So about a year ago a friend of mine sent me a link to a YouTube video that she thought I would enjoy. She was right…I loved it and I watched more of the videos posted by this particular YouTube user. However, in the end I became more and more irritated with what I was watching because of how mindless and stupid this kid’s ramblings were. The first video that I watched is right below this so watch it and see how you feel before reading on…
These user generated movie reviews that appear constantly on YouTube now are what is bothersome to me and what I will focus this “hardcase” analysis on. In the reading, it was stated that, “Taken together these new ways of making and sharing culture have broad ramifications for the fundamental relations between production and consumption and the traditional sources of authority for culture and knowledge. By reshaping long-established standards of production and consumption, amateurs, file sharers, and blogging challenge existing institutional and professional authority” (p. 49). My main question after reading the chapter in the text is why the hell is this idiotic crap allowed? I can understand why the video that I first saw that was a “Sex Man Film” by “Gang Bang Productions” was getting some significant amount of views because it is simply that…idiotic and laughable. But the point is that critiquing movies is a profession for some, a hobby for others where there is some inclusion of coherent thought, and for the rest it is something that you shouldn’t be doing. It is a filling of YouTube space with garbage. It diminishes what professional critics do. We will never see a commercial for Keanu Reeves’ next movie on television stating, “Sex Man thinks it’s AWESOME!” This content is far from what Ebert and Roeper do for their professions.
On the website Urlesque.com, a similar topic is touched on when discussing user video responses on YouTube. Writer Cole Stryker says, “The only reasonable use for these YouTube response videos that I can come up with is to have an actual intellectual debate, which sometimes does happen. People argue politics through response videos for instance, and while I’ll never be interested, at least it’s not this bottom-feeding parasitism that we see in the viral video space.” Well put Cole. Should there be some limit to what can be placed on YouTube? With the Sex Man himself being used as an example, should people be forced to read what they are saying in their response videos just so they make sure that they are okay with their pointless banter being spewed out of their mouths during these mind-numbing videos? Stryker goes on to say, “The problem is that creating an “um” filled video in your backyard demands so much more attention from me than a carefully crafted textual comment. Response videos are boring because they fail to capitalize on the medium’s opportunities. Video is visual (duh), and your visual of you just standing there like a dope may as well be text.”
If anything, these videos represent a negative impact on culture. I don’t find this to be morally or politically troubling or anything like that. It’s just the fact that an idiot with a MacBook can take a video of himself and his reviews of movies, rappers, and politics (yes…politics) and not use these mediums as a platform for debate or even an addition of value added content. The idea of “New Media” is becoming clearer with more examples of garbage like this coming up on YouTube. Can the videos being put up be held to some kind of standard…even if it is extremely low? Do we need to suffer through 100 more “Sex Man”-esque movie reviewers before something is done to prevent this stupidity from circulating on YouTube? It is a free country and in the end it is the user’s decision to actually watch the video…but can’t it be someone’s responsibility to tell them when to stop?