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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Will YouTube replace the boob tube?

    I realized for the first time Tuesday that YouTube videos will someday surpass television, just like MP3s surpassed radio. I was doing the daily online newspaper routine, when I came across an article about viral videos in my favorite publication, London’s The Guardian. This is a world-class newspaper, comparable to The New York Times, and right under Olympic protesters and U.S. stock market reports, there were videos of student cartoons and people farting.

    But surprising as it was, I finished the article feeling a little disenchanted, because most of the videos they recommended weren’t very funny at all. In fact, they were kind of dumb. The best YouTube videos are triumphs in voyeurism, and weren’t originally meant to be funny at all. These videos are the underdogs of Internet entertainment, but deserve just as much recognition as that stupid Paris Hilton movie that everyone’s making fun of. Unfortunately, these gems are kind of hard to find.

    Old commercials. The easiest way to delve into the breadth of knowledge of the recent historical past is to throw away your book and watch a Red Lobster commercial. It’s got everything you need to know about life in the ’90s: why people were so obsessed with butter, the stinging bursts of excitement on the people’s faces when they saw their cheese biscuits, and the evolution of the commercial jingle. These commercials are funny because they’re so corny (or “”cheesy,”” to go with the theme) and give you a quick lesson about how advertisements have adapted to the desires and trends of the populace over time. Educational viewing.

    Techno remixes. This was a fad with my friends a few months ago, but I’m not sure if it ever took off. Just like those anime music videos with Five For Fighting, there is an entire genre of techno remixes under the search button, including my favorite, the string of “”300″” adaptations featuring disembodied and Photo-shopped heads set to a trance video game song. The funniest part about these videos is the amount of effort put into them. Seriously, it must have taken Bigbluerig like four hours to search for and then distort segments of the old white Diabetes commercial guy. He made him move like he was dancing! Bizarre viewing.

    Freddy Freaker. This monster puppet gets a category all for himself, because he looks like a dancing sculpture made out of snot. He was apparently a satire of the infamous Crispin Creeper television commercial on MTV in the ’90s, a similar monster who manned a telephone line and would tell jokes and make strange noises when you called with your credit card. You can find this video by searching for “”900 freak,”” or just going to www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk_J0vm3bCI. Free viewing.

    ’90s talk shows. In a similar vein, these talk shows are a glimpse into our manipulative and sensational past. Did you know that Brother Jed was on Sally Jessy Raphael? The episode was on the popular concept of “”religion.”” Similar pressing subjects have been attempted and conquered by ’90s talk shows, including the Satanic Underground in which Geraldo claimed there was a worldwide underground Satanic cult breeding women and killing babies. My personal favorites are The Maury Show clips that come up when you search “”Maury scared,”” where you can see victims conquer their fears of pickles, balloons and chickens by screaming in terror when Maury parades them around the stage so that the audience can laugh at them. Inspirational viewing.

    Stairway to Stardom. This ’80s public access amateur variety show provides the easiest search technique to uncover dozens of awful performances. Usually, you have to scour through millions of boring people trying to sing badly in their bedrooms before you see an interesting one, but this show has it all. You’ve got the crazy lounge singer named Precious who spends an entire song sobbing until she climaxes by screaming, “”And then I bashed his head into the goddamn radiator.”” You’ve got the mullet woman in leather (Lucille Cataldo) singing her four-and-a-half minute long original composition “”Hairdresser.”” And you’ve got Don Costello who mouths the words “”Mahna”” to the Benny Hill theme and constantly has his fingers in the devil horns. Lazy viewing.

    Pranks. This search title also yields a wealth of hilarious hits, such as the bizarre Japanese television shows where they constantly find new ways to catch people naked, put peacocks in bathrooms and stage fake shootouts in supermarket parking lots. But there are also the myriad self-made pranks that people do to public access shows, news organizations, friends and random phone numbers. One of the best pranks online is an Internet-led operation to humiliate a New York public access talk show host trying to lead a discussion about gun control, by getting dozens of people to call in simultaneously and harass him. You can watch the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIEHI0vfCBk. Sadomasochistic viewing.

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