Great Scott: Static Fragments

You can read more of Scott Towler’s hateful screeds here.  Expect upcoming posts on his loathing of puppy dogs, ice-cream and puppy-dog flavored ice cream. We all remember the email forwards...
By    August 12, 2008

You can read more of Scott Towler’s hateful screeds here.  Expect upcoming posts on his loathing of puppy dogs, ice-cream and puppy-dog flavored ice cream.

We all remember the email forwards of that now-seemingly ancient epoch of the late 90s. Scrolling down to read some corny punchline originally sent by your dad’s boss about how Asian people suck at driving. It’d eat up 40% of the free space in your email memory, and for what? Something you were shocked that anyone found funny. Wow, the punchline is that Asian people can’t drive? Comic genius! You mean to tell me women are insecure about their weight? WHY DIDN’T ANYBODY TELL ME THIS SOONER? Luckily, somewhere around Sept 11, those emails seemed to stop coming. September 11, 2000. I’m not a total dick.

Meanwhile, our present is plagued by a whole new world of email forwards: web videos. And they annoy the shit out of me, every one of them. I know what you’re thinking…”Viral web video, or webisodes as they are called (much to my chagrin, thank you), have yet to hit their mark, asshole! They’re still in the early stages of legitimization, where the vast majority of the market is kids on youtube posting something they’re imitating from a film, TV show or music video. So ease off those nuts, you fucker.” But are they though? Should I? Because every time I open my email and see a link to a youtube video, there’s a 4 in 5 chance that I’m going to click delete without ever opening the link. They’ve become the forwards of tomorrow, today! Guess what, I’ve never seen 2 Girls and 1 Cup. I’ve never watched a video of a person watching 2 Girls 1 Cup (too meta for me). I hate the Star Wars kid. I’ve never seen chocolate rain fall in my neighborhood (if you have, please grab a bucket and call me, it sounds delicious). Sure, Pearl would be a MUCH better landlady than the one I have now, but that still doesn’t mean that 2 billion people should get that reference. And I want that head-turning gopher to get some better music than “Kill Bill Vol. Mediocre.”

One of South Park’s finest episodes occurred when they took on the subject of web video and turned it into a central plot line. For those of you who didn’t catch it, it intercut a story about the WGA (or Canada, as it were) striking due to low wages. In order to get the Canadians to return to work, they demand better payment, so the boys set out to raise money for them so their favorite programs would return. The easiest way to do so? The Internet! What followed was a dissection of web video at large, culminating in a brilliant scene that featured some of the web’s all-time most viewed videos fighting to the bloody death to see which was worthy of the award for the ‘Webs Best Video.’

Please don’t.

Maybe I’m re-iterating the same thesis as the South Park guys, but really, if I had to choose one video that’s ideal for the web, the choice is simple: none. Zero. Nunca. In fact, save for the handful of studio-run web video outlets, and the forthcoming SNL You Tube-style site, I’d argue that the best web videos out there are porn. Any kind. Ebony midget ballet dancer. 3 girls, no cup! Take that!

But the PG internet hasn’t become a place where writers and actors are finding a new home. And as we witness the erosion of the monopolistic mega-studios over the next 10 years, I can’t imagine that the volume will increase for them that much. After all, I’ve never had one person forward me a web video that had the words ‘written by’ in them, or ‘starring.’ And I’ll wager you dollars to donuts that you won’t see Al Pacino doing a short for Funny Or Die.

I guess for me it all boils down to the fact that when I want to watch something, I use a TV or a movie theatre. The thought that someday I’ll be tuning into my little desktop monitor to watch the newest episode of Quarterlife makes me want to vomit out my insides and serve them to some macrobiotic at Urth Cafe. It makes me want to tell every un-funny person I’ve ever met that they, “really have a chance. You should take improv classes, you are so funny!” Hopefully this, like so many other passing whims in Hollywood, will fall by the wayside for the next new fad. But since it almost certainly won’t, I guess all we can hope for is an improvement in content, so I can actually sit through more than 15 seconds before wanting to end it all. Live from inside your computer, this is Great Scott, reporting.

MP3: The Replacements-“Seen Your Video”
MP3: 2ew Gunn Ciz ft. Esso-“Audio Video”

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