(and the second prize is $3,000 plus dinner with Greg Gutfield)

Each month or so, the internet spits up some little piece of video that ricochets around everyone’s email boxes. And then people realize that it’s not actually all that clever and feel guilty for forwarding it to everyone in their address books. I’m pretty sure this cycle began with ‘All Your Base Are Belong To Us.’ (Which reminds me– I really need to get that tattoo removed.) Of course, whether or not a piece of content achieves internet ubiquity has been a function of the cumulative tastes and decision processes and procrastinatory habits of the masses, and the masses cannot be trusted. THANK GOD, then, that Arianna Huffington and her merry band of Huffington Postocrati have stepped in and launched something called ‘The Huffington Post Contagious Festival.’ Take it away!

The Huffington Post Contagious Festival is a unique opportunity for talented designers, political activists of any persuasion, filmmakers and comics to reach millions of people with creative, viral online work. The contestants that create the best projects get Internet fame and the chance to meet with friends of Huffington Post from the worlds of entertainment and politics to discuss future projects and opportunities.

The entry with the most traffic nets the creator $2,500 and dinner with Arianna. (No word if the winner will be flown out to LA for this dinner or if Arianna will visit him/her in his/her hometown, but I’m hoping it’s the latter and that the winner is a pimply sixteen-year-old in suburban Nebraska whom Arianna takes to Applebee’s. And then I hope someone video-tapes that dinner and submits it to next month’s Contagious Festival.) And then a special jury will pick another winner for another $2,500.

Anyway, I’m so glad that the Huffington Post is stepping in to encourage the creation of original content on the internet. Because things were really drying up.