Thursday, October 12, 2006
Go ahead. Punish yourself. I'm sure you deserve it.
PSAYINGS.5Q.11. WorldNet Daily is up in arms about YouTube's apparent attempt to censor David Zucker's lampoon of Dem foreign policy.
The short film by Zucker, who worked with "Scary Movie 4," "Airplane!" and other comedies, reportedly had been offered to the Republican Party for use as an ad, but it was declined. Then it appeared on the Drudge Report and also on YouTube.
However, after a brief period of accessibility, the verification page started appearing on YouTube. It asked that: "This video may contain content that is inappropriate for some users, as flagged by YouTube's user community. To view this video, please verify you are 18 or older by logging in or signing up." Today the verification page on the spoof was removed.
Some other YouTube videos on stripping or other explicit activities have similar advisories; some don't. But the campaign video doesn't contain any of those typically objectionable items.
It contains depictions and references to Albright and North Korea's Kim Jong-Il, with Albright presenting the dictator with a basketball and later singing Kum Ba Yah. At the same time, terrorists are sneaking past in the background or foreground....
"The closest thing to an explicit image in the ad is a scene in which 'Albright' bends over and her skirt tears a bit in the seat, hardly the stuff that sets FCC commissioners' hearts aflutter," said a comment from Matthew Sheffield on the weblog Newbusters.org.
The commentator noted YouTube has "dismembered conservative and politically incorrect speech" in the past, pulling videos critical of Islam and even banning popular conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, who is also a WND columnist.
Sexually suggestive videos were found on the site unblocked, as were entire episodes of television shows. So was a clip from a movie depicting the assassination of President Bush, "Death of a President."
I expect conservative bloggers will immediately start suggesting that we boycott YouTube in favor of sites like BlipTV, just like they've been campaigning for us to boycott Google in favor of Ask.com.
I'm starting to have a problem with this boycotting schtick. I've been known to withhold my patronage for the sake of a grudge. Because of the Exxon Valdez, I don't buy Exxon gas unless I'm in danger of getting stranded. I don't buy Ben and Jerry's ice cream because I think they're hippie, lefty jerks. I don't attend or watch Jane Fonda movies. I don't buy French wine anymore unless there's an occasion that absolutely demands Moet Chandon. However, I don't pretend to myself that Exxon, Ben, Jerry, Jane, and France give a rat's ass about what I do.
When the right-wing blogosphere got so het up about Google's deal with the Chinese government, I looked into Ask.com as an alternative. But there was a problem. Ask.com sucks. They don't turn up nearly as much relevant stuff with their search engine. I also looked at BlipTV because Michelle Malkin was having trouble with YouTube. BlipTV sucks too. So I'm not going to boycott either Google or YouTube.
You see, there's a question of marginal utility involved. If some behavior that I intend to be punishing to someone else actually punishes me more than it does them, I don't do it. It's called cutting off your nose to spite your face, or, more simply, girlcotting. (Those of you who have teenage daughters will understand the reference without falling into a fine sexist fury.) I also think it can be directly counterproductive in absolute terms. I never bought into the "Buy American" reflex that kept so many well intended folks in Ford and GM cars when they really did hunger for a BMW or a Honda. That misguided loyalty is a big part of why Ford and GM are in such desperate straits today. Deep down, they just never got it that they had to compete. Can a million angry conservatives keep Ask.com afloat? Maybe. But they'll still die eventually if they don't rise above the mediocrity that characterizes their product today.
And what about all those angry conservatives? I have a vision of them ostentatiously ignoring Google, YouTube, and God knows what other new media sources while they slowly perish of information starvation, always finding less than their lefty opponents and showing up too late with their handicapped arguments. It's a kind of voluntary solitary confinement and far too much like a poor relation of political correctness to suit me.
I'm going to keep on using the products and services I find helpful. It's certainly not news to me that a lot of the new media barons are leftist idiots when it comes to politics. I can take that into account. I don't generally go to YouTube looking for pro-Republican videos . But if I want to see a video of Django Reinhardt playing jazz in Paris way back when, I sure as hell won't be thinking of BlipTV.
I also have no problem at all with maintaining my purely symbolic boycotts of products I don't like or find helpful in any way. Boycotting the New York Times is a particular pleasure. Ditto with Detroit's giant gas-guzzling SUVs, lilke the Cadillac Escargot and the Lincoln Nasticator. I haven't decided about the Hummer yet. I mean, I know it's a fuel hog and all, but if I get the assault rifle I asked Santa for this Christmas, it would look super cool mounted on the dash of one of those leviathan Hummer truck things.
I'll let you know how it turns out.