Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rise of the Manatees

It's the new sensation sweeping the nation! Frisky sea mammals photographed in compromising positions for the depraved gratification of onlookers throughout the internet!

Have you heard about this thing? Maybe not, if you're at that age when staying up until 12:35 a.m. on a weeknight just doesn't seem like a good idea.

So if you haven't - and oh, I'm sure my mother is proud of me on days when I can enlighten the people like this - it all started with a throwaway comment Conan O'Brien made on his show during a skit about college mascots he'd like to see.

One of the mascots was the "F.S.U." web-cam manatee, who presented himself (herself?) on stage, while rubbing its nipples (and yes, I ran a Google search to see if manatees have nipples) to the tune of the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself." And off to the side, of course, one of the guys in The Max Weinberg 7 caught the action on a computer monitor, mouth agape with wonder (and perversion). Conan then joked about him looking at ""

The next night, O'Brien explained that he received a call from NBC's standards office, telling him that if a fake website is mentioned on a show, the network has to buy the domain. He claimed this was true, and apparently, he was quite serious. Here's the explanation from Jacques Steinberg's article on the subject in yesterday's New York Times:

"If a viewer were somehow to acquire the license to use that Internet domain name, then put something inappropriate on the site, the network could potentially be held liable for appearing to promote it."

Thus, the shotgun birth of

Or as O'Brien put it, "For $159, NBC, the network that brought you ‘Meet the Press,’ Milton Berle, and the nation’s first commercial television station became the proud owner of"

This thing has seemingly exceeded any sort of expectation O'Brien and his writers could've expected. The site has received millions of hits, offers videos and t-shirts, and perhaps best of all, fans have submitted all kinds of artwork depicting their own enactments of manateen/ human relations (often with O'Brien or Max Weinberg).

Are you still reading this? You're missing out on pictures such as "Manatee Schoolgirl," "Shaved Manatee," and "Fetish Manatee"! C'mon, it's hilarious stuff.

So what do you suppose are the chances of Conan O'Brien doing stuff like this once he takes over for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show?