5 Quick Things: September 2020

Welcome to 5 Quick Things that I saw since last month that I thought were interesting enough to share with you. None of them are particularly timely so feel free to just enjoy 🙂

This month to shake things up it’s all YouTube all the time!

>Number One<

Who Gets to Cross the Bridge?

I know all of these videos are big “time sinks” in that sitting down for 30+ minutes is a lot of attention in both the age of the lowered attention span but also in the age of your brain being on a fire because everything is terrifying but I will preface this with saying all of these videos will probably make you sad to some degree but also, they have a lot of points to consider.

Honestly if you only watch one of them, as good as Dan from Folding Ideas video is, you should watch this video by eliquorice instead. This video starts off being about the Pixar movie Coco and how, like many Pixar films it incorporates real world elements and systems into its unique and fantastical worlds. But the problem is that the real world system that Pixar plunks down into its world is border control – a complex, dehumanizing, and unequal system which the movie largely ignores because this issue is, for most Western audiences, ignorable. Especially in these days when travel is so restricted because of COVID-19 and America is now a hot spot / no go zone and with the rising treat of displacement of people from other countries due to environmental disturbance it might be the time to rethink how borders work. To make the invisible visible again and this video does that on so many level it is amazing its only 40 minutes along. Also it’s about Coco! The video is about Coco, you know, the movie with the sad song!

>Number Two<

Can you make an Anti War Film?

If you’re anything like me, you have a sort of bias against films about war. War is a difficult topic, difficult enough to think about or read about but when it’s being depicted visually it can be so overwhelming as to make one shut off for a while. There’s been plenty of arguments over the years that no film can actually be an anti-war film because when we depict war it’s fun and exciting but this video goes beyond that argument to the nature of why we make war, why we find those things exciting or not exciting, and how to take new directions and new narratives in ourselves and our culture surrounding war in media and beyond.

>Number Three<

The Beginning of the Future

A lot of people are strangely excited by Elon Musk but I’m not one of them. This video not only helped me understand what it is about Musk that might be attracting other people but also is just a fantastic exploration about changing attitudes about viewing the future and how quickly they can be co-opted.

>Number Four<

Manufacturing Parasociality

When Bon Appetite’s empire of videos fell apart due to rampant racism and classism and probably more -ism I couldn’t say it was entirely a surprise. As a person who isn’t usually taken in by the sensationalist food shows (I’m one of the weirdos who actually watches food videos on the internet and then…cooks the food) I did enjoy a few of the BA kitchen “shows”. This video not only explores how things fell apart but also the strange manufacture of a personality laden environment which caused people to tune in to their videos each week even when they weren’t cooking. Honestly BAs trajectory on YouTube has been like Food Network in fast forward but these days things move fast. The singularity and all that I guess?

>Number Five<

In Search of a Flat Earth

This video is probably one of the most important videos I’ve watched all year but also, I have to be honest, it took me to a really dark and hopeless place. Dan Olsen has been making some of the most amazing videos about a variety of topics for the past few years and this one is nearly 70 minutes long covers one of the most important issues of our time: conspiracy theories about the complex nature of the world. This video contains both a beautiful and thoughtful look at the nature of the world and some of the most soul crushing information about how difficult it is to change someones mind. More than just a debunking video it looks into the origins, meanings, and goals of these conspiracies for the sake of moving forward with the arguments and difficult problems we are facing from the fallout of the mainstreaming of these ideas. Maybe at the end you will feel hopeful or like you’ve gained some insight, but I mostly laid on the couch for an hour and starred into space and felt pretty grim about humanity.

Alright folks, that’s it for this month, see you next month!

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