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Matt Harding comes clean.
January 1, 2009 9:41 PM   Subscribe

Matt Harding details the hoax behind "Where the Hell is Matt". (Watch till the end)
posted by Lord_Pall (158 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Matt readed itz from index cardz.
posted by netbros at 10:02 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


True Fact: User to most often utilize the "Matt" tag: mathowie.
posted by piratebowling at 10:05 PM on January 1, 2009


I wish "who the hell is matt?" would be cleared up first.
posted by mrnutty at 10:08 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think I now have a little crush on Matt.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:10 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I found the speech more than a little frustrating. I've often wondered if individual shots were faked (DMZ comes to mind) and yet the glib response was as annoying as any fake accusation could be. Claiming that "it was magic robots!" is the kind of non-denial denial that makes me wish I hadn't bothered to care in the first place. Hell, he couldn't even sell the spiel and his stilted reading of the note cards made me wonder if everything he does is as awkward as his dancing. Ultimately, his video isn't what he thinks it is; it's not about bringing people together in a common bond of humanity but a self-indulgent excuse to focus all attention on one guy for his 900 seconds. The obvious pride he takes in mainstream attention and his hit count just makes me more convinced that the attention was what he was looking for in the first place and all that remains upon multiple viewing. Wherever the hell Matt is, I wish he hadn't resurfaced.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:10 PM on January 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


(shrugs)

Where's the revelation?

The links to Stride Gum were never hidden. And for viral advertising, it struck me as very good natured and fun. In fact, as a non-gum chewer, I even bought a pack or two.

Oh, as a proper MeFite, I need to add something something Blue.
posted by Samizdata at 10:15 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's obviously not possible for him to have faked all the shots. If some of the original shots in the first video were faked, then, um who cares?
posted by delmoi at 10:16 PM on January 1, 2009


I've often wondered if individual shots were faked (DMZ comes to mind)

If the DMZ shot was faked, then it was Matt superimposed on footage of the real thing, because that is exactly what that room looks like.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:17 PM on January 1, 2009


I think I am crushing on Matt right now. Oh god.
posted by flipyourwig at 10:23 PM on January 1, 2009


Actually, I have to check my pictures, but that may even be the same guard. I remember the ridiculous oversized sunglasses.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:24 PM on January 1, 2009


I'd never seen the video before and at first watch it was magical. Finding out that it was a viral video to sell gum just made me really sad.
posted by dawdle at 10:24 PM on January 1, 2009


Also, allen.spaulding, you have a heart of stone.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:26 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm gonna go travelling the world and make a real version of this video. Sans the stupid dancing and corporate whoring.
posted by dawdle at 10:26 PM on January 1, 2009


Now I really want to go to Antarctica in the summer.

"I found the speech more than a little frustrating."

Jesus christ, the man flies all around the world, makes what I consider to be an entertaining video and all anyone says about it is that it is shopped/faked/wank wank wank. I think he is entitled to a little bitterness.
posted by 517 at 10:28 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


dawdle: less talk; more video.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:30 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Hell, he couldn't even sell the spiel and his stilted reading of the note cards made me wonder if everything he does is as awkward as his dancing.

I agree; people who are bad at public speaking are bad people, and they should feel bad about themselves.

> and yet the glib response was as annoying as any fake accusation could be.

I think the glib response, if annoying, is one of the few valid responses to that kind of accusation. It's the small-scale phenomenon where you can argue up and down the street but you (1) won't convince the disbelievers and (2) bore the rest of the world who doesn't care. You might as well shrug, make a joke, and move on. Or punch somebody in the face.
posted by shadytrees at 10:30 PM on January 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'm as much an enemy of rampant irony and dewy-eyed romance as anyone should be, but I too am disturbed by the current trend of fake naivety attempting to cover up pointlessness. The original video was kinda neat, but artless. Nobody really cared if it was a fake, not then and not now, because it isn't saying anything.

To avoid making my first comment of the new year be pure malice, let me remind everyone that Matt and his sentimental ilk are the forerunners of a giant fat golden wave of innovation and creativity once internet video reaches maturity. This time next year I bet we'll be discussing something totally real, utterly unbelievable, and truly edifying. We can't know what it will be, but with a lot of effort, and a little bit of luck, we can pray that it will involve talking cats and space amazons from the squid nebula. Happy 2009!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:30 PM on January 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


blurg. I meant that I am an enemy of rampant irony and a FAN of dewy-eyed romance which after rereading doesn't really make any more sense actually. I'm still coming down from last night actually. I love all of you. Does anyone want a backrub?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:35 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


@allen.spaulding:

Indeed. All the great silly jig dancers of yore honed their skills at highland retreats in monastic solitude. Matt is a glory-seeking imitator more concerned with his own fame than the perfection of this ancient art.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 10:38 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I got totally confused about the hoaxiness of it all, but the portion of the budget allocated to "Robot Uprising Insurance" finally clued me in. Ha!
posted by divabat at 10:40 PM on January 1, 2009


Every time I see that nerd dancing his stupid dance, in his stupid nerdy glasses and nerdy clothes, set to treacly Enya-like music, it makes my skin crawl.

And by responding to YouTube comments (!?!) accusing him of staging a hoax just makes "Matt" look petty and insecure.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:55 PM on January 1, 2009


I would love a backrub.
posted by Caduceus at 11:02 PM on January 1, 2009


I can't believe the responses here and the comments on Matt's 2008 video. What the fuck is wrong with you people?

What the fuck am I doing here? Another year of this shit? Ugh. No thanks.
posted by Manhasset at 11:05 PM on January 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


I will give you one in a second, let me rest right now cuz I've been dancing like Matt for 9 hours straight and I think I may have kissed one of those New Guinean dudes...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:09 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


He totally stole the World-Famous Wonderchicken Dance of Joy from me, but I am more than happy that he did so. More power to him. The world could use more slightly pudgy good-natured goofballs travelling around the world doing more goofy stuff.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:29 PM on January 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


Wow, I really don't understand the hostility in some of these comments.
posted by Nattie at 11:30 PM on January 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Your favorite internet viral video sucks.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:33 PM on January 1, 2009


I enjoyed the film when I watched it, and learning it was all CGI now would take very little of that enjoyment away from me. So there.

Maybe in some world y'all live in, you can jet around the world and afford to do so without underwriting from some corporate entity. I can assure you a bunch of marketing bright lights sat around and said "listen, we just need for everyone to be chewing Stride gum in each shot. Maybe you can present a stick of it to everyone, they can smile, and then you all dance! Oh, and you'll need to wear this Stride outfit the entire time." That it didn't happen that way on the film is a small miracle.
posted by maxwelton at 11:35 PM on January 1, 2009


Yeah, geez. Who cares if it's a viral ad for gum. It's a lovely little piece of togetherness and fun in bad year for a seriously fucked up world.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:38 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, I really don't understand the hostility in some of these comments.

I don't get it either. I'm just going to assume some folks are still fighting New Year's hangovers.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:42 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I liked the original video better. Mostly for the totally awesome Deep Forest song Sweet Lulluby that I would credit with establishing the ambiance that viralized this video in the first place.

So in 1970 a French ethnomusicologist records a Baegu woman named Afunakwa singing a lulluby called "Rorogwela" which, 30 years later is sampled for a song by Deep Forest which is then used in a video about a goofy guy dancing.

I'd like to see some of the bubble gum money work its way back to Afunakwa's family, but that will never happen. At least Matt is looking for her.
posted by _aa_ at 11:45 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Where The Hell is Matt's Girlfriend?
posted by Jacqueline at 11:51 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Matt talking not as fun as Matt dancing, but then at the end everybody dancing so fun again.
posted by gallois at 11:52 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Why the hostility? I knew it was an ad for Stride when I watched it, and I still enjoyed it. It was fun and goofy and made me smile, and the Stride tie-in was not too in-your-face to make it annoying. I can see why Matt felt that it was important to give this little talk - which was kind of endearing on its own, tbh - as it really sucks to make something that mattered to you and then have people spew all over it.
posted by gemmy at 11:56 PM on January 1, 2009


Dear Where the Hell is Matt,

I do not appreciate you making quirky solidarity inducing dance jam videos and literally forcing me to watch your creation by tying me to my computer chair and using scotch tape to keep my eyes open. How did you even get into my apartment.

Love allen.spaulding

p.s. please don't try to make the world a more tolerable place and accidentally become famous, it's annoying.
posted by pwally at 11:59 PM on January 1, 2009 [17 favorites]


Never heard of Stride gum. Is it blue?
posted by Cranberry at 12:06 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Found. Original "Where The Hell is Matt?" video, prior to disreputable photoshopping.
posted by terranova at 12:07 AM on January 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've been spending too much time on the internet and not enough time at the store; I remember the video but have no clue as to what stride gum is.
posted by The White Hat at 12:07 AM on January 2, 2009


not a hoax
posted by rjc3000 at 12:14 AM on January 2, 2009


This is a lame post. He's been upfront about the gum sponsorship for the past couple years and it's not a hoax that he travels to places and records himself doing goofy dances. I'm happy to say I'm a sorry sap that teared up the first time I saw the 2008 video because it moved me. Ugh.
posted by mathowie at 12:34 AM on January 2, 2009 [16 favorites]


It's not quite advertising - he's sponsored by the company.
posted by archagon at 12:39 AM on January 2, 2009


Someone doing something and being sponsored by a company is totally different than a company creating a viral video to promote it's product. Come on people. And really, if people think that's a hoax they need to get off the internet and go outside a bit more often because if you have lsot the ability to recognize the actual world when shown a video of it then you have a problem.

And yes, I liked the video. It warmed my cold, black little heart in fact.
posted by fshgrl at 12:43 AM on January 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


"This is a lame post. ... it's not a hoax"

Did you actually *watch* the "hoax" link?
posted by Jacqueline at 12:47 AM on January 2, 2009


Wait, am I the only person here who thought the speech was one big joke?
posted by divabat at 12:54 AM on January 2, 2009


An A.C.M.E. plant says, "The dancer mentioned that he was hungry for paella."
posted by Spatch at 12:56 AM on January 2, 2009


Torley dances with Matt.
posted by divabat at 12:59 AM on January 2, 2009


Looks shooped to me.

What?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:02 AM on January 2, 2009


EVERYBODY PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE POSTING

-This guy Matt posts a goofy video of himself dancing at different places.
-The video gets passed around a lot.
-Stride gum sponsors Matt to make a second, bigger, video that expands on the first.
-That video receives the usual "fake!" comments from YouTubers.
-Matt records a totally deadpan yet completely absurd video "admitting" that the video was in fact a hoax, accomplished with the help of green screens, Photoshop, robot dancers, and a viral marketing agency's multi-multi-multi-million dollar budget.

THE DANCING VIDEOS AREN'T HOAXES.
THE ONLY HOAX IS THE THIRD VIDEO, WHERE MATT QUOTE-UNQUOTE EXPLAINS WITH A STRAIGHT FACE THE RIDICULOUS MANNER IN WHICH THE DANCING VIDEOS WERE ALLEGEDLY FAKED.

C'mon, you guys...2009 was supposed to be different.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:12 AM on January 2, 2009 [28 favorites]


C'mon, you guys...2009 was supposed to be different.

No, you c'mon. It's a 13 minute minute video that may or may not be about an Internet hoax. I'm surprised anyone has watched it.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:22 AM on January 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


He really is very bad at dancing.
posted by Z1LCH at 1:31 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I, for one, find it entertaining that this is even up for discussion.

Ian A.T. explained it all succinctly (and after reading a few of the snarky comments above I understand why SHOUTING was employed.) Matt's first video made my day...no, week...when it first appeared. I passed it along to a great many people before Stride gum gave him the funding for the second video, and yes, I passed that along, too. Of course the first had a greater impression because it was something that as far as I knew had not been done before. Did Stride gum sell gum with the campaign? Who knows. Did they (by funding Matt & Melissa's travels) make a hell of a lot of people smile? Damn skippy.

And the hoax identifying the whole thing as a hoax? Well, that made me smile, too.

I'm of the mindset that we can use all the smiles we can get, these days.
posted by squasha at 1:38 AM on January 2, 2009


Wait, am I the only person here who thought the speech was one big joke?

Of course it was. Are people seriously suggesting that the speech linked above, at Fora.tv, was in any way serious?

It wasn't.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:42 AM on January 2, 2009


Holy crap.

I posted this because I think Matt is AWESOME. It's not a hoax, and he states that.

I think it's a good appraisal of who he is, and loved the fact that at the end, he brought everyone up on stage to dance. I love that. He genuinely believes in what he's doing.

It's not a hoax, and his talk explains that if you actually watch it. This was not meant as accusatory or anything negative towards him, but for some reason, there are people in this thread who love to shit on everything nice out there.

Like watching the video's of him dancing and thinking "That Fuck. What a fuck. He's dancing stupid. And look at those poor people. Stupid poor people, dancing with that fuck. How cliche. This is stupid and I hate stride gum. Bunch of sellouts. I'm not a sellout. "

What the FUCK? That's what you got from this? The only thing you got from viewing this was hostility, anger, a feeling of betrayal?

You're telling me you don't watch the crowd of people all over the world dancing with this guy and don't get a little misty? You don't admire the fact that rather than sitting around at home shitting on other people's work this guy went out and did something..

He made something that I think is beautiful, honest and touching. And then gave a speech tweaking his nose at those jackasses who accuse him of selling us a video of lies.

And then got everyone on stage and danced with them. And that was fucking awesome.
posted by Lord_Pall at 1:58 AM on January 2, 2009 [51 favorites]


This thread works much better if you pretend that everyone is parodying youtube comments.
posted by stavrogin at 1:59 AM on January 2, 2009 [9 favorites]


Also, this is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Lord_Pall at 2:03 AM on January 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


WUT SOO FUCKING GHEYU I WVANT MY 10 MINITS BAK RON PAUL 2012 LOL
posted by loquacious at 2:07 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd never seen the video before and at first watch it was magical. Finding out that it was a viral video to sell gum just made me really sad.

I've seen the video dozens of times, and I still get misty. And it's not a viral video to sell gum, in the same way that your local hardware store didn't create that Little League team with its name on their jerseys to sell more hammers.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 2:29 AM on January 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


It warms the cockles of my heart that as the world as we know it slowly collapses in on itself there are still people with surplus hate to spew venom on a guy going around the world doing a funny dance showing that people are basically the same and then making a funny slightly awkward presentation about the people who dont get it and even after being told how they dont get it they dont care and dont get it even more energetically. 2009 is going to be fun.
posted by MetaMonkey at 2:35 AM on January 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


You don't admire the fact that rather than sitting around at home shitting on other people's work this guy went out and did something took a video camera on his vacation and filmed himself doing a silly dance.

Fixed that for you.

I always thought his video a little tedious, but not especially offensive or annoying -- but I'm lost as to why anyone would find this somehow admirable. It clearly touched a chord with people, for whatever reason. My guess is that it's because getting your warm fuzzies by watching a goofy video of some US tourist as he hob-nobs for ten minutes with the underprivileged makes some people feel like we're all one big family of man, without actually having to support any kind of political action or make any sacrifices to ensure some sort of genuine social and economic equality.

And that's fine, if that's what floats your boat, I'm not knocking that. It's kinda banal, but most entertainment is apolitical and banal. That's OK.

But admirable? I just don't see it, I'm afraid. Going to those places and giving up your time and energy to build something of value is admirable. This is just the 21st century equivalent of the 19th century Grand Tour, in which the wealthy tour the globe, capturing their special Kodak moments.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:46 AM on January 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


Fixed that for you.

I fucking hate metafilter.
posted by danny the boy at 3:04 AM on January 2, 2009 [14 favorites]


MetaMonkey: It warms the cockles of my heart that as the world as we know it slowly collapses in on itself there are still people with surplus hate to spew venom on a guy going around the world doing a funny dance showing that people are basically the same and then making a funny slightly awkward presentation about the people who dont get it and even after being told how they dont get it they dont care and dont get it even more energetically. 2009 is going to be fun.
Amen.

I understand the last 8 years have crushed a lot of souls and many of us have developed knee-jerk cynicism as defense mechanisms, but seriously... hating on Matt and these videos? Really? Is it that you just can't turn off the negativity, or are you just dead inside?

It's a shame the original post didn't link to this page. It's a 3 part lecture Matt gave on his travels, how it started, what he experienced, and so on. It's over an hour long, so it's something I'd recommend listening to it in the background when you're working at your computer.

It starts a little slow, but the stories he has from his travels are really and truly enjoyable. (One quick example, he talked about learning many kids in underdeveloped parts of the world have never seen a picture of themselves before. So when he went back, he bought a portable printer to take with him so he could take, print and give the kids pictures. )

Note that Matt is very earnest, thoughtful and likable in this video series (in contrast to the dead-pan "hoax" bit he read flatly from notecards).

The world would be a much better place if we could replace all the haters with people like Matt.
posted by Davenhill at 3:48 AM on January 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


Fixed that for you.

I always thought his video a little tedious, but not especially offensive or annoying -- but I'm lost as to why anyone would find this somehow admirable. It clearly touched a chord with people, for whatever reason. My guess is that it's because getting your warm fuzzies by watching a goofy video of some US tourist as he hob-nobs for ten minutes with the underprivileged makes some people feel like we're all one big family of man, without actually having to support any kind of political action or make any sacrifices to ensure some sort of genuine social and economic equality.

And that's fine, if that's what floats your boat, I'm not knocking that. It's kinda banal, but most entertainment is apolitical and banal. That's OK.

But admirable? I just don't see it, I'm afraid. Going to those places and giving up your time and energy to build something of value is admirable. This is just the 21st century equivalent of the 19th century Grand Tour, in which the wealthy tour the globe, capturing their special Kodak moments.
fixed that for you.
posted by Davenhill at 3:54 AM on January 2, 2009 [63 favorites]


Best response to a snarky edited repost in 2009.
posted by mygoditsbob at 4:09 AM on January 2, 2009


Is there anyting that Metafilter users will not shit on?

Also, if anyone ever does that fucking "fixed that for you" bullshit to any of my comments I'm going to be very cheesed off.
posted by Optamystic at 4:13 AM on January 2, 2009


I wish I could dance as well as Matt and visit all those wonderful places and meet all those great people (and have them dance with me).
posted by JtJ at 4:38 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I should try to get to Spain some day.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:55 AM on January 2, 2009


Also, if anyone ever does that fucking "fixed that for you" bullshit to any of my comments I'm going to be very cheesed off extremely appreciative.

Oh god I'm sorry how did that get there I am not good at the internet.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:03 AM on January 2, 2009 [15 favorites]


allen.spaulding, go eat something with sugar in it, a candy bar, or hell, just straight sugar..

Optamystic... that was, like, a dare, right?
posted by HuronBob at 5:09 AM on January 2, 2009


hehe...yeah, pretty much.
posted by Optamystic at 5:23 AM on January 2, 2009


Optamystic: Is there anyting that Metafilter users will not shit on?

Sounds like a single-serving site waiting to happen.
posted by emelenjr at 5:32 AM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Crying out desperately to be Benny Hillified.
posted by hermitosis at 5:39 AM on January 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know what else? Michael Jackson's moonwalk? Totally didn't take place on the moon.

True story.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:39 AM on January 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


If nothing else, this has given a curious-but-lazy watcher of his two videos the answer he was looking for: how the fuck does this guy pay for his trips?

Also: watched the whole video, original and expose, and only in these comments did I glean there was gum involved.

viral FAIL
posted by Busithoth at 5:43 AM on January 2, 2009


We take insignificant things and assign deeper signficance to them. That's the internet, it's what we do here. I'm not sure why that would baffle anyone, especially on Metafilter.

What significance you assign to it, well, that speaks more about you than it does about the original video.
posted by unsupervised at 5:57 AM on January 2, 2009


Oh, to clarify, I cry when I watch that damn video.
posted by unsupervised at 5:57 AM on January 2, 2009


Gay. (the original meaning of "gay", that is)
posted by ColdChef at 6:02 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


P.P.S. I was a dick once and was properly made to feel bad about it. Just keep moving. Let people have what they have as long as they're not hurting anyone.
posted by unsupervised at 6:05 AM on January 2, 2009


I posted this because I think Matt is AWESOME. It's not a hoax, and he states that.

He made something that I think is beautiful, honest and touching.

I think it's interesting that you felt this way... and then posted it to MeFi with a title of "Matt Harding details the hoax behind 'Where the Hell is Matt'."

As a 2009 resolution, why don't we all just try saying what we actually mean, instead of trying to be clever and saying the opposite?
posted by smackfu at 6:15 AM on January 2, 2009


Of all the things in the world, I never suspected this would be the one to break Metafilter.
posted by Mcable at 6:17 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wasn't trying to be clever, but explaining what the link led to.

Although in retrospect, "Comes clean" might have had a value judgement associated with it, it was an accurate description of what Matt says in the video. Hell, the title of the video is - Matt Harding: Where The Hell Is Matt? an 'Elaborate Hoax

And I made damned sure to tell people to Watch To The END. Because that's where he talks about how he feels the project actually went and has everyone dance.

But I suspect most people never got there.

It does seem that given a lack of information, everyone assumed the absolute worst, even before following the link and watching the good natured video.

So yeah, there's some good lessons on how to post links. I should've explained it more to give it a bit of context.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:28 AM on January 2, 2009


i love matt. that is all.
posted by msconduct at 6:32 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Alot of comments here that make me glad yet again that I don't know half of you in the real world. To those that enjoyed the videos and can see that having Stride sponsor the second allowed him to continue something fun without throwing ads in your face, I salute you.It made me happy to see the videos again, and even the hint of a hoax depressed me until I watched the link.

To the rest of you embittered souls, show me something you've done which is even remotely as interesting and maybe I'll see why you feel you can gripe. And I'm sure the haters are all amazing public speakers, enthralling and emotionally uplifting.
posted by genefinder at 6:33 AM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is it that you just can't turn off the negativity, or are you just dead inside?

I don't think it's correlated with being dead inside. I've self-diagnosed as dead inside ever since being put through one of those mandatory large group awareness training programs that big companies had in vogue in the late 90s. This particular one was only a brief one, centered around something like the Myers-Briggs test only that repeatedly diluted and simplified until it was kind of a homeopathic Myers-Briggs. It only used 2 axes instead of the 4, or something like that. Anyway, one of the axes that was preserved was the thinking/feeling breakdown; we all had to take it and share scores. I of course buried the needle on the T side, and happened to be situated that most of the people in the room had the opportunity to share before they got to me. When they did, I calmly announced, "it says here I'm 'dead inside.'" (Holding onto my poker face while the HR rep's face froze and she got the Windows hourglass icons briefly in her pupils as the room laughed is probably one of those entries on the good side of my karmic scales, right next to the feather.)

But even being dead inside, I always got a kick from the original video. I don't think I've bought any kind of gum in years, so as marketing it probably fails.
posted by Drastic at 6:35 AM on January 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


I think it's interesting that you felt this way... and then posted it to MeFi with a title of "Matt Harding details the hoax behind 'Where the Hell is Matt'." As a 2009 resolution, why don't we all just try saying what we actually mean, instead of trying to be clever and saying the opposite?

I believe it was Charlie Brown who put it best when he retorted, "Don't you know sarcasm when you hear it?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:42 AM on January 2, 2009


To clarify: before this post, I had not thought to challenge it (though I wondered how he got so many consistent shots, distance-wise, and how he paid for it (the initial video was less grand in scope, but more impressive to me))

Reading this post, I thought, 'oh, it was a scam? interesting'

Only to not pick up on his sarcasm until nearly the end, if then.

Maybe his inability to deliver sarcasm is directly proportionate to his initial video, which was self-funded and unassailably snark-free.

Personally, I'm happy to see ANYTHING that gets Americans to think about this many of the other countries that share the earth.
posted by Busithoth at 6:44 AM on January 2, 2009


Matt Harding details the hoax behind 'Where the Hell is Matt'

But that's what the video IS! It's not sarcasm, it's what he actually does. It's the title of the speech he is giving.

So really, this entire misunderstanding is Matt's fault.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:48 AM on January 2, 2009


Also, ^^^^^^^ This was a joke.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:51 AM on January 2, 2009


o shit i do not know what to believe any more waht is truth
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:52 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think the problem is that he's too sincere to plausibly pull off sarcasm. It conflicts with his basic decency.

"Difficulty in communicating sarcasm" and "basic decency" are qualities that cause the internet to spew back one gigantic FILE NOT FOUND.


(I watch the video with my kid. She's six months old. We both think it's great.)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:57 AM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


METAFILTER 2009 ROBOT SMASH ANGRY
ANGRY RAWRRRRRR
posted by cavalier at 7:08 AM on January 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


Calm Blue Obama, people. Calm Blue Obama. Say it with me. Calm Blue Obama.
posted by Paid In Full at 7:23 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ok, full disclosure, I hadn't caught this video yet, and I just watched the video and its subsequent presentation. What a beautifully simple and poignant reminder of how wide and diverse our world is yet how similiar and connected we all are. And full frackin disclosure, I got misty eyed when the first crowd rushed him (staged, whatever, they were there to dance), and when the presentation crowd joined him. What a beautiful thing. Give it a chance, haters. XOXO 2009 BFF.
posted by cavalier at 7:26 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Every single shot in his videos fill me with wonder and smiles. Seriously. God knows why, but they do.
posted by SPUTNIK at 7:32 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know what I hate about the Tour de France? The fucking corporate sponsors. All those people lined up along side of the road cheering the riders on don't even realize it: THEY ARE CORPORATE SHILLS! People enjoy watching it and talking about it - if that type of blatant viral advertising isn't just loathsome - well, I don't know what is.

Matt Harding is just as despicable as any of those athletes. (Except for the ones that dope of course; at least they have a shred of decency to stick it to The Man).
posted by yeti at 7:32 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ people, I don't think I've ever seen an echo chamber of defensiveness before. Sometimes I wonder if I'm one of the only ones who watched the whole "hoax" presentation - my comment was clearly directed at that. I mildly liked the originals, at times wondering if he had thrown in a fake or two. I didn't particularly care and I've never really understood why we geek out so much that some middle-class white person somewhere may hate their job. It was cute though and I hadn't thought much about it. Anyway, I thought the follow-up presentation was awful and in many ways cast a grim shadow over the original films. This wasn't about sponsorship or the belief that it was a hoax. It was the way he responded with a canned speech that made me feel like he wanted more attention and less of a need to spread joy or whatever people think he does.

So what should he have done if he really, really wanted to? Well, were I him, I would have gotten up, said "some people accuse me of faking this. Also, apparently some people think I'm gay gay gay gay.... So I'm going to dance one second for each gay in this very long comment and Stride will be giving a dollar to charity for each commenter who thinks this is fake. Also, screw you guys and let me dance." Or something like that, the point being that it's possible to respond without seeming like this is all about an attempt to cash in at the internet-celebrity-table again and again and again.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:50 AM on January 2, 2009


I watched Matt's videos the other night. I love them. Good for him and best wishes for his future projects
posted by ericb at 7:50 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The sponsorship deal with Stride gum is so "hands-off." The only times I have heard it mentioned were during his interviews (GMA, Jimmy Kimmel, etc.) where Matt's been asked how he can afford the travel costs. Other sponsors would probably have required him to wear a logo'd t-shirt (e.g. Nike, Apple, etc.) in every dance sequence and to hold up a facsimile of a product during his media appearances.
posted by ericb at 7:56 AM on January 2, 2009


While Matt Spaulding lives I cannot enjoy my cereal.
posted by everichon at 8:09 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want to work in the gum industry.
posted by Samizdata at 8:18 AM on January 2, 2009


Sometimes Metafilter overthinks a plate of beans, but mostly we just shit on them.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:42 AM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wanted to thank Ian A.T. for allowing me to know what you people are talking about without having to actually watch the video.

So what won't Mefites shit on?

Newborn babies?

Newborn babies with congenital heart defects?

A newborn baby with a congenital heart defect born in a small African village who's father is dead and his mother is dying from A.I.D.S. who is given a life saving operation paid for by an anonymous donor?
posted by Bonzai at 8:49 AM on January 2, 2009


Damn, as many times as I've seen his videos, they still move me.
Rock on Matt!
posted by NoraCharles at 8:55 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know what else sucks? Glassblowers making little glass cats. Fuck that shit.
posted by everichon at 9:00 AM on January 2, 2009 [12 favorites]


So the hoax video is a hoax, right? And I must be dumb, I never saw the Stride plug. Did I miss something?
posted by Hands of Manos at 9:23 AM on January 2, 2009


christ, what an assholes.
posted by xorry at 9:27 AM on January 2, 2009


"You know what else sucks? Glassblowers making little glass cats. Fuck that shit."

but you know what's funny? Monkeys
posted by Hands of Manos at 9:28 AM on January 2, 2009


Bonzai said:

So what won't Mefites shit on? A newborn baby with a congenital heart defect born in a small African village who's father is dead and his mother is dying from A.I.D.S. who is given a life saving operation paid for by an anonymous donor?



LOL - babyaidz!
posted by evilgenius at 9:41 AM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


The hoax video was a hoax. It didn't happen. They green screened him on a stage and added a laugh track. At the end a bunch of robots dance with him. The guy that worked at Adobe was Larry the Robot. Stride gum spared no expense when it came to perpetuating this hoax.

I'm jealous of Matt. I wish it had been my idea. I wish Stride Gum had sponsored me. Unfortunately, I'm not friendly enough to pull something like that off. Instead of people dancing with me, they'd be kicking my ass.
posted by robtf3 at 9:47 AM on January 2, 2009


Man, mefi really jumped the shark for me today.
posted by dr.flakenstein at 9:56 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


So our first flameout of the year is over Where the hell is Matt? Really?
posted by mullingitover at 9:58 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


In my fantasy world, anyone who posts a "fixed that for you" message anywhere on the internet gets a blinding headache for one hour.

That's the deal, feel free to "fix that for you" whenever you like, but you get one hour of blinding headache. Seems like a fair and honest trade.
posted by the bricabrac man at 10:07 AM on January 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


I believe there is a turd in the punchbowl.
posted by pianomover at 10:07 AM on January 2, 2009


I saw the original video ages ago, and I thought it was cute.

Then, I saw the second video. Again, it was cute. It made me a little misty-eyed (but I'd never really want to admit it).

Then I learned that he was sponsored by Stride.... That there is a company that decided it is worthwhile to pay for a single dude to travel the world, getting different people to do a stupid, silly little jig with him wherever he went. And, upon learning that, the whole thing made me very happy and a little more hopeful about humankind.

There aren't too many things that are worthwhile in this world. If you think about how short a single life is, how impermanent everything we could ever love is, or how fleeting the good things in life all are, it's easy to think there is very little of true value in this world. It's easy to grow depressed or jaded.... But then there's this guy, going across the globe, offering just a few small moments of spontaneous jubilation to those he meets, for no reason other than because it's something that might be fun... And, because of it, the world is a little warmer and a little friendlier.
posted by Ms. Saint at 10:20 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hehe, I laughed at this thread as much as I got wistful and teary at Matt's videos.

These internets are so cool. :)
posted by darkstar at 10:35 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well thank god. It was depressing going to bed after the start of this thread. Matt sucks! Fake! Corporate Viral!

Where in the World Is Matt: goofy, happy-go-lucky world traveler bringing people together, and excellent litmus test for the jaded and paranoid.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:35 AM on January 2, 2009


The only thing lamer then the videos are the people who see something profound in them and feel the need to be defensive about it.
posted by 2sheets at 11:07 AM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


The amazing thing about the histrionics of the half-readers, the angry back and forth over details, the know-it-all "fixed that for you" shenanigans, and the hair-trigger assumptions that every nifty thing out there is actually some kind of scam or conspiracy is how sadly familiar they all are.

Back in 300 baud, back when I'd dial out a number on my rotary phone, wait for the buzz-breee-squeeee, and clap the handset into an acoustic coupler attached to my 48k Apple ][ plus, these same lines of overreaction, snark, and ad hominem played out almost like this, albeit at a slow crawl and in all caps on a forty-column green screen.

Now I can relive those days on a portable wireless telephone/computer with gigabytes of memory that I don't have to clap into any kind of coupler. Our progress really boggles the mind.

Welcome to the future.
posted by sonascope at 11:11 AM on January 2, 2009


Matt seems more relaxed and is funnier in this five minute lecture here. Also ends with a heart-warming on-stage jig.
posted by meech at 11:12 AM on January 2, 2009


albeit at a slow crawl

I still remember the day I switched from an acoustic coupler to a line modem, because suddenly the computer could display text faster than I could read it. It was sort of like waking up to find I owned a jetpack and a timeshare on Mars.

...naturally, the ensuing decades have been nothing but heart-darkening misery and blood-freezing despair.
posted by aramaic at 11:27 AM on January 2, 2009


Man, mefi really jumped the shark chewed the Stride for me today.

Edited that for you.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:39 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I, for one, am completely and utterly apathetic at this revelation.
posted by Eideteker at 11:45 AM on January 2, 2009


We need to make youtube response videos that dissect his animatronic robot army claims as a hoax, with stony faced seriousness, measuring the forearm lenths of the various incarnations of Larry to prove that they're not the same robot, and so on, until we conclude with the bombshell accusation that him and his corporate sellout buddies really faked all his videos by actually going to those places, and getting real people involved.

We will be his RUIN!

Also, his videos are awesome
posted by -harlequin- at 12:00 PM on January 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


In my fantasy world, anyone who posts a "fixed that for you" message anywhere on the internet gets a blinding headache for one hour.

Why, in your fantasy world, are there people who post "fixed that for you" messages at all?
posted by Green With You at 12:05 PM on January 2, 2009


meech - thank you for that
posted by Hands of Manos at 12:08 PM on January 2, 2009


metafilter: fixed that for you
posted by Hands of Manos at 12:08 PM on January 2, 2009


happy to see that his stuff is being imitated:


renate & charly
lars

just as it should be.

bravo, matt, bravo.
posted by neonmonk at 12:09 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


the hair-trigger assumptions that every nifty thing out there is actually some kind of scam or conspiracy is how sadly familiar they all are.

It seems a bit different now. Back then, it was just slightly crazy/paranoid. Now, it's often true. How about that Guitar Hero video that was posted a bit back? People were gushing over how amazing it was. But it really was viral marketing, with an ad agency doing it's best to fool you into thinking it was made by some kids.

So I'm not surprised that people are more skeptical. They don't want to be fooled twice.
posted by smackfu at 12:19 PM on January 2, 2009


So what won't Mefites shit on?

I've seen snark about horribly deformed kitties on this site. Heck there was snark about acid burn victims the other day. So I would say nothing. There is nothing Mefites won't shit on.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:25 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's less a matter of paranoia or knee-jerk reflexes. "[W]e're sick and tired of everything cool, interesting or just plain bizarre turning out to be an ad."

"It was crazy! I was walking home and saw a giraffe in the middle of the street smoking a joint while blind hobos danced the jitterbug around him."

"Oh, that. They're introducing the McWaffle".


Nearly everything cool on the Internet these days is a viral ad, when it's not a blatant shill (Mentos and Diet Coke?). I'm glad to know it's not fake, but implausible explanations aside, the entire ad could have been done in Hollywood on the cheap.
posted by explosion at 1:06 PM on January 2, 2009


I have amended that--for you!
posted by everichon at 2:19 PM on January 2, 2009


The changes that your post seemed to demand, I made them.
posted by everichon at 2:19 PM on January 2, 2009


this thread is hilarious.
posted by metastability at 2:50 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


These are the Metafilter threads that bring me true joy. Watching people tear each other down and disable their accounts over a man and his dancing. This place never fails to disappoint.
posted by liquorice at 3:19 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've just had a revelation...wait for it...this whole MetaFilter thingy is a hoax.
posted by tamitang at 3:20 PM on January 2, 2009


This place never disappoints!

Why isn't the edit function out yet!

posted by liquorice at 3:20 PM on January 2, 2009


I have amended that--for you!

The canine that you possess has expressed a heartfelt desire for a slice of meat, preferably cut from a fleshy part of a beef carcass.
posted by FormlessOne at 5:01 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait, who flamed out?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:04 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


some US tourist as he hob-nobs for ten minutes with the underprivileged makes some people feel like we're all one big family of man

That's a terrible thing to say about Australians and the Irish. When they finally master language, you're going to get an earful.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 6:08 PM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Newsflash: Literary scholars reveal author of Gulliver's Travels advocated cannibalizing Irish infants.
posted by jonp72 at 6:23 PM on January 2, 2009


please Metafilter don't you ever drink the kool-aid or get an actual heart . the snark in this thread has me laughing my head off.
posted by liza at 6:36 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter : there's nothing we won't shit on
posted by liza at 6:40 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, I really don't understand the hostility in some of these comments.

Yeah, see... if more people could find a way to get paid to travel the far reaches of this amazing world, inspiring people in a positive manner by doing nothing more complicated than a really crappy dance that takes absolutely no effort or talent but merely a willingness to be goofy for the sake of being goofy? There would probably be waaaaay less palpable hostility. But since Matt has made this unlikely career work amazingly well for himself, and is so famous for it that it's far less likely that the goofy dancing traveler niche career path is available to anyone else? Ever? Hostility ensues. Sad part of human nature, that.

While I'm definitely envious, in the end I am just happy his story exists. I'm glad *someone* did it and better Matt than nobody. Also, his Stride Gum sponsorship is a-ok by me. Not like he was holding a pack of gum to the camera the whole time... they just made his second video possible by sponsoring him. Seems like a far cooler and more unique investment of marketing dollars (and far more entertaining) than those lame commercials where the guy gets hit by a ram in an office park.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:59 PM on January 2, 2009


if he chewed gum while he danced, he might swallow it and choke to death. then he really would be in hell with the rest of the stinking jig-dancing capitalist hypocrites.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:41 PM on January 2, 2009


So, to clarify:

Matt does go around the world making his videos. In addition, as all of his videos state up front, his trips are sponsored and paid for by Stride Gum.

Furthermore, people here have never clicked on the links and always only read the blurb before telling you their opinions.

Is this right?
posted by flatluigi at 8:46 PM on January 2, 2009


So our first flameout of the year is over Where the hell is Matt? Really?

No, it's better than that. Our first flameout of 2009 is Where the hell is Matt, 2006.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:39 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even the envy and "nice-work-if-you-can-get-it" snark is a little misplaced. Matt's got the dancing-around-the-world-gig nailed down, but there's a wide open field of opportunity for the next whatever-it-is. If you like the idea of doing stuff like traveling around the world making heartwarming videos, then go do it - plenty of people do. Don't sit around at home bitching about how other people get to do it. No one gave them a permission slip.
posted by Miko at 10:11 PM on January 2, 2009


I have to come clean. This thread is a hoax. Created by an army of animatronic robot MeFites.

Actually, I didn't have the money for animatronics, so I used RealDolls.

Actually, I didn't have the money for Real Dolls, so I used used RealDolls.

I sure hope I paid my RealDoll Uprising Insurance.
posted by dhartung at 10:16 PM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think I have yet specifically stated that I specifically don't like specifically how Matt Harding gets to travel around making heartwarming videos. And I think I speak for everyone that it is the manner in which he does it which is so objectionable as to make me feel like a raging, unrepentant bitch, in perpetuity and for the sake of humanity.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 11:18 PM on January 2, 2009


It doesn't matter if it was real or not. Either the video worked or it didn't. We allow ourselves to be tricked on purpose every time we willingly look at an image: still or moving.
posted by basicchannel at 11:46 PM on January 2, 2009


Dear Metafilter

I love you. Before I had none, but now I have an account. Five dollars here, just to say:

I LOVE YOU
YOU ARE THE FLASH OF MY CAMERA
WITHOUT YOU
I AM A GUST OF FOUL WIND
LACKING SUBSTANCE
LIKE GAS

hello you beautiful people!
posted by special agent conrad uno at 1:38 AM on January 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hello!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:30 AM on January 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


So tell me, tenderhearts, what has this video inspired you to do? I mean, other than posting maudlin comments on a message board. Tell this dead-inside, stone-hearted, jaded bastard the what-for. Please tell me you've been inspired to volunteer, to learn a language, to explore a new culture. Anything other than you sit at your computer and watch these videos and have your emotions massaged with some false sense of global unity. I mean, all we need to do is just have this guy dance with some Israeli settlers and some Palestinian gunmen and we can put this Middle-East problem to bed, right?
posted by Liver at 7:14 AM on January 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


re: Jonathan Swift

Years ago, I actually had to have a conference with a parent who accused me of having her daughter read "satanic literature" because the Modest Proposal advocated cannibalism. I just laughed and threw her daughter out of the class.

And count me as one of the hardened cynics who get misty-eyed just reading about Matt's videos, much less seeing them.
posted by ancientgower at 7:21 AM on January 3, 2009


I mean, all we need to do is just have this guy dance with some Israeli settlers and some Palestinian gunmen and we can put this Middle-East problem to bed, right?

Wait... have we tried that yet?

Why, this plan is so gosh darned crazy... it just might work!
posted by miss lynnster at 8:45 AM on January 3, 2009


what has this video inspired you to do?

It doesn't have to inspire you to do anything. It's not a motivational lecture. It's entertaining and it makes people have thoughts. What does lolcats inspire you to do? Things don't need to have a purpose to be worthwhile.
posted by Miko at 1:05 PM on January 3, 2009


Worst flameout ever.

SNARK?! ON METAFILTER?! WHAT IS UP WITH THIS CRAZY WORLD?!
posted by tehloki at 8:04 PM on January 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread is the best thing I've read this year! HAHAHAHA! I love MeFi! I want to thank languagehat for flaming me into coming here in the first place -- it's totally a laff-a-minnit! (To think I ever dreamed of saying I had too little time for this voluminous crap!)

Seriously -- thanks, lh, for showing me I have to make time for voluminous crap. I've laughed at this thread so hard I have tears in my eyes. Well, I already did after watching Matt again, but still -- bwaahahaha!

I wanted to respond to Liver, but realized my verbal skillz aren't up to the task of making the obvious obvious. Either you're inspired by something, or you're not. If you're not, and you're clearly not, then I can't talk you into it. What's the point in asking for it? I don't think it's amenable to logical persuasion.
posted by Michael Roberts at 8:08 PM on January 3, 2009


These vids do nothing for me. Does that make me a bad person? Personally, I think the widely-mocked "real-life superheros" deserve more praise than this guy.
posted by Liver at 8:34 PM on January 3, 2009


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