Ring-a-ding-ding, sitar-style

Invader Zim goes to India, with help from YouTube and Crazy Frog

Published October 9, 2006 4:19PM (EDT)

Yet another twisted globalization mash-up, link courtesy of Ultrabrown: Invader Zim's moronic robot slave Gir breaks loose with an Indian-flavored Crazy Frog ring tone, to the befuddlement of all. Warning: Only recommended for those who like their pop culture riven by so many internal contradictions as to be completely incomprehensible, and potentially brain damaging. As best I can tell, a 16-year-old American girl named Kayla produced the mash-up (in her spare time between watching 2,396 YouTube videos in the last two months). But who knows? Kayla could just as easily be a front for an underground advertising guerrilla team. I care not.

At moments like these, I am reduced to simply quoting Wikipedia: "Crazy Frog (born August 25, 2004 in Stockholm, Sweden) is a character used in the marketing of a ringtone based on The Annoying Thing, a computer animation created by Erik Wernquist."

So, to recap: In 1997, a Swede, Daniel Malmedahl, comes up with an annoying imitation of a revving up moped engine. In 2000, another Swede, Wernquist, uses this as a soundtrack for his Crazy Frog animation, creating a worldwide viral Internet frenzy. The Crazy Frog concept is then licensed by the European mobile phone content provider variously known as Jamba, or Jamster, and by 2004 the cross-branding has really gotten out of hand. Crazy Frog isn't just available in ring-tone flavors anymore. Wikipedia reports that Crazy Frog has released albums of pop song covers, video games, air fresheners and backpacks. And let's not even start on the bootlegged and pirated products.

In 2006 a teenager in the United States grabs the Crazy Frog Goes to India ring tone and mashes it up with footage from an animated TV cartoon, Invader Zim, that lasted less than a year before being canceled by Nickelodeon, but, like pretty much everything these days, has picked up a cult following that will keep its memory burning alive until the world is reduced to smoking post-holocaust rubble.

Finally, a child of Indian extraction, according to Ultrabrown, watches the resulting clip, which she declares to her mother is "about India."

Well, I don't about that. But it's definitely about something.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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