Reply All Podcast #56: Zardulu


This is a fascinating episode on viral videos (is every moment being orchestrated?), here’s an excerpt from the transcript:

ALEX: So this was Fall of last year, after Pizza rat, the video of a rat carrying a slice of pizza down a flight of subway stairs, went viral. And suddenly the internet couldn’t get enough of videos of rats carrying things. And Zardulu, apparently, wanted to manufacture one of these videos. So she says to Eric, “Here’s the plan. It’s gonna be a video starring you and a rat. But not just any subway rat, a rat that I trained. You’ll sit on the subway. The rat will crawl onto you, step on your phone, take a picture of itself, and then you will leap up in feigned surprise and run away. And I will be recording it.”

ALEX: So, the since she has a social media presence I tried getting in touch with her [Zardulu]… And I was telling her that learning of her existence totally changed the way that I saw the world. And she eventually declined to do an interview by not really responding to me anymore, but she did say at one point “Be assured that the breadth and magnitude of my work would astound you.”

PJ: Was it true, what you said, that it was making you see the world differently, see the city differently?

ALEX: Yes. I have put my phone down. And I watch people now. And I am suspect of everyone.

PJ: I’m a, I’m I like that this has happened to you. I’m moderately skeptical. Like, you think everybody could be part of a Zardulu hoax?