Post #1: “Funny Army! WAHOO!

1. In what ways does your video show a “disjunction between two discourses”: one popular/mainstream, the other a completely different way of thinking, seeing, and/or viewing the subject? Explain how you see this disjunction as the cause for the video going viral. In what ways do you think that this explains this video’s viral phenomena?

This popular video absolutely depicts a vast difference between two discourses. It combines the mainstream, classical view of how most of us see Soldier’s appearing as all business (their uniforms, the setting, etc.) with a funny interpretation of them going through crazy obstacles while funny techno music is played. This wild way of thinking is for sure what has led to it’s almost three million hits in just a few years.

At the very first glance (other than the words Funny Army!), the video appears to be legitimate due to all the characters being dressed up in official gear ready to breach a door. However, you quickly see that it is a joke that is ore than likely undermining the route cause/actions as to why we are engaged in war in Afghanistan. As Kavoori explains, the staunch difference between the serious (Fans/Military supporters) and joking (Performance) aspects are what make it such a hit. If it was too serious, it wouldn’t garner AS much attention, and at the same time the same is would be true if the performance was not as well played out and hilarious. Along with the funny music, I would hedge to bet that even a few Military personnel were even able to squeeze out a few laughs just because the scenes are just so painfully funny. Anyone from the biggest Military buff in the World to a 6 year old kid would most likely enjoy it which combined make it as successful as it has been.

The beauty of short films like this is that they “do not develop through the force of institutional authority (press agents, publicity, and public relations staff) but from individual agency and effort-in other words, on-line celebrity typically has a point of origin in the development and production of a digital self”, explains Kavoori (Kavoori,26). In other words, a video that so clearly is mocking (all in good fun) the U.S. Military would never have been released ANYwhere else but youtube. That’s what makes youtube what it is, the creative aspect because there is no hidden agenda or close monitoring of the materials (other than extreme profanities or nudity). Users are free to post whatever they want, and it’s up to the viewers to decide what are the best clips. That’s what makes the site so great, it has very few restrictions.

2. Strangelove, in “The Post-Television Audience,” says that an “active audience” (and he claims that we are now “hyperactive”) “[makes] their own meaning” by “altering the original, or intended, meanings of texts” (videos), resulting in the pleasure of “”appropriative power” (161). We enjoy, and thus watch and re-watch, videos that allow us to alter the intentions of the creator and make our own meaning, resulting in a new interpretation or reading of the video itself. Explain how the YouTube audience might create their own meaning for this video and why that might cause viral consumption.

The youtube audience could make a couple different meanings for this video, but the most prevalent is probably created by those who dont believe there was a rational cause for launching a war on Afghanistan. Many believe it was a ‘war against oil’ and that the whole weapons of mass destruction thing was a hoax. So, upon watching the joking nature of the clips, it would be easy for one to draw that from it. I would argue that the intentions were otherwise, but the creators so clearly outlined “What soldiers really do in Iraq and Afghanistan” on the caption. Another meaning that could be taken would just be an overall funny, laid back outlook on what years of training and hard work amount to. They could not have had a nasty intention and just wanted to be funny, which is what many viewers probably took from it. So after viewing, people’s views on the negative aspects of the war were reinforced, or they just got a good laugh in general.

3. Kavoori says that “celebrity culture . . . takes practices, stories and plots from mainstream popular culture and reworks them . . . sometimes reanimating them , and on occasion subverting them” (27). How does your viral video take a “story”–some narrative that we all know– from popular culture and “reanimate” or “subvert” it? Explain how the re-telling of this story is an important element in causing the popularity of this video.

The whole video is basically a complete reanimation of what goes on in Military settings, something that we never really get a true look at. It is the sole important element behind the popularity of the video because it is all that is going on throughout the whole clip. The creators start almost every scene off with a serious setting, one that usually would show them completing their necessary task, and ended it with different funny actions that undermined the soldiers’ actions. Right away, when the soldier drop kicks the door and falls, you can tell where this video is going. The creativity was strong as there are dozens of different funny endings to these different situations. They did a great job of making the ‘actors’ appear to be serious right up until where it takes it’s comedic turn.

4. We now have three models to explain why and how videos on YouTube go viral: 1. disjunction between known and new discourses of icons of popular culture; 2. appropriation of the meaning of the video by changing it or reading it in a different light than that which was intended; and 3. reworking or subverting a “story” from popular culture. In some ways, these models have points where they overlap, but decide which of these models best explains why the video that you chose went viral, and tell us why.

Of the three models that have been discussed, the ‘reworking or subverting a story from popular culture’ explains best why this video went viral, and ended up being so popular. We have all seen plenty of films (or know of them) that show the serious, violent side of the Military. The comedic twist of the plot makes this video as susceptible to the mainstream audience as it has been. I mean, how often do you see Military personnel dancing to techno songs and stumbling around? I’de say never, which is what makes it great. Like I stated before, if it was just a normal Military type clip that we’ve all seen before it likely would not have been as interesting. The unusual lens of playing their actions off as a joke is the catchy part to the viral hit.


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