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On September 1st of 2010 a post was made on reddit by a person by the username of mrsammercer. It explained the details of a simple idea to have Stephen Colbert have a rally in response to a Glen Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally. This idea called for a rally in which Colbert would hold a rally in Washington, D.C. The post was as follows:
I was woken in the middle of the night by this(along with the sound of my cat getting ready to pee on the rug).
Think about it. It’ll be just like Colbert’s mockery of GW Bush at the 2006 White House Correspondent’s Dinner, but 500,000 people will be able to participate with him. We’ll all stay totally in character as teabaggers. The kid with the microphone that interviews all the idiots at these things can come by and we’ll ramble into his microphone.
This would be the high water mark of American satire. Half a million people pretending to suspend all rational thought in unison. Perfect harmony. It’ll feel like San Francisco in the late 60s, only we won’t be able to get any acid.
I know you’re out there somewhere, Stephen, watching LOLcat gifs along side us. We need you. There’s no way to have a logical public discussion with the teabaggers. The best we can do is to mimic them. Show them a mirror and hopefully some will realize how ridiculous they actually are… Or maybe they won’t even realize that they’re being mocked, which could be even more awesome.
the response afterwards was shocking. In 16 days, 1313 replies to this comment were made.The creator of the comment later edited his post with this message.
EDIT: The response to this post has blown my mind. I really did jump out of bed at like 5AM and type this thing up. Then I checked from work and it’s front page and there’s a Facebook page and people are emailing one of the Executive Producers. I was just hoping some people would get a laugh out of it, and now it has over 6,800 upvotes? It’s like I cracked the best joke of my life in a public place. :D
But to be fair, both pugsworth and hobbit6 posted the general idea before me in that Jon Stewart thread. I just fleshed it out a little bit. Anyway, I don’t really know what to do or say about actually trying to make a Colbert Rally happen. I’d sure as hell be there, and I think I’d opt for the “Go back to the rug store with the rest of the Afghans” sign.
I just wanted to say that I’m really happy that so many people got a kick out of it. And the thought of Colbert himself actually maybe seeing this is probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me so far in life.
Soon Reddit user vihnboy created the wikia page http://www.colbertrally.com/, the facebook group http://www.facebook.com/colbertrally, and the reddit group http://www.reddit.com/r/colbertrally and has collected as of September 16th 227,762 dollars from 5,543 donors for the cause through Donorschoose.org, with a target of 500,000 dollars by October 1st. The movement has 5,392 tweets, 32.3K on facebook, 18.2K on reddit, and 56.5K shares total. the site has also gathered 10,935 likes as of September 16th.
Also, as we can see from this Google Insight graph, searches of colbert rally and restoring truthiness both went up in September, spiking on September 8th of 2010.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FROM STEPHEN COLBERT
Soon the movement became large enough to gain the attention of Stephen Colbert. On September 7th, 2010, reports of Colbert and John Stewart of the Daily Show acknowledging the movement were reported from @kn0thing and Third-Beat.com. On September 8th, he mentioned the groups on his show. He also mentioned that he would need a “Sign from God” in order to do the rally. On September 14th, doves were released outside the Colbert Report Studio by rally supporters as a part of “Operation Olive Branch”. Toy geese were also sent to his studio by supporters of the movement, which he gave out to the audience on his next report after the incident. In recent shows both Stephen and John Stewart had also been hinting at “coming announcements”, both claiming to have the more important announcement. Then, on September 16th, 2010, it happened.
On that day, both John Stewart and Stephen Colbert made their announcements. John Stewart announced on that day his “Rally to Restore Sanity”, to take place on October 30th. Colbert, in order to counter Stewart’s rally, announced his “March to Keep Fear Alive”, also taking place on October 30th. These announcements both officially made the Colbert Rally movement a success.
WHY IS THIS A MEME?
This example of an internet movement shows us how a small idea can turn into something larger, and the power the internet has over real life. The reality of what happened here is that an a group of internet users was able to make an impact in real life, leading to the creation of a real rally in Washington, D.C. The fact that a single post on Reddit could end up starting this movement and reach thousands if not tens of thousands of people is absolutely amazing, and the fact that it became large enough to gain media attention makes this the perfect example of a successful internet movement.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
Official Website of the Rally to Restore Sanity: http://www.rallytorestoresanity.com/
Official Website for March to Keep Fear Alive: http://www.keepfearalive.com/