Notre Dame Football Fans Rage Against We Are ND Video

Advice for George Clinton: Do not go to Notre Dame. Doesn’t sound like they want the funk there.

On Thursday, April 29, We Are ND, a music video featuring the funk artist Freekbass, was uploaded to Notre Dame’s official YouTube channel. After a week online, the video has racked up nearly 190,000 views — but the majority of them are hate-clicks.

The reaction to We Are ND has been vehement, especially by online writers who cover the Notre Dame football world and fiercely mocked the video within a day of its posting. This was followed by a Facebook group created so that the Notre Dame community might voice their anger — possibly because per University policy, no commenting is allowed on its YouTube videos.

The group “Protest ‘We Are ND’ Video” currently has over 3,600 members and its wall includes comments like: “I hate this video. The bug-eyed weirdo posing as an ND fan does not represent my school. I want him to make him eat his feather hat.” (That’s one of the nicer ones.)

The uproar over this video, though, is due to a major misunderstanding and, maybe, a bad couple of seasons. Because it was uploaded to the official Notre Dame YouTube account, We Are ND was assumed to be a new recruiting or marketing video for the school. But according to Notre Dame alumni and faculty member Ted Mandell, who produced the video, that was never its intent.

In reality, We Are ND was created by the school’s Film, Television and Theater department for the end-of-the-year student athletics awards ceremony (known as the O.S.C.A.R.S.). After it got a great reaction at the show, the school’s Office of Communications decided to put the video on YouTube — however, Fighting Irish loyalists online were not as pleased.

The reason for the misunderstanding, according to Mandell, came down to people’s expectations. “The fact that this is a fun, goofy, carefree video threw some people for a loop,” he said via phone. “People expected that when [a video] is on a university YouTube channel, it would have the same feel as the other videos, and when those expectations weren’t met, people got upset.”

When compared to other videos produced by Notre Dame, it’s not hard to see how Irish loyalists might have been confused. For one thing, Notre Dame’s music choices tend to be much more on the somber side — take as an example this Game Day in 90 Seconds time-lapsed video, which uses a choral orchestration of the Notre Dame Victory March as score.

In fact some people, according to Mandell, felt that this song was meant to replace the traditional Notre Dame songs — which was not the case.

Because the video initially spread through Notre Dame football blogs, the negative press it accumulated was impossible to counteract, even after Mandell wrote a post on the Notre Dame FTT site explaining the video’s origins.

But Mandell feels that “If this video showed up at the right celebratory moment, it would have been great.” That moment, however, was not during the post-season following the third consecutive poor season for Notre Dame football. Notre Dame commenter John Walters summed this up in his post on the video:

Hasn’t the Class of 2010 suffered enough? Four straight losses to USC. Two home losses to Navy. The 3-9 season… And now, just a week or so before graduation, this video.

“This stuff gets around so fast, you can’t stop it,” Mandell said. “It’s a runaway snowball. It takes a while for it to get to the bottom of the hill and stop melting.”

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