Apparently I’m not alone in this, but I’ve found the 2008 Summer Olympics to be surprisingly watchable thus far. Obviously, the big story from an American standpoint is Michael Phelps destroying his competition at will while adding to his extensive gold medal collection. And since your average American has no problem basking in the reflected glory of an incredibly dominant athlete, particularly in international competition (even if that athlete is a pretty obvious cheater), it’s pretty clear to whom NBC should attribute the ratings boom.
But give Joe American credit. He’s not just willing to hop aboard the bandwagon, he’s also willing to find a way to exploit the bandwagon. Unconfirmed reports (I made this up) have the prices of swimming lessons up $20 an hour. American flags, miniature and otherwise, are at their highest cost in nearly seven years. Clearly, there’s a buck to be made here. That’s the beauty of capitalism.
Likewise, there’s another beauty we Americans have called freedom of expression. You can find that bad boy in a number of places. One of them, provided your content is neither stolen nor inclusive of tits, is YouTube. The beauty of YouTube is that you can post whatever message you want to share with the world and distribute it for free! What a deal.
And the offer isn’t just limited to Americans. No, even people in countries that aren’t The Second Most Powerful Nation in the World are free to post about whatever trivial matters concern them. War, famine, all that bullshit. I’m not quite sure what China’s deal is.
Anyway, this brings me in a roundabout way to the work of paintmaster343. Purportedly based in Saudi Arabia, Mr. (call it a hunch) 343 recently posted a video that grabbed my attention:
I happened to stumble upon it during one of my hourly searches for the word “robot” of YouTube. (What can I say? That dance is awesome.) Since then, I found myself subscribing to his feed and waiting breathlessly by my computer for the next update to come. Looking at the number of views of each post, I wondered to myself, much like your stereotypical over-the-top indy band geek wonders to himself why his favorite band — you know, the one with mediocre songs and no stage presence or fanbase — hasn’t been signed to a label yet, when paintmaster343’s big break would come. In my mind, it was only a matter of time before he’d turn into the next Brookers or AtheneWins.
Surely he thought the same thing and, upon realizing how many people around the world would be watching the Olympics, developed a course of action that would attract the eyeballs of Joe Americans and Billy Anycountrys alike:
Judging by the huge traffic the post has received (576 views at the time of this posting), I’d say mission accomplished.
But what was really striking to me was how nonplussed paintmaster343 was at his newfound fame. He didn’t hoist himself onto a soapbox and start ripping on anyone or anything that bothered him in Saudi Arabia. No. He just kept on doing what made him a success in the first place: drawing animate and inanimate objects on MS Paint and posting his masterpieces to YouTube.
Though it pains me a little bit that paintmaster343 is no longer my little secret, I felt it was my obligation to at least be one of the first people in the blogosphere to give him a vote of support.
Cherish him, dear readers. For I know I certainly have.
Now back to the Olympics.