Creativity Comes From Such Strange Sources

from the wtf,-i-wanted-an-iphone dept

Aaron DeOliveira points us to an amusing Christmas to New Year’s week diversion in the story of the song, WTF?! I Wanted An iPhone!!! (warning, potentially NSFW, if your work place doesn’t like people singing curses). Beyond being entertaining and amusing, the story behind it is a cool case study in how creativity comes from all sorts of strange sources online. The story begins with comedy writer Jon Hendren, being bored on Christmas Eve & Christmas, and playing around with Twitter search, doing searches on terms seeking particularly entitled and angry tweets from kids who didn’t get “what they wanted” on Christmas — with “what they wanted” being defined as an iPhone, an iPad or a car. Hendren then started retweeting the ones he found:

That, itself, started to go viral, at which point singer Jonathan Mann, who’s made quite a name for himself writing, recording and releasing a song a day ever since January 1 of 2009, picked up on the story and wrote the song linked above (his 1089th song, if you were wondering). The song basically takes some of the “best” of the entitled tweets and produces a fun little ditty (again, potentially NSFW):

Now, this whole thing is silly (or, potentially, a bit sickening when you look at how entitled some of those kids feel), but it really does demonstrate a few different concepts, all wrapped up in one nice holiday package:

  1. Creativity comes from all sorts of strange sources
  2. Online, collaboration can happen without people even realizing it (and that’s cool)
  3. The ability to create, promote and distribute content just keeps getting easier and easier

But, mostly, it’s just amusing.

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Comments on “Creativity Comes From Such Strange Sources”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Oh boo-hoo, whining about not getting the newest piece of crap squeezed out of Apple’s bosom or a new car for Christmas (itself a pagan holiday hijacked in the early days of ‘Christianity’).
I had to work and wait for the money to buy the parts to build my new ~$1400 AUD gaming/video editing rig that was completed earlier this month, and all I got for Christmas was a great party with friends and a nice summer’s day to have it on (even if it was a thunderstorm on the way back home from the party).

Anonymous Coward says:

Sources for inputs to the creative process come from everywhere, including (dare I day it) places and things having nothing to do with the internet. Just the other day I was looking at the service manual for my car trying to figure out why the radio is not turning on. At that moment I had an epiphany. “Wow, I can make a great song and/or poem out of this!” Last week it was the Yellow Pages, and next week it will almost certainly be cans in the aisles of my local grocery store (which would make a great musical).

It is not sources that are important, though perhaps more can be better at times. It is what you do with them. Just a hunch, but I doubt the “artist” here is going to appear on the Billboard Top 10 anytime soon. Creativity is important, but quality counts as well.

I do not understand the reaction reflected in some of the above comments. The tweets are, unfortunately, somewhat typical of the mindset of many who lament the unfairness of being expected to pay for something that can be had, illegally, over the internet from many of the sites within the crosshairs of legislation like SOPA and Protect-IP.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Just a hunch, but I doubt the “artist” here is going to appear on the Billboard Top 10 anytime soon. Creativity is important, but quality counts as well.

It’s rather sad that you consider the Billboard Top 10 as a measure of quality.

The tweets are, unfortunately, somewhat typical of the mindset of many who lament the unfairness of being expected to pay for something that can be had, illegally, over the internet from many of the sites within the crosshairs of legislation like SOPA and Protect-IP.

It’s even sadder that you’d take a tiny sample and extrapolate it to everyone, despite the tons of statistical and economic data that says you’re completely wrong.

Consumer spending on entertainment: up.

Consumer spending on entertainment from teenagers: up.

You? Full of it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I said nothing about Billboard being a measure of quality. It is but one source for noting what works seem to be finding favor with consumers.

If the tweets were the only evidence of this phenomena I would agree with you that the sample size is much too small from which to form any definite conclusions. There are, however, numerous other examples of the mindsets exhibited in those tweets, some of which have even appeared here.

As for the statistical and economic data that you assert proves me wrong, it has nothing to do with attitudes and mindsets. The fact consumer spending may be up is an economic observation, or that spending on entertainment from teenagers may be up does nothing to traverse the notion that so many feel entitled to do as they wish without expressing any concern or remose for taking whatever they want without payment therefor.

Next time try comparing apples to apples.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I get your point, even if it is a strawman argument, though I’d place the blame at the feet of shows like “MTV Cribs,” “My Super Sweet Sixteen”… hell, everything on MTV (along with about half a dozen other cable networks that pander to these twerps).

And if those kids are “pirating” those MTV shows… oh hell, the world’s coming to an end, then, isn’t it? I look out my window and see the horses eating each other. They’re probably pissed because they didn’t get Air Jordan horseshoes for Xmas.

Nuke them from space, it’s the only way to be sure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Mike, don’t you know that a musician is only talented if their tracks are produced by Dr. Luke? (Last story, 2nd paragraph). This guy on says so, and Billboard is the sole omnipotent oracle that dictates the quality and worthiness of all music, worldwide, through time eternal.

That’s right, if you can’t afford Dr. Luke, then slag off and return to your second shift duties at PetSmart, because listeners will know the difference, and they will not spend one penny on your horrible screeching noise unless it has been blessed by his magical hand. Isn’t that right, Jonathan Coulton?

Violated (profile) says:


A sad reflection of the greed and selfishness of our species, all fuck Christmas because they did not get what they want. It is sick and thankfully people recognize this.

Now to think of all the hardship and suffering in this World that they blissfully care nothing about because this does not happen on their high street. I directly know that the price of an iPhone or car could save many lives.

For an example then a friend of my Pinay partner had her mother fall seriously ill and in need of hospital. She had no man though having separated and in this shit ass recession (where those in the Philippines are the bottom of this chain) then there was no one to help her. To a Western person to cost to save her mother was under one month of wages but no one did help her much so after weeks of pain, agony and suffering she died.

It is sad to say that this is not uncommon for the Philippines, where money makes the difference between life and death for the poor. No one person can help them all though and the social problems to sort this out runs deep into corruption.

Even in the news you may have read about the flooding and over 2000 people washed away. Whole families of men, women and children. Events like that one happen most years to various degrees. The poor often suffer here too when they are the ones to build their poor shanty homes on flood plains just awaiting for that one big typhoon.

I, a western person, have largely given up on western people due to the average western ego and consumer culture. The greed, arrogance, hostility and more.

As they say suffering is good for the soul. You cannot value what you have until you have nothing. And you cannot truly be someone until you are an unforgotten nothing in this World.

Be humble and be thankful all that life has given you.

Michael says:


This is what you consider to be “creative,” Mike? Another nasaly/whiney singer with a predictable sound singing about random nonsense? Who cares how many songs he wrote? I too can write a song a day but does that mean that any of ’em will be good? Better if somebody writes something truly memorable rather than a thousand utterly forgettable songs.

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