Sunday, February 21, 2021

Ads Killed the Prank

 Via Tengrain, we have a very funny 'Star Trek' rickroll...  the rickroll being a decade-and-a-half old internet joke, originating on 4Chan, in which pranksters attempted to hide links to the video for Rick Astley's 1987 song Never Gonna Give You Up, on which unsuspecting marks would click, subjecting themselves to a video of the red-pomapadoured crooner, whose skinny frame could produce an incongruously deep baritone:

Rickrolling has always been a funny, harmless prank- a silly tradition which revived the career of a former best-seller.  In terms of internet one-upsmanship, it's an elegant weapon for a more civilized age, a way to 'count coup' without being abusive, a throwback to a time when 4Chan, as problematic as it could be, hadn't completely surrendered to anime Nazi edgelords, and actually functioned as a wellspring for much of internet culture.

Well, I am sorry to say that the rickroll is pretty much dead, ruined by YouTube advertising... now, instead of hearing the synthesized beats of the opening, a rickrollee will hear an ad, thus making it a Geicoroll, or a Hello Freshroll.  It's unfortunate that commerce could get in the way of pranksterism, that today's young-uns won't experience a genuine rickroll.  I'd suspect that even Dr Nambu would have a hard time designing a rickroll-powered superweapon, the way things are going:

I suppose I COULD sign up for a premium YouTube package to get rid of the ads which have rendered the rickroll obsolete, but that would seem like cheating... the rickroll should occur spontaneously, not subject to whether or not a recipient has an adblock, or a premium account.  It's part of our culture, a part of culture which is being destroyed by commercialization.

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