The Tube and You Tube

For those of you who remain unconnected to the world of the internet, I’d like to tell you about youtube.com. It is a web site that allows people to post videos of almost anything, ranging from people just looking in the camera and talking to very complex videos, complete with computer animation and such.

Candidates save a fortune by posting new ads on youtube instead of paying to broadcast them. Musicians and artists can showcase their work on youtube. Some very talented people have broken into the arts or show business simply by posting a great video.

There are also people and animals who are stars who wouldn’t be without youtube and the internet. There is a cat in Japan named Maru who loves boxes. Jumping into and sliding across the floor in boxes. There was a kid named David who, riding in the back seat after a trip to the dentist (where one supposes nitrous oxide or some opium-based pain killers were administered for multiple extractions) asks his father, the driver “Is this real life?”

Almost any musical performance from the past 50 years exists on youtube, along with clips from almost every television show you can think of. The quality varies from excellent to awful, but if one is feeling nostalgic, it’s a good way to spend some time looking at old stuff.

Last week I was looking at some old videos on youtube, including Paul McCartney and The Beatles performing “Hey Jude,” which was telecast around the world, if I remember correctly. In the United States it was seen on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”

By coincidence, that night Sir Paul was featured at the Olympic Games opening ceremony, doing the same song. Now, I need to preface this next bit with how amazingly good he looks for a 70 year old. He still sounds great too! But, to look at his baby face with those enormous, soulful eyes from 1969, and his new 70 year old face in 2012, well, it makes a person think.

I watched that first video in my parents’ living room in 1969, which means that I must be 43 years older now than I was then. Fortunately, nobody was recording me while I watched the Fab Four. If there was such a video, I’m sure the comparison with today would be jaw-dropping.

Watching videos from the 70’s or 80’s shows us the most stylish fashions of those decades which look very silly now, just as today’s fashions will look stupid in 30 years. That’s just the way it works.

I like looking at old clips of SCTV, Mad TV, and even Saturday Night Live, mostly recorded off the TV screen by people in their homes. Some things I remembered as being hilarious, aren’t. Some things I hadn’t paid much attention to are really funny.

Amazing sports plays, stupid stunts gone wrong, and tutorials on how to fold shirts, assemble bicycles, and make cupcakes are also available, and surprisingly interesting.

The real beauty of using youtube.com as a source of entertainment is that you can avoid reality shows and other stupid shows on regular TV. Sadly, there are the aforementioned political ads, but it’s pretty easy to skip them if you are so inclined. After all, the only thing Maru is running for is a box to jump into.

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