Mind Fields: The Apocalypse Of YouTube

Mind Fields

April 19, 2021

I Love YouTube

April 19, 2021

The Apocalyptic Age Of YouTube

YouTube blows my mind. It’s GOD, it’s SHIVA, it’s…ummm..you know. Effing SUPERB! So much for the capital letters. I love YouTube. I love all the video platforms, from Godtube to Vimeo. We are living in an extraordinary time. The tools for creativity have multiplied so that billions of people have access to recording devices. Phones, vidcams, DSLRs, we now have quality gear to produce clean videos. It’s Content Heaven, and the content is whatever you want to make of it. I like discovering and studying things, like music, archaeology, astronomy. I go to school every day and it’s on the internet.

 I think I’ve learned more in the last year than in all my previous life. YouTube has taught me more than many years of school taught me. I hated school…so there you go. I wasn’t about to learn anything from a place I hated. On YouTube, I’ve acquired skills from the most patient and benevolent teachers. Many providers of content do so out of their own generosity. They don’t make money, they don’t advertise.

The advent of the Vlog, or video blog, is a major development. I found the travel vlog Baldandbankrupt.com by accident. An adventurous Brit travels the world. We only know his name, Benjamin. He doesn’t tell us much else. As a guide he’s superb. He’s simple but entertaining, and his erudition is inconspicuous. He’s just one of us, “one of the guys”. He has a knack for languages. He does passably well in Russian and Hindi. What else does he speak? Who knows?

On the southern perimeter of the ex-Soviet Union there are a dozen nations, all of whom speak Russian.  Consider that a gift of the Soviet past. It endowed all of Asia right up to the borders of China with a common language. As we can see through Ben’s travels, the cultures and heritages of the erstwhile Russian Empire are relatively intact. Whether it’s in Ukraine or Kalmykia, those peoples remember their legacies from The Silk Road and the steppes. In essence Bald Ben follows The Great Game, that competition between the British and the Russians that took up so much of the 19th Century. They competed in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkestan. They confronted one another across vast swathes of central Asia.  They were full of Imperial ambition. The geography is immense. If Ben wants to be in the middle of nowhere, there are plenty of nowhere places to go. Especially in the once proud Soviet Union. 

Back to YouTube, the Guru, The Miracle Baba. It gives tirelessly. It’s our creation, ours. I wanted to learn piano and I didn’t feel that I could afford a teacher. YouTube’s piano teachers are legion, and I’ve fastened on a few piano mentors to help me master the instrument. After nine months of practice I can run scales, play and recognize most of my chords, and perform a few songs. When was this possible, before the internet? When I took trumpet lessons as a kid the dreaded Mister Haspiel came to our house weekly to instill in me the love of the instrument. It turned out that I was a drummer, and trumpet wasn’t so much a mistake as it was my mother’s design to thwart me as a drummer. I hated the trumpet! My mother hated it too, she hated my creativity. She once threw my trumpet down the basement steps. My dad had to buy me another. I got an upgrade: a shiny Selmer to replace that funky old Buescher. Thanks, Dad! And thanks again, departed father, for tolerating my drums after I had pestered you so much that you had to buy me drums to shut me up! I became a pretty good drummer. I can still paradiddle and double paradiddle with the best of them.

Mother’s long gone and YouTube offers free piano lessons, or cheap piano lessons, whatever…I can buy a course for a hundred bucks. If I can tell you anything, it is this: learning is fun. I’m an old man and I’m still learning. I’m still perfecting skills. How cool is that? Don’t get bored. Don’t be boring. Feed your spirit, especially with music. 

Additional Notes:

YouTube is so freewheeling a form that it is possible for you to meet yourself online. Get into someone’s video or make your own. When Ben “Bald” wanders the Ukraine he runs into people who are watching his travel vlog. Now they’re IN his vlog. The loopy nature of this appeals to me. The skills for video making are evolving, but the toolkit is replete with every kind of Fade, Swipe, Roll, Caption, Insert, Delete. The skill with the camera involves knowing exactly when to turn on a subject, how to walk, narrate, greet people in foreign tongues, deter thieves and touts, and when to shut up and be quiet. One does these things simultaneously. It’s a flow, a rhythm and it’s impossible to fake. Vloggers are like musicians learning their chops as they record. A good vlog narration is a consummate filmic device. Not all vloggers are equal. And not all vloggers are as independent as Benjamin Rich on baldandbankrupt dot com. 

The YouTube/video post phenomenon has spawned whole new industries. There are video “factories” where buildings are divided not into offices but studios for the recording of videos of all stripes from science to porn. The miniaturization of gear and the lowered cost of production have moved videos into the mainstream. 

This is the Golden Age of Content. More people are doing more things with video than has ever been possible. 

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosh.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

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