I've seen these before at least 3 times each - usually through the email medium. These things just keep circulating and resurfacing...they're persistent little pieces of cultural material.
Which leads me to my current tirade. I'm going to start calling these emails with the funny/bizarre video or text "mememails". Why? Well 1) it sounds bloody brilliant [been reading a lot of British fiction lately...all those sodding idioms are become more and more familiar], and 2] because it's a near-perfect term for the behavior.
There are a bunch of definitions for a meme. Here are a couple I culled from the internets:
Meme, a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. From the Greek mimëma, something imitated, from mimeisthai, to imitate.So...if you start using the term mememail, we'll know that we gave birth to a cultural artifact. We'll know it comes from exquisite stock. We'll help raise it through the years, guiding it away from the Perverted Justice haunted chat-rooms, or the superfluously meandering halls of myspace.com, and leading it to nourishing resources like slashdot.org, or arstechnica.com, wired.com, theonion.com, news.com.com, or economist.com, and we'll teach it to sift through the chaff to find the tasty morsels of e-wheat.
Meme, as defined within memetic theory, comprises a unit of cultural information, cultural evolution or diffusion that propagates from one mind to another analogously to the way in which a gene propagates from one organism to another as a unit of genetic information and of biological evolution. Multiple memes may propagate as cooperative groups called memeplexes (meme complexes).
I know I'm probably not the first person to coin this term (Richard Dawkins having coined the term "meme" in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene). I found some sources in the ether who included an old link from MIT, which apparently took a pioneering long-view of the phenomenon and had created a repository for these types of emails. The content looks to be from 2001 and is no longer cached anywhere, however, someone did reference the FAQ MIT put up. Check it out here, and do a 'find' on "meme-mail FAQ". I'll just have to live with the knowledge that I offered up a large piece of self-referential memetic material that was later diffused into the human cultural experience.
Good? Yes? Let's get started. Say it with me...mememail (rhymes with theme).