The Best of the Hurricane Sandy Video Bombs and Why We Love Them

Because a devastating storm doesn't mean you can't make your own fun ...

Because a devastating storm doesn't mean you can't make your own fun, we've collected some of the most entertaining viral videos to emerge from the mess: impromptu performances by ordinary citizens, captured by frantic, unsuspecting news cameras. "Video bombing" (derived from the time-honored tradition of photo bombing) is silly, and often reckless, but it's hard not to love these clips.

Each stunt is a modest absurdist gesture, a way of laughing in the face of an impending natural disaster. Take the shirtless DC jogger sporting a horse mask, who became an instant meme before the storm even hit. How seasonal! How carefree! The clip below went viral far faster than the man could run. 

As the hurricane closed in, the memes got more ambitious. Don't let Sandy rain on your parade! they seem to say. If you're dealing with flooding, why not photoshop sharks into photographs of your neighborhood? Or drive around town "drifting" like you're starring in The Fast and the Furious? As the newscaster points out, "that's never a good idea," so definitely don't try this at home, ever. Hopefully these guys didn't drive themselves into a tree.

Video bombs also have a way of taking the bluster out of overly dramatic weather coverage; they break a fourth wall, essentially, between the daring, storm-ravaged reporter and the rest of us. This one is an instant classic: who can resist these Norfolk beach goers, galloping into the frame "Gangnam Style?" 

Sometimes a video bomb forces a news camera to pull back and reveal drier turf and unfazed bystanders just out of the frame. A great example: these Atlantic City bros frolicking in a flooded intersection behind CNN's Ali Velshi while he discusses evacuation orders. This appears to be the same dance party from another angle, and when the camera zooms out, you can see how it framed the shot to focus on the worst of the flooding (of course, that's the camera person's job).

This is not to say everyone shouldn't take evacuation and safety instructions extremely seriously -- it's just a point about how we cover weather-related news. In "The Ghosts of Hurricanes Past," Ta-Nehisi Coates writes that in the media today, "you need the same kind of drama that the news brought when it was just newsreels, or else no one will watch. It's shocking how little is actually happening within the frame of what we call news." In a way, intentionally or not, these video bombers end up making a similar point. This cyclist, wrapped head to toe in yellow rain gear, breezing past through a flooded street, makes weathering a storm look not necessarily easy but at least doable. When so many people have lost their homes and millions have lost power, that's not a bad message for weather coverage to send either. 

Videos via Viral Viral Videos, The Philly Post, and The Daily Beast

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Video

Just In