The most popular YouTube video. Ever. Official. Wellthisiswhatithink goes all Gangnam Style on you.

Posted: December 4, 2012 in Humour, Popular Culture et al
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In case you hadn’t noticed – and Dear Reader, if you had not, then exactly where have you been? – the Guinness Book of Records just officially announced that Asia-Pop artist Psy has just officially become the most watched video ever on video-sharing site YouTube. Ever. Phew.

I really like the song. The original (very funny) video can be seen here:

And a live performance here:

But the really fascinating story is that the first video has now been watched – get this – 879,634,089 times. 

And the live performance is already over 150 million views, too.

As one of the posters put it on the YouTube of the first video, “let’s aim for a billion hits on New Year’s Eve”. A billion views? Of one pop song? A BILLION? Really?

Now as at June 30 this year, this was the breakdown of internet users in the world.

Two billion and four hundred and five million and some users worldwide. Getting on for half of them are dancing with their legs like John Wayne and waving an imaginary lasoo in the air ...

Two billion and four hundred and five million and some users worldwide. Getting on for half of them are dancing with their legs bowed like John Wayne and waving an imaginary lassoo in the air … Er, well, why not?

That means, essentially, that about half of the world’s Internet users have viewed the video on YouTube, let alone seen it on TV, on other websites, heard it on the radio, danced to it in a club … now that’s a hit, eh? I even have a vague memory of myself waving my arm around one night at Fusion nightclub at Crown, but honestly I was a bit over-trained by that stage so I might have just been waving my arms around aimlessly anyway. Pop music and I have an interesting relationship after I’ve had a few beverages. Think Rowan Atkinson on speed.

And now look at that big red wedge. That’s Asia. 44.8% of world Internet usage.

So can anyone still think that the 21st century is not going to be the Asian century? They are taking Western culture, merging it with their own, creating something vibrant and new, and then selling it brilliantly, both to their fellow Asians, and to the West.

Somehow, you know, I really don’t think my passable schoolboy French, which I have always been so proud of, is going to be much of an achievement – or of much use – in my declining years. Quel dommage.

At least, thanks to the abundance of brilliant Asian restaurants of all types in Melbourne, I can now say “thank you” in about a dozen nearby languages.  Cám ơn. Xie xie. M goi. Arigato. Komapsumnida. Terima kasih. Khawp khun. Khawp jai. Istuti. Shukriya. The effort is always greeted with a polite smile and sometimes genuine pleasure. The fact that the people serving us all speak my language – often near-perfectly – is never lost on me.

Somehow though, I think that the way things are headed, “please” may very well end up being more useful word to know … it is hard to imagine that the West can ever now catch up with the sheer exuberance and hard work, not to mention massive human resources, of Asia.

The Australian government just announced yet another push to get us “Asia ready”. But it’s too little, too late, I fear. We are a massive country with a tiny population, and already decades behind Asia itself in genuinely understanding the potential of the area. We have inadequate knowledge of their languages, their customs, their culture, and their needs. Faced with a considerable degree of disinterest from the West until recently, they have simply decided to “do it for themselves”.

Apart from the resources under our land and sea I strongly suspect we are already largely irrelevant to the coming century. I don’t think Asia will take us over. I simply suspect we will become largely irrelevant. A social, cultural and business backwater. Europe is broke, and confused. America appears mired in debt, out of energy, and incapable of pulling together as a nation any more. In short: I am beginning to suspect that the West, as a whole, is really rather yesterday’s news.

Which is a shame, because Western culture is, we often forget, thousands of years old, (as we are constantly reminded Asian culture is), and it is a fascinating amalgam of influences stretching back to pre-history.

Whilst it is popular to denigrate Western culture (and it has been a curate’s egg, for sure) it has also been responsible for some of the most important advances in human history – specifically, the evolution from feudalism, anti-authoritarianism, rationalism, science, humanism, the rule of law, democracy, and that’s just to name just a few.

It will be a sad day indeed if those things gradually come to mean less and less to the world’s population.

So let us hope that Asia takes up some of those principles as enthusiastically as they have made short shirts, tight trousers, and syncopated pop music their own. We can only hope, as it is no longer our place to demand.

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Comments
  1. jvdix says:

    I believe I was number 881,882,316. Let’s see, 881,882,316 – 879,634,089 = 2,248,227 x 27 = 60,702,129 + 881,882,316 = 942,584,445, but that’s not allowing for the time difference, so it wasn’t really a full day … I think they’ll make it easily. 🙂

    Like

  2. 최다해 gongjumonica says:

    It is glaringly obvious that the Korean wave is getting stronger by invading Western countries. As an Asian, I don’t take this as a bad thing. East Asian countries are known for their traditional culture which is, I think, better than Western. Well, I have my prejudices. I have experienced being with different nationalities and I can say that Asians are more polite, helpful, and kind.

    Like

    • What is it about traditional Asian culture that you consider superior to the West’s? Is it simply that you consider personal interchange to be more polite?

      Like

      • My thoughts says:

        An amusing article yet still being relevant and insightful. I particularly like your comment:

        “Whilst it is popular to denigrate Western culture (and it has been a curate’s egg, for sure) it has also been responsible for some of the most important advances in human history – specifically, the evolution from feudalism, anti-authoritarianism, rationalism, science, humanism, the rule of law, democracy, and that’s just to name just a few.”

        I too have found that, all to often the western culture is denigrated in favour of other cultures. While there may be some merit to what they say, having grown up and lived in Asia, the Middle East and UK /Australia, I know first hand that there is a lot to respect and also be critical of all cultures and nationalities. However why do we need to put one culture down in order to respect another? I would personally love to see more fusion of culture (we could call this Gangnam Style :P) and take the best of all culture’s and influences.

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        • Thank you Laura, I really appreciate the feedback. Your point is well made, of course, we should celebrate the best in all cultures – I must admit, that’s one thing I really appreciate about living in Australia, it seems particularly good at that!

          Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Come again!

          Like

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