Here’s a surefire premise for a YouTube hit: an adorable pug watches the emotional conclusion of housepet odyssey film Homeward Bound and goes nuts in the process. Does he actually follow the narrative? It certainly seems like it!
But whose pug is this? The video’s uploader, one İhsan GUNEY, doesn’t offer a description; all we have to go on is the title: “Pug is gripped watching the conclusion to ‘Homeward Bound.’” Commenters seem to approve, saying either that they smiled “from ear to ear” or “totally fucking cried,” both of which are valid reactions to the film sequence depicted.
The only problem? It’s not İhsan’s pug. One of the top-voted comments, from Hunter Stuart, breaks the case wide open:
Sure enough, there’s a video called “Pug Watching Television,” uploaded back in 2008—it’s the same exact clip, running the same exact length. Comments are disabled on this version, but the description seems to confirm that it’s the genuine article:
This is my dog Pugsley watching the final scene of the move [sic] “Homeward Bound, the Incredible Journey”. As you can see he actually follows the plot!
That the user’s handle is “pugsplace”—to say nothing of the several additional pug videos hosted under that alias—only adds further credibility. But since being posted on May 16 of this year, İhsan’s version of clip has racked up 160,000 views. That’s about 30,000 more views than the original video of this heart-burstingly cute incident got.
It’s also not the only video İhsan has borrowed for his own channel, which boasts 314 subscribers and nearly a half-million views altogether. The About section proclaims, “Everything about your life,” which may explain why everyone else’s material shows up on his page.
The last two uploads today, for example, titled “A cat welcomes his owner home after 6 months” and “Daughter throws fake wedding for dying dad,” are ripped from websites that posted the videos days earlier. The latter was a story for Yahoo! News, and the former had appeared on LiveLeak under the headline “Soldier returns after 6 months and cat sees him for the first time.”
In the attention economy, however, views and “likes” flow not to the source of amusement or interest but to whoever is best positioned to receive them, and İhsan is often that guy. We can’t exactly begrudge his digital opportunism, but we know that Shadow wouldn’t approve.
Photo via pugsplace/Flickr