The death of Osama bin Laden is turning out to be the media gift that keeps on giving -- and over the weekend, it turned into something of a surreal meta-media gift. As the Associated Press noted in a post on its YouTube channel on Saturday , "Newly released videos show Osama bin Laden inside his hideout, watching himself on television ... The clips were selected by the Pentagon from what it says it seized from bin Laden's compound."
Let's take a moment to digest that : Somebody in bin Laden's inner circle somehow actually decided that it would be a good idea to shoot video, for posterity, of ol' beardy channel surfing in search of the latest Osama bin Laden news, and now that he's dead we all get to watch him watching himself. Everything about the key clip serves to shrink the legend of the once fearsome terrorist-in-chief even further thanks to the rather breathtaking patheticness of its tableau. (As of this morning, the endlessly broadcast and replicated video has accrued more than 1 million views just on the AP's YouTube channel alone.) Annie Karni summed it up best in Sunday's New York Post:
He wasn't hiding in a cave -- he was living in a man cave.
The leader of the world's most well-funded global terror network looks more like a Bowery bum in home movies that show him huddled in his rec room admiring images of himself on a clunky TV. The pasty-faced, shaggy sheikh clutches a ratty blanket and wears a scruffy wool cap in the blooper reel of life inside the Abbottabad compound where the 9/11 mastermind's been hiding since 2005.
She then goes on to really dance on his watery grave by dissing his man-cave set-up as featuring "a tiny outdated boob tube he couldn't unload for free on Craigslist."
Extra credit goes to the Post's legendarily zippy packaging geniuses, for they managed to cram at least four zingers into the tri-level wood of Sunday's front page: "INSIDE BUM LADEN'S WRECK ROOM / DEAD MAN WATCHING / Hobo of terror liked seeing self on TV."
Hobo of terror! Something tells me that 's gonna stick.
~ ~ ~
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.>/p>