NOTES: Origins and Context | See Also
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Origins of this content
This texteo sits on the Fred Fan Rant hidden YouTour so as to be simultaneously "published" in a special issue on fan/remix video at Transformative Works and Culture. It is extracted and refined from a talk presented at the UCSD symposium, Youth Media, Sensory Ability and Visual Culture, 2010.
Youth media helps "educators, youth service providers and youth use digital media and television production as essential learning tools." [cit] There are youth media programs nationwide that "help youth create their own newspapers, websites and books, sharing the perspectives of young people with parents, teachers, youth workers, and other youth."[cit]

While I am Fred videos are slightly immature/amateur, there are tons of videos on YouTube that somewhat emulate or replicate his internet persona. The I am Fred videos don't require much thought out work or effort to make. It is a low budget video with the intention to make his audience laugh. What made him successful was his ability to make his audience's engagement with his content. According to the Hawks Media, what makes YouTube videos go viral are visual spectacles, relevance, reality, controversy, humor, emotion, or the bandwagon." These goals are set up to deem which videos are popular or authentic.
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More videos related to the content of this page
I Am Fred

By "a jumble of juvenile work" I do not mean to say that Fred's fans' video are made by kids, although most are, but rather that the oeuvre is immature, not fully developed, recording the worst, or simply the most typical sorts of kid behavior—making fun of others from an unself-aware yet aggressive fear of difference. And this is probably true of a majority of people-made video on YouTube: it is juvenile. However, it is my belief that much work by youth is not and need not be juvenile in this sense, that youth media can be refined, complete, and self-aware, and here, I would point to the video work of Lucas Cruikshank himself: the very forebearer of all the mocking, copying, juvenile mash-ups that his fans make to hate him.

Just look at Damien with his 7.1 millions views. This is a mature-enough work. "I am Fred" has an argument ("I am not a Fred Knockoff"), a self-aware style (the video moves from Damien's black and white coherent vblog to a copy of Fred's hyper, stream-of-consciousness style and back again), as well as a self-aware structure. Fred, too, builds a consistent and coherent argument, style, and structure into his oeuvre. Thus, Fred's huge success and popularity is not a function of his youth fans' juvenile tastes (although this is certainly part of his appeal) as much as it is that he successfully, even maturely, works through form and content. With care, talent, and prescience, Fred skims along binaries of impact in our contemporary culture, gracefully walking the line between boredom/distraction, real/parody, and isolation/community. Why can't his fans learn to do the same?