Forget about the Grinch. Forget about Metallica suing fans for illegally downloading songs. Forget about Droopy Dog.
This week’s killjoy of the month award goes to the City of El Monte, for firing 13 lifeguards who made the absolutely charming “Lifeguard Style” video set to K-Pop rapper Psy’s catchy diddy, “Gangnam Style.”
First, I just love that these lifeguards are the anti-Baywatch lifeguards: no chiselled abs, no pneumatic boobs, and a little extra insulation for good measure.
Real people protecting real lives. But I digress: they’re no longer lifeguards – they’re unemployed.
“We thought of it was hysterical and we wanted to try something fun,” said Michael Roa, a university student and the masterful editor behind the parody video. ”We were trying out some dance moves. We didn’t think we did anything offensive.” (by the way, it’s being called a parody, but a parody makes fun of something – this just celebrates something – music, youth, and being alive).
As of this writing, the video has 1.1 million views on Youtube and counting. And it’s obvious why: even the Grinch would grow a heart after watching it.
Offensive? Try life affirming.
And I don’t know whether this happy video can be credited for this (although I suspect it can – I didn’t watch the original video until I saw the lifeguard
parody homage), but the original song has received more than 149 million Youtube views, and is number 1 on the iTunes music video chart, the first time a Korean artist has ranked that high.
The 13 fired life guards have already been offered legal help in their plight, but are holding off pending a direct appeal to the City Council. Why am I not surprised? People that happy and easygoing don’t jump straight to the lawsuit: they’d rather chat with the City Fathers and Mothers, and, hopefully, get them to pull their heads out of their asses.
This is a golden opportunity for El Monte to promote itself as the kind of place where sweet, innocent fun can be had, and where folk of all color, stripe and body type are welcome. Seriously, this should be the first link on the Chamber of Commerce’s website.
Oh, and why – technically – were they fired? For making an “unauthorized video” while using city resources without permission, namely the red swim wear and the city pool.
Well done, El Monte!
But there is hope: city mayor Andre Quintero is apparently in the process of removing his head from his anus: “If these employees wanted to produce a video for their own enjoyment and memories, they could have asked for permission and shared the video with their family and friends using a medium that is less public. Fortunately for them,” he continued, “the video has received positive attention, but it could just as easily received negative attention.”
Really? Just as easily received negative attention, eh? Young people frolicking to good music could’ve gone either way, huh?
Jeez, El Monte, just admit you made a colossal mistake, hire these kids back – pretend the whole “firing thing” was just a
parody homage, and give them fat bonuses for putting you on the map.