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Double Rainbow Oh My God – what DOES it mean?

John Moe Jul 8, 2010

I’ve been as delighted as anyone with the original Double Rainbow Oh My God video. I’ve posted some autotune versions. I certainly enjoyed James Urbaniak’s audio mashup with The Rainbow Connection. I realize of course that by next week or possibly sooner, we’ll all be a little sick of Double Rainbow Oh My God. That’s the way these things go. They run their course and fall from favor like so many Macaranae.

But some thought is owed to why this thing went viral in the first place. It got a huge jump start from the Twitter account of late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel who pointed it out to his 85,000 followers. I don’t happen to follow Kimmel but I started seeing it pop up all over soon after that: on BoingBoing, on Twitter, on Facebook, all over the place.

And of course I found it delightful and started spreading it too. I did so because it was the opposite of what I normally experience online and really in life. It was unadulterated wonder, it was joy, it was actual astonishment. We live in a world where information is easy to access, process, interpret, and file away. In my job, I filter through stories all day, judging them, sorting them out, moving on. Even if you’re not in a media job, you’re a media consumer (because hi, you’re reading this) and you absorb, analyze, and sort.

But here’s this dude who’s totally amazed by this one thing for a really long time and he narrates his amazement. It’s funny because it just goes on and on and on for a remarkably long time.

It went VIRAL because it’s a curiosity: dramatic astonishing wonder at something that’s occurring not on a screen but in the sky. We watch this thing at our computers and we gaze through the looking glass at this alternate world free of cynicism, sarcasm, “Fail” or “FTW” or whatever net-specific snarky nomenclature we’re used to seeing.

Double Rainbow Oh My God guy famously asks, “What does it mean?” He’s talking about the rainbow but if we ask the same question about the video, it means something that had been missing in our lives got put back in if only for a few minutes.

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