Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Part III, "lol wut?"

I was going to create a graphic for this post, but I got lazy. Imagine a picture of someone sitting at the computer with text at the bottom that said "2000", and a quote next to the person that says "I have no friends." Then imagine the same picture, but the text at the bottom says "2011" and the text says "I have 845,000 friends!" Eh, eh? Okay, it's probably a good thing I didn't put effort into that graphic. It was supposed to convey the idea that people who spent too much time in front of the computer usually were nerds and didn't have a social life (pre social networking). But now, thanks to our materialistic, status based lifestyle, our online friend list is sometimes an astronomically inaccurate representation of how many friends we have in reality, but at least you LOOK like you have a life. But really, you're still the nerd from 2000.

I don’t know if the old ideas of “Street Smart” and “Book Smart” apply anymore, not that I really understood what that ever meant anyway. Now the “smarts” apply in a large array of categories. “Facebook Smart” is when a person knows all the details of all their friend's boring lives and how they intertwine with that friend's friend's boring lives, and you can make sense of it in context of your own boring life. Worse yet, we know all of your inane, trivial thoughts too. “Twitter Smart” is someone who can captivate or be captivated by 140 characters or less because honestly, who has time to read more than 3 paragraphs in our fast world? “Youtube Smart” is the person who knows every single viral video and will give his or her most professional, yet somehow extremely ignorant opinion on every topic that is immortalized on the Tube created by You. “Democratic Smart” is the person that thinks if it helps your cause, it must be creditable. “Republican Smart” is the person that thinks if it challenges your cause, you just have to deny logic and keep believing blindly. You can be "Wikipedia Smart.” As Michael Scott from Dunder Mifflin says, "Anyone can go to Wikipedia and add information on any topic, so you know you're getting the best information possible."

You get the point. In short, I believe all these new “smart” categories are the pretext for the theory of the de-evolution of the human mind. In the movie Idiocracy, an average man with an IQ barely over 100 is frozen and revived several hundred years in the future, where he is then considered the smartest man in the world. The media saturation and desensitized moral standards of the 500 year span have stupefied the society and made them dependent on technology to do everything for them. Watch it next time it's on T.V. It’s the hyperbolic representation of Michael Moore's undaunted effort to bash American Capitalism, then later sue the production company for apparently shorting him a few million dollars. You can thank Capitalism for that one, Mike. Did I say "undaunted?" I meant to say "dull-witted." I’m not blameless, though. I realized the other day that the last book I read was “The Giant Bathroom Reader.” It literally sits on the back of my toilet. So, what am I trying to say, you may be asking? I'm addicted to Youtube.

I posted a video for my friends on my fantasy basketball league's discussion forum that was very “viral” at the time. A girl’s attempt at breaking into the music scene gone horribly wrong. Yet, she gained tons of popularity just because it was so bad. Her horrible song sold millions upon millions, just because the awfulness made people laugh. She became wildly rich at the expense of her dignity because she has no talent. One of my friends pointed out that the video had almost 50 million views and asked “Is it a new marketing strategy to make your music video terrible on purpose so it goes viral? If so, genius.” It sort of elightened me then (and maybe I’m late to realizing this), that society’s standards for entertainment are low. VERRRYY low. When I look at some people who have gotten famous because of something stupid on Youtube, I cry myself to sleep. Stupidity is being rewarded.

If you go to Youtube's homepage, they categorize all the most popular videos of the day. They have "Most Viewed," "Most Favorited," and "Most Popular" categories. I'm not going to recommend watching any of these videos because you'll wish that you could have those precious minutes of your life back (I've watched some at work, where I'm trying to waste my minutes anyway). If you go back everyday for an extended period of time, you'll notice that some of the same users reappear in those categories. They have built up a solid following, and the only question I have is: why? Is moderately funny, sub-par entertainment really worth your time and praise? I can't explain.

For every video, you find a number of comments from people who think they are experts on the subject, but their comments are often very ignorant. If you leave a comment that is remotely contrary to what they believe, they'll reply in the most barbaric, insulting, straight-to-the-jugular way. I think it's a funny, but sad commentary on our modern society.

This doesn't really relate to Youtube, but I've mentioned it in the other posts and I just have to get it out there: Saturday Night Live just isn't funny. At all. Well, I mean, sometimes they can make me chuckle, but it's not worth watching an hour and a half of poor actors not keeping a straight face during their skits, looking at the camera, and Kenan Thompson dressing like an overweight woman but not ever disguising his voice (which you know happens EVERY WEEK) just in hopes that I will chuckle a little.

Ok, so there is this college English professor named Mark Bauerlein, and he wrote a book a few years ago called The Dumbest Generation: Why You Shouldn’t Trust Anyone Under 30. In this Youtube clip, there is an interview with him making some of his points. I think the guy is right on. I remember reading an article about this book a couple years ago as a student and agreeing with it then. As you can imagine, Youtube is a hot venue for the very generation he is insulting. And they are mad! The results are hilarious. Some people have made video responses to this clip (which I don’t recommend watching unless you're suicidal), and some people have made some outrageous comments, all of which only help to solidify Bauerlein’s theory. You don't necessarily have to watch the clip to appreciate the comments, so long as you know the premise of the clip. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, completely unedited, not-making-this-up, cut-and-pasted-ed Youtube user comments for this video clip:

“Why waste time memorizing history when I can check my phone and have any answer I need.” - (notice the missing question mark. Imagine a conversation between this guy and a special interest political activist: "Hey, Youtube guy, would you like to join the Nationalsozialismus Party?"

"What do you stand for?"

"19th Century idealism, romanticism, and global social justice."

"That sounds great! Just let me look it up on my phone real quick and make sure that I'm not making the same mistake as others might have in the past. . . Hmm, well, it looks like 19th Century socialism sucked . . . and this group you're trying to get me to join is also called 'Nazism,' and they do bad things. Thank goodness I had my phone on me so I didn't make a mistake by signing up for something that sounds good on the surface but actually sucks [subtle *nudge nudge* to select readers].")

“Perhaps is that YOUR generation has stupefied our generation with terrible educational systems, lack of good parenting, horrible economic system, etc. Nice going, baby boomers.” - (Who taught you how to blame previous generations for your own faults? Obama? Or Snooki?)

“Things hve changed The Internet is more useful than your inconvenient to reach acess or find information Wir th Wikipedia Google and other search engines CAN EDUCATE YOU TEN TIMES AND INT EN TIMES SHORTER TIME THAN YOU SPENT TO TALK NONSENSENSE sHUT UP YOU ARE RETARD TO BE GIVING ADVISE TO PEOPLE WHO KNOW MUCH MORE THAN YOU UNECESSARY ROBBING CITY OF TEACERS PAY FROM OUR TAXES FOR USELESS SERVICE OF SERMONISING INSTEAD OF LIKE iNTERNET PROVIDE NEEDE DINFORMATION FAST AND 24/7”- (Luckily, this user only needs to know how to say, and not spell, "would you like fries with that?" at his job.)

“maybe the fags right though, we should eat a little bit of cheese with our wine while we read sum shakespear.” (It's like he tripped at the finish line.)

“dIs gi iz Fag...” (This one is funnier if you've seen Idiocracy.)

“The problem is with public schools. Education and entertainment should be all a part of the same system. Schools don't do that though.” (Wait, what?)

“I may have taken LSD, but I did all the reading for my undergraduate and graduate degrees.” - (Yeah . . . is there another doctor in the house?)

“the class of 2012 is the smartest class ever to enter college.” - (Wait, 2012 came? And I missed it!?)

“there are to many people around my age just going off to vote for a governer ceneter somthing like that with apsalutly no idea what there voting for” - (true dat.)

“Part of me hopes that too be true.” (I have no idea what this person is referring too)

“its funny how the last week i was watching about 20 documantarys so yeah i just got done watching a fox news so i guess wese all not tard” (I can't tell if this is just an ironic attempt to make fun of Fox News again.)

“History is WROTE BY THE WINNERS!” - (Maybe we should leave the "WROTE-ing" to the writers instead.)

“I'm fourteen years old and I know that General Patton was a very important figure during World War Two, and I think James Dean was a singer.” - (uh . . .)

“FIRST OFF, ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS NOT IMPORTANT BUT WHAT HE DID TO CHANGE THE WORLD and what THE PROBLEM WAS. -HOW IT WAS- B4 HE CHANGED ANYTHING.” - (I'm sorry; I stopped paying attention when you went to normal caps without warning, then back to caps lock, all without explanation.)


“just get a job or an education. its that simple. just make college free to those who choose it, and pay for it with government. there is a way to have your cake and eat it too.” (We accept, cash, Visa, Mastercard, and Government. There is so much more wrong with this comment. . .)

“is getting hired at a factory line where a kid spends 10 hours of his days doing nothing really any more productive than guitar hero?” - (yes.)

“i doubt cleopatra sat around studying the past?????” - (I doubt you can make a statement and also make it look like a question . . . oh . . . well played.)

And my personal favorite:

“lol wut?”

More recent video from Mark Bauerlein.