06 March 2013

From Gangnam Style to Harlem Shake

Baauer's name is almost as unknown to the American public as Psy's began, despite the wave of "Harlem Shake" videos bombarding YouTube within the last few weeks. From UNA to professional sports teams, everyone is making their own "personalized" 30 second videos. Just like all the Gangnam Style parodies, people are following the same formula with their own spin. 

Are these videos a chance for people to be original and customize a widely disseminated idea? How much is something customized if it's essentially the same as what everyone else is doing? Is it simply a creative way to fit in with the newest trend?

In a trend-driven society that's always looking for the next big thing, how do we value content and originality in entertainment? Do we have any real concept of "good" or "bad"?


  1. I enjoy watching videos like this, I think it's all in fun.

    The Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake videos remind me of the Cupid Shuffle or the Crank that Soulja Boy days, when everyone begin to the dances just becuase it was popular at that time. And I don't think it's anything new, because people always caught on to new dances and began to throw their own twist to it. But with social media sites such as YouTube around, we see it way more than in the past.

    And I do feel like it’s a way for people to fit in with the newest trend. They ride it until the wheels fall off, and then they hop on the next wagon. It’s definitely a cycle in our society.

    Although it’s the same as what everyone else is doing, it’s pretty positive. I think it’s cool that people are catching on to dances or whatever it is, and posting their unique versions of it, instead of copy-catting all of the negative things that are going on in this world. So I think it’s a good thing, and it’s fun to watch. Very entertaining.

  2. I completely agree that we are in a trend-drive society that is always looking for the next big thing. For a long time, I had no idea what the "Harlem Shake" or "The Gangnam Style" were. While they are funny and used for entertainment, some people take them too seriously.

    In February, a New York boys' hockey team had to forfeit their first round play off game because they made a Harlem shake video that showed the players to be dressed inapropriatelyS according to wikipedia.

    There have been over 100 students who have suspended because of Harlem Shake videos that took place on school grounds. To read more go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_Shake_(meme)

    There internet sensations can be more powerful than the creaters anticipate. These Harlem Shake videos can be found on Youtube from all across the world. The impact of these crazes like the Harlem Shake and Gangna style are incredible because they spread like wildfire.

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  4. I agree that we are in more a trend-driven society; however, throughout our nation's history, people have clung to musical trends during especially hard times. It's a pattern that can be easily seen in the 30s when blues and jazz began to take form and later in the 60s and 70s when hippie music and "soul" was important. Today's craze, then, is merely dancing.

    Yes, it can be slightly gaudy, but the point is that it is done in good fun. It is purely for entertainment and invites the American people to laugh despite concerns about the rising debt and conflicts throughout the Middle East and Asia.

    I agree with Sierra that these Internet sensations can be powerful, but I believe that their good intentions are outweighing any negative effects that may arise from them--and that's what the American people need now more than ever.

  5. Basically, everyone wants their 5 minutes of fame. I'm not criticizing because I'm one of them. I coordinated and participated in a Harlem Shake video with my sorority because it was fun and we wanted to be the first sorority at UNA to do it. I think that when so many millions of people duplicate these videos, it loses its luster.

    However, that gives individuals the opportunity to be REALLY creative to set themselves apart from the other millions of videos. Being that creative is hard though. You almost have to do something drastic to get noticed, and sometimes it might not be worth it.

    What will be the next big thing that gives fame to regular people like us?

  6. I personally enjoy dance craves such as Gangnam Style or the Harlem Shake. it gives people a chance to forget about any daily stresses and just enjoy like by being completely silly or ridiculous. I would much rather everyone interact by dancing than by violence or anger.

    It's completely harmless. The people who complain about it are finding a reason to complain.

    As far as creativity, I believe is not so much that we are "copying" the person in charge of creating the dances. We are simply thanking them by learning and performing it!

    Jasmine Redus

  7. Rather than comparing the Harlem Shake to the dance crazes of the past, like other people, I see a much larger similarity to trends such as planking. And also in regards to planking, I have mixed feelings about these sorts of trends.
    You see the peak of creativity at the beginning of a trend and the longer it happens, the older it gets, naturally. It's interesting to see where a trend begins to fall off (not a reference to that Australian "planker" falling off a high balcony, unless you want it to be). The declination of one trend is, inevitably, the primary reason for the rise of another.
    I think our trend-driven society - while, at times, frustratingly unoriginal - is representative of the technological state that we operate in. Viral marketing is becoming such a big deal because people are able to share what they enjoy, so quickly. It was only natural that the line between sharing and mimicking would become blurred with the ability to instantly share what we mimic.

    Speaking of sharing, there's only one real Harlem Shake worth viewing, and it involves a childhood hero of mine. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6A5ti7xFRM

  8. I think these videos and dances are a fun way for people to collaborate to come up with something and enjoy themselves. If their video becomes famous then that's great, but I feel like they probably enjoyed the process of making it regardless of whether it's well-known. Dancing and music are both good stress relievers and make people happy.