NOTES: Origins and Context | See Also
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Origins of this content
This texteo condenses ideas I first worked through in my blog in 2008, after completing the 2007 LFYT class. I attempted to systematize what had occurred in our class through posing several sets of definitive, unresolved binaries that structured our interactions and assignments in ways atypical of the more traditional classroom and standard paper.
According to Virgina Heffernan: "Rant videos can be seen as borrowing conventions from their 17th-century antecedents. Jonathan Field, a professor at Clemson, also cited a 1654 description of the Ranters, a much-feared array of hothead heretics in England: 'their letters and discourses being nothing else but a confused, senseless, prophane Scripture, madly made up of impious flatteries, impious kindnesses, and atheistical curses, oaths, and ranting imprecations in the same breath, or line.'"[cit]

"An extension of the identity politics-based film movements that proceeded it, and from which many of its artists were drawn due to lived necessity, AIDS activist video was ... a matter of life and death that forced interaction across and inside communities that might not otherwise have needed to communicate ... narrowcasting to the many audiences who demanded education, self-representation, and mobilization because of AIDS."[cit]

"Thirty years ago, in 1978, Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives startled audiences across the country when it appeared in movie theaters and on television. The first feature-length documentary about lesbian and gay identity made by gay filmmakers, the film had a huge impact when it was released and became an icon of the emerging gay rights movement of the 1970s."[cit]

According to Alex Castro: "Tongues Untied (1989) weaves poetry, performance, popular culture, personal testimony and history in a complex pattern that emerges as an essentially personal statement. It presents the situation, politics and culture of black gay men using an intense mixture of styles ranging from social documentary to experimental montage, personal narrative and lyric poetry."[cit]
Expressing complex ideas through words is nearly impossible on YouTube. The 500 character limit for comments and the sandlot culture of web expression produce a dumbing-down impossible to reverse.

The place to speak and be heard on YouTube is through video. Since most new video-makers on the site are not adept in the language of the visual, they depend on recorded words, primarily through talking-heads, or rants.

Meanwhile, professional content on YouTube abounds, making use of the flashiest, fastest gizmos available and making sense through images, rythyms, and beats.

In another body of work on documentary, I have written about how some film movements rely on talking-heads (women, AIDS activists, queers, and others engaged in identity politics), and about how such people speaking new truths to power directly through newly available technologies is not necessarily the naive step the elite may imagine.

However, in the case of YouTube rather than, say, AIDS activism, the site's ability to keep its makers from unifying around style, from organizing around ideas, from learning from the words and images of others, seems to keep this bad video from ever getting better.