There are 6m postcodes in London, what's happening in yours?
Published October 13th 2017
Bored of television? Become the media and do better
By Pixelmaniac pictures (Leave a reply) - Own work, CC0,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30910194
Have you ever read the book, "7 Arguments For The Abolition of Television"? I haven't, but you only have to turn it on to see why. Its soporific muck pitched to the lowest common denominator these days. In 1954, the BBC broadcast an adaptation of George Orwell's "1984" that was so powerful that questions were asked in Parliament. That's what television can do at best, but at worst, it lulls us to sleep or wanting to put our boot through the screen.
In East Germany, the most hated television programme was "The Schwartz Kanal". This was a short programme that gave the East Germans' official perspective of news on the other side of the iron curtain. It was hated because of its blatant propaganda message and placed in the schedule before the late film in the hope that people tuning in for that would catch it. I wonder how many Ostmarks the East German government were billed from all the cathode ray tubes that were damaged?
The irony is they're on the very thing that television has been superseded by: YouTube, Vimeo and Daily Motion. You may think it's all videos of kittens playing frolicking and getting up to mischief, but it's a great tool. I'm currently writing a book about the south London music scene and I'm finding YouTube to be a great research tool for local history, music and current culture. It's very useful for note taking when I can't get out. I even watch stuff just for fun, but who do I suggest you look out for? Well, here's a guide to a few YouTube people to look out for.
Rocking Mr E
His page, Rocking Philosophy, is an insightful and perceptive look at politics, philosophical ideas and current affairs from a conservative perspective that covers everything from the enlightenment and Plato to presidential elections in America. What did I learn from it? How Enlightenment ideas are constantly under threat and we need eternal vigilance to defend them. He's also a really great short story writer too, which he has on his channel.
Kraut and Tea
Moving leftwards, a German YouTube artist called Kraut and Tea also cuts through the nonsense on the cultural landscape and gives it to you straight, but in his own humorous way. He points out where the left is going wrong and exposes stupidity on both sides. One of the best videos is one where he dissects the absurdity of life the iron curtain, such as a popular Czech detective series featuring a story about a terrorist rock'n'roll band (based on Plastic People of the Universe), and how it still goes on today. The funniest bits are when Herr Kraut mentions a Marxist furry publication, The Cultural Barxist. Even Kraut can't keep a straight face when mentioning it.
You may have heard in the news about a really good band from Austin, Texas, being dropped by their label for giving the wrong opinions (different ones than the orthodoxy). Well, Matthew Melton's band, Dream Machine are an excellent psych band that draw on the psychedelic heritage of Texas, such as Rocky Erickson, Butthole Surfers and Sister Double Happiness. They also draw on The Doors, a lot of the American garage, such as The Seeds, and early prog rock. You can also see the other projects, such as the power pop of Warm Soda. Their best song is "I Walked Through The Fire" - that farfisa organ riff is pure dynamite.
These two brothers from California take you through the finest Asian cuisine and tell you how it's made, where the best dishes are and how it relates to the Asian American experience. They even meet a few cute babes along the way, such as actress Victoria Park and Porter Lynn. They do go into identity politics at times, but I can forgive them because they showcase the best Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese dishes around.
Other stuff they do is poking fun at stereotypes and looking at Asian American culture in a humorous way. When they poke fun at other people's ignorance, it comes off a little heavy-handed, but it gets the job done.
These slick and beautifully crafted videos put the rest to shame in terms of quality, as they capture the most beautiful cars and the passion of the people that drive them. These cinematic paeans to everything from 1950s Detroit at its best to obscure prototypes, but also everything in between. My personal favourite videos of Petrolicious is the story of a 1950s Chrysler and how it brought father and son together to compete in the Pan America Road Race. It's a touching story of how they overcome great challenges.
Another favourite is a film called "Driving At The Speed of Sunshine", about a girl and her relationship with a cute little Fiat 500. It's not a fast car, but it's more like a kitten that wants to play. It's more about fun than fast.
Still on a vinyl tip, this is Antony Fantano, the internet's busiest music nerd. Reviewing the latest releases and gives his opinions on the state of the music industry and culture with a precision that even I envy. The best bits are the think pieces, where he responds to something that has been reported in the music press.
He really has exposed some utterly stupid thinking in the music press, such as how alternative rock, alternative country, etc, are "safe spaces" for white supremacists. Pitchfork connected them spuriously to people like Richard Spence, so is it any wonder why people are laughing at them?
The best YouTube videos are the ones that teach you a skill, give you new ideas, make you laugh, make you cry or look at things in a new way. It's not just about videos of kittens, even though they're cute and pretty, but what you can take from the content presented. What do you want from a YouTube video?