In­ter­est in video puz­zles pro­ducer

Many fix­ated on dance by Oca­sio-Cortez in 2010

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - NEWS - Joel Shan­non

The gov­ern­ment is in the midst of a par­tial shut­down. A new Con­gress was just sworn in. And mil­lions of Amer­i­cans are watch­ing new U.S. Rep. Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, D-N.Y., dance in a col­lege-era video.

The vi­ral at­ten­tion to that 2010 video has left one of its cre­ators be­wil­dered, ac­cord­ing to an in­ter­view pub­lished by Bos­ton Univer­sity on Fri­day.

Af­ter sev­eral con­ser­va­tive Twit­ter ac­counts resur­faced clips from the video last week in an at­tempt to mock Oca­sio-Cortez, sup­port­ers rushed to her de­fense.

Soon the orig­i­nal video, which shows soon-to-be Bos­ton Univer­sity alumna Oca­sio-Cortez danc­ing to the song “Lisz­to­ma­nia” by Phoenix, had gen­er­ated na­tional head­lines.

The at­ten­tion left Raul Fer­nan­dez, who is cred­ited as the video’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, baf­fled by the at­ten­tion, ac­cord­ing to the univer­sity re­lease: “I couldn’t be­lieve it, we all thought it was ridicu­lous,” Fer­nan­dez says in the re­lease.

Fer­nan­dez was the as­sis­tant direc­tor of the Univer­sity’s Howard Thur­man Cen­ter in 2010 when he col­lab­o­rated with stu­dents on the video, the re­lease says.

“Like, what world do we live in? Where there’s, like, a new Con­gress be­ing sworn in, you know, Nancy Pelosi has the gavel back as the Speaker of the House, we’re in the mid­dle of a gov­ern­ment shut­down, and all right, let’s talk about a mu­sic video that was shot in col­lege years ago. All right, why not, why not?”

Fer­nan­dez was in Wash­ing­ton with Oca­sio-Cortez as the video started gen­er­at­ing na­tional head­lines, the re­lease says.

Oca­sio-Cortez ad­dressed the video Fri­day with her own vi­ral video, show­ing her briefly danc­ing out­side her new con­gres­sional of­fice. That tweet soon be­came her most retweeted post to date, ac­cord­ing to a Twit­ter spokesman.

The Bos­ton Univer­sity pro­file de­scribes the ori­gin of the video, say­ing that its cre­ators – a group of stu­dents – hoped to be­come the first col­lege group to cre­ate a ver­sion of a pop­u­lar 2010 video trend: Danc­ing to the song “Lisz­to­ma­nia” by Phoenix.

“It was one of the best days I’ve ever had at BU,” Fer­nan­dez is quoted as say­ing in the re­lease.

Oca­sio-Cortez has be­come a face of a new move­ment of young, lib­er­al­lean­ing Democrats in the coun­try.

The resur­fac­ing of the video is a part of a con­ser­va­tive re­sponse to her self-styled im­age as the work­ing-class “Alex from the Bronx.” Oca­sio-Cortez grew up and went to school in a sub­ur­ban area of north­ern Westch­ester County, New York.

She de­scribes her­self as a demo­cratic-so­cial­ist and rose overnight to the na­tional stage af­ter up­set­ting vet­eran Demo­crat U.S. Rep. Joe Crow­ley in a June pri­mary.

HAN­NAH GABER/USA TO­DAY

U.S. Rep. Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, D-N.Y., waits to be sworn in as a mem­ber of the 116th Con­gress on Thurs­day.

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