Saturday, 7 November 2015

What's the creator of damo and darren up to now?

Saturday 7 November 2015
This article was originally published at on Wednesday 11 June 2014

This article as it originally appeared.

Something wonderful happened on the internet last week. Michael Cusack, animator-extraordinaire behind recent YouTube sensations Damo and Darren, is once again showing his flair for painfully realistic Chris Lilley–level lampoonery in his latest project, ‘Lucas The Magnificent’. Taking more of a multimedia approach, Cusack has crafted a satirical online persona replete with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts that serve as avenues for the videogame-centred ‘rantings, ramblings and witterings’ of Mr Magnificent, an archetypical fedora-sporting, neckbearded ‘Nice Guy =)’.

In the same way Train Station mocked with pinpoint accuracy the universally recognisable unemployed, addicted, irascible ‘bogans’ or ‘deroes’ who bicker with one another at bus stops and train stations Australia-wide, Lucas The Magnificent parodies the self-aggrandising, New Atheist–venerating snobs who populate the web’s science fiction forums and comment sections.

The breathtakingly immersive portrayal extends right down to the most infinitesimal of details – not only the affected, nasal voice, vaguely British accent, hyperbolic vocabulary and exhaustingly self-reflexive tone, but an almost Aspergic exaggerated sigh that punctuates every mention of his (fictional) Pokémon game ‘reviewwws’, removed from ‘YiewwwChewb’ for copyright infringement. His latest Facebook post, in which he poses with an old-school Gameboy and the Red and Blue versions of the original Pokémon games, declaring defiantly, ‘Yes, I still play these classics….problem?….’ [sic] was even edited solely to replace an all-too-sensible comma with yet more superfluous ellipses.

This verisimilitude has left Redditors and YouTube commenters alike scratching their heads over whether or not Lucas is for real. Having only reluctantly joined the ‘catacomb for filth and scum of this world’ that is Facebook, he also represents several other elitist internet stereotypes, such as the snooty Grammar Nazi, the fanatical retro-gamer and the obnoxious ’90s kid.

Is the spoof mean-spirited to an arguably already-persecuted internet subculture? Perhaps. But the timing of the appearance, along with a less-than-politically-correct tweet by Cusack late last month hints that the character may be a response to the kind of pseudo-intellectual misogyny spouted by ‘Nice Guys’ all over the internet that informed Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger’s hateful worldview. Women have yet to figure in Lucas’ online ravings, but the inclusion of the ‘Nice Guy’ tag in his Facebook page description seems pointed at the least.

Either way, Cusack is taking internet satire to a whole new level. David Foster Wallace might have been right about irony destroying our culture, but damn, in the words of Bart Simpson, sometimes ‘the ironing is delicious’.

Words by L Phillip Lucas, who could be accused of indulging in his own share of self-aggrandising ‘rantings, ramblings and witterings’ on Facebook and Twitter. He once told a girl in his creative writing class that reading her story was like having to listen to someone talk about playing a videogame.

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