And the countdown to Carmageddon begins!
There are many important repercussions of the 53-hour, 10-mile closure of the 405 we should discuss — like how incredibly much it's going to suck, and how it's all a big waste anyway because carpool lanes don't actually relieve traffic — but that can wait.
On Day 5 of the countdown, we see no choice but to indulge in the outpouring of top-quality Internet memes in response to CalTrans' last-minute announcement — an unprecedented amount of popular hype surrounding what could have been a stale bummer of a traffic event.
The most-viewed — and most hilarious — of the bunch has to be “Hitler Rants About Carmageddon,” a hyper-local overdub of the infamous bunker scene in German film “Downfall” (otherwise known as the meme that will never die). Though hundreds of similar remixes have been pulled from YouTube by Constantin Film, this one has survived almost a week and 30,000 views.
And for that, we thank you, fair-use gods. It's hard to hate Carmageddon, when it births L.A. commentary this insightful:
In review: Hitler's right-hand men (just doin' their job!) advise the moustached one against trying to pick up his cousin from LAX on Sunday, July 17 — and Hitler essentially shits a brick. “Everyone who lives east of Fairfax leave now,” he says, combover a-tremble. (Though if Hitler really knew L.A., he'd know the danger zone is sure to extend well past Pasadena.)
“This is a fucking outrage!” he screams. (Yeah. Tell us about it.) “How am I supposed to get to LAX? Take the 110? It's going to be jam packed with idiots trying to avoid the 405. Not to mention the usual traffic going to and from the South Bay. What are my other choices? Fucking Sepulveda??? Please.”
“And the next person who tells me to take the Metro is going to be fucking sorry. As if the train is any help at all on the west side! It might as well not even exist! Obviously, anyone who makes this suggestion lives downtown in some fancy loft. They're probably too busy going to speak-easy's and art-walks to notice the inadequacy of those fucking trains.”
In the end, Hitler morbidly concedes that he can probably just take his cousin to California Adventure some other weekend. And if the absurdity of the most evil man in history crying over Disney Dollars isn't extreme enough for us to realize how silly our own car dependency has become, hope for a sane Los Angeles may be lost for good. (People with July 16 weddings, however, still have full permission to squawk in circles with their heads cut off.)
Which brings us to the talking bears, another meme so mainstream it's been all but banned from 4chan. (And unlike the Hitler videos, the bear videos actually won't die, because instead of infringing copyright, each one just garners more publicity for Xtranormal.com. Create your own Pawz skit today!)
This time, the bears are talking Carmageddon — mostly just to plug the all-things-405-closure website Car-megeddon.com, but pretty amusing all the same.
Like Hitler, the bears take aim at Prius drivers (who won't even get to use the 405 carpool lane once it's built this weekend; muahaha), as well as doggy playdates in Beverly Hills, yoga retreats in Malibu and Angelenos who freak out when it rains (aka, all of them).
“But my sister is having a baby,” says douche bear, the equivalent of the iPhone addict who popularized talking bears in the first place. Awesome response: “Home water birth.”
If L.A.'s shameful freeway dependency was a secret source of pride before, the world is now 100 percent aware of how much we love to hate the mess of backed-up freeways our city is built upon:
When news of the epic 405 closure first dropped in June, the fear was that a million clueless drivers would show up mid-July, expecting to use the 405, then get turned away, to chaotic effect. However, since then, the overwhelming backlash sentiment has been that the 405 closure is so hyped — via big neon warning signs, celebrity Tweets and nationwide news flashes — that no one will leave their houses, and traffic won't be worse than any other summer weekend. (Maybe even lighter than normal, if the Carmageddon app works as planned.)
This mindset, of course, could have backlash as well.
But until Friday at midnight, there's just no way to know. In the meantime, we're loving the tug-of-war between those who feel their hearts may cease to beat once CalTrans clogs the 405 artery and those who've hopped this viral wave, lulzing off the largest traffic disaster of our time by wearing it on their sleeves and comparing it to the Holocaust.
So, people: Any other Carmageddon memes worth wasting our time? Let us know. Because we're obviously not above beating this horse well into afterlife. Stay tuned for the LA Weekly's daily countdown to the end.