Being in NYC, on most years, Rocketboom has done something to commemorate the 9/11 attacks.
On September 11th, 2007, we uploaded a video of George Bush being told that a second plane had hit the second World Trade Center tower.
You might of seen a segment before, there is slow-mo version that is typically shown. In time, this one has gone on to gain over 700,000 views and is notable for the amount of comments it has received, over 4000. Almost every day, we receive a comment on this video.
Personally, this video has become a big part of my consciousness for I receive an email in real time for every comment on every video we have ever posted to YouTube and thus get to hear people’s ongoing remarks about this daily.
Now twelve years later, and six years after uploading it, I decided to present an overview of what I think people are saying about it. I think it is interesting from several perspectives, but mostly from the perspective of psychology and how humans deal with large scale challenges like this.
From the standpoint of an entrepreneur who is forging new ground to someone who is running a city or even one of the most powerful countries in the world, you have to wonder, as we do, is this person right for the job?
I grabbed up the comments and put them through various text analysis tools and here’s what I came up with. I’m not sure there is any revelation here, or answers in particular. It is simply an interesting topic to consider, maybe a good question for someone who you are interviewing for a position. “What would you have done in that situation?”
Bush was visiting young children in a school at the time. At one minute into the video, you can see the moment where an agent enters in, whispers into Bush’s ear that a second plane had hit the second tower, and then the following 4 minutes of raw, unedited footage giving you a chance to consider his reaction to the news.
The undisputed #1 question here is, what WAS Bush thinking? I know what I was thinking. I happened to be tuned into the live news with a friend that day from Austin, Texas, and we watched live as the second plane crashed into the second tower. It only took me about 2 seconds to realize that this was defiantly not an accident anymore.
One recent commenter (and one responder) to the video had this to say:
It’s an interesting psychological question. Psychology is a pretty muddy study, but this question of what would you do under pressure if you were the leader of a country is the kind of question people want answered when interviewing you for the job of running a country. What would you do if your country or business was attacked? Can you handle the stress? Can you organize and take action? Can you lead?
First off, here is a word cloud of all of the comments:
Notice anything patterns? You can break this down in other more interesting ways. Here is a tree layout:
I followed several lines, for example, ‘Bush was in shock’:
Here is a Phase Net cloud:
Granted this is one set of comments, on video, on YouTube, on Rocketboom’s account so the sample is not the best for general purposes. Here is an overview of just the last 30 days:
Essentially there are two primary directions people wanted to go with this:
1. A large number of people used this as evidence to support the possible idea that Bush ‘knew’ and had something to do with it. To clarify, these people are suggesting Bush didn’t react because he anticipated the news and that the whisper in his ear was just a confirmation in his mind that everything happened according to plan. It is a pretty tired theory but appears to remain alive and active, somewhat like the JFK conspiracies remain alive today.
2. While some suggested he was just shocked, an even larger number suggested that he did not react in order to be kind to the children and not cause alarm, and that this was the extent of it. Though as many commentators to the video countered, Bush could have politely and calmly left the room without the need to explain why, thus rushing off to lead a crisis while not alarming the children.
Fewer comments suggested other theories: He did not understand the implications; he was waiting for instructions from someone because he didnt know what to do; he was in fact thinking about what to do and used the opportunity to think about his plans in the background.
You have to admit, it is odd that he sat for so many critical minutes just thinking. WHat would the other presidents have done?
In response to I ain’t gonna work on YouTube’s farm no more, I am in the same camp as Jason with an ultimate goal of owning and controlling as much of my own company as possible. But I think Jason is in a different position as a venture capitalist when he rejects YouTube funding….
A lawsuit was filed on April 22nd accusing Warner Brothers and 5th Cell Media of willfully infringing against Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat copyrights and trademarks. Charles Schmidt (Keyboard Cat) and Christopher Torres (Nyan Cat) believe they own the memes which they claim were willfully misappropriated, appearing in multiple versions and marketing materials of the hit game Scribblenauts.
The claim argues that the WB logo is also “a meme, even though it is only two letters inside the outline of a shield. Of course, WB employs an army of lawyers who use trademark and copyright law to zealously protect its intellectual property, including its logo.” Schmidt and Torres also note that other companies have paid them licensing fees in the past.
The suit is claiming damages in excess of $75,000 and could easily cost both the plaintiffs and defendants several hundred thousand dollars to take the case to the end. Rocketboom reached out to Brad O’Farrel who was largely responsible for the Keyboard Cat’s rise to fame (and has also contributed as a writer to some of Rocketboom’s best episodes) to get his opinion on the case. “I signed the rights over to Charlie so it has little to do with me.” When pressed for an opinion: “I don’t really have an opinion on it either.”
UPDATE: Rocketboom reached out to plaintiff Chris Torres and received the following response:
TORRES: Whew, this has just been one big mess of a situation. I think the worst part about it all are the people that don’t know how copyright/trademark even work and are attacking us for this, when we are doing it just to protect our intellectual rights. In terms of Nyan Cat, I’m in legal agreements with the owner of the song and even with the lady who uploaded the video on YouTube.
ROCKETBOOM: Have you ever issued a cease and desist on these copyrights before?
TORRES: Yes, we’ve sent out DMCAs to companies before, but it’s usually only a last resort situation when the company doesn’t want to work with us.. It’s one thing to have fan art of it, or to use it noncommercially . I love it when people do that sort of stuff, and essentially, that’s how memes are memes to begin with. Totally all for it. However, it’s not cool when a large corporation with their own IPs take it and make money from it without approval from the creator. I am just one graphics artist, my art is how I make a living.
The Internet has this general mentality where “if it’s on the Internet, it’s free-reign”, especially with memes. Some sites even take your photographs, art, etc, slap a watermark on them, and rake in ad revenue, while creators don’t see a single penny. However, in the end, somebody owns that property. Putting a copyright and trademark on our work is just a way to protect ourselves from situations like this. Even though all art is protected, you don’t get taken serious unless you have legal papework for it. You don’t see companies even making slight resemblances to big corporation characters like Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty!
ROCKETBOOM: Has anybody else ever infringed on nyan cat to this degree?
TORRES: I’m not really sure, but this is definitely the first time it’s been on news sites like this.
ROCKETBOOM: Were you able to engage in any negotiations with WB prior to issuing the complaint?
TORRES: Yes, when I first saw that Nyan Cat was being used in their recent Unlimited title, I was actually really upset. I actually had Kia Kamran, my attorney, reached out to engage in an amicable resolution. However, we were disrespected and snubbed aside. The representative for the company even went out to call this a “nuisance”. Getting into a legal dispute is definitely not something I ever want to do unless we don’t have a choice.
I just created a new website that I’m pretty happy about called Is My Computer On. It’s a new tool that anyone can use for free as long as they have a computer with internet access. You can use the site to determine whether or not your computer is on and it’s easy to remember the name in case you need it in the future: