internet killed the video star: saturday night and the reign of youtube

my father had a strange idea of father-daughter bonding.  once a summer, when i was home from college, he would insist on waking me up at 3am and we’d drive to bardstown, ky to visit his friends (monks and kathleen the cafeteria manager) at gethsemane monastery.  i rarely savored the drive or the imposed early wake up to make the first mass.  i do, however, have a memory that makes me happy of our outing.  i had brought a cd of the beatles “yellow submarine” for the trip’s anticipated awkward, non-talking moments.  on one of those such moments, the title song came on and my dad started telling me about his days, when the radio was a big deal.  more importantly, he told me about being in his beloved morris minor when the song had come out for the first time (a highly anticipated moment for all).

he said that the experience was better than a surround-sound stereo affect.  as he drove around the small indiana town, EVERYONE had that unforgettable beatles song on the radio.  he said he could see “everyone’s head bopping to the sound of the song” (or something to that effect).

my only anecdote to his experience is purposefully driving around the community college’s baseball field, in hopes to impress some fine-looking, tight-pant-wearing players.  we (my bff’s and i) were definitely “bopping” in my borrowed grand am, blasting “the humpty dance” and clad in our tennis skirts, post b-team practice.  no one noticed us but us but we still savor that memory.


i remember the radio, too.  i listened to it a lot (and does anyone remember listening to records?).  when i was five i had heard “like a virgin” so many times on the radio that i asked my sister and babysitter what a virgin was.  they looked at each other and told me to ask my mom.  when i was twelve i’d get ready for school, doing my bangs and putting on layers of obnoxious covergirl makeup (my mom finallybroke down) and listen to the top 40 station.  i’d dance a little and make tapes of the songs i liked.

most significantly, though i remember mtv.  it was a really big deal in my life.  almost as big an influence on my dance style and lip sync development as “dirty dancing” (i was known to perform “i’ve had the time of my life” at recess or at end of the year parties:  will insert this into the show).  my sister convinced my mom (1988) that i should no longer go to day care after school.  the result was the development of a nearly religious ritual of eating doritos snack packs in front of our hitachi while it blasted the best new videos of the week.  as time went on, i remember the first “real world” and being awed by the “realness” of the connection between the “real” people.

at age 17, when my boyfriend jon of six months dumped me and started dating my friend, the only consolation i found was in watching bush’s newly-premiered “swallowed” over and over again, wet cheeks, cheetos and all.

my friends and i would talk about videos, getting deep with songs like “janey’s got a gun”, “november rain” or “oh father”.  there was the innovation of new video techniques and the boundary-pushing videos (“cold-hearted snake”, anyone?).  check out this lovely post about the video i so adored:


fast forward.  this thanksgiving my family, friends and i talked about youtube, recounting the cutest videos we’d come across lately:

after dinner we sat around and played with an ipad, looking at pictures and such.  in the last month or so i’d found myself in similar social situations.  friends around some kind of computer or media watching things like bad lip reading or other comedic ingenuity of youtube.  it reminded me of how my friends and i would watch snl together in high school.  we didn’t, however look at music videos although probably and most likely there was an ipod shuffle involved in said  socialization.  i will further explore the question of youtube’s involvement in how we hang out presently.

as for videos, i watch them.  all the time.  due to crafty folks like tremble tremble or people like jacopo tomassini, i seem to stumble upon really great videos quite frequently.  even though a major cable network no longer features them with the frequency i was used to in 1991, in spite of the fact that it is more likely that tweens will huddle around the computer to watch the new justin bieber release, the artistic quality of the sound-films is fantastic.  i myself am considering doing a music video, especially after seeing the results of today’s facebook question:  best all-time video ever.  as i embark on my

(wearing my headband, of course).

but, speaking of videos, an old friend, awesome educator and former wheatonite, mirko chardin has launched an awesome video.  please check it out:

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