The spirit of fun is alive in the White House, even as debt ceiling negotiations go down to the wire Twitter and the White House might seem like a dry combination, but even with the debt ceiling coming perilously close to crushing everyone beneath it, the leader of the free world – or at least the people in charge of the White House Twitter feed – found time to have a bit of fun on Wednesday.
How? By rickrolling one of the 2.3m Twitter users who follow its feed and was complaining that it wasn’t very interesting.
“Sorry to hear that. Fiscal policy is important, but can be dry sometimes. Here’s something more fun,” the White House tweeted. And then it provided a link … to Rick Astley singing Never Gonna Give You Up.
David Wiggs, a self-described “energy tech enthusiast and mediocre golfer” whose tweet – “This WH [White House] correspondence briefing isn’t nearly as entertaining as yesterday’s” – sparked the outbreak of fun from Pennsylvania Avenue, liked it: “Hilarious”, he tweeted, and “Love it!”
“Rickrolling” is a prank that began on the 4chan message board (originally called duckrolling, as the link would lead to a picture of a duck on wheels); the first use to link to the Astley video came under the guise of being a secret trailer for the then-unreleased Grand Theft Auto IV. It then spread from 4chan and took off with Twitter in 2008 as huge numbers of people joined the service: the necessity of using shortened links for the 140-character service meant you could obscure their destination – and so hold out a tantalising treat that instead turned out to be Rick Astley singing.
In 2010 it was briefly doused when the video was removed from YouTube– but the White House found time to dig up another.
Meanwhile the deadline for the debt ceiling inched closer on Wednesday night – leading to a dramatic intervention.