Style.”
“Yes, yes and yes again,” Anselmi said when asked if he had any plans for similar videos in the future.
“I live on YouTube, because that’s my job,” he said, “I don’t want to say that we’re ‘hip,’ but at least we’re trying to appeal to our core demographic.”