Accidentally Fascinating

Oct. 20, 2010, 11:31 p.m.

When I was in High School, the brother of a friend of mine was in an Acappella group in college. They were cute, did campy renditions of “Men in Tights,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” etc. Fine voices, decent execution. Whatever. Its acappella. Some of the videos of the group while he was a member have made it onto YouTube, and there’s this one that is particularly interesting.

The video itself is nothing extraordinary. It is, in fact, extraordinarily unextraordinary. Shaky hand-held camera, zoomed-in too far and washed out by the spotlight. Think of the home movies of you at the elementary school secular winter holiday pageant, then reduce the quality by about ten times to account for YouTube compression. Hello pixelation! Sound quality’s none too good either. The song is “Accidentally In Love,” which is so mediocre that I had always assumed that it was leftover from the era of the crooners, (Tom Jones, Barry Manilow, David Bowie), when personality carried a song, not melody or lyrics. (It turns out to be a 2004 Counting Crows original, written for the Shrek2 soundtrack.)

In the three years this video has been on YouTube, it has accumulated 270,000 views and 542 comments.

The overwhelming majority of these comments are about: (a) how great the song/arrangement is (“I cried.:)”), (b) how many times the poster has watched the video (“like a hundred times already, but just really can’t get enough!!!”), (c) how attractive the soloist (my friend’s brother) is (“the lead vocalist if effing FIT!”).

The phrase, “I’m accidentally in love with [this video/the soloist/the group]” occurs multiple times.

I really don’t have a take-away point in this post, except to share one of the strangest phenomena I’ve come across on the Internet. The enthusiasm and devotion is overwhelming, as is the idea that this many civilians are devoting this much time and emotional energy to this THING. If I really stretch I can imagine doing something like this maybe when I was 11, but the way the posters are feeding off each other, and the fact that I can witness it all, is something else entirely. The weirdest part is that nobody in the comments comments on it. The one comment I’ve seen that suggests maybe some of the other posters are going a bit too far is probably my favorite on the page.

It follows two comments, to either of which it could be responding. The first:


I just keep watching the part zoomed in on his face over and over. and his voice is spectacular. <3

what a perfect specimen.

The second:

Ya, I like rewatching the part in the video when it zooms in close on his face, because you can see that very handsome asian gentleman to his right side. Can you say “Ooo La La”?

You really can’t see the soloist’s face. You can’t really see any of their faces! My mind boggles. Anyways. The response:

Im sorry, but you gotta get one thing straight. This is the real world, the soloist is a HUMAN BEING. not some science project speciman that you can dissect, that comment was pritty fucked up

The spelling and grammar aside, somebody’s stepping in to defend the humanity of the little pixels she sees on the screen. In capital letters! Which is all great material when my friend’s making fun of his big brother, but, every time I think about it, is pretty fucked up.

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