Imitation is Flattery


They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery.  If thats true, I’d argue that parody is the surest sign of relevance.   Regular reader/resident paint-slinger Clint turned our attention towards a recent YouTube upload that may indicate just how relevant Kickstarter is becoming in the mainstream.

Peek below the fold to find out more.


Earlier this week, the many hallowed Second City comedy troupe posted this video to their YouTube channel.  Watch it, I’ll wait.  Back? Good.

Now, there’s no need to expound on the political aspects of the clip—it’s clearly a satire of events unfolding in Syria and in American politics, and that’s really all we’ll say about that.  What’s relevant within the scope of this blog is that it’s a pitch-perfect parody of the “Kickstarter video.”  How about that?  The Kickstarter video has a form recognizable enough to be worthy of parody.  Nifty.

When we were first turned on to the clip a day ago, it had a few hundred thousand views. At the time of this writing it has very nearly two million.   Sure, its not Gangnam Style, but those numbers ain’t small potatoes, either.   What the video’s success suggests to me is that not only is the content relevant (e.g. the political satire), but that the structure is as well.  That is to say, the humor is effective precisely because it’s a send up of Kickstarter video ‘genre.’

Why is that a big deal you ask?  It’s a big deal because parody doesn’t “work” if people don’t understand what is being lampooned.  That a clip leveraging the tropes common in Kickstarter videos is seeing a high level of success suggests that Kickstarter is, in itself, successful—successful in capturing mindshare beyond the Internet grognards and hipsters that have long comprised its user base (that makes me either a grognard or a hispster, doesn’t it? Damn….).

We’ve had our share of back-and-forths over whether high exposure projects have a net benefit for crowd funding, and while I’m still ostensibly against well-established creators leveraging the crowd to fund a project that is inevitably going to play into the Hollywood profit engine, I have to wonder: is this a result of Veronica Mars/Zach Braff/Spike Lee projects coming home to roost?  Has crowd funding achieved a degree of accessibility that even the “norms” can grok all the subtle nuances of why its hilarious to crowd fund the apocalypse?  Who’s to say?  But I’ll confess: I’m staring to challenge some of my positions on “big projects.”

This entry was posted by Man Green.

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