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As many of you know, Sexparty’s video for "Huge in Japan" was removed from YouTube due to alleged violation of YouTube’s Community Standards. I wrote at length about it last week and I do not wish to belabor the point any further today. What I would like to do instead is reveal the results of our fan-sourced search for ten YouTube videos more offensive than “Huge in Japan.”
What our fans found may shock you. I have placed the links below the jump and sanitized the screen grabs for the weak of constitution. Click the jump below to see the Top Ten YouTube Videos More Offensive than Sexparty’s “Huge in Japan.”
UPDATE: We are still searching for options for the re-release of “Huge in Japan.” Until this Kafkaesque nightmare recedes and gives way to our normal, everyday Kafkaesque nightmare, please enjoy this rumination on Big Censorship.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “community” as it doesn’t matter how Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “community,” because none of you people care anymore, anyway. Or at least that’s how Webster’s Dictionary ought to define the word “community,” since the word is currently so bent out of shape that it has almost no meaning.
An enlightening example of this is YouTube’s recent decision to take down Sexparty’s mashup of revered Hentai program “Cream Lemon” due to “community standards” that include “pornography or sexually explicit content.”
Prurient interest and “Know[ing] it when I see it" aside for a moment, what self-respecting community defines a taboo using the word "or"?
"Mr #FFFFFF, you stand before us today charged with murder or kidnapping. How do you plead?"
Haha LOL. I can find humor in almost anything. Moving on:
First off, I think Huge in Japan is #art. It sure ain’t porn. And it might be sexually explicit, but it’s not sexually explicit. I know the difference, because the latter, in video form, would be the type of video I draw my curtains to consume, while the former is the kind of video I would tag #NSFW and send to my friends who have office jobs via various chat apps, in an effort to push them that much closer to the edge.
And YouTube is not a community. It is not a community in the same way that your local Parish is not a community. It is a tool through which people - the only elements of a community without which a community would not exist - communicate, collaborate, and negotiate norms and values through action, performance, and discussion.
The “discussion,” in the case of Huge in Japan, allows that one person’s objection to Huge in Japan as sexually offensive—an objection that is easy to levy as clicking a button—is everyone’s objection. Their supposed safeguard for vigilantism (prudish, haterish, or otherwise) is that your flagged video then gets put in a queue for one of YouTube’s “highly trained” community standards experts, who is named Vishnod but signs all of his emails “Sean,”* who sees cartoon boobs** and clicks a button that initiates a binary action: remove or do not remove.***
*If you take this statement as rote racism or xenophobia, please stop reading and find a self-congratulatory Tumblr hashtag over which to twee. What I mean to communicate is that the person implementing “community standards” is not someone from your community; it is a low-wage contractor who gets paid $4 an hour to police your shit all day and could care less about your community, because he is intentionally across the ocean from it. Then he buys Levi jeans that are priced precisely so he can’t afford them without taking this stupid job.
**And seriously who was that? Fucking tattletale. Go call the cops on party to which you weren’t invited.
***In this instance, remove.
A holographic Cool Hand Luke might opine that “What we have here is a failure to communicate… how sexual norms are woven into our ideologies through action.” ALL OUR HEROES HAVE FEET OF CLAY OR ARE DEAD BUT STILL SELLING SALAD DRESSING.
"But wait!" you might say, if you only had a brain, which you don’t, which is why you are saying this, "by way of using YouTube, you are a part of YouTube’s community."
Bullshit x8000! The tool is not the community. If you own a Stanley tools, are you a part of the Stanley community? “No,” an experienced branding expert might tell you, which raises the question of how you came to discuss artistic freedom with a branding expert in the first place, “But let’s can talk about ways that Stanley can join the global conversation. ”
You shouldn’t have consulted a branding expert. But hey, you have all of these tools. Try applying one to the branding expert’s face.
YouTube is Google, and Google is not New Orleans, or Lima, Ohio, or Ferguson, Missouri. Google is commerce, ownership, and corporate personhood. Google is so ready to give up your information to the Feds. The tech giants of today’s world are designed specifically to avoid the fraught, difficult, and intensely human negotiations that go into community building. They host your nonthreatening opinions whilst stroking Milton Friedman’s ghostboner. They shunt your dissent off to the side; your message board of like-minded libs might as well be a First Amendment Area. These companies don’t even care about their own employees. They are hollow in every way that it is convenient to be hollow: wherever you encounter actual people in successful tech companies, you can bet your Bitcoin stash that there are plans to replace those people.
The reality is that it works the other way around. By way of publishing my video, YouTube is a part of my community, which existed before YouTube and will most likely exist after YouTube, unless the singularity disallows it, in which case we still get to blame Google. There is just no other way to define it. The internet doesn’t help you discover new people; it helps you locate people who were already there.
This is how seemingly helpful apps insinuate themselves into our lives. They say that they want to be a part of you; but what they really want is for you to be a part of them. What they really want is your time, your attention, and your money. Your commerce. YouTube doesn’t give two shits about your art.****
****Specifically, my art.
"Well duh, we all knew this. You should have known that all along," you say, dry enough to be lit aflame by an errant cigarette ember.
Well then you are a smug asshole. Thanks a goddamn lot for telling us all. You aren’t a hero. You are the anti-hero, and yet nothing like Holden Caulfield, because Holden at least had a set of morals, however flawed they might have been. At least he had the idea of slinging a few rocks. You are the anti-hero that no one makes a movie about because you accept your own lack of power. You are the worst kind of cynic—or if we accept the word in its most powerful definition, the only kind of cynic—in that you accept a broken system and continue to define individual success in relation to the system. You would drown the next thousand Picassos in a burlap sack full of rocks in a kiddie pool in your backyard if you could. If you had been Jimi Hendrix’s manager, he would be alive today and making comeback albums with Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20. He who games the game wins the game. I just made that up. I hate you.*****
*****I don’t hate you, I hate your actions. I love you.
This we learned of the tragic passing of two people, separated by geography, fame, and class, and the fact that they did not know one another, but brought together by the tragic way in which they passed, and my reaction to the tragedy of these passings.
As an actor Robin Williams could make me laugh. As a person he could do so much more. As personal accounts of Robin Williams’ honest spirit and generous soul multiplied on the internet in the wake of his tragic death, I was reminded of how poignant and life-affirming my moments with Robin Williams would have been, had I had any, and of how much more tragic these past days might have felt had I known him personally.
But from within every tragedy comes triumph, and I am sure I would have found the strength and the courage to go on, feeling that his generous spirit and honest soul was with me all along, perhaps saving a special place in my heart for a certain anecdote.
Michael Brown and Darren Wilson were actors too, albeit unwitting actors, on a stage much more high-stakes than the thespian stage: the stage of life. As the nation mourns the death of yet another unarmed black teenager, I can’t help but think of what I would have done were I at the scene of the tragic crime:
"Hey, you two," I wish I had had the chance to say, "Let’s set aside the question of what either of you have allegedly done for a moment. Can’t you see that it is not dispositional but situational forces that have driven you into this alleged conflict, and that it is only once we mindfully cast off the burdens of our respective situations that have been imposed on us by our Systems and Ways of Life and finally fully affirm one another’s humanity without regard to context or situation that we can all exist in this world as our true, authentic selves?”
Alas, these are things that never transpired; happenings that never took place. If only the “If only’s” in this world weren’t exactly that.
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