Since everyone in class asked so nicely, this post will be devoted to the YouTube channel I started last summer, at the urging of a couple good friends of mine from back in Ohio. The name of the channel, “ChillerFont,” comes, of course, from the ubiquitous and generally lousy Chiller font that is included with Microsoft Office. No one would be wrong to notice a certain commonality between this blog (Twelve Os) and the ChillerFont channel; in both I’ve employed a sort of mix of automatism and irony, sometimes in the context in which content is presented (channel/blog name, layout, description, etc.), and sometimes in content itself (my use of links in these blog posts, the parody present in the ChillerFont videos, sarcasm, whatever bro). If you’re my “friend” on Facebook, my history of off-beat profile pictures might fall under the same category.
I thought about writing a post about this tendency earlier in the semester, but I never found an occasion to do so, so this short statement will have to suffice for now. Basically, this combination of automatism and irony (and maybe irreverence too) comes naturally to me in my dealings with the internet; it emerged without me really thinking much about it. I’m not sure exactly how it started or when it came into its current form as a semi-conscious strategy, but since around when I started using Facebook (2006) this is what my internet engagement has looked like. Once I started to realize this trend, I started to ask myself why it had emerged.
One factor is how I want to present myself online (this is how most people think about how they use Facebook, YouTube, blogs, etc. after all). I don’t take my participation in these internet venues particularly seriously, and I have a relatively strong desire not to be perceived as someone who takes that participation particularly seriously. Paradoxically, it seems that crafting a way to get that point across has actually taken a bit of effort on my part, but I can’t see a way to participate in these venues otherwise.
Another factor is the way that internet venues like Facebook, YouTube, blogs, etc. all structure anyone’s participation in them. In each, what one can create must fall within particular boundaries, and what one is encouraged to create falls within an even smaller zone. I find it pretty unpleasant to capitulate entirely to those sorts of restrictions or suggestions, so I bring in my irony and automatism. Of course, any participation at all in these limited venues constitutes some capitulation to them, capitulation to forces that seek to subtly structure our lives… but maybe this helps a bit.
But if that’s the case, if participating in these venues at all requires so much care and involves capitulation to what seem to be sinister forces, why participate in these venues at all? You’ve got me there, rhetorical question. Do I participate because other people are doing it? Because the venues seem to be culturally important or to be the way of the future, and are thus worth examining through participation? Because the venues really do provide tangible benefits and somewhat worthy avenues for expression? I don’t really know; I could try to work it out here, but I’ll save that for another time. As things stand, I do remain engaged with these venues, some more than others. Blah, blah, postmodernity. (There I go again, I think I could run around with myself like that all day.)
Turning (finally!) to the ChillerFont YouTube videos, they are similarly automatic and irreverent responses to elements of popular culture that I found unpleasant; after all, culture is another thing that we capitulate to in some ways. It’s not that this is really a terrible circumstance, but it does seem that unpleasant elements of culture do deserve to have (entirely ineffectual and largely personal) criticism lobbed at them every once and again. I won’t say anything about the particular videos, as each has a description on YouTube (which I’ll include here for your convenience), but my use of the phrase “Worse because it’s real” is worth paying attention to, as it was a helpful way to consider the content used in the videos, the videos themselves, and the relationship between the two.
Sometimes you say things in front of children; other times you say them in rhythm. This is one of those times.
Original video (worse because it’s real): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svXrAZKfX5k
Do try to sit through (or enjoy, rather) more than the first minute. If you dare.
“Spies and thieves!” she spits. “Spies and thieves!” Her spittle becomes acid and lands on each of their cheeks, burning little pockmarks as reminders of their transgressions. They will never forget.
The blame for this vulgarity rests squarely upon Stacy Ann “Fergie” Ferguson, the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, and perhaps Interscope Records, A&M Records, the will.i.am music group, and an anonymous advertising agency.
Original video (worse because it’s real): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHV_SCAwPPE
The fart philosopher (fart-losopher) blessed me with their words, saying: “ur fukin video sux balls” and I was compelled to document their glory.
Please understand that the glory of the fart-losopher may appear distorted when experienced through this crude medium. Indeed this is “[their] reaction to a farting video..not tht interestin but hey.” We can only be thankful that the phartlosopher would share such wisdom with an undeserving world.
Original video (worse because it’s real): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUmNocf_JI0&feature=channel_video_title