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“The Rent is Too Damn High” is a political slogan adopted by Jimmy McMillan, a New York City resident and founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party who ran for New York’s state gubernatorial election in November 2010. McMillan’s catchphrase has inspired the snowclone template “The X is too damn high,” which is often featured in an Advice Animal image macro series featuring a photo of McMillan from the night of the gubernatorial debate.
Jimmy McMillan represented The Rent Is Too Damn High Party at the New York Gubernatorial debate on October 18th, 2010. During the course of the debate, McMillan could be heard repeating his slogan several times. The same day, McMillan’s debate speech was uploaded to YouTube by news website The Daily Beast, which accumulated over 7.2 million views and 21,000 comments within two years.
“I represent ‘The Rent Is Too Damn High Party.’ People are working 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week and some a third job. Women can’t afford to take care of their children, feed their children breakfast, lunch and dinner. My main job is to provide a roof over your head, food on the table and money in your pocket. This is politics as usual, playing the silly game, and this is not gonna happen.”
As a Snowclone
The slogan inspired the snowclone “The X is too damn high”, which is used to complain about a variety of overwhelming frustrations. A screen capture of McMillan raising his fist was turned into an advice animal on the image macro generator Quickmeme, many of which featured captions using the phrasal template. On August 6th, 2011, the first Quickmeme upload was submitted to the /r/gaming subreddit in a post titled “When other people try to use my computer”, which included the caption “The mouse sensitivity / is too damn high!”
On October 19th, 2010, the YouTube clip was posted on several websites including The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Urlesque, Best Week Ever and the Wall Street Journal. On October 22nd, McMillan was featured in an episode of Ray William Johnson’s YouTube series Equals Three (shown left). On November 5th, the Gregory Brothers autotuned McMillan’s debate appearance (shown right) as part of their “Songify” web series. Within 18 months, the video received over 5.7 million views.
On February 22nd, 2011, the Public Broadcasting Service political blog reported that McMillan would be running for president in 2012 as a Republican and unveiled the new slogan “The deficit is too damn high.” A screen capture of McMillan raising his fist on the debate floor was turned into an advice animal on the image macro generator Quickmeme, many of which featured captions using the phrasal template. On August 6th, 2011, the first Quickmeme upload was submitted to the /r/gaming subreddit in a post titled “When other people try to use my computer”, which included the caption “The mouse sensitivity / is too damn high!”
Throughout 2011, the slogan evolved into the versatile snowclone “The X is too damn high” that can be used to complain about a wide range of frustrations. The Jimmy McMillan advice animal meme has continued to spread on Memebase, Tumblr, FunnyJunk and the /r/AdviceAnimals subreddit. As of May 23rd, 2012, the Jimmy McMillan Facebook page has over 11,000 likes, a Rent is Too Damn High Party Facebook page has over 21,000 likes and the Quickmeme page has over 9,500 submissions.
Occupy Wall Street Appearance
On October 9th, 2011, the Gothamist reported that McMillan had visited the Occupy Wall Street camp at Zuccotti Park several times during the first few weeks of protests, and posted a video of McMillan singing to the crowd. The article also linked to a video of McMillan singing to the crowd gathered at the site of the protest.
Search query volume for “rent is too damn high” peaked in October of 2010, the same month Jimmy McMillan’s appearance during the New York Gubernatorial debate was uploaded to YouTube.
The Huffington Post – The Rent Is Too Damn High Party & Jimmy McMillan Debate In New York
Urlesque Post: Rent is too Damn High Party Candidate Jimmy McMillan
Wall Street Journal: Rent is too damn high single issue singular candidate