Silence & Wanting to Be Heard

“Is it necessary that every single person on this planet expresses every single opinion that they have on every single thing that occurs all at the same time?” he asks. “Can anyone, any single one, can anyone shut the fuck up about anything, any single thing? Can any single person shut the fuck up about any single thing for an hour? Is that possible?”

Burnham seems aware of the irony of him not shutting up about anything for an hour and a half, but maybe that’s the point: It’s an impossible request. It’s human nature to want to be heard, and the internet has amplified our voices, sometimes for the better, but often for the worse. Now, it’s up to us to recognize when the world has heard enough. Burnham knows it better than anyone: No one really wants to shut the fuck up.

-Scaachi Koul, “Why Bo Burnham, Jenna Marbles, And Shane Dawson All Logged Off.Buzzfeed. June 16, 2021.

I had never heard of Bo Burnham, Jenna Marbles or Shane Dawson prior to reading this piece of criticism. I read the quote above and it resonated. I guess, for me, I have found a happy medium for this blog in just trying to find one thing interesting a day to point to or talk about. But, there are days, and some weeks, when even that feels like a lot, where I think to myself, perhaps it would be better to post nothing at all and be silent.

But, on the other hand, I also enjoy the discipline. I’ve had at least one idea worth capturing or came across some snippet that is worth preserving as I’ve gone about my life today, haven’t I? Of course, it depends on the time scale too doesn’t it? In the grand scheme of things, nothing we do will be preserved.

As a reference point, think about all the time that Medieval monks spent copying manuscripts. This was certainly a valuable service that preserved writing from antiquity, but where is their work now? If it still exists, it is stored away in a special library or rare books collection, rarely seen by anyone. Even for something digital and assuming infinite storage capacity, what is the value of preservation anything we might say. Who is going to read it?

Or, consider how many people actually spend time reading the works of Shakespeare outside the classroom. Among a small subset of people, I’m sure he is well read. But, for most? He’s a name only. Pick a major piece of literature from antiquity to the present, and it is the same. However, maybe it is like the Japanese idea of tsundoku, of buying books and never reading them. Perhaps the value is simply that they are there as potential, whether they are ever read is besides the point.

But, perhaps, we are just engaged in wishful thinking on that score. Perhaps, the Rule of St. Benedict was right, and it is best to keep in silence.

Intro to Storyboarding

“Kevin Senzaki, confirmed sound wizard and also storyboard artist for VGHS and other RocketJump projects, covers the basics of what storyboards are used for and why. He also covers who typically creates them, what formats they come in, and the different styles and elements that are most often used to create clear and informative boards. If you are totally averse to drawing of any kind, you’re in luck– Kevin also shows you some alternatives to storyboards that can help you achieve the same goals in planning out your film.”

YouHole

Warning: Youhole is random and potentially NSFW. Browse at your own risk.

YouHole, another site in the same spirit programmed by Alden, exclusively plays YouTube videos under 500 views in random order. You can’t click through or see the name of the video (differentiating it from other similar websites), much less save, share, or subscribe. Videos from all over the world come up on YouHole; finding something in English is uncommon.

The site’s content-sorting system starts with picking a random language. If that language uses a Latin script, the system selects two random words from a dictionary; if it’s any other language, then it uses two random letters or characters from Unicode blocks. Then it trawls YouTube’s API, grabbing videos under 500 views and storing them in a server for future use. A lot of videos do come from the same random search term, but they’re shuffled within the database for maximum unpredictability.

“YouHole provides access to randomness,” Alden says. “You can’t do that on any of the major platforms because it’s not profitable, so their algorithms conspire to get you into feedback loops of the same content.” They maintain that this manipulation makes it easy for platforms to “market to viewers more easily and consistently.” YouHole, conversely, defies predictability and allows viewers to experience humanity how it really is, in the abyss.”

—Catherine Sinow, “Three algorithm-less streaming sites revive the wacky Web from days of yore.” Ars Technica. August 9, 2020.

http://youhole.tv/