Razorback fan learns about Internet infamy
September, 14, 2012
By Dave Wilson | ESPN.com
Liz McDaniel just wanted to support her beloved Arkansas Razorbacks.
A Hogs fan "since I was in my mama's womb," McDaniel settled in front of her webcam on Sunday to sing a tribute to the Razorbacks after their crushing overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night.
McDaniel, a city clerk in Nashville, Ark., loves to sing and loves karaoke. But in a town of about 5,000 people in southwest Arkansas, there's not much of an outlet for that, so she sometimes records songs using her webcam. On Sunday, she worked up an inspirational ditty to the tune of "United We Stand" by Brotherhood of Man, uploaded it to Facebook and sent it to a friend, who she said enjoyed her quirky videos.
But then she had another idea.
"I thought, I have this old YouTube account that I've had for several years. I put a couple of karaoke songs on there that had about 10 plays each," McDaniel said, laughing. "I had to dig around for the password. I thought, well I'll just stick it on YouTube for the heck of it. I never even gave it another thought, honestly."
But the Internet found her. And McDaniel wasn't really prepared for that part of it.
"About 4 o'clock on Monday, I got a text and [my friend] said, 'Have you heard? Your video has gone viral.' And I said, 'What do you mean viral? It has a virus? I don't know what you're talking about.'"
LIZHONEY2U (her YouTube username) was everywhere, with that face, with the taped-up nose and the Razorback hat.
She saw it on Yahoo's home page, but said she "still didn't realize the magnitude" of that.
"So I just Googled 'Razorbacks United We Stand,' and after about 10 pages of nothing but websites that had that ugly face on it, I realized deleting it off YouTube isn't going to do any good," she said. "Because it's everywhere."
Her instant reaction was trepidation. McDaniel is also an elected official in Nashville, serving as the city parks treasurer, a term that runs until 2015, and she worried what the reaction might be to the video, which has more than 400,000 views in less than a week.
"I have a very reputable job, and I am in very good standing in my community. I wasn't expecting this," she said, noting that she also sings solos in her church choir.
"But my goodness, there's nothing in it that's not proper other than just the silliness of me taping my nose up and putting my hat on. And to me it's not silly because I've always liked to push my nose up and look at myself and how it changes my appearance. I've always liked making my pig face."
There were likely plenty of Arkansas fans raging after the Razorbacks stumbled to a historic fall from the AP poll. But Liz McDaniel wasn't one of them. She just wanted to wish players like injured quarterback Tyler Wilson well, to hope for a speedy recovery, and to encourage them to fight back against Alabama this weekend.
But in the untamed wilds of the Internet, she was an easy target.
"The people on YouTube are very mean and very hateful," she said. "They're anonymous, so they can say whatever they want to. I think the comments that those people make are a lot more outlandish than what my video is. Don't you?"
She admitted the past few years as a Razorbacks fan have been difficult, even for someone with her chipper outlook.
It started with Houston Nutt. McDaniel was a fan, but "half the state turned on him," she said, following the messy divorce between Nutt and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, followed by Nutt's departure for Ole Miss. She was thrilled with the heights Bobby Petrino took the program to, but agreed he had to go after a motorcycle crash revealed his passenger was a mistress that he had hired to work in the athletic department.
"Everybody was reeling over that," McDaniel said. "For like four or five days, we thought, 'Bless his heart.' We thought he was in a motorcycle wreck. We didn't know anything about the woman thing. We had to deal with that, then having to sign the coach that they're using now to a 10-month contract."
And while she understands he can't be the coach any longer, she misses Petrino's mind, and can't even bring herself to mention interim coach John L. Smith.
"He just... to be perfectly honest, I wish that Paul Petrino would get Bobby on the phone during the game, and let Bobby call the plays," she said. "Then Paul could tell what's-his-name and then maybe we might stand a chance."
Against Alabama, standing a chance might be optimistic. McDaniel sings in the song that Arkansas will beat Alabama, 100-3. What are the odds that could happen?
"A million to one," she said, laughing. "But nothing is impossible. There was a comment that a guy left on YouTube, and he says, 'If you think that Arkansas is going to beat Alabama, then you are crazy. Not even God could stop Alabama from beating Arkansas.'
"When I read that, I looked at my husband and I said, 'Where have you heard that before?' We saw a special on the Titanic. And the guy who built the Titanic said the same thing. 'God could not sink the Titanic,' she said. "And look at what happened. Look at David and Goliath."
Her husband is unfazed by her newfound stardom, just as he was unfazed when he saw her making the video.
"He wasn't surprised by it. He knows I like to have fun and be a little zany," she said. "He walked through when I had the tape on my nose and the Hog hat on. He didn't even say, 'What are you doing?' or 'What's going on?' or anything."
"He just stays in his man cave and watches Fox News. He doesn't pay any attention to me. He's used to it."
Win or lose this weekend, McDaniel says to expect an encore.
"I have a song in mind. It just depends on who wins, and what the score is, and Alabama's attitude on the field."
And will the taped-up hog nose make its return?
"Yes, because when I do a video, I am Pig Sue E. My name is Susan Elizabeth. I go by Liz. I have to have my nose taped up and my Hog hat on because that's my character. I have to get in Hog gear if I'm going to sing about the Hogs. I mean, I go to the ballgames like that. And I'm hoping that a lot of the fans Saturday will have their noses taped up, because I showed them how to do it on my interview (on TV).
And this time she's ready for the Internet. Sort of.
"If I had it to do all over again, I don't know if I would put that video on YouTube," she said. "But there's a reason for everything. And I hope that something good comes out of it."