Both viral videos, “Escalator” and “Thanks, Smokey!”, are heavily infused with sexuality — do you believe their popularity, in part, had anything to do with these semi-erotic portrayals?
“Save Miranda!” doesn’t have any sexuality in it — not unless you consider bullying a repressed form of desire — which is debatable — and that film has almost 2 million views. If the films were just sexy they wouldn’t stick with people and they wouldn’t keep coming back — it’s the same with the violence and the humor. No matter how silly or obvious some of the videos seem there’s always a more complex layer beneath the surface, and that’s what sticks with viewers. It’s like decorating this really elaborate, beautiful cake and then injecting it with LSD. You have to lure viewers in with a polished product and pretty faces and accessible jokes; otherwise they’ll never stick around for the mind altering stuff at the core.
Where does the word zoochosis originate from?
Zoochosis is a term coined by the animal rights activist Bill Travers in the 1990s as a way to draw public attention toward the plight of animals in captivity. I’ve always been fascinated by natural science and behavior, and being a kid from a beautiful rural area I’m always longing for nature. So, zoochosis seemed like a great name for a site where all these themes I’m always dealing with fit in place.
Nothing like “Zoochosis” has been done on the web before. Do you believe the digital video space is ready for something so violently bizarre and sexually charged?
When I was a kid I was raised on Disney movies. “Herbie,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes” — all that. But I came from this mixed-race family, and we were dirt poor, and we had seven kids and a single mom, and reality for us was a far, far cry from Disney. And then there was this show that came on, and even though it was a comedy it took people’s feelings seriously, and even though it was a cartoon it dealt with serious subjects. That show was “The Simpsons,” and for one little kid in Northern Michigan it said: Hey, you’re not crazy; the world really is a dark and funny place. When those first “Simpsons” cartoons appeared on “The Tracy Ullman Show” most people didn’t know what to make of them because they were so different. Now though, the show is embraced as this very accurate reflection of modern life. It’s incredibly important for entertainment to push the boundaries of what came before. Not just because it makes for more interesting stories but because it tells all the people out there who are living in a strange world that they aren’t alone anymore. And who isn’t living in a strange world? The world is crazy. I’m just trying to keep up.
To prepare any new viewers for”Zoochosis,” what should they know first before diving in?
You’ll have a lot more fun if you slip into something more comfortable. Like an open mind.