From this day forward, I will not be able to look at Michael Roth the same way again. For all of his accomplishments—Wesleyan president, three-year graduate, avid blogger, Mr. Professor Kari Weil—our fearless leader now has a new title to trump all the others. He is the inspiration behind the latest dance craze to hit the Greater Middletown Area. From the Butts to Wash and beyond, everyone wants to know how to do The Michael Roth. What I want to know is what the Wesleyan community did to deserve this wonderful gift.
If you haven’t seen the video yet, watch it now. Click the link if you’re reading online. Hard copy Argus readers, you have my blessing to put down this paper and go to your Internet-browsing device of choice immediately. Honestly, that goes for everyone. Watch and rewatch and rewatch “How To Do The Michael Roth.” This article will still be here when you get back. If and when you get stuck in a perpetual loop of swinging arms and bass as you continually press repeat on YouTube, I won’t be offended.
Everyone caught up now? Fantastic, because I have so many questions.
First of all, how do you do The Michael Roth? As endlessly entertaining as the video is, there aren’t exactly clear instructions. My instinct is to take every shot literally and dance just as Roth is depicted dancing. After an unreasonable amount of consecutive viewings, here is my best estimation:
Crouch down from the knees while flicking your wrists up to the left like you’re some kind of matador with a Ph.D. in philosophy. Repeat this action until the beat drops. Then bounce slightly on your toes as you rotate your arms and torso right to left, returning to the previous olé position with each swing. Allow your rainy day pants to billow in the wind as a postmodern commentary on the popular insistence on form-fitting clothes, for no clothing could ever truly fit the self. Occasionally move your arms in front of you in repeated, brief spasms before returning to your full range of motion, ensuring you nod your head as if to imply, yeah, trick, I am a respected Hegel scholar. Go slo-mo before gyrating to disjointed positions in the dance movement in order to dispute the concept of linearity in examining the past. At this point, the color will shift and you will begin reciting a commencement address, using your full arsenal of idealism and charm to urge the new Wesleyan graduates to help shape our culture culture culture culture culture culture culture culture culture culture. And then the dance basically goes on from there.
What kind of mad force of benevolence is behind this masterpiece? Betty. The composer of the music and video, for now, is just going by Betty. Per Wesleying, Betty is a junior who plans to include the track on an upcoming EP. That’s all we know right now, which is conflicting for me. On one hand, there’s something affirming about an anonymous Wesleyan student releasing these three-plus minutes of joyous splendor for the betterment of the community and the world. Then again, I really want to know who Betty is. What is Betty’s relationship with Roth? Is Roth going to be a one-time subject in Betty’s music or a perpetual muse? Does Betty have a position on the chalking ban and how it relates to Freudian transference? These are all things I need to know.
But my inquiries about this video are not purely academic. As easy as it would be for me to passively admire The Michael Roth, I believe it has much greater potential if the Wesleyan community backs it with its full enthusiasm. We can make The Michael Roth huge. We can make this shit go viral.
So how do we do that? By doing The Michael Roth, of course. Doing it everywhere. Do it on the steps of Olin. Do it in the middle of Usdan brunch. Do it with a PSafe officer. Own The Michael Roth, dance on the rooftops, film it all, and throw it online. Tweet it, Vine it, Instagram it. Drop #thisiswhy all day, everyday, all Roth everything. Consider it a social media mission to keep Wes weird. Consider it a fun collaborative activity that brings the campus together. Consider it an opportunity to go wild and do The Michael Roth. Whatever your motivation, let’s do it. Let’s make the Harlem Shake look like some subdued little gathering in comparison.
Are there pseudo-psychological jokes I could make about Roth’s student fostering the online proliferation of this meme? I’m sure there are, but I’m too fired up to care right now. I’ve got to get a camera and, like, three hundred of my closest friends and get to work.
Cohen is a member of the class of 2014.