YouTube: Accidental celebrity and an increase in the price of fame

BBC’s Storyville recently aired a documentary about one of the older ‘viral video’ stars, Jack Rebney, AKA ‘The Winnebago Man’. Having originally been made famous by suburban kids trading copied VHS video tapes, diminishing in quality each time, clips of the Winnebago Man were uploaded to YouTube in its early days, spreading like wildfire and getting remixed and redubbed ‘The Angriest Man in the World’

There’s a clip here of why, beware – there’s lots of very funny foul language.

I don’t want to spoil anything about the documentary as its still available on iPlayer (UK only) but in going in search of the original clip’s star the author, Ben Steinburger stumbles across a man, living alone, baffled, but also defined by a fame he never wanted. Its jus goes to show that, VHS or YouTube a viral is still a viral, it just spreads a heck of a lot quicker.

The [SPOILER ALERT] documentary finishes on a positive, as It puzzles me as to why Winnebago Corp. chose not to get involved in the meme, as it offered a perfect potential to create a very funny and spreadable commercial. It also begs the question more people don’t use the phrase “will you do me a kindess…?” or describe hoses as “ecoutrements” any more.

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