Posts Tagged ‘youtube’

An abundance of crap devalues the good junk

March 12, 2015

Earlier today a tweet from Alyssa Rosenberg caught my eye. She was linking to this article in the Business Insider that goes into detail about how the author finds the $15 price tag that HBO is putting on its new Now service to be too high, especially in comparison to Netflix’s sub-ten dollar rates. Rosenberg comments that she is always surprised how people put a low value on content they love, and I think it’s a good observation. I think the problem is that there is now so much crap out there for free that paying anything for something feels wrong somehow. Steve Kovach, the author of the Business Insider article, uses Netflix as his counter example for a service that charges less but has a significantly larger pool from which view from, but he could have just as easily used Youtube.

Try it. Go to Youtube, click on something trending that tickles your fancy, and then see how quickly you get sucked down the rabbit hole. It doesn’t matter if the video quality sucks, if the script writing is non-existent, and the actors (assuming it’s not animal tricks and or kids trying to be overly stupid on skateboards) are not exactly Meryl Streep caliber.

And it doesn’t matter.

Open up Netflix and see what’s trending. Pick a category to browse and see how far you scroll down and how much of the catelog is stuff that amazes only in the sense that someone shelled out the cash for it to be made in the first place. Then look at how much of the crap you watch (I watch a fair chunk).

For less than ten buck a month we are granted access to a near unlimited cache of crap. For the cost of an internet connection we have youtube. $15 for HBO? Yeah, I like True Detective. Yeah, I’m curious about Game of Thrones.

But $15?

The next hour I spend on youtube is nothing. Hey, look, it’s Earl Sinclair covering Biggie’s Hypnotize. 

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The Reading

March 12, 2010

Last night I went to a poetry reading involving my g/f and a couple of other women. Apparently this month is Women’s History Month or something. I don’t mean for that to sound denigrating, I really am not sure what it is as it was only mentioned to me once, but it set the stage for who was presenting poems and for the subject matter.

I’m happy to say the whole thing went well. Kate was good. She says she was nervous but it didn’t show. The second lady I wasn’t overly thrilled with but was still good. Confident. at ease. the open mic was less successful. One woman read a poem by someone else, a poem about a woman with a hat made from iguanas. It went far too long and I couldn’t help but wonder why someone would read a poem on open mic that wasn’t there own. One woman delivered her poem particularly well, from memory, clearly accostomed to performing but it lost energy halfway through. An undergrad got up and read poems that sounded like poems written by an undergrad but he gets marks for just stepping up and doing it.

What  I again realized, though, was something I’ve realized in the past. I’m not always good at following something being spoken. My interest wavers. I lose track of what’s being said or I simply don’t bother following it from the start.

What I do pay attention to is the person. The performance. The audience. Kate looked good up there. The audience laughed at seemingly appropriate moments. Without entirely following her poems I knew she was doing well.

Strangely, the poetry I followed the best was the one that was more directly performed rather than read. She was a blonde woman, sturdy with hair that just seemed to go everywhere for a bit. She wore glasses, rectangularish with this plastic frames. Very much the student look before incorporating such quirks in smaller more focused ways for adulthood. Her poem started out and it was funny and catchy about tits on TV at the house of her guy friends but it devolved into a bit of social commentary and what not and lost its energy.

There is something about a performance that focuses my attention.

What’s doubly odd is that I can sit through a recorded reading just fine. I have been watching some David Foster Wallace readings on youtube lately and find them interesting and engaging. But they can’t be all that different from a reading attended in person. Granted, he may just have a style that I find easier to “get into” but maybe the fact that it is filtered through a screen also has something to do with it. The idea that it becomes instantly more entertaining and engaging the moment it is viewed through an additional medium rather than just with my own eyes some how making it more palatable is an interesting and also disturbing one.

Does something filtered through an entertainment medium now lend credibility, even if only subconsciously? I mean, I watch television and I can decide what I think is crap and what isn’t crap and what I want to watch and what I don’t want to watch. but is there still a thought process saying that at least since it’s on television that there must be some purpose to it? Something that makes it worth of being transported to my living room as entertainment? and what’s youtube but the world’s largest cable subscription? Granted, most of the shows are, at most, a few minutes long but still, they’re there to be decided upon whether or not they should be viewed and just being there…well, are they more legitimate for that?

and this is without going into the idea of what exactly legitimacy is. Something that I, frankly, don’t want to delve into right now and will leave for everyone to contextualize as they desire. After all, I think that once given a basic set of parameters, even loosely defined as in the rambling predecessor to this paragraph, I think a general idea of legitimacy as intended by for this piece can be approximated by everyone.

In the end, all I’m really wondering is why I can watch a reading on youtube and be entertained and engaged and follow what is being said while not having a roughly equative experience in-person. I wonder if this is some innate or, possibly, learned shortcoming of mine of if it is something everyone has to deal with. And it’s not a problem I solely have with readings of fiction/poetry but with concerts as well. I’ve been to a few verve pipe concerts with my girlfriend and, outside of the songs I know, I’ve really had no idea what was being sung for great stretches of time but I did enjoy the music. Like a verve pipe concert, last night I didn’t always know what was going on but I did enjoy the music.