A nation of idiots bares all on videos

  • By Victor Balta / Herald columnist
  • Monday, April 24, 2006 9:00pm
  • Life

People are basically idiots.

The biggest of them are all too eager to put it on display for mass audiences.

And we love it.

The proof is in the endless pool of online digital videos, usually no longer than four minutes, where folks post video blogs, random acts of stupidity, crimes in progress and the ever-popular song-and-dance routines.

Sites such as Youtube.com, iFilm, Metacafe.com, Google Video and eBaumsWorld.com are the new meeting place for the best and worst of digital video advancement, and they’re taking advantage of high-speed Internet connections to satisfy our semi-secret voyeuristic needs.

These sites claim to be pulling laugh-seeking audiences away from classic sitcom viewing, but I give people’s attention spans more credit than that.

Still, they make for some interesting diversions when you’re bored at work or otherwise killing time.

And if the popularity of “caught-on-tape” TV shows is any indication of the public’s interest in such exploits, you’ll want to see what’s there.

In fact, cable channels Bravo and VH1 have each aired half-hour specials that are simply collections of video clips that have been posted online.

Whether you’re into the more “can-you-believe-this?” genre, classic comedy, favorite TV or movie clips, or if you just want a chance to rejoice in the fact that there are people in this world dumber than you, you’ll find something to your liking.

While there is certainly some unsavory stuff on these sites, the majority of the content is just plain fun and ridiculous.

They also provide a showcase for people’s utter lack of originality.

No sooner, for example, had the “Saturday Night Live” popular “Lazy Sunday” video hit the Internet than did dozens of parodies and sing-alongs.

Some were funny, most weren’t.

The blatant rip-offs only begin to touch on the bigger issue surrounding such widespread distribution of video material.

Much of the content is stuff that’s copyrighted and networks aren’t exactly sure what to do about it.

The sites say they attempt to monitor what gets posted and that it’s appropriately licensed, but the holes in the net are wide.

And so is the audience, which may ultimately say more about us than about the clowns who put on the miniature shows.

The videos get millions of views every day, which means that even though the proverbial 15 minutes of fame are getting shorter, they’re being passed around to more people in more places.

Columnist Victor Balta: 425-339-3455 or vbalta@heraldnet.com.


bottom 5

victor’s bottom 5

Now ABC needs to replace Meredith Vieira on “The View.” Please let it be anyone but rumored frontrunner Patricia Heaton.

Here are my five picks:

5. Kathie Lee Gifford. She’s not too busy these day.

4. Naomi Campbell. Here’s hoping she throws a phone at Star Jones.

3. Rita Cosby. It’s about time for a strong male presence.

2. Jenna Elfman. Maybe “The View” will get canceled too.

1. Paula Abdul. She shouldn’t be too drunk by 10 a.m.

In honor of Julia Roberts’ Broadway debut, here are five other events from last week that nobody cares about:

5. The Sonics whine about their arena deal. When you’re the worst game in town, it’s probably best to pipe down a bit.

4. Brooke Shields had her kid, too. She got some ink, but only because she was at the same hospital as that other kid.

3. Lance Armstrong announced he’s running a marathon. Don’t you usually get a car after getting rid of your bike?

2. Scott McClellan resigns as White House spokesman. New face. Same hot air.

1. Paris Hilton lost her Bentley in a poker game. And I lost $1 on a lottery ticket.

Victor Balta

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