If you haven't been online in the past 24 hours, you may have missed the storm of tweets and Facebook posts around the comedic and topical online phenomenon called: ShitHarperDid.com.
About a million other people didn't miss it. By 2 p.m. on Wednesday the site had crashed, though only momentarily, from, what else but popularity, having reached one million hits since 8 a.m. that morning.
A collaboration between scruffy hipster types, Sean Devlin and Cameron Reed, as well as several artists, comedians and various other Vancouver locals, went viral yesterday afternoon after a series of videos was posted on YouTube featuring mock celebrity political endorsements, pointing to the obvious lack of celebrities like Celine Dion and Babar, King of the Elephants, in the videos.
Part of the charm and, in fact, the reason why these videos work, is the transparency, in terms of the relative lack of power, on one hand, of the folks involved, who perhaps know that, as relative unknowns, they may not have the ears of the conservative voter, they do have the ears and the trust of a younger generation of Canadians who may or may not feel alienated from political discourse.
Marrying the very serious impact that Harper has and could potentially continue to have on Canadians with the comedy stylings of real-life local celebrities like A & W trainee, Ryan Beil and protester #2, Cam MacLeod, really couldn't be a more appropriate way to engage the under-35s.
Featuring the artwork of Vancouver favourite, Ehren Salazar, whose pencil drawing suitably depicts an image of Stephen Harper emulating a human being who cares about living things, the site also includes a never-ending supply of factoids about Harper that, while perhaps progressive types may have assumed or guessed at, suit those of us who enjoy some solid evidence to back up our outrage.
From creepo tips like: "The Alliance Church, to which Harper has belonged for decades, believes Jesus Christ will return to Earth in an apocalypse, won't ordain women, strongly opposes abortion and divorce, condemns homosexuality as the most base of sins and believes those who aren't born-again are 'lost"; to facts which constitute serious atrocities inflicted on, in particular, marginalized and low-income populations, such as this information, from rabble.ca:
"In the 2011 budget, the Harper government failed to allocate any new funding for drinking water on First Nations reserves. 100 First Nations communities currently have water advisories, including 49 communities which are high risk. Harper also refuses to sign the UN Declaration designating clean water as a human right", this site has compiled an impressive collection of very good reasons to get angry, but also to get out and vote.
In terms of activating the supposedly disengaged youth, this may be one the more genius of campaigns. Not only are some of these folks our friends and neighbours, if you live in and around the Vancouver Eastside, but they manage to embody all the irony, humour and relevance that may actually inspire youngish folks to vote. If not only to spite Harper.
While the older generation of conservative voters may well see the ShitHarperDid team as a bunch of ‘little darlings' who ‘need to get out of their parent's basements' as one condescending woman incorrectly characterized Cam Reed on CKNW Thursday morning, the popularity of the site could possibly disprove the myth of the apathetic young hipster and mobilize some potty-mouthed youth in the process.