I’m a bit embarrased to admit a recent lack of YouTube cultural literacy: I didn’t follow or know about the “Gangnam Style” song and video sensation until a few weeks ago. I remember hearing the song in early October when our family went to “FrightFest” at Frontier City (our local amusement park in Oklahoma City) but I didn’t know what the song was or why it was significant. Today during his presentation at EduCause, Kyle Bowen mentioned the Forbes article, “How Much Did It Cost YouTube To Stream Gangnam Style?” and it inspired me to watch a few videos this evening. My mom had mentioned these US service academy remakes of the Gangnam Style video to me a few weeks ago but until this evening I hadn’t watched them. As a USAFA grad, I found the third one in this series (below) particularly amusing. See what you think.

If you’d like to brush up on your “Gangnam Style” cultural literacy as it’s influenced cadet culture at the US Naval Academy, the US Air Force Academy and Westpoint, here are my recommended assignments for you.

1. Read at least the four introductory paragraphs of the English WikiPedia article, “Gangnam Style.”

2. Watch the original “Gangnam Style” video on YouTube, now with over 668 million views, published July 15, 2012.

3. Watch the midshipmen’s version of Gangnam Style from the USNA with almost 6.6 million YouTube views, originally published September 16, 2012. (UPDATE 24 MARCH 2013: NOT SURE WHEN OR WHY, BUT THIS VIDEO HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM YOUTUBE.)

4. Watch the USAFA cadet version of Gangnam Style, with just 119K views, published September 30, 2012.

5. Last of all, watch the Westpoint version of Gangnam Style with over 1.2 million views on YouTube to date, published October 3, 2012.

If you’d been wondering about the musical creativity and dancing skills of cadets and midshipmen at our nation’s service academies, these videos have likely put any worries you’d had to rest.

Ironically, the USAFA video was posted by cadets the day after my 20th USAFA reunion ended. If it had been sooner, I’d have loved to ask the superintendent in our class “briefing time” how Academy staff were responding to creative cadet use of social media like this on YouTube.

Briefing by the Supt

It’s a new day indeed. Way to go cadets and midshipmen!

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  • Annie Turner

    My brother asked me if I had heard of this song awhile back, and I had not until he showed me! My first thought was , is this a joke? Of course this was in response to the original video. Then I had just about forgotten about it when I heard the song come on the radio. I could not believe that it was so popular, the song seemed so silly and I don’t know about you but I cannot understand a word he is saying. Soon after that all of the videos started coming out of people doing it here and there and they featured it in an episode of Saturday Night Live. The video that you said was your favorite it cute! It just makes you laugh and smile. Which is the purpose of comedy anyway, right?

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