Saturday, February 25, 2017

nuggets to distract you

YouTube is quite the trove, and since I don't have a TV, I have, over the past several months, gotten into the habit of subscribing to various YouTube channels (I have one of my own, but there isn't much on it, so it's not worth subscribing to... yet). Among my favorites are Joerg Sprave's Slingshot Channel, the Food Wishes channel run by the surname-less Chef John, the Sorted Food Channel showcasing four young Brits who bring the art and science of cooking to the masses, the PBS-affiliated Crash Course channel, and language-geek channel NativLang. I've also got my alt-commentary from Styxhexenhammer666, Stefan Molyneux, Prager University, and Paul Joseph Watson.

Here's a random list of some videos that seem worth sharing. You are, of course, free to disagree, and if you start watching a video but don't like it, you can stop watching at any time.

Stefan Molyneux: The Truth About Immigration and Crime in the Netherlands. Molyneux is, I think, an acquired taste, and I haven't totally acquired him. He's super sharp, and I'd never want to tangle with him verbally, but he's also pompous and a drama queen. I never thought I'd say this, but I almost prefer Styxhexemhammer666's boring drone to Molyneux's scenery-chewing theatricality.* That said, the linked video is worth your time, mainly for the disturbing picture it paints of immigrants who come to Europe but then refuse to assimilate.

Stefan Molyneux: But It Wasn't Real Communism! Watch this and squirm. Molyneux sometimes does a radio-show-style thing in which he'll talk with or debate a caller while he's recording himself. This particular encounter, while never quite descending into outright nastiness, showcases all sorts of bilious, mutual disrespect. Pointless debates always make me uncomfortable, mainly because I know time is being wasted, and I'm getting stressed out for nothing. Some people thrive on conflict and love to spar; I'm not one of those people, which is why I always sigh when I receive any sort of naysaying comment on the blog. What is it that makes some people prone to reflexive disagreement? Anyway, I don't know how I sat through this: it wasn't particularly enlightening or instructive, even if I did agree with Molyneux the entire way, but it's a great example of a rhetorical shit show—an exchange in which neither party comes away convinced of anything. Watch for the train-wreck value and little else.

Food Wishes: Picadillo. Chef John introduces me to what is apparently a Puerto Rican classic. I'll be wanting to make this sometime after my big walk is done.

Paul Joseph Watson: The Truth About Sweden. Watson is another one I find hard to watch. When he talks, he looks as if he's making constant kissy-faces at the camera, thrusting his head forward at me as if he were trying to osculate a reluctant, disgusted female companion on a date that went bad the moment it began. Despite looking like a pink-lipped boy barely in his teens, Watson does make good points in typically acerbic British fashion. Watson may be, along with the even-more-obnoxious Alex Jones, one of the most popular alt-vloggers in the Info Wars corner of YouTube. He's also the only Info Wars talking head that I can stand to watch. (I get the impression that most members of the alt-media care nothing for charisma. Hey, fine: substance is indeed more important than style, but effectively marketing your substance is important, too. I think you all could do better—much better—on that score. Another annoying alt-vlogger (well, quasi-alt): Ben Shapiro. Ugh.)

Crash Course: What Is Myth? While I'm not a mythologist or a folklorist, some of the work I did in grad school (and even in undergrad) had to do, at least tangentially, with the questions of stories that were and are formative in human moral and social development. Mike Rugnetta, the peppy guy hosting this new Crash Course series (Crash Course recently wound up a philosophy series; this is a sort-of replacement) seems to know what he's talking about, so I'll be following these videos fairly closely. Rugnetta's intro episode mentioned a few mythical figures I know little to nothing about, so that got my interest.

Joerg Sprave: Homemade Wood Sword—Will It Kill? Joerg (or Jörg if you can type umlauts) is an English-fluent German nut whose building projects always seem to involve the construction of weapons from materials you can generally find in a hardware store and/or an outdoors shop. Watch enough of his videos, and you'll soon come to expect certain things: his maniacal laugh when a weapon fires as it should, his cheerfully growly "Let me show you its features!" when he introduces a new death-bringing toy, and his signature "Thanks and bye-bye!" at the ends of his videos. Sprave started off with slingshot-themed weapons, and he still takes plenty of projectile-launchers, but lately, he has expanded his ambit to include bladed weapons. The sequel to the above-linked video, in which Sprave creates a weapon to crush a coconut (standing in for a human skull, I suppose), is also worth your while.

NativLang: What Shakespeare's English Sounded Like. This channel has several "What X Sounded Like" videos, all of which are worth your while to watch and listen to. For my money, the host's rendition of what Shakespeare probably sounded like sounded like some form of Irish to me, and several commenters agree. another great vid from this channel is The Hardest Language to Spell, which I thought was plain awesome.

And now... back to work.

*Bill Burr, who often seems to walk a dangerous line between right and left, comes right out and hilariously calls Molyneux an "arrogant cunt." In fairness, however, I should note that the commenters agree that Bill Burr is intellectually outclassed by Molyneux. Yeah... probably so. Comedians are often a smarter-than-average bunch, but Molyneux is a trained philosopher while Burr hasn't exactly demonstrated an ability to "do subtle."


John from Daejeon said...

Kevin, I find myself drawn to the channel of those feisty Youtube nerds of WatchGirlsPlay. I think you will enjoy their humor. However, I was quite surprised that I made it all the way through their "Genital Jousting" video. That one is just wrong on so many levels.

Kevin Kim said...

Pretty hilarious! Thanks for the link.

John from Daejeon said...

I just watched the nerd girls react to the strangest Japanese porn/science fiction film I've ever seen. Even with the Japanese penchant for pixelating out the good stuff, the girls are I were definitely scarred for life and thoroughly grossed out. You'll never think of nipples the same way again, and I'll let it go at that.