Like most Yalies, I found out that Gunther was coming to Yale through an offhanded comment in the YDN’s lead story January 19 on the continuing AKS saga. Rather than voting on AKS’s move to impeach YCC president Steven Syverud, “the main item on the YCC agenda was the approval of up to $16,000 in funds from the Committee for Campus-wide Activities for a visit by Swedish singer Gunther.”
Oh, right, of course. $16,000 for Gunther. Totally makes sense.
Five days later, the matter was more fully addressed in another YDN article that explained that the YCC approved up to $16,000 of the CCA’s $25,800 budget to bring Gunther to Yale for a Master’s Tea and an hour-long performance. The article continues, explaining that the YCC approved Gunther’s visit unanimously, with one abstention.
There are so many things wrong with this situation that I hardly know where to begin.
For starters, let’s address the big question: who is this Gunther? And why is he worth approximately $266 a minute?
To answer that, I only had to walk out my dorm room door and look at the advertisement for his Master’s Tea — which, I might add, is posted directly below an advertisement for a tea by Gus Speth, Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies who served on the U.N. from 1993-1999. Do you think that when Gus was meeting with the leaders of the free world he ever imagined he’d be upstaged by “Mr. Tra-la-la”?
According to the flier, “Swedish Pop Sensation” Gunther is a musician, club owner and former model whose real name is Mats Soderland. After starting his “musical career” (my quote marks) in 2004, Gunther has had many hits, most famously “The Ding Dong Song,” but also “Touch Me,” “Teeny Weeny String Bikini,” “Tutti Frutti Summer Love,” and his latest, “The Christmas Song (Ding Dong).”
“The four main things in Gunther’s life,” the flier quotes from Gunther’s Web site, “are Champagne, Glamour, Sex and Respect!”
Those are the four main things in my life, too.
Further investigation clearly being necessary, I went online to Gunther’s web site, www.gunthernet.com, where the viewer is welcomed with the slogan “Let’s sexualize the world!”
Needing to see this black-sunglassed, fuzzy-caterpillar-mustachioed man in action, I clicked on the link to his internet sensation, the video for “The Ding Dong Song.”
I may never recover.
From the first frame — a roaring fire, a bunch of naked women wrapped in white sheets, and a whole lot of naked Gunther — the video is basically a soft-core porn set to a Eurotrash techno beat. The chorus line, “Oh, you touch my tra-la-la/Mmm, my ding-ding-dong,” is repeated, by my count, nine times throughout. Nine, though, is a shaky estimate; I may well have been distracted by the constant zoom-ins on jiggling boobies and shaking man-booty. Plus, the number does not include the times Gunther simply intones “ding-ding-dong” in the background as his collaborators, the “Sunshine Girls,” sing the verses.
Everything about the video — from the thumping beat to the final image of an overflowing champagne bottle firmly lodged in Gunther’s crotch — is totally over-the-top, and totally hysterical. I won’t lie, I liked the video. I even kind of liked the song on its own.
But that doesn’t mean I want to see his “ding-ding-dong” in person.
Gunther is coming to Yale thanks to the efforts of the 12-pack, a party suite in Saybrook, who submitted the proposal to the CCA. Last year, in an event I remember well, the same boys (then freshmen) hosted a party that ran throughout Lanman-Wright. The truly epic event was deemed “Guntherpalooza.”
Now that was funny. And it was fun. And it probably cost no more than a total of $1000, a couple hundred coming from Saybrook for the nonalcoholic products and the rest paid for out of pocket by the hosts.
Today’s visit by Gunther himself is a whole other scenario. It is irony taken too far.
Way too far.
Why did the YCC approve this expenditure? Why can’t we think of anything better to do with $16,000? Hasn’t anyone ever heard of the perpetually money-starved Spring Fling?
I am by no means a Yale snob, but really: Gunther? At Yale? Are you serious? Is he our consolation prize for President Hu’s canceled visit? Maybe with luck, Linda Lorimer will cancel classes on Friday because of security concerns.
I’ll most likely be at the concert — the money’s sunk, and it is kind of funny, not to mention sexually liberating. But that brings me to my most important question of all.
Is it too late for me to waive my Student Activities Fee?
Claire Stanford believes her future husband is Swedish and is hoping the YCC will fund her quest for the perfect “Tra-la-la” — or at least a trip to IKEA.