April 13, 2011

Oregon Lawmakers 'Rickroll' Colleagues

Dwight Eisenhower was right in saying that humor is part of the art of leadership.

In the spirit of bipartisanship, 12 lawmakers in the state of Oregon executed a plan to humor the masses using their colleagues in a video that has become a viral sensation. By utilizing the ever-famous “Rickroll” prank, an Internet meme that is really a bait and switch: a person provides a hyperlink that they claim is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the video of Rick Astley performing his one-hit wonder, “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

The lawmakers, however, took it a step further and, over the course of a year, slipped in lyrics from the song into their speeches on the house floor.

According to Yahoo News, Rep. Jefferson Smith (D) convinced a bipartisan group of colleagues to join him in reciting, piece by piece, the entire song in speeches during a special legislative session in February 2010. Because Oregon law requires that legislative proceedings be videotaped, the entire spectacle was secretly captured on tape. The clips were then cleverly edited together and the outcome was, in fact, the lyrics of the song tied together with the original pop hit video.

Smith said that this little prank helped “develop professional relationships” and was a “tiny spoonful of sugar to let the political medicine go down.”

The video opens with text that offers a similar explanation.

"In Oregon, the State House is tied with 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans," the text reads. "Fortunately, Oregon has a rich history of bipartisanship. This is one such example."

"It seemed non-time-consuming, funny and positive," Smith said. "Our country is facing some real partisan toxin. Any break from that seems not terrible."

Other members went along with the prank.

"It was fun," Sara Gelser, a Democrat from Corvallis said. "For five minutes I was cool.”

The video is posted on YouTube (News - Alert) under the user LegislativeStudyGrp.

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Janice McDuffee