2001-2008
Home
Main
- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > Media

The Future's Bright, The Future's Mentos and Diet Coke

4 February 2007

This week Google announced that it’s planning to pay contributors to its new acquisition, YouTube. It’s a sad indictment of the journalism profession that no one appeared to ask ‘Is this just a publicity stunt?’, for the simple reason that the first question in anyone’s mind should have been: ‘Who the fuck is going to pay money for clips of American dickheads putting Mentos mints into bottles of Diet Coke and watching them fizz over?’

Admittedly it wouldn’t be difficult to pay people for good YouTube contributions. Presumably any video clip with a sufficient number of viewings would get some cash, which would surely encourage others to get out their video cameras and camera phones. But how many of the clips on YouTube actually merit payment? We’re still puzzled by the popularity of the guys dancing on running machines. It’s passably interesting, but it’s hardly one of the great creative works of our time, like ‘Citizen Kane’ or ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.

A more pressing question is whether YouTube really is the future of entertainment. The defining feature of YouTube is not the music videos or meritworthy short films: it’s good old-fashioned random Internet shite.

Go onto YouTube and your mind starts to boggle over the sheer amount of spare time people appear to have. It’s one thing getting pissed and dancing around your living room to Abba, it’s another bothering to film it and post it on the Internet. And grotty camera phone footage of hogwhimpering drunk students howling ‘Dancing queen! Young and sweet, only seventeeeeeeeeen!’ before passing out is very much the top end of the homegrown entertainment provided by YouTube, which tends to be:

- Agonisingly unfunny ‘humorous’ short films by people who think they’re Kevin ‘Clerks’ Smith

- Lame-o, sub-‘Jackass’ crap

- Cats being cats

- Stuff that is just... stuff, like people drawing faces on bits of Plasticine and then filming them for no readily apparent reason, or telling people who don't care about the minutiae of their lives


The other major stratum of YouTube, it has to be said, is deeply unedifying stuff: soft porn (‘hot chick strips!’), executions, fights, football violence mash-ups set to Belgian techno, etc. And if you took away copyrighted stuff there wouldn’t be much of merit left. Of course, there’s lots that is great fun or hard to get elsewhere*, but the main problem with YouTube is that, like so much Internet stuff, it’s a distraction rather than anything substantial. Let’s just hope it doesn’t become the model for the entertainment of the future: ‘You’ve Been Framed’ without the intellectual rigour.


*Our current favourite is this.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free


 ABOUT THE FRIDAY THING
Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

READERS WRITE
"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

© The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved