The week in memes: a politician finally did something cool on social media

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Parliament has dissolved and the campaign has officially begun, which means politicians have officially logged on.

Marama Davidson – Yes

It took six months (read: all of history) but an elected official has finally done something good and funny (on purpose) on social media. It’s not the best wording but using a noun as an adjective? Inspired. Take a bow, Marama Davidson, and don’t feel like you have to do it again. That literally never works.

James Tame on Q&A – Yes

Since they chucked a mic into the press gallery during 1pm briefings, political discourse has been even more cursed than usual (which is very cursed). Reporters who write for a living are not meant to be seen or even heard, and for many viewers, it has all stirred up feelings of deep anger and hatred for the press gallery. If anyone listened to the interviews I conduct in order to write a simple feature or profile, I’d move deep into the woods and never return.

Tame’s job, meanwhile, is meant to be viewed in its entirety and on Sunday he did very well to reveal the extent of Winston Peters’ slipperiness. Worth a watch.

Jacinda Ardern’s dab – No

The prime minister did a bad dab on Twitch. She also did this:

Winston Peters quoting Rafael Nadal – Huh?!?!?!?!

OK, I need to get some things off my chest so please bear with me because I feel like I’m dissociating. Sorry in advance that this will be all you read about for the rest of this column.

I have spent 13 years imitating Rafael Nadal saying “who’s next?” to upwards of 100 different people on separate occasions and not a single person – NOT A SINGLE SOUL – has ever understood the reference. If you just read that and thought “what reference?”, buckle up. My attempts were so poorly received that I started to think Rafael Nadal saying “who’s next” was a figment of my imagination. I searched for the clip online a bunch of times with no success so gave up on proving to myself that Nadal had ever said those words. But I kept doing the impression because it’s now just one of those things that will live in my brain forever (I literally did it last week while my flatmates were dishing up dinner and no one even glanced at me). It was disheartening but I knew I’d persevere because one day, I thought, I’d meet someone who got the reference immediately and it would be some sort of cosmic connection.

On Monday I found out who that person is.

It’s Winston Peters.

The Bad Boys of Brexit (maybe) tweeted a ridiculous video last night of Winston Peters playing table tennis in Dunedin. The video is intense and weird and I don’t really want to talk about it any more because the life-changing part was right above it in the copy of the tweet.

“As Rafael Nadal would say… ‘who’s next’….?”

EXCUSE ME?!?

This image will haunt me

In all the responses and shares on Twitter, no one has yet to point out the quote and where it came from. I honestly feel like the algorithm has entered my actual brain and is now targeting ads directly to me and no one else. I can already hear you judging me, telling me to calm down, there’s nothing strange about two people making the same reference. Here’s why you’re wrong.

  1. “Who’s next” is not a famous Rafael Nadal line.
  2. In fact, I don’t think he’s ever said it out loud in front of a crowd or even in an interview.
  3. If you look up “Rafael Nadal who’s next” online, you will receive no clues as to where or when he has ever uttered those two words in that order.
  4. That’s because the only time Rafael Nadal has said “who’s next” was in an ad.
  5. The ad was for Kia and was not a “famous” ad that people remember (except me).
  6. The ad aired in 2007.
  7. I repeat, THE AD AIRED IN 2007. That’s 13 whole years ago.
  8. Current tennis star Coco Gauff was three years old when the ad aired.
  9. In the rather forgettable ad, Nadal looks at the camera but doesn’t speak. Instead, he says “who’s next” quite hurriedly as a voiceover moments before the ad ends.
  10. The ad aired maybe as late as 2010 but no later. That’s an entire decade ago.

So what I would love to know is how it is that me and Winston Peters (or one of the Bad Boys of Brexit) are the only two people who a) remember this ad, and b) remember it well enough to quote it in the cursed year of 2020.

Hear me out…it was a Kia ad all along

I know why I remember it. I remember it because in 2009 my family spent the Christmas holidays in Lincoln, Nebraska, visiting my grandma. While there, it snowed horrendously for three weeks so we spent an obscene amount of time watching TV and a Kia Sorento ad played a lot on ESPN. My siblings and I cracked up every time the ad came on because of how random Nadal’s two-word voiceover was. We started saying it to each other all the time, imitating Nadal’s voice. When we returned to New Zealand we kept saying it, but the ad didn’t play as much here. Over the next 11 years, one of us would say “who’s next” in conversation as a deep cut reference to that random Nadal ad from 2009. “Who’s next”quickly became a Chapman family in-joke and although I optimistically deployed it in social settings to complete silence, I kind of liked that it was a silly thing only we had noticed.

Until now. Now it’s tainted. When I read that tweet my first thought was that someone had hacked my phone and read every text conversation from the past 10 years. Or had been recording everything I’d said for ten years and was now using my past words to manipulate me. I felt like I was in my own Truman Show (this is an example of an easy reference that people will actually understand).

I want to know the full thought process behind this decision. Why, out of all the tennis players and quotes in the world, did Peters (or whoever runs his account) choose to reference a 13-year-old car ad? Who was the person that saw Peters playing table tennis and immediately thought *Rafael Nadal voice* “who’s next”? And why have they remembered it after all these years?

Did they even know that they were referencing an ad? Were they aware that virtually no one (myself excluded) would understand the reference? Did they know all of this and do it on purpose? If so, why? Does one of my siblings run Peters’ twitter account as a side hustle? Does this make me a bad boy of Brexit?

If you have the answers to these questions and are reading this, please, I beg of you, help me understand. If you are reading this and know exactly what ad I’m talking about, please reach out. And if I have completely missed an extremely famous moment when Rafael Nadal said “who’s next” that everyone remembers, I’ll be very embarrassed but please let me know. I can be reached at mad@thespinoff.co.nz.

I cannot overstate just how much this has shaken me. I hadn’t seen or heard the ad since 2009 and assumed I never would again but the bombshell tweet from Peters reignited a fire in me to find it once and for all. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present the 2007 Kia ad starring Rafael Nadal in a performance that is currently being referenced by the deputy prime minister.

It’s exactly as I remembered it.




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