Oregon State Legislature Gets Rickrolled
Oregon State Representative Jefferson Smith (D-YouTube) pulled off one of the great political pranks of all time (via Political Wire). Smith came up with the idea when talking to his wife about how divisive the legislature is. If he could just get them to say the words of the Rick Astley song, “Never Gonna Give You Up” he could assemble a video.
But assembling the video was about as tricky an undertaking as as one can imagine. First, Smith had to sell his colleagues on the joke–which wasn’t as hard as he initially feared. Most of his fellow lawmakers–at the time, the legislature was split evenly, with 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans–knew of Astley’s 1987 hit and understood the basic concept of a “Rick Roll,” he insists. “I pitched the idea to a few members, and they liked it,” he recalls.
But Smith–who developed the concept with his wife, a few colleagues and several friends, one of whom is video editor–had a few rules about the joke. The lines had to be delivered on the House floor during a lawmaker’s regular floor speech–which is, under Oregon law, videotaped for public records purposes. And the lines of the lyrics had to be spread out, so as not to tip off the state House clerk or other observers to what lawmakers were up to.
“It was way harder taking words and spreading them out than simply manipulating them (on video),” Smith says. “There are some easy lines in there to say without getting noticed. ‘You’re never gonna’ is easy. ‘I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling’ is easy. But an ‘ooh?’ That’s tricky.”…
Smith wrote the lyrics down and spread them out piecemeal among his colleagues–with the Portland lawmaker himself taking on some of the more difficult lines that others didn’t want to do, including “never gonna say good-bye” and “hurt you.”
It took fourteen months to put the one-minute forty-five second video together. And the good news is, “no taxpayer funds” were used.Click here for reuse options!
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