Your 15 Minutes Are Up.

I am beginning to think I must give the wrong impression to people, judging from the emails that I get in my inbox.

Aside from the ones telling me that I need to revitalize my “manhood,” reduce my home loan payments, and the never-ending ones from a rather scantily clad young woman named “Sparkle,” who wants very much to meet me online, I am concerned about the emails I get from people who actually know me!

This all came about one evening while I was checking my three email accounts, (yes, I need three email accounts, doesn’t everyone?), I spy one with a subject line that read; “You will love this!” Fearing that in is another email from Sparkle, I right mouse click the message to get the properties of the sender to make sure it is not from her, or a radical terrorist group whose method of bringing America to its knees is through corrupting Gmail accounts.

I see it is from one of my students, still vaguely apprehensive I open the message. The message simply states that said student saw this video and immediately thought of me.  Below the message is pasted a hyperlink in the familiar Bob Ross happy sky blue colored html-speak. I pause for a moment, considering if I should open this link or not, granted it did get past my security software, but then again can you really trust software that sounds like a drunken Scotsman…

I click the link and I am taken to the Mecca of the DamnedYouTube! There on the screen is a grainy pixilated video of a woman lip-syncing to Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” dressed like the pope. I am not saying I was offended, in fact I chuckled, and then asked forgiveness for my sins, but I thought why post this. I mean, her face was visible; she must want to get dates, go to college, get a high paying job, and to have a happy life, right? All of these things were now in jeopardy because she thought it was funny and felt that the world would be a better place by posting it on a site for the mentally challenged.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against YouTube in principle, on the contrary I can watch clips from shows and films I remember from my youth, it is a great place to watch movie trailers to see if I really want to spend the price of my monthly rent on dinner and a movie. What does disturb me is that it has become the repository for those people that have no life, a vidcam and the burning urge to share their sad existence with the entire world.

 I miss the old days, (the late seventies and eighties), where such people were confined to shows like Montel, Jerry Springer, and the founder of it all Phil Donahue. Shows which the media now fondly refer to as Reality Television, proving that the media does live in an alternate reality. The only great show that was worth watching at that time was the Gong Show, a sort of spastic version of American Idol. These shows allowed those people you wouldn’t invite to Christmas or your child’s birthday party to achieve their, as quoted by the late Andy Warhol “15 minutes of fame.”

What is even more interesting is that they were paid to debase themselves on national television, (back in the eighties the going rate was $2000 for appearance on Geraldo).Imagine that, you would be paid a large sum of money to destroy your credibility as a human being! No wonder those types of shows are still on today. In today’s sagging economy, you could make your house payment by say, launching your child in a hot air balloon… nah, who’d pull a dumb stunt like that.

Anyway back to the “YouTube: Mecca of the Damned”. This site is the godsend for the people who missed out on the whole Gong Show thing, or maybe they are they’re children of those people, (shudder). With the use of a low cost camera or vidcam mounted to the monitor, anyone can upload whatever they want! You can see a man singing in the shower, a dog that farts the national anthem, or my favorite the little child telling mommy how it will kick a monster’s @$$! (The last one was given legitimacy by being shown on America’s Funniest Videos). That kid is probably being scouted by the WCF as we speak.

Now all this sounds funny and whimsical, but I don’t think that these people have fully thought out this whole thing. Yes, you could make your career break like Katy Perry, or you can kill your career, hope for employment, marriage, etc, just as easy. Just imagine if YouTube was around 1998, “Sherman set the Way-back machine…” 

You are sitting in the congressional hearing; President Clinton sits at a microphone facing the speaker of The House:

Speaker: “Mr. President, these allegations of your involvement with the young woman Monica Lewinski. Are they true?

Clinton: “Define what you mean by involvement Mr. Speaker.”

Speaker: “Let me show you this video we found on YouTube…”

Clinton: “Damn.”

 My question to these people is, “Your acts of stupidity and juvenile exposition can be seen by anyone at anytime!”Moreover, it never goes away unless you remove it from the web, (but then again the damage is already done, so what is the point really). I have a friend who is in Human Resources for a major studio in Hollywood, and she told me that they now check applicant names on YouTube, MySpace and Twitter to see if the applicant is right for their studio or for right for an opening at the local sanitarium.

 And it is not only the professional sector checking these sites, it is also the colleges and universities as well. Did you ever stop to think the reason you were not accepted at that ivy league school could be that funny video taken while stoned at your friend’s high school grad party may not have been a good thing?

My point is this, today’s youth have grown up in a world where the 15 minutes of fame, is the Holy Grail to the easy life and piles of money; and they are willing to risk it all to obtain it. Thanks to the  short-cut-to-graduation school system, (where history is the memorization of dates, not to show us how our actions affected our future); they don’t understand the long-term effects of their actions. What seems funny today is not going to be funny in a job market tomorrow, and where only the smart are employed in high paying jobs, while the rest are working at Starbucks for minimum wage.

Barista: “What can I get for you…?”

Customer: “Hey, aren’t you the girl in that video singing “I Kissed A Girl” dressed like the pope?”

Barista: “Damn.”

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writing rlhanon
Life, liberty and the search for a good tax write-off!
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This is an editorial blog that is on my blog site that I wrote about the craze and how my students have become addicted. Strangely enough, The Wall Street Journal did an article of the same thing the following week after I posted my blog.
Published Date
12/29/2009 12:00:00 AM
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