Ten years ago today, Minnesota Public Radio published the story “Video blogger learns YouTube stardom has a price.” It told the story of the “profane and outrageous” videos by Duluth’s John Holden, whose works typically appeared on Perfect Duluth Day and also the now-defunct site TotalVom.com.
MPR reported Holden’s videos had “enjoyed only a tiny cult following” until the clip “Re: You, Me, & Problems With the World” aka “If God is an Eyeball” was nominated by Brad O’Farrell of YouTube’s volunteer community council to be featured on YouTube’s home page.
The video O’Farrell chose is actually a response to another video Holden found on YouTube. It features a shaggy, bearded guy, who looks like a hippie, yelling into the camera. He swears, cursing God.
“God, [expletive], you’re an empty eyeball!”
Then John comes on singing. Like the song from high school, the words are kind of hard to make out.
To help you get the joke, Holden provides closed captioning: “If God is an eyeball, I guess he can’t hear our prayers. He’s got no ears.”
And then there’s some more swearing.
MPR reported the video had more than 700,000 views at the time. It has since climbed to more than 963,000. And a follow-up video has reached more than 174,000 views.
But fame has its price. Holden told MPR the experience of dealing with comments to the video was “painful” and said he might refrain from doing similar videos where the focus is on poking fun at another video. “I might come off as a real jerk if I pick on people,” he said. “I thought it was funny, and I thought I got away with it and I thought people appreciated it when it was just really small. But now, I’m a little bit worried.”
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