A society overrun by dumb videos

The Baltimore Sun

Here's a major problem in society that no one seems to address: We're drowning in dumb videos.

The Internet, of course, is full of dumb videos. I just watched one of a fisherman getting drilled in the groin by a fish leaping out of the water.

Understand, I didn't want to see a video of a fisherman getting drilled in the groin by a fish.

But there was a headline on the AOL homepage that said: "Fish gets revenge on fisherman."

So, I clicked on it because I'm a sucker for any kind of nature-strikes-back story.

Only it wasn't a story. Instead, it was another dumb video, one of the countless dumb videos that we're bombarded with daily.

Of course, you can find dumb videos just about everywhere these days, not just on the Internet.

They're on the 11 o'clock news, on ESPN, on cable news shows. It seems as if everyone all over the world is walking around 24 hours a day with a video camera and a lot of time on their hands.

And no matter how ridiculous or mundane an activity is, someone's recording it for posterity -- at least that peculiar form of posterity that comes with producing dumb videos.

The thing is, with so many stupid videos out there, it's hard to tell what's real and what's staged anymore.

For instance, I wasn't sure how real that video was of the fisherman getting tagged by the fish.

Because you have to ask yourself: Why would someone shoot video of a guy fishing?

Have you ever watched someone fish?

Believe me, you'd be asleep in five seconds. Because watching someone fish is like watching someone paint a fence.

Fishing is boring enough. But watching someone fish, that's taking boring to a whole new level.

So, why would someone be shooting a guy fishing unless they thought something noteworthy was about to happen?

Like, say, someone off-camera throwing a fish at the guy's groin to make it look like a weird animal attack.

Of course, there are lots of videos out there that aren't stupid and that we probably need to see.

I'm glad we saw the CBS video of Hillary Clinton landing uneventfully in Bosnia in 1996, after she'd been telling everyone her party landed under sniper fire.

If you're a politician running for office and basically making up stuff about how heroic you are, I'm all for seeing video that disproves it.

And I admit to being strangely riveted by the sheer horror of the infamous "Raining McCain" video making the rounds recently.

(If you haven't seen this, it's three plus-sized "McCain Girls" with bad voices singing the off-key praises of John McCain while, among other surreal touches, little cutouts of the Republican presidential candidate fall from the sky like raindrops.)

But does anyone really need to see a video of Willie Nelson's daughter karate-kicking a drunk guy off a stage?

Or of top models getting in a cat fight over an alarm clock?

Or of a skydiver nearly getting hit by a passing plane?

Yes, those were three of the quality videos you could see on the Internet recently, if you were so inclined.

On YouTube, I wasted five minutes of my life watching a video of a guy dyeing Easter eggs using natural ingredients such as red cabbage leaves, beets and onions.

Who wants to watch something like that?

And who has the time to watch something like that?

Doesn't anybody have a job anymore?

OK, I realize that a lot of this sounds like old-fogeyism and that there is a vast generational divide at work here.

I realize a lot of young people today can't seem to live without videos and will watch just about any video they can access -- including one of a guy stealing a bulldozer, which I watched the other day in the interest of research.

But I'm totally videoed out.

I might watch the fish drill that guy one more time, but that's about it.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

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