Dis­cov­er­ing won­ders on Youtube

The Compass - - OPINION - BY LLOYD BON­NELL — Lloyd Bon­nell writes from Cor­ner Brook.

To the best of my knowl­edge, YouTube en­tered the vast world of the In­ter­net in about 2005. How­ever, al­though I have had the In­ter­net in my home since 2002, I was un­aware of the won­drous of­fer­ings of YouTube un­til a chat part­ner pointed out this par­tic­u­lar fea­ture of my com­puter in 2009.

Since then, I have prob­a­bly spent an aver­age of an hour a day ex­plor­ing its tremen­dous scope and re­mark­able di­ver­sity. Ac­cord­ing to my rough cal­cu­la­tions, there are about 100 mil­lion videos ac­ces­si­ble on YouTube, and you can safely bet that num­ber is grow­ing ap­pre­cia­bly by the day.

Be­cause of my great affin­ity for pop mu­sic, the videos con­tain­ing that in­gre­di­ent of YouTube are the most used and the most en­joy­able for me. For ex­am­ple, I had lit­tle dif­fi­culty lo­cat­ing all the ma­jor hits of Johnny and the Hur­ri­canes, which is my favourite rock band of all time. In ad­di­tion to orig­i­nal record­ings, nu­mer­ous con­cert num­bers are also avail­able from the Hur­ri­canes, in­clud­ing a com­plete cap­sule of their 1965 ap­pear­ance in Ger­many.

Of large sig­nif­i­cance, too, is the fact that Elvis Pres­ley is fea­tured in roughly 50,000 videos, and what is es­pe­cially en­tic­ing is that you can lis­ten to, and view, many dif­fer­ent ver­sions of all his songs as well as take in videos of such events as his 1968 “come­back spe­cial,” which lasted more than an hour.

I have also dis­cov­ered that nearly ev­ery song that was on the hit pa­rade since 1950 — even “B” sides of records — is of­fered on YouTube. For ex­am­ple, I have re­peat­edly lis­tened to “Pointed Toe Shoes” by Carl Perkins, “Cutie Pie” by Johnny Til­lot­son and “Sweetie Baby” by Floyd Cramer, all of which I had thought had dis­ap­peared from my reach for­ever.

You may not know this ei­ther, but I am par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in the monumental cat­a­clysm that was the Sec­ond World War. I have a spe­cial aware­ness of the in­va­sion of Poland by the Ger­mans, which started the war on Sept. 1, 1939, and there are many videos (with nar­ra­tion, of course) about this event. This in­va­sion is deeply rep­re­sen­ta­tive of how ru­inous the Sec­ond World War was for all con­cerned.

I re­cently also be­came in­ter­ested in the start and de­vel­op­ment of the Bos­nian War, which lasted from 1992 to 1995 and in­volved much mur­der, bru­tal­ity and up­heaval. Videos on YouTube show how mon­sters who called them­selves men ruth­lessly drove tens of thou­sands of peo­ple from their homes and set up con­cen­tra­tion camps for them that were com­pa­ra­ble to those of the Nazis. Then there was the par­tic­u­larly hideous mass slaugh­ter in Sre­brenica near the end of the Bos­nian War.

About 8,000 men and boys were ex­e­cuted by gun­shots in a most mer­ci­less man­ner. There are videos avail­able which show in fright­ful de­tail the suf­fer­ing and car­nage of such events, and I am deeply moved by this anguish and grief as nar­rated by im­par­tial ob­servers of this war, which, af­ter all, oc­curred less than 20 years ago and shows how un­civ­i­lized much of the world still is.

Fi­nally, about a month ago, while brows­ing through the end­less stream of YouTube videos, I dis­cov­ered an hour-length fea­ture done by Bri­tish jour­nal­ists about the O.J. Simpson case of 1994-95. To me, O.J. is guilty of two bes­tial mur­ders, but this par­tic­u­lar doc­u­men­tary did made me think a lit­tle about the ques­tion of why there were not more bruises on O.J.’s body from the fierce strug­gle that must have en­sued af­ter his en­counter with his two vic­tims on the night of the mur­ders.

One ob­server ven­tured the view that Simpson was at the mur­der scene at that time (as ev­i­denced by the ex­tent of his blood found there) but that he was merely a wit­ness to the crimes. How­ever, I don’t buy this ver­sion of events for a sec­ond, as I feel sure that Simpson is not so brave or so right­eous as to let him­self go to trial for mur­der in or­der to pro­tect his son.

O.J. is cur­rently serv­ing a lengthy prison term in Las Vegas for kid­nap­ping and theft, and also has been beaten up badly by other in­mates at least once. I think that his crimes have fi­nally caught up with him, and, in­ci­den­tally, there are sev­eral videos on YouTube show­ing his en­counter with an an­gry judge as she sen­tences him for his later crimes, call­ing him “ar­ro­gant and hos­tile.”

I would think that the next few decades will bring even more sophis- ticated and in­tri­cate fea­tures of the mar­velous source of in­for­ma­tion and en­ter­tain­ment that we call the In­ter­net. Right now, how­ever, YouTube is suf­fi­ciently in­trigu­ing and stim­u­lat­ing for me to en­joy it in all its full­ness and its depth. What­ever fol­lows YouTube will not di­min­ish my plea­sure or en­rich­ment at all, be­cause I have be­come suc­cess­fully at­tuned to the nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion of cul­tures and tech­nolo­gies.

I feel that we are liv­ing sat­is­fy­ingly in highly ex­cit­ing times, in large mea­sure be­cause of em­i­nently fas­ci­nat­ing in­ven­tions such as YouTube.

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