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Harlem Shake vs. Gallon Smashing Prank: Which Meme Will Destroy America First?

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Let's backtrack. I didn't get rich by posting my Harlem Shake vid. Instead, I got into a weird, half-drunk argument with a close friend while standing in my underwear in the cold, holding a can of WD-40 and a lighter. It's less weird than it sounds, just like these videos are less weird than they look. The lighting was god-awful and our video gained only 165 views. Please don't Google it. It's embarrassing.

I did learn some important lessons about memes, however. As soon as the Bauuer videos became popular, it became instantly popular to hate the original trend. Wong is guilty of this; rather than making his own version, he just said, "We don't do this any more!" Already? Wong gained 4.9 million views just by being contrarian. Someone told me that it's a hundred bucks (in ad revenue) for every 100,000 views, so that's like a new car for him. Well, if he bought it used.

This entire thing happened in less than two weeks. Now in its fourth week, everyone is pretty sick of Harlem Shaking (myself included), despite how fun it was to begin with. This astounds me, that a joke can spread this fast, splinter into a thousand different versions, and disintegrate in less time than it takes the moon to orbit the Earth. I know the exact same thing happened with Keyboard Cat and Scumbag Steve and planking and whatever else, but I never really realized how disposable our Internet culture truly is. Is there some danger in this?

Cue the Gallon Smashing Prank. After watching this video, I found myself laughing out loud and rolling on the floor laughing (man, if only I could abbreviate those terms) until I peed my SpongeBob underpants. But then I saw copycats. And more copycats. Copycats of copycats. A copy of a copy of a copy. You get it. Whatever.

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Troy Farah is an independent journalist and documentary field producer. He has worked with VICE, Fusion, LA Weekly, Golf Digest, BNN, Tucson Weekly, and Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Troy Farah