McConnelling: How a Senator from Kentucky Became an Internet Star
Some people think the First Amendment of the United States Constitution simply gives us freedom of speech, but if you hang around on the Internet long enough, you can see that it’s become so much more than that. The First Amendment actually bestows upon us the inalienable right to make fun of our politicians in the most embarrassing ways possible. And if that means altering official political campaign property and blowing up the Internet with it, well then, by God, it’s practically our duty as Americans to do so.
It’s the way our forefathers would have wanted it. Well, maybe not John Adams, but Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, definitely.
This is where the hot new Internet meme, McConnelling, comes in. McConnelling is the act of taking Sen. Mitch “Mitch” McConnell’s (R-Ky.) campaign video, setting it to any random musical underscore, and posting it on the web.
Why is this a fun thing to do? First, I think you should meet Sen. McConnell. Any resemblance to your dentist, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
It just so happens that Sen. McConnell is up for re-election, and his campaign minders thought it would be a good use of bandwidth to produce two and a half minutes of video of Sen. McConnell, titled “McConnell Working for Kentuckians.”
It sounded like a campaign ad. It looked, at first, like a campaign ad. It mostly featured the senator going about his day while smiling insipidly at the camera. Here’s Sen. McConnell at his desk drafting a bill, or possibly playing Sudoku. There he is smiling at the camera next to his wife. Oh, look, he’s patting someone awkwardly on the shoulder and…smiling at the camera. You get the idea. And through this whole video, Sen. McConnell says nothing. It’s two and a half minutes of silence.
The video was meant to be general footage from which regional campaign offices could cherry-pick clips to generate their own campaign commercials. These offices would add their own peppy “Vote for Mitch” audio, and the next thing you know, Sen. McConnell would be measuring his Senate office for an even bigger desk. Easy peasy.
The thing is, they made the epic mistake of posting the footage on YouTube.
Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show latched onto this on March 13 and conducted an experiment to see if there was a single piece of music that would be inappropriate when matched with the McConnell video. The answer turned out to be no, there is no music that doesn’t make this thing better.
In fact, Stewart encouraged people to make their own McConnell videos using the hashtag “#McConnelling,” which set off a tsunami of YouTube videos of the poor Kentucky senator smiling to the strains of songs like Detachable Penis by King Missile. Which, I think it bears repeating, is among our most precious rights as Americans.
You can show how much the First Amendment means to you by making your own McConnell video. If you do, upload it to Twitter and tag me (@debamlen).
1. Go to YouDubber.com.
2. Open a new tab and copy the URL for the original McConnell video (get it here).
3. Paste that URL into the top box on YouDubber.
4. Open another tab and find a music video of your choosing on YouTube. Copy the URL for the music video and paste it into the bottom box on YouDubber. It should look like this: