Tisch Film Review » Crying For America: In Memory Of YouTube Celebrity Chris Crocker

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20 January 2008

Crying For America: In Memory Of YouTube Celebrity Chris Crocker

By Debbie Saslaw

“In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” – Andy Warhol

Perhaps he was being facetious at the time, but Andy Warhol predicted the future better than a crystal ball ever could. Though interpretations of this overused quote may vary, Warhol’s comment reflects how our media-ADD directly contributes to the fleeting fame of America’s superstars.  But Warhol couldn’t imagine YouTube and its potential to make EVERYONE famous.  Even if you don’t spend hours lurking around the internet, it’s impossible to ignore “weblebrities” like Chris Crocker, the genius behind “Leave Britney Alone!,” a two-minute emotional breakdown addressing public misconceptions of how America’s Sweetheart turned into America’s Shitshow.

“Leave Britney Alone!” has over 15 million hits.  This means 15 million virtual tears have been shed for poor Britney Spears, whose fame only escalates with each incriminating scandal.  Shoddy production design aside, the video is pathetically hilarious.  By putting an off-white sheet behind his head, Crocker seems to contemplate Britney’s fate beneath the covers of his bed. Maybe I’m reading a little too far into this, but this poor 20-year-old transgender is so overwhelmed with sadness that he refuses to get up in the morning.  Are his tears real?  Crocker is a self-proclaimed”edutainer” and insists that “Leave Britney Alone!” was 100% sincere. He even told MAURY that he wasn’t acting - yet somehow, I find myself skeptical of anyone wearing a leopard pantsuit on network television.

During his 15 minutes, Chris Crocker was about as famous as Britney herself.  Over 200,000 comments are posted on the video and it has spawned hundreds of parodies, including my personal favorite, “Leave Crocs Alone!” (”They are nasty for a reason!”)  For about two weeks, Crocker’s asymmetrical haircut was all over the place.  I imagine that somewhere on MSNBC, a stoic anchorman dissected the video while a scrolling news bar dictated havoc in the Middle East.

Sadly, Chris Crocker’s 15 minutes are over.  But since it is better to burn out than fade away, he embraces his fate.  He is currently working with a production company on (shocker!) a “docusoap” called Chris Crocker’s 15 Minutes More.  Wikipedia doesn’t say much more about the project, but the word “docusoap” makes it seem very promising. Although he will probably find a new angle, I sincerely hope he cries a bit more (”Leave Huckabee Alone!”).  The possibilities are endless, because fleeting fame is only as sad as the amount of time you spend following it.

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