|
|
The Suburbanite
  • After the Headlines — Davison's life after YouTube

  • In our “After the Headlines” series, we’ll return to stories that made headlines in 2010. In September, Phil Davison became an instant Internet celebrity when a video of a fiery six-minute speech he gave for a bid to be Stark County treasurer was posted on YouTube. Looking back, Davison said, the notoriety has changed him in small ways.

    • email print
  • From September to October, Phil Davison’s phone rang and rang. And rang.
    Media outlets everywhere — from Canton to California to the United Kingdom — wanted to ask him questions about his fiery six-minute speech to Stark County Republicans as he sought the party’s nomination for Stark County treasurer.
     
    A video of the speech — much in the vein of comedian Chris Farley’s motivational speaker character, Matt Foley — was posted on YouTube and Huffington Post’s website. And — voila! — the Minerva Village councilman became an instant Internet celebrity.
    Spoofs of the speech followed on YouTube with Davison’s words mixed to the theme of the movie “Braveheart,” mashed up with a side-by-side comparison of Farley’s Foley character. It even appeared in a campaign ad for president.
    MEDIA SENSATION
    The national media quickly took notice. They wanted to know: Was he as fanatical as he sounded? Was he angry? Did he get the nomination? (He didn’t.)
    “It’s spiraled out of control,” Davison said in September.
    The Repository recently caught up with Davison to see how life is now, post-YouTube fame.
    Turns out, Davison’s “15 minutes” aren’t over yet.
    The phone doesn’t ring as often, Davison said, but he still gets stopped and people will ask him, “Are you that guy on YouTube?”
    “It’s kind of taken on this underground subculture,” Davison said.
    On YouTube, the number of views for the original posting of the video — taken by local political blogger Martin Olson — has surpassed the 2-million mark.
    Parts of Davison’s speech have become catch phrases on T-shirts. Fans can buy a white or gray shirt that says, “I will not apologize for my tone!” or “Tell your friends! Tell your neighbors! Tell Randy Gonzalez!”
    He also has become the topic of multiple Facebook pages, including one created in November called “Where’s Phil Davison now?” that encourages people to post photos of themselves wearing their Phil Davison T-shirt.
    Soon, fans also can see Davison re-enact his speech on television. The producers of Comedy Central’s TV show “Tosh.O” flew Davison to California in late November to tape a “web redemption” parody of his speech on the cable network show. Season 3 of “Tosh.O” begins Jan. 11.
    “It’s been crazy. It’s been a neat experience,” Davison said. “I didn’t expect that at all.”
    Davison said he also has been approached about speaking at weddings, birthdays and graduations.
    “They want me to say something like, ‘Tom Smith is a mess!’ and take some of the catch phrases out of the speech,” Davison said.
    Page 2 of 2 - The notoriety has changed his life in small ways, too.
    Before the speech, Davison had never heard of YouTube and believed that going “viral”  meant getting the flu. Now, Davison owns an Android cell phone so he can surf the Internet while on the go.
    But the fame hasn’t produced a job for Davison, who remains unemployed (besides his stipend as a councilman) since leaving his job as a Stark County bailiff in 2009.
    “I’m fine if nothing ever develops out of this,” Davison said. “I have no agenda.”
    What if he could give the speech all over again?
    “I might change some things, but the message would stay the same,” he said. “I would basically say we all do need to work together at all levels, and let’s try to create a positive future. Let’s have open discussions on issues and agree to disagree. ... And the catch phrases, those axioms. I would keep them. I liked it.”
    View the video at:
    www.huffingtonpost.com/martin-olson/phil-davison-gop-speech_b_710642.html
    Phil Davison’s catch phrases
    • “I will not apologize for my tone tonight.”
    • “I have been a Republican in times good, and I have been a Republican in times bad.”
    • “Politics is not touch football. Politics is winner take all.”
    • “If nominated tonight, I can guarantee with 100 percent certainty that what you are seeing from me tonight is what everyone outside those doors is going to get over the next eight weeks.”
    Have you seen Phil Davison?
    Phil Davison estimates that he has conducted more than 500 radio interviews during the last two months.
    His speech also has appeared on:
    • “CBS News”
    • PBS
    • ABC-TV’s “Good Morning, America”
    • Fox News Channel’s “Inside Edition,” “Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld” and “America Live” hosted by Megyn Kelly
    • Blogs, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC’s First Read and Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire
    • Politico
    • TIME
    • New York Daily News
    • The Telegraph (United Kingdom)
    • He also recently taped a segment for Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0,” but the episode won’t air until next year.