“I’m Irregular, Bitches!” How Herman Cain Led Me to the Future

by Jim Washburn

Sometimes a new thing comes along right when you need it. For some people, that new something is Herman Cain. If you’re me, it’s a video of Cain that’s been overdubbed with Zippy-grade surreal non-sequiturs run through a Pooty Tang translator, all adeptly synched with Cain’s lips.

Some of it seems prescient given the sexual harassment claims now being made against Cain. Here, he faces the camera and reveals: “Women have a special feeling, though. They got extra-fatal lady-shimmer of no maximum strength. You could be sick pooping out blood and you still want them.”

I’m slow on the uptake with just about anything that doesn’t get ink on my fingers, and only learned of this viral video by way of a HuffPost blogger. The Cain piece is part of a YouTube channel of 12 videos thus far by BLR—Bad Lip Reading. If you’re a fan of the absurd blather that voice recognition software can spew out, you’ll enjoy the concept behind these: That someone’s guessing at what’s being said when the TV’s volume is turned down.

Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann and President Obama got the treatment Cain did, and some of it’s pretty swell, such as Bachmann enthusing, “I went from being two banana plants up to a thrill seeking shark who sold pictures of different toys I wanted.” Part of the joy is that such pronouncements make so much more sense than what the candidates usually say.

The creator behind Bad Lip Reading remains anonymous, but granted a short interview to Rolling Stone, in which it’s revealed he’s a young music and video producer from Texas, who started off trying to emulate his deaf mother’s talent for lip-reading TV shows with the sound off. I would not be surprised if it turned out Will Ferrell and his pals were really behind it, but that wouldn’t detract from the fine truth that these videos, and their justly far-flung success, could have been accomplished by virtually anyone on the planet with the talent and a modicum of technology. The door to the arcade is thrust ajar, kids.

Herman Cain is a little bit right that instead of sitting around bellyaching, people should be working full-speed-ahead to make something of themselves and their world, or, as Cain put it in BLR’s video: “Pouty people and whiny people, friends, shut your ass up; white boy back to sleep!”

I had dinner last night with a Republican friend who has been a staunch Cain supporter for, gee, it must be three weeks now. He was furious at these [very rude word here] who were now trying to pull this good man down with their claims of sexual harassment. After I got home I emailed him the link to the Bad Lip Reading Cain video, titling it “The definitive Herman Cain.”

The response I got back was “not really Oval Office-ready … .loose cannon.” Granted, my friend had been drinking, and the video’s lip-synching is awfully good, but somehow it didn’t seem too big a stretch for him to think that the real Herman Cain walks around saying things like, “Oh yeah, I got swag, because everybody needs toucan stubs.”

That’s all well and good, but the real revolution in Bad Lip Reading’s work is in his music video reworkings. Take “Everybody Poops,” a bold reimagining of the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow.” (Also, don’t miss the take on Rebecca Black with “Gang Fight.”) I like the Peas just fine, but the BLR version pumps a new song on top of the video that is wholly better than the original, with a lyric that also trumps the message of the book of the same name.

The book helped kids feel more at ease about their evacuative processes, and not be such anal retentive little shits. BLR adds a threat to the message. Check the chorus: “Everybody poops and if they don’t they’re an android and should be destroyed.”

Is it just infantile scat humor? I think there’s more at work here, in the grand tradition of America’s greatest artist of the last century, Louis Armstrong, who proclaimed the benefits of Swiss Kriss laxative to anyone who’d listen, even writing to President Dwight Eisenhower to recommend it and his other daily aid, marijuana. Don’t you wish you could have seen Eisenhower’s face reading that? Armstrong had a postcard made he’d send to friends, with a photo of him on the toilet and the message, “Satchmo says, leave it all behind ya!”

Take a dump. Make room for the future. “Everybody Poops” is the song of the year, no kidding. You get the singalong chorus. You get Will I. Am declaiming, “I’m Irregular, Bitches!” You get the Fergie sequences which I just cannot stop watching.

The thing is unrelenting, tearing the known world apart. The revolution is televised. Every time I watch it, I’m reminded of what William Butler Yeats said after seeing Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi: “After us the savage god.”

Jim Washburn has written for the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the OC Weekly, various MSN sites and just about anybody else willing to trade a paycheck for a pulse.
jim@fourstory.org

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