Ranting about Brookers in print and on TV

It’s all Elly‘s fault. A couple of weeks ago, I was going nuts trying to figure out what to write in my column. I didn’t want to do another rant about network neutrality, and I was also leery of giving in to my urge to write something about a fantasy novel I was reading. That’s when Elly walked into Ritual, and told me about Brookers.

“She’s this big star on YouTube,” Elly said, “And she just got a giant development deal with NBC because of her vodcast.” She made Brookers sound kind of cool and geeky, like a regular Web dork who happened to get lucky. But when I watched Brookers’ videos, I was really unimpressed. Really. It was like watching a teenager make faces at herself in the mirror — sort of cute, but mostly just annoying. The video that earned Brookers her big development deal had gotten 1.5 million downloads, and it was the only watchable thing she’s made. Unfortunately, however, it was just a response to an Internet meme known as the “Numa Numa Dance.” She was imitating an imitation of an imitation that had been going around the Web for 3 years. Jean Baudrillard is probably writing an essay about Brookers right now.

The more I investigated the Numa Numa Dance, however, the more intrigued I became. I spent the whole afternoon in Ritual drinking coffee and watching video after video of fans all over the world dancing to Moldavian pop music. And I wrote a column about the tangled origins of the Numa Numa Dance.

Then, later that week, I got to go on another episode of the Web’s surliest TV show, Cranky Geeks — and host John Dvorak let me rant about Brookers some more. When you get two rants out of one meme, I think that’s a good score.

17 thoughts on “Ranting about Brookers in print and on TV

  1. Heck, I’d like to rant about Brookers a little, myself. After reading your piece about Dragostea din Tei, I crawled all over the Net looking for the various videos. (Imagine my surprise when Gary Brolsma’s actually proved to be somewhat familiar… except that I think the first time I saw it, there was no sound, or there was somethign wrong with the sound, so I had no clue what was going on.)

    In the past week, I’ve seen Brolsma’s masterpiece, O-zone’s actual video, the one by the Navy sailors, at least one animated Japanese thing that was completely indescribable (but *not* anime; more like “The Dot and the Line”), plus countless people doing “standard” Numa Numa dance videos of themselves. They’re all wonderfully lighthearted, completely ridiculous and unahsamed of it.

    And then there’s Brookers’… thing. The first time I tried to watch it, I couldn’t finish it. I was repulsed. First there’s the ponderous, pretentious intro, with the flashing “WARNING” and the admonition not to try to get famous doing this. (Prophetic, eh, Brookers?) Then comes Brookers herself, wearing the “#1 Numa Fan” paper taped to her shirt, and with a disturbing, angry expression on her face.

    She honestly looks like she’s about to go postal. She’s friggin’ scary. I don’t konw what’s going on in her head, and I doubt that I want to.

    At the end of her video, she throws in some wording to the effect that she wants people to stop doing Numa Numa dance videos. Okay, I can imagine being tired of them, but it’s not like anyone is forcing anyone else to watch the things. And every single person that I saw doing any kind of Numa Numa video (with the exception of Brookers herself) was obviously having a wonderful time doing it!

    I’m very glad to see that huge numbers of Numa vids have been uploaded to YouTube in the 8 months since Brookers posted her strange, angry, quasi-psychotic piece. I hope the more people see of her, the more they’ll be disgusted and want her to go away.

    And I wish Gary Brolsma would realize how much happiness he brought into the world by posting his video. One of the sailors in the Navy video prominently wears a t-shirt emblazoned with “Gary you’re my hero”. I hope Gary sees it.

  2. Although I didn’t find Brookers disturbing — mostly just boring — I agree with you that the other Numa Numa videos are fun to watch because they’re so silly and lighthearted. I think what’s appealing about them is that people are being dorks and happy about it. It’s sort of like people all over the world sharing an in-group joke. Reminds me of the “all your base are belong to us” meme, which also had me mesmerized.

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  4. I couldn’t agree more. That girl isn’t really talented but I got to admit that there are other celebrities (on TV mainly) that are famous for even less than posting videos on youtube.
    Forecast: noone will remember her in a year’s time but I still wish her best of luck.

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  6. Not to be intentionally hypocritical, but…I find Brookers to be entertaining, FUNNY, intriguing, and to have immense potential. What I don’t understand is why you (whoever you people are) are able to find the time to publicly offer negative criticism of Brookers using only PERSONAL criteria and offering no technical or professional advice/critique. However, it is the most applicable since Brookers appeal is of the personal kind…
    perhaps you all might want to consider taking a Rorschac (sp?) test to find out what you REALLY don’t like. Meanwhile I wonder what you are teaching your children…

  7. i really like brookers. she is odd, funny pretty entertaining and kinda cute. she has a funky dark side to her and i like the way she experiments with all that she does. the way she makes the videos (music, various styles, filters etc.) that make me interested. if she has a deal good for her. i hope to see her on TV one day …or in the credits at least.

  8. I really don’t understand how the world works. There “brookers” sits making video blogs, and gets famous? It’s because people have no clue what film is supposed to be… and Brookers desecrates film in every was possible. Why is it that hundreds of quality film makers go unnoticed, but some chick who posted some video blogs gets famous? It doesn’t make sense. Maybe it’s because youtube is a complete joke. Youtube is NOT film.

  9. As has been pointed out a few times, Brookers “Numa” variant isn’t any more clever, cute or watchable than any other, and really only amounts to a retread of most of the other Brolsma-inspired videos. While this may inspire various degrees of revulsion in some (and thinly-veiled geeklust masquerading as artistic or critical praise in others), Brookers ascension to B-list fame is just another symptom of a cultural/media malady that the entertainment world is celebrating instead of trying to cure. Unfortunately, the popular appetite for (even poorly rendered) retreads (Dukes of Hazard, Pink Panther, The Fog, Miami Vice…do I need to go on?) will ensure that Brookers and folks just like her, will get their fifteen minutes of fame.

    If there’s any consolation at all for those of you, of us, who aren’t entirely impressed by the Brookers Phenomenon (I don’t hate her, but come on, a development deal?), keep in mind that it’s Carson Daly who’s underwriting her potential fame and fortune.

    Carson Daly.

    Daly, along with Paris Hilton, Jessica and Nick, Boy Bands, and irresponsible Teen Pop Princesses and their unholy spawn have edged past 15, and are clinging desperately to the second hand as it ticks toward their respecitve stints on Hollywood Squares.

    One other thing: I believe Daly was described as a “tool” by Jimmy Fallon (irony noted). If he’s been dubbed a “tool” by the flagship of twenty-first century entertainment mediocrity (SNL), I don’t know that I’d be too anxious to pin my future to him.

  10. I just stumbled onto the phenomena that is Brookers. Some of her videos are repulsive, quirky, or just plain impossible to sit through, no matter how brief. HOWEVER, I am still fascinated by them. There’s no doubt in my mind that she is *creative*: there IS a spark of … something … there. I think that’s what Carson Daly (meh) sees, and it’s what I think a lot of people find appealing. And I hope that she can get the most out of this opportunity, and I wish her well. I may not be Brookers’ “#1 Fan”, but you can add me to the list…

  11. This thread has made clear to me why it’s Carson Daly who has a show to put Brookers on while the people here do not. It’s because Daly is the one who has an eye for talent. Most of the critics here mistake polish for talent. The two things are very different. An act can be polished to the hilt and still be boring. Brookers has many rough edges, no doubt. However, she’s got that rare sense of comic timing and playfulness that make her material work where others doing the same stuff only bore. This young woman is delightful and hilarious. She could be polished up to make her work even better. On the other hand no amount of polishing could make most YouTube material work.

    I work in the talent development field and could get into some hot water if I revealed my real name or the names of acts I’ve helped make successful. (Stupid union rules.) You would recognize them if I did name them. I’m only sorry Carson found this girl before I could.

    Her detractors are clearly either clueless to what makes up talent or are motivated by jealousy. I’m saving this thread so that I can show it to my new signees if they’re ever frustrated about not being appreciated quickly enough.

    Not everyone has an eye for talent. That’s a gift in and of itself. Daly has it. I have it. Brookers’ detractors don’t. This page is full of people who simply don’t know what they’re talking about.

    I’ve already fired off an e-mail to Carson venting playful outrage that he got to this one before I did.

  12. I dislike Brookers as well. Her much needed worked on teeth were frightening to look at and I couldn’t make it through all of her video’s the first time I watched them.

    It absolutely disturbed me to find that she got a signing deal based on her YouTube.com video’s. I found they weren’t that creative and all of the effects she used could be created by anyone who knows how to use imovie or moviemaker- depending on your computer. Besides that, both programs are walk-you-through step by step easy.

    She only got the signing deal and all the publicity because she simply utilized the ‘tags’ option of YouTube.com. (Tags are words that people type in to find what they are looking for in a movie).

    I don’t know why she got the sign, but I sure wish I could have had video’s out before her. I am more creative- funny thing is, I am not even a film major- even though I am a Behavioral Psychology major.

    Video editing isn’t a hard science, it’s easy to learn and fun to play with. I don’t know why people see her as being so creative and so skilled at an art so many OTHERS have mastered. I just hope the girl uses the money she gets to put braces on those teeth and sign up for an arts class to become a little more creative!

  13. Carson Daly is the last person in the world who should be developing anyone. He’s finished.

    I’m surprised at how nobody is stating the obvious.

    Brooke Brodack is the real thing. Unfortunately she is being exploited and gagged. Daly is only using her fuel to stoke his own extinguishing fires.

    Her recent appearance on The Tyra Banks show is indicative of a lack of vision on the part of her organization. They put her in unflattering clothes and a terrible hair do. Sitting between the other 2 judges she was effectively rendered marginal and invisible.

    If you look through her videos you can see she has a thousand faces and is very attractive when she wants to be.

    I hope when “It’s Your Show” fails as it has to, she will make a better career choice.

    The videos she has produced since she was signed are but a pale shadow of her pre-Daly work.

    Her best video to date was a response to one of her own post Daly videos “Re: Mans Laughter” was mysteriously made private on YouTube. I wonder who called that shot? Carson Daly?.

    I guess time will tell.

    I hope she makes it.

  14. Stumbled across a Brookers clip first time I checked into YouTube and was drawn in immediately by the obvious…her desperate need to express herself. She is at once charming, vulnerable, quixotic, inspired. Those who disparage her are not simply lacking in an eye for talent…that would leave them silent as they stumbled off to find something more to their taste. The disparagers are nothing more than “metoo wannabes” without the courage to pull off a single Brookers class clip. Sure, she repeats herself, mugs incessantly, and sometimes simply rambles. That is the beauty of unscripted life, lived out loud with an audience. I only hope she continues to enjoy herself as much as she did while making the videos.

    PS…I am sure you dad WOULD have been proud.

  15. I truthfuly love Brookers work. And just bieng a normal 13 year old girl I wouldn’t know about talent or creativity or anything like that. I was just looking to see what Numa Numa song she used in her crazed fan video when I stumbled across this page. Brookers is strong to put videos like these up where everyone can see them. could you just imagine being seen and critisized all over the world? By complete strangers??? People judging you just for having fun??? I admire her courage and indifference to what people think of her! And someday soon I will make a funny Numa Numa video under the name TotalyTB… brookers is an idol to the people who watch her and who can actualy see the endurence it takes to make a videos like that.
    Im surpized you grown adults cant see that!