Monday, May 21, 2007

"The Civil War in Four Minutes" (Great!) and the Comments on YouTube (Not so great)

I was very impressed with this clip that my husband forwarded to me - and as it's been viewed nearly 19k times, I'm not alone, I bet. I'd guess that it's from a professionally produced documentary, it's so incredibly well done.

Upon reflection, I would say that I watched it from the perspective of pure visual input, the ebb and flow of the battlelines - the early hesitant movements, where it stalled in various places and the places that kept going back and forth, the eventual split of the Confederate west from the east at the Mississippi, and then how quickly the Confederacy shrank and dissolved at the end. I didn't try to process it intellectually the first time, nor did I perceive what I was seeing came laden with an agenda or any political motivation. I am curious, then, as to why the commenters on YouTube, unfortunately a great number of them, have turned this into a Civil War debate? Unfortunately, as well, one mostly trafficked by trolls and flamers.

There's even someone posting blather like: "When you face an enemy that has no uniform, targets civilians, hides behind women and children: Hides weapons in homes and mosques it is time to FINISH ENTIRE CITIES! NO QUARTER NO PITY NO TOLLERANCE!" there.

Um, mosques? Makes me want to ask, "You aren't talking about the American Civil War, are do know that's the subject of this video, right? See, it's a map of the United States. Yes, that's what our country is shaped like. Have you ever looked at a map before?"

I suppose it doesn't matter. It could be the Swiss Eurovision contest clip, and he'd (yes, I assume it's a he) say the same thing - three or four times.

Uh, dude, do you turn every conversation you have into something about terrorists?

"Do you want fries with that?"

"NO! The enemy is faceless and hides behind them! Bomb them all! I would like a large milkshake, though."

I know that I should only expect the lowest common denominator - it's not a venue for serious discussion, it's entertainment for the masses, by the masses. But sometimes the sheer weight of 'teh stupidz' out there is exasperating.

The only thing you can do as a concerned user on YouTube is flag the post as "spam" which it really isn't. I learned my lesson - don't bother with the comments. I feel sorry for the person who posted the clip - it would have been nice to actually get to converse with the viewers ABOUT THE DAMN CLIP. *ahem* sorry...

When the innernetses grows up, do you think it will finally be reasonably civil?

Later: more on Althouse and teaching reading. Got a comment I'd like to respond to...

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