this government running look

Why I'm honored to be ID'ed as a YouTuber by my friends:
  • Facebook friend posts: The President should fire whoever came up with the bright idea of interviews by "YouTube Stars."
  • Facebook friend comments on his post: If you were going to invite folks from YouTube, invite Peter Musser-he is trying to pull potential from YouTube instead of offering makeup tips or eating cereal from a bathtub!
  • Me: Actually I'm very much pleased with the YouTube Interviews.
  • 1) If you listen to all of the questions that the folks asked, they were all both solid and topical.
  • 2) The first person who sat down with him -- Hank Green -- is, hands down, one of the smartest people alive currently. In the span of three DAYS(!), he and his brother John Green got the YouTube community to raise $1.2 MILLION to donate to charities. He runs an online education *empire* whose guiding principle is, "let's make free, high-quality content for everyone ever, and if people see value in it, they'll pay us" -- and THEY DID. Let that sink in for a second. And the questions Hank asked didn't really pull any punches, as one could see by how the president visibly squirmed during a couple of them. He asked about the ethics of drones (without being on the attack about it), how there are even sanctions left to place on North Korea, and how the country's justice system is pretty dang broken when it came to incarceration, and how the federal government is going to react to the legalization at the state level of marijuana.
  • 3) GloZell Green, the second person to interview him, asked about race relations in the US since they relate to her husband and her family (which is made up of police officers and military members) . She also asked about the recent thawing of relations between the US and Cuba; that is, if the Castros are such dicks and so many people have been fleeing Cuba over the past 40 years, why are we thawing relations now? Is this not an important question to ask for people who literally haven't been alive long enough to know a world of any other kind?
  • 4) Bethany Mota, the last person he talked to, asked about how to rebuild confidence in the government when young people look at a government that is largely run by old white rich people people, and (I think it was her) also asked something along the lines of, "isn't there a HUGE conflict of interest in having people who come from huge companies and have pretty big conflicts of interest, turn around and 'retire' into really cushy government positions, or vice versa? Isn't that a conflict of interest?" Which is a really damned good question -- especially since she's ... wait for it... 19.
  • And also, between the three of them, they have right around 15 million subscribers just on their main channels. Every single one of them successfully runs what we might as well consider their own business. They each come from wildly different backgrounds. I can't think of three people I'd rather have representing me and my ilk.
  • However, I'm equal parts disappointed and unsurprised at how the traditional media outlets covered it. Here's a thing: Folks under the age of 30 have a very strong distaste for a) current news outlets and b) politics. Mainly because both are shitty. Mainly for the reason that (I'm willing to bet a dollar) current news outlets didn't tell you the majority of all that stuff I just wrote. They are afraid -- as afraid as emotionless corporations can be, anyhow -- at how quickly and with how much drive YouTube is pulling viewers away from them. So, they'll sell the idea that YouTube and online video isn't something to be taken seriously. They're wrong, of course -- hence online video being a multibillion dollar industry with multiple conventions around the world that draw tens of thousands of people.
  • Anything ANYONE can do to get that particular demographic more engaged should be welcomed, hands-down.
  • FB Friend: Hahaha-no. Good points all-but what the media DID take away were the silly items (green lipstick). My beef is that outside of Hank Green, I think that there were better suited prospects (like you!). I am reminded of authors doing vanity interviews of authors during the 80s and 90s.
  • Me: But... YouTube isn't made up of just Hank Greens and Peter Mussers. It's made up of Hanks, Peters, GloZells, Bethanys, Dres, Lindseys, Heathers, etc... And that's the WHOLE point.
  • We are solidly *not* journalists. We are people. And being able to tap into the doubts and feelz of an amazing diversity of 15 million of us by just talking to three is something that is, by any measure, an amazing thing.
  • FB Friend: My YouTube channel would be more inane than GloZell's, and less useful than Mota's...I'm just cranky about this as I am sure that besides Green, there were better candidates out there. The questions came off as ghost-written. Not sure what was intended here, but it came off as pandering. Just my opinion is all, Peter. I think that there is untapped potential in YouTube et al.
  • Me: I know, and I'm not faulting you for it. And FYI, they WERE ghost-written, in a way. Each person put it out to their fans to solicit feedback a week ago. That's the beauty of it -- it's basically a representative democracy where the elected officials actually reach out to their constituents for input and then do something with it. I would've done the same thing (although I only have 1k subscribers between both of my channels).
  • FB Friend: Ah-that makes sense.
  • ---
  • I feel so incredibly privileged (and delighted) that 1) people see "YouTuber" as solidly part of my identity that they bring me up in conversations when talking about it, and 2) that I was able to have this dialogue at all. What a gift we have been given, to help be ambassadors for this new medium. AH WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE
St. Vincent and EMA both share a futuristic aesthetic and a penchant for sci-fi references, but their visions are far from hyperbole. We are living in a world where government-run machines auto-surveille the populous to look for evidence of crimes that haven’t happened yet, where people commit suicide over cyberbullying from anonymous sources. It isn’t a fantastical future dystopia EMA and St. Vincent are singing about. It’s the one we already live in.
—  So excited to have finally published this piece for Pitchfork’s The Pitch. I care a lot about both of these artists and this subject in general, and it is fantastic to have a venue through which to write about them.