It's been one week since something called "Freekbass" dropped an atomic bomb on the University of Notre Dame. The entire college football world has had their fun tearing us to shreds. Notre Dame fans have posted pictures of monks lighting themselves on fire to describe their feelings. Current students formed a protest group on Facebook. Others (including myself) called for the immediate crucifixion on South Quad for all those involved. Alumni traded emails that looked like this one:
"I just threw up, and it wasn't the "I'm having an awesome time at this party" kind of throw up. That video is a classic Notre Dame example of what happens when you let people who suck do something they think is cool. A classic Notre Dame example of what happens when you let actual cool people do something they think is cool on campus? A Reslife hearing. When I win the $220 Mega Millions drawing tonight you are all invited to be a part of the new unofficial music video I make for ND called "Golden Shower," with the primary scene being us making it rain hundos off the top of the Golden Dome." - William J. Kearney, Class of '08
I've had six full days to cool off, reflect, and assess the situation. Important details such as who produced the video and why came to light. Suddenly I had an understanding of what had transpired and my feelings toward the video changed a bit. For those who haven't pieced it together yet, here's the skinny:
This video was produced by an Film, Theater, and Television professor at Notre Dame with the help of a variety of FTT majors. They made it for an end of the year awards show for Notre Dame athletes, something called The O.S.C.A.R.S. Apparently there was a very positive response at the awards show when the video was shown.
That's where things went horribly wrong.
People on the administration who were at the show thought the video was great, cool, and hip--and you know they're cool because it's 2010 and they use the word hip when it's not attached by a hyphen to the word hop. They said, "hey, we should throw this up on our official website so everyone can see!" When they posted it on the official Notre Dame Youtube Channel it was not presented as something that was made by a professor and students for an awards show. The way it came across was as an official ND promotional video. Therein lied the true reason for the outrage.
The backlash was so vicious on sites like ND Nation, Rivals, and Facebook that the University felt the need to release two separate statements, one from the manager of the ND Facebook Page (who immediately attempted to distance the administration from the carnage) and one from the professor who produced the video.
Now I kind of feel bad for the people involved with the video. They've been absolutely destroyed by their peers, alums, and pretty much anyone with eyes, a keyboard, and internet access. All they set out to do was make a video for a student awards show. Were they excited when they found out it'd be up on the official ND sites? Probably. Were they smacked upside the head by reality when they left their little FTT bubble? Yes to the 1000th power.
I really think had some random student posted this video it would've been found and ridiculed by fans of others schools, but the Notre Dame student body would've run to their defense or at the very least shrugged their shoulders and said something along the lines of "yeah it's terrible, but it's just dorks making a video, leave them alone." The original appearance that it was produced as an official Notre Dame video is what led the mob to grab their weapons.
In reality, the production value on the video isn't bad at all and there are some pretty cool clips of the student body at games and rallies. Unfortunately, those clips are accompanied by a catastrophically terrible song that's belted out by what looks like the lovechild of an albino cowboy and the dork from Road Trip. This supposedly award winning artist ripped off the tune of Jungle Love (which was written by God himself and handed down to Morris Day and the Mothableepin Time!), desecrated the Play Like A Champion Today sign, and butchered the Victory March while the kid from Hot Tub Time Machine threw in a rap verse. Unfortunately, Freekbass is now part of my lexicon and will one day be known by my kids as "the F-word."
The reaction from Irish fans has been a bit over the top but justifiably so. We were the laughingstock of college football for a few days. It was humiliating and all of ND Nation had to endure a litany of websites--from Everyday Should be Saturday to ESPN--line up to take their shots. It also postponed my plans to rip on Billy for his fellow Penn Staters rocking out to a 17 year old Disney star's song at a tailgate (in due time...).
But people who think this anything more than a minor, embarrassing blip on the radar screen are wrong. Those that think it will affect recruiting are crazy. People who think it shows the University has lost its way will go back to yelling at kids to get off their lawns. Alumni who spent the entire last week facepalming will go back to wishing they were still in school. Students who wanted to march on the Dome will go back to shotgunning beers for the love of the game.
In the end this won't be a huge deal. The clamoring will die down and people will move on to something else to rip apart. All the negative reaction from within the Notre Dame community will most likely lead to the video never seeing the light of day in any other context (read: pep rally videos or NBC broadcasts), which is Notre Dame Football's first victory of 2010. Everyone just needs to take a deep breath, be thankful it happened in April and not during the season, then pretend it never even happened.
All that will live on from this incident will be the F-Word. And if I ever run into him on the street I'm going to kick him in the shin so hard it'll shatter into a million pieces.
To paraphrase Donovan McNabb: Freekbass, keep our name out of your mouth.