Queer You(th)Tube Talk via YouTube (February 15, 2010)
NOTES: Origins and Context | See Also
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Origins of this content
I began speaking publicly about LFYT in 2007, always to academics, but in a variety of disciplines (media studies, rhetoric, communications, art, library science, digital humanities). I attempt to push my public speaking about the course and about YouTube in ways that mimic the formal provocations of both. Thus, I perform some or all of my critique of YouTube on YouTube and in its vernaculars. This blog post introduced and mirrors a talk I gave on YouTube (as a YouTube playlist because I couldn't make the conference) about Fred, fakery, and queer youth at the Digital Media and Learning conference at UCSD in 2010.
Fan-vids and fan studies have exploded with the Internet.

Media literacy is "Media education [that] encourages a probing approach to the world of media: Who is this message intended for? Who wants to reach this audience, and why? From whose perspective is this story told? Whose voices are heard, and whose are absent?"[cit]

Parody is a key tactic of postmodernism "because it foregrounds quotation and self-referentiality."[cit]

"I want to argue that postmodernism is a fundamentally contradictory enterprise: its art forms (and its theory) use and abuse, install and then subvert convention in parodic ways, self-consciously pointing both to their own inherent paradoxes and provisionality and, of course, to their critical or ironic re-reading of the art of the past." Linda Hutcheon, The Politics of Postmodernism: Parody and History [cit]

One of my three founding calls for this project is supporting engaged citizens who participate in power sharing, or "creative democracy," radical pedagogy, ethical process, accountability, and social justice enacted through and about the media.
Unfortunately, I can not make the Digital Media and Learning Conference occurring at UCSD February 18-20 because I'll be in Berlin for the premiere of The Owls. I have organized my talk as a twenty-minute playlist on YouTube, moving between queer youth videos and my analysis of how copying, mocking, mimicking, and faking are no longer queer.

Liz Losh and Jonathan Alexander write: "Eventually the YouTube platform may encourage more content creators to produce hoaxes, parodies, mash-ups, and digitally composited homage, but we would argue that those forms of production could also invite queer participation that contests normative ideas about authenticity and stability and could allow subversive rhetoric to be seen, disseminated, and iterated."[cit] I agree wholeheartedly with my colleagues. Via my playlist, I hope to show what might be lost, for queer youth and anyone else with a political agenda, when making our work on YouTube by taking up the "hoax, parody, mash-up" or fake without a linked play within the terrain of identity and community. For, any formal tactic is only as relevant as is its applicability to and connections with real-world goals, communities, and bodies.

The talk continues, with highs and lows, videos good and bad, fake and real. I conclude: "To be productively queer was never simply to copy and mock, even when marked with a flouncy flourish or some serious realness, it was always to do so with an actual change in mind: change in form as well as in seeing and being. If the self-conscious, self-aware, self-evident copy is no longer queer at all, no longer productive, I suggest instead that we must constantly adapt our forms to allow for that truly unsettling wedge that produces for viewers and makers alike queer ways of seeing and knowing that rub the wrong way, in the name of what is right: differences and dissonances that matter," connections that count and add up to something more.