Viral Evolution

One of the best things about the internet is the speed with which information can be disseminated and, once disseminated, how it can then evolve into something far greater than the original.

Such an event happened last week. It started with a man and his son deciding to go to Richmond Park to film deer. The park’s well known for its deer, and the deer, while not being tame, are so used to their human neighbours that they don’t spook easily.

So, father and son spot some deer. They park their car, walk slowly towards a small group of red deer lying peacefully by some trees. They start to film … and then – off to their right – the forces of darkness begin to gather.

The first hint of the forces of darkness are a few plaintive cries of ‘Fenton’ – at that time not a well-known member of the satanic hierarchy. The cries become louder. A stampeding herd of red deer enter stage right. Then comes Fenton – having taken canine form to chase the deer – and lastly comes the hapless dog owner, calling all the time to his selectively deaf hellhound in an upper middle class English accent, ‘Fenton, Fenton! FENTON! Jesus Christ! Fenton!’

Fenton, of course, as all dog owners know, is impervious to all that name-calling. What makes this video so appealing is the resigned, frustrated, embarrassment of the owner. We’ve all been there. The dog you let off the lead for a second and then embarrasses you remorselessly. Stealing food from small children, peeing on picnic hampers, and humping the archbishop’s leg.

Here’s the video. No animals are harmed.

What makes this event stand out though is not that 2 million people watched it. It’s that it sparked the imagination of so many creative video filkers. Have a stampede? Fenton must have caused it. And you can tell it’s Fenton because – listen – there’s his owner – now known across the internet as ‘The Jesus Christ Fenton Man’ – calling in the background.

Here’s the best of the video mash-ups. Jurassic Park Fenton:

He’s also in Bambi, Starship Troopers, Lost, Lion King, Indiana Jones. Wherever there’s a chase scene, Fenton’s the cause, and his owner’s the voice. You can even get a Jesus Christ Fenton ringtone.

The most creative of the mash-ups is the Adolf Hitler one. This is the famous bunker scene – strangely omitted from most biographies – when Adolf Hitler was told by his generals that not only were things not going too well on the Eastern Front, but that someone had filmed his dog, Fenton, chasing deer in Richmond Park.

Hitler loses it. What follows is 2 mins 20 seconds of internet gold. After that the subtitle dialogue gets a little too in-jokey. Here it is.

Chris Dolley is an English author living in France with a frightening number of animals. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf .

Magical Crimes – the Number One bestselling free short story on Amazon UK! 

An Unsafe Pair of Handsa quirky murder mystery set in rural England charting the descent and rise of a detective on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Which will break first? The case, or DCI Shand?

Medium Dead – a fun urban fantasy chronicling the crime fighting adventures of Brenda – a reluctant medium – and Brian – a Vigilante Demon with an impish sense of humour. Think Stephanie Plum with magic and a dash of Carl Hiaasen.
What Ho, Automaton! – Wodehouse Steampunk. Follow the adventures of Reggie Worcester, consulting detective, and his gentleman’s personal gentle-automaton, Reeves. It’s set in an alternative 1903 where an augmented Queen Victoria is still on the throne and automata are a common sight below stairs. Humour, Mystery, Aunts and Zeppelins!
French Fried true crime, animals behaving badly and other people’s misfortunes. Imagine A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell.
International Kittens of Mystery. If you like a laugh and looking at cute kitten pictures this is the book for you. It’s a glance inside the International Kittens of Mystery – the only organisation on the planet with a plan to deal with a giant ball of wool on a collision course with Earth.




Viral Evolution — 2 Comments

  1. I absolutely never participate in viral joke-passing. I have now plastered these URLs in my facebook account, tweeted them, and sent them to my entire email list. It’s just too funny.

    Thanks, Chris!