As I Was Saying

This is a blog. A public forum. Stuff I write here can be read by anybody with a Web browser, which even at this early point in Internet history (compared to Stonehenge) is millions and millions of people.

So it’s difficult to decide what to write in my weekly posts. I could say what’s really on my mind, and take the risk that the people involved no long care enough about me to bother reading my blog. I could make veiled allusions to what’s really on my mind, like I did last week. I could write about things that are only on my mind right this minute, like what YouTube is going to become once they remove all the fan-posted copyrighted content.

Basically, Google has decided to remove all the Daily Show and Colbert Report clips from YouTube. I haven’t read anything about it other than the headline, so I dunno the whys or whos of the decision. But it makes me speculate on the future of YouTube– what will it look like in a couple years?

I suspect that it will be filled with commercial video, which has been paid for by sponsors. Followed by the stuff that YouTube has licensed for display, like libraries of music videos and such. And then there will be the user-created content areas, ghettoized. And then the wanna-be commercial videos, utilizing some ad-based system instituted by Google where you make a video and share in the ad revenue, but you’re not a big media or marketing company.

It’s a shame the copyright owners can’t figure out some way to allow the current YouTube to continue, where the fans filter through the massive amounts of STUFF out there and bring us only the good bits. Surely there’s money in that somewhere– how many people watch those Daily Show clips? Can’t they get a nickel from somebody somehow?

What’s at stake is the very soul of YouTube. It’s become huge over the last year, precisely because anybody and everybody was posting anything and everything, sans regard to anything other than how cool or interesting or funny it is. Take that away, and YouTube will melt into the Internet like Friendster.

Anyway, that’s what I was thinking about writing about when I opened up my iBook a few minutes ago. YouTube. How petty, how small, how appropriate, how predictable. A blog talking about YouTube and bullshitting about the future of the Web or some such. Yawn.

But if I fed you what you really want (because everybody likes gossip), which is the juicy details of what’s going on in my head and in my life and in my relationships with everyone around me, I risk ruining those same relationships, and I risk revealing my vulnerabilities, my secret fears and anguishes. We’re still animals you know, and we still hunt. We give in to predatory instincts all too often, if not out loud, but in our heads. “That poor guy. Ha.”

Ok maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I find secret hope in the failure of others, because their failure makes a little room in the continuum for me to succeed. When Demi and Ashton inevitably divorce, I will smile a little in my heart. That guy who had everything is suffering too. *cackle* Plus now I have a chance with Demi!

That’s not the only animalistic behavior I exhibit. I also like to lick my wounds. When I experience some sort of trauma I’ll hole up, and you won’t see me for a while. I’ll be up here in my room watching tv/listening to Peter Gabriel’s “So” over and over, and manfully willing myself not to bawl like a baby, but occasionally giving in to the indulgence, the gluttony, the shame of tears. Wallowing like a hog. Heh.

Of course all the while I’ll be wishing that somebody would call and tell me they miss me and that I’m great and it’ll be ok and here’s some soup and I bought you a comic book and would you like me to give you a back rub.

These are things you get when you’re twelve and you’re not supposed to be able to take care of your own emotional needs. You’re allowed to be childish because you are a child. But at some point we’re taught that we should be beyond the fear and trepidation and anger and angst that we feel as children. Stuff it into a little ball, Lisa. Put away those childish things!

At least, that’s the impression I get, from society, and from other people who seem not to understand, in the moment, how someone else may be feeling. The depth of it. Or maybe they do understand but don’t know how to react to that understanding. What does the other person want you to do in those vulnerable situations? What can you afford to do when they occur? Afford to do, because make no mistake, it’ll cost you something. What you do once, you’re expected to do always. Don’t feed that stray cat, don’t give that homeless guy a dollar. The cat will be waiting for you outside every day, and the homeless guy will hit you up every time you walk by.

So is it better to pretend to ignore the cartoony black vibes wafting from the head of the guy walking next to you on your way to lunch? Is it better to go buy him a lollipop? Is it better to totally smother him with concern? I’m like Ralph Hinkley, and I’ve lost the instruction book for my super-suit. What am I supposed to do??

I don’t know, and obviously neither does anyone else, or they’d be doing exactly the right thing for me when I’m feeling bad, mad, sad, or even glad. Human reactions are strange, marred and distorted by the conflict between instinct and reason.

For example, two of my friends are getting married. They recently announced it. It’s hard for me to sort through the feelings this news causes. My first reaction is to just well up and overflow with happiness and joy for them. Seriously, I feel a physical reaction of giddiness. I am genuinely, incredibly, enormously happy for them.

My second reaction is self-pity. My third reaction– guilt. I’m one of the generation who was told that people are starving in Africa, so stop your complaining, and stop being so jealous. Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be that they’re starving in Africa so clean your plate. But that’s not my lesson, because in addition to the starving people in Africa there are

  • the people with cancer,
  • the people with systic fibrosis,
  • the people children who have trisomy 21 (“Down Syndrome”),
  • the people with psychosis,
  • the families of people with psychosis,
  • the people being persecuted,
  • the people who lost a limb in a thresher.

They’re all worse off than me, so no matter what happens, until it’s as bad as one of those things I have no business wallowing in my petty little problems. Right? That’s what Church taught me. I think, or maybe it was an afterschool special, or maybe Reader’s Digest. Definitely Reader’s Digest.

I do try, of course, to tell myself that “even though you haven’t had your arm torn off by an industrial clothes-press, you’re still sad. You have the right to be disappointed. You have the right to be upset. It’s your life and you’re living it, and when things go wrong it’s all relative and there’s nothing wrong with your feelings.” That works sometimes. Only sometimes.

Talking is supposed to help to get it out of your system somehow. Telling your feelings to somebody. But who to tell? I don’t have any confidants that close. I don’t know anybody I can trust not to breathe a word. Maybe I need a shrink. I certainly can’t tell you people, here.

So when it comes to this blog post, which I need to write, for myself, because I said I would, to myself… I’ve lost the thread… Oh right, when it comes to writing on this site, what do I say? There are so many, so many subjects I can use to postpone my problems for a half hour or so; but I need to choose. Because I don’t want to be here all day. Because I’m writing this right now, and I have to decide.

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