If you didn’t get the reference during the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, “Rick Rolling” consists of a blogpost or tweet resembling:
Instead of a cup of coffee from Starbuck’s, do something different today. http://tinyurl.com/56yeuf $5 can have an impact. Make it happen.
Curious, you click on the link…
No, really, click on that link. I’ll be here when you get back…
…and you get a flashback to that little diddy from the 80’s. This is “Rick Rolling” and YouTube pranksters have it down to a fine art. This variation remains my favorite:
Its title on YouTube reads “Hilarious Muppet Bloopers”, but 14 seconds into the clip reveals that you have, indeed, been Rick Rolled. Brilliant!
Today, though, all Rick Rolling artists were trumped by singer Rick Astley himself. Even though the overly-perky dinks from the Today show foreshadowed what was to come, the surprise was genuine:
So why am I dropping one of the whitest guys in the music industry (seriously…have you WATCHED him dance in that video?!) into the “Geek Chic” category? For one, Rick Rolling is very much a part of geek culture. It started with YouTube and has evolved into automated services that will Rick Roll you over the phone. (It happened to me. It can happen to you.) If you know what Rick Rolling is, this is a clear indication you surf the Net for more than just work. You surf for the fun of it. So, regardless of what level of geek you are, Rick Rolling is part of the lifestyle.
Second, the reaction to this nationwide Rick Rolling has been nothing short of priceless. Already there are grumpy Twitters and bloggers who have proclaimed that Rick Rolling is now officially done on account of MCA (Mainstream Corporate America) staging this “canned, lip-synced, hollow, and uninspiring” prank just to show they are “hip”.
I say to that: “Wow, you are really pissed you got Rick Rolled!”
This was an extremely clever and downright funny “in” joke for the fans of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and geeks everywhere. If you were in a different time zone and on Twitter, though, the surprise was spoiled. (Sorry about that!) Judging from the flurry of tweets in my feed, no one saw this coming. It was the Uber-Rick Rolling, and the millions enjoying the 82nd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade fell victim to it. Nicely played, and damn funny!
But the Cool Whip on this slice of pumpkin pie, and what makes this truly Geek Chic, belongs to Astley himself who jumped in with both feet and performed “Never Gonna Give You Up” from the Foster’s Home float. It is obvious that he “gets it” and doesn’t mind playing on the trend that his pop hit of yesteryear is now the Internet’s version of flaming paper bags of poo left on the stoop, Vaseline smeared on doorknobs, and whoopie cushions left in vacant chairs. Instead of copping a diva attitude and sneering at what people are doing with his hit single, Astley is shrugging and saying “Sure, why the hell not? It’s the friggin’ Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and I get to be part of the ultimate Rick Rolling!” It took a lot of brass for him to perform in light of why his song is “popular” again. I admire that, and find it quite cool that even Rick Astley is getting a kick out of all this….
…and maybe that is another reason why some geeks are so mad now. Maybe — just maybe — they are coming to grips with the truth: This Rick Rolling is going to be hard to top.
This evening, I spent my 99 on iTunes for “Never Gonna Give You Up” to show my appreciation for this morning’s stunt. Good on you, Rick, and very Geek Chic! Here’s hoping this goofy fascination for your dance club hit nabs you a new recording contract. You already have an album title at the ready — “Rick Astley: Cause That’s How I Roll”.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!