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The Legend of “Spiders on Drugs”

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It had been popping up in my feeds every day for a week. I didn’t even watch it — I assumed it was that old instructional video they showed in health class, comparing the webs of spiders administered psychoactives. And by day three or four, it just became background chatter. “Mark read, mark read, mark read.” When something becomes that popular, it’s hard to admit you’re the last person to have actually seen it.

I finally got to join in the internet-wide epiphany that is Andrew Struthers’ short-form masterpiece, “Spiders on Drugs,” when Liz forwarded me a link to the clip’s genesis myth, penned by the auteur himself. Struthers also happens to be a regular contributor to British Columbia’s The Tyee, and “My Million Hit Wild Ride” is a fantastic read detailing how a film festival circuit regular, locked in Comedy Central’s vaults, found its audience on YouTube and blossomed.

But not until after some drama:

Then I noticed there was a second posting called “Spiders On Drugs.” It had been uploaded by a guy I’ll call PaddyWagon. He already had 5,000 hits. It was a crappy looking bootleg with an “Ebaum’s World” logo emblazoned on the front…I e-mailed PaddyWagon, explained the situation, and begged him to take his reposting down. He told me to blow it out my ass. (I think he’s Irish.)

In classic dramatic form, the hero contends with forces beyond his control, is locked in battle with a villain and his swarm of henchmen, learns some hard lessons but in the end emerges victorious and finds his peace. While it has much in common with all the other viral success stories I’ve read — like this How To from Cult of Mac — it’s particularly well done.

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