American Room

The first time I noticed the room was in the Numa Numa video of 2004, circulated pre-YouTube, in which a New Jersey man named Gary Brolsma danced in his chair to a Moldovan pop song called “Dragostea din tei.”

The video is blurry; it’s from the world of the 2000s. We can’t see Brolsma’s computer because he’s facing an outward-peering webcam. The camera never moves. Behind him there is an aquarium, maybe for a reptile. Also: The edge of a doorframe. He dances in his chair as music plays. In its YouTube incarnation the video has been played 54,207,045 times.

The curtains are drawn. Some light comes through, casting a small glow on the top left of the air conditioner. It’s daytime. The wall is an undecorated slab of beige. That is the American room.

The American Room

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