People of the Year: Spiridellis Brothers
Dec. 31, 2004 -- -- Evan and Gregg Spiridellis -- founders of the JibJab Internet media company -- designed and released a cartoon, parodying the hotly contested 2004 presidential campaign.
Within days, their short movie -- called "This Land" -- was e-mailed all over the world, garnering the duo appearances and mentions on hundreds of news outlets.
Presented to the tune of the classic patriotic song "This Land Is Your Land," the cartoon features animated versions of President Bush and former Democratic rival Sen. John Kerry exchanging lively verbal jabs.
"This land is your land, this land is my land. I'm a Texas tiger, you're a liberal wiener," sings the Bush cartoon.
The Kerry cartoon shoots back: "This land is your land, this land is my land. I'm an intellectual. You're a stupid dumb ass. I'm a Purple Heart winner, and yes, it's true -- I won it thrice. This land will surely vote for me."
"We could never have expected this," said Gregg about the cartoon's success. "Clearly, people feel this and there is such divisiveness, and it was just so pent up. I think the first bit of humor to tackle it, you know, gets the golden ring."
More than 8 million people watched "This Land" the week it was released -- so many that the company's computers crashed.
"It went all around the world," Gregg said. "We heard from people in Antarctica, and NASA called us and asked if they could have a couple to send to the astronauts on the International Space Station."
Calls and e-mails poured into their tiny office in California.
"I laughed so hard I cried," wrote one viewer. "The song stuck in my head for days," wrote another.
Said Evan: "We got a letter from a guy who said, 'I'm a right wing nut-job. I sent this to my dad, he's a Liberal wacko, and the two of us laughed and talked about politics with a smile for the first time in years.' "
With the American electorate so divided and so tense this election year, Evan and Gregg's cartoon clearly came at the right time.
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