There are videos on YouTube that are just so… inexplicably weird that your only reaction is to simply give up and revel in their insanity.
It’s what some people would call a “Random Video”, but that’s hardly ever the case. While there are many a videos of people being smacked in the balls, the truly odd videos found online are hardly ever just there due to someone incidentally posting them up. They’re not just taken from the wilds of nature.
Sometimes videos you find online create a kind of What The Fuck reaction that makes even the most hardcore of video watchers cringe. Those videos – often creating a black hole within the core of your being – are hard to shake from your mind’s eye oftentimes being so incredibly disturbing or horrific that they are burnt into us.
However, we’re not here for that! We’re here to see videos that are so weird that it’s a good thing! Positivity! One of the best parts of the Internet is the great amount of diversity of content available to us. It is from this vast library of knowledge that we can use to become learned in basically any craft or any trade, so long as we apply our minds to it.
Ok, enough with the sublime talk. Here’s what you came for.
Russian meteor falls, panic ensues as space virus grips populace
The weirdest part of this collections of videos from February of this year is that most of the pedestrians in them just keep walking. Dude! A giant, fiery, exploding object from space just fell and you’re just going to keep ambling along towards the department store? What the hell! Sephiroth is trying to unleash the Lifestream and you’re ignoring it?!
Well, there’s a reason why phenomena like this are ignored and why people screaming on the bus are ignored as well. Cognitive dissonance is a phenomena that is caused when two conflicting things go on within an individual’s mind. For instance, that person screaming on the bus might need help, but are you going to risk your own life, safety, and pocket change to do it? The answer is probably, no.
This meteor that fell from freaking space (!) is just so out of place that most people would choose to simply ignore it rather than deal what just happened. This is why the dashcam footage is so valuable in that we can experience the WTF feeling for them vicariously. Those who witnessed the meteor falling were probably either scared the end was nigh or so ambivalent that they couldn’t care either way, but we do since we’re so far from its immediacy!
Another interesting result from this video was the furthered exposure of the Russian Dash Cam phenomena. Basically, dash cams are used to help prevent insurance fraud. So what happens is that a person will smack into your car – intentionally – expecting that they will receive monies to pay for your medical bills. As they don’t have any real damage done to them they’ll keep the money.
It’s actually kind of sad, but these kinds of GIFs show you just how worldwide the dash cam phenomena has become and how protective/invasive of an insurance guardian it is. The result of this kind of video surveillance has been phenomenal in that insurance fraud is down and sightings of meteors falling from the sky are up. It’s a win-win. The Ideas Channel has a great video on it, so please take a watch!
Late for meeting
This video by David Lewandoski has been on YouTube for about three days and has garnered almost 3.5 million views. That’s a lot of views, and repeated views thanks to me and my crippling inability to work diligently on articles like this. As you may or may not know, this video is a followup to Lewandoski’s Going to the Store, which was put on YouTube in September of 2011.
David is an exceptionally talented director and animation artists who has worked on various films including Tron’s awesome reboot Tron Legacy. That part where Flynn is explaining his image of the Grid, well that has Lewandoski written all over it, but does Going to the Store or Late for Meeting?
According to Lewandoski, the videos were created in the style of the dadaists and surrealists. For those unfamiliar with the Dadaists, imagine the world after the First World War. With the horrors of war being so immediately available to everyone for viewing and deconstructions, the Dadaists wanted to expose the broken social structures and ideas that began the conflict.
From Moma’s website:
For the disillusioned artists of the Dada movement, the war merely confirmed the degradation of social structures that led to such violence: corrupt and nationalist politics, repressive social values, and unquestioning conformity of culture and thought. From 1916 until the mid-1920s, artists in Zurich, New York, Cologne, Hanover, and Paris declared an all-out assault against not only on conventional definitions of art, but on rational thought itself. “The beginnings of Dada,” poet Tristan Tzara recalled, “were not the beginnings of art, but of disgust.
So it Late for Meeting a commentary on the human form in the digital age? Is it a look into the way humanity has been artificially reduced to an entry on Wikipedia? Is it just a silly video about a rubberized many who is late for a meeting? It can be all of those and more, but the “What The Fuck” reaction many have when first watching the videos has substance behind it.
90s commercial compilations
Why the hell are there 89+ video compilations of commercials on this channel? Why, because it’s awesome and it’s also a cringe-worthy exercise for any of us born in that neon green and pink days to watch.
The 90s are, for me, a fascination. It represents a time in popular culture that was all happiness, positive, and all kinds of “everything is all right with the world” feeling. In reality, war was breaking out in Kuwait and other countries, the world economies were on the brink of collapse, and political rivalries were – as the always are – destroying progress. As much as it was a beautiful time to be alive, it was also a time of great suffering for many people around the world.
So how the truck can people in these commercials – and just the public in general – be so damn happy?
Well, it’s a bit of corporations shamelessly catering to our age demographic, but also it was the fact we were so damn young our immaturity was such that we couldn’t see past our televisions. If we look at something like music, we see a mix of different feelings throughout the decade. As an example both the Backstreet Boys and Nirvana were at the height of their popularity during these times. Meaning that in 1996, From the Muddy Banks in Wishkah (following the death of Kurt Cobain) and the Backstreet Boys were both on the charts and in the hands of eager listeners.
There were so many positive aspects of the 90s, yet so much despair that we, as listeners, watchers, and youngsters, were shielded from as kids. There was one event, however that changed all of this. You know what’s coming.
On September 11th, 2001, none of us were able to escape this fairy tale of the happy West. Now seeing the horrors of war and the disparity of wealth, power, and influence on our very own shores brought such immediacy to reality that we were unable to shake that image. The old commercials of the 90s no longer have the same kind of resonance with us as they did then, but these kinds of things come in waves. Now that we are in a post-war period with the economy slightly on the rise – at the expense of the environments – perhaps kids today will be just as nostalgic of the 2010s as we are of the 90s.
Where even is this? There are numerous videos on YouTube featuring cars on fire/burning cars, but none are quite so perplexing as this one. The song you hear in the background is Faye Wong‘s cover of 90s band The Cranberries’ Dreams, and the car in the video is on fire, and I have no idea what’s going on, and I have no idea of the context of the video. I think the first comment on the video sums up how most people feel about it. Says TeHzoAr, “every day i wake up and remember this exists and its enough for me to continue this excruciating existence.”
Sometimes videos on YouTube are just so inexplicably without context that you’re left wanting more and more where there is nothing to be found. There’s no crime, there’s no log of this happening in reality, and as we’re concerned this could just be a perfectly constructed surrealist art piece by pizzlemank, the 6-pack creator of the video. Also there’s the fact that “火車” actually translates to “train” rather than anything having to do with cars, fire, or whatever. As well, there’s this:
Not only do we all know about this video of a burning car, but there are video tributes to it and the lost in translation deciphering of the video’s meaning. We know so little about this video’s context that we literally reach for meaning. There’s a whole list of comments on the original video asking the creator if he would explain if he said “Piss” or “Badass”, and what he thinks of the Internet’s translation of his speech. We look for meaning in this absurd video because we have to know. It’s why, if you go on Reddit, we see such an emphasis placed on the original poster’s response to comments.
This video is a 30-second long look into the life of this guy and this moment in his life where he saw a car on fire. It’s highlighted by his choice of song and his narration of the event. As insignificant as this event seems, people keep watching this video as a pure example of absurdity in reality. This is like that moment you see yourself in the background during a news report on television. This face that belongs to you is suddenly out in the open, it exists on the airwaves, and people at home are all looking at you though their eyes are trained on the reporter.
We look at this video and see a pure example of a snapshot within the life of another human being. The burning car represents the purest form of our digital age burning away brightly, but in another moment extinguished. Holy shit. Piss.
Well, I’m not going to explain this. But it makes for a great lead into my next video.
Tommy Lee Jones in Boss Coffee Ads
Well, I guess you could consider these videos kind of pedestrian “What The Fuck”, but there’s a reason I picked these videos in particular. A common practice in journalism is to remove yourself from a story and reassess it as if you’ve just laid eyes on it. For journalists, this is a practice in objectivity. In school, you may have heard a professor use the example of you suddenly being an alien to examine a particular theory or piece of literature. For Tommy Lee Jones’ character this is the ultimate form of objectivity.
Viewers will recognize Jones as one of the stone-faced figures of the 80s and 90s who played everything from stone-cold FBI agents to rock-and-roll terrorists. However, in Japan he has an entirely different reputation as the mascot of Boss Coffee. This brand of canned, cold coffee is sold in stores and in vending machines right across the country. For whatever reason, Jones is the company’s mascot and the character he plays is an alien from outer space.
This series of commercials has a narrative that helps Jones examine the human condition. He sees people working hard, he experiences the odd behaviour of humans entertaining themselves, and he eventually learns to enjoy being on Earth. As part of an extraterrestrial force he begins to unravel humanity through drinking his caffeinated beverage. While it’s funny seeing Jones outside of his Western context, who’s to say it’s really him?
Music is just noise, dogs are just animals, and Earth is just a planet. When the hell did coffee commercials makes viewers start to question his or her existence? As viewers in the West, we’re three times removed from the commercials’ true context. Tommy Lee Jones in the world of the commercials isn’t Tommy Lee Jones the actor, he isn’t examining a culture we are familiar with, and he’s also an alien from another planet. This is truly an example of an actor’s self being wholly, utterly replaced for another identity.
The power of these videos is their ability to expose us to new ways of thinking. That “What The Fuck” kind of reaction elicits, above all else, curiosity. The happiness we feel when we’re able to derive meaning and context from these videos creates a kind of euphoria we don’t feel with horrid videos that involve any form of violence be it physical or verbal.
Rather, we watch these videos in a kind of awe for the person responsible for making them with such substance, or in some cases, lack thereof. As well, for some context YouTube is simply a convenient hub for these videos. There are many other websites out there that host great content like the ones listed above.
Anyway, that’s about all for today.