So this is one of the craziest blog titles I've ever come up with, but I'm in a weird mood and I'm procrastinating prepping my competency interview questions. This article is my quick two cents on three of the hottest videos blowing up on Youtube now, and so this title is am amalgamation of these.
First up we have Diary of an ex Disney Employee #2. Uploaded just yesterday, in the video this guy Adande (AKA Swoozie) talks about how his previous Youtube videos "Confessions of a Disney employee" apparently caught the attention of the Disney's senior management. After exchanging a few emails with an "executive" called Michael, who offers Adande a tour of the California film studios and dinner, Adande takes him up on his offer and pays for a flight to visit. Oddly, Michael stops replying to Adande and the meeting never takes place.
Getting stood up by someone is not a pleasant experience and this video raises more than a few questions. Was Michael (who wrote from an @disney.com email address) a rogue employee who pranked Adande in revenge for humoursly exposing Disneyland Orlando employees (as well as his own frustrated antics) on his Youtube channel? Was it a clever hack? Was Michael really a director? And how should Disney, or any company for that matter, react when an ex or current employee broadcasts company issues in a negative light?
I personally think the whole executive tour and dinner thing with Adande would have been a good move if it had actually happened. Adande has always complimented Disneyland along with making fun of his time there and so he is by no means a bitter twisted ex-employee. Adande also has a large social media following, and so getting him "on-side" could be beneficial (and snubbing him a bad idea, as his video is currently Most Popular under the People & Blogs Youtube category). The viewers who think Disney were really behind the emails quite justifiably think it was in bad taste and in my view its definitely added to the pile of reasons to dislike Disney (check out this creepy academic study).
Moving more specifically into the music side of the entertainment industry, the next video causing a sensation on Youtube is Lily Allen's song Hard Out Here. In this undeniably catchy pop song, Lily uses her lyrics to make a direct and indirect social commentary on gender discrimination (I would say she limits this to the music industry/celebdom). The video depicts the very gender stereotypes she is attacking with her words through females dancing provocatively in little clothing, as happens in other music videos (for instance the song/video parodies Blurred Lines and Drinking From The Bottle).
This video has generated loads of controversy, opinions and even has reviews. Amongst some of the comments are: Why did she choose to make the bulk of the video look like a "traditional" sexist hip-hop video? That the video is racist as it uses black dancers. Is she saying that girls who shake their butts don't have a brain?
I'm going to put it out there now - I LOVE this song/video and think she really hits the nail on the head. She chose to exaggerate the classic female objectification in the video because the visuals are obviously contrasted with the message coming from the audio. Lily is great at this kind of juxtaposition, has perfected the art of sarcasm and has used this in her other work such as LDN (sounds like a happy tune but actually is describing unsavoury aspects of London life) and Everything's Wonderful (upbeat melody, but it's about financial troubles, social pressures to be thin, and bureaucracy among other things). I do, however, think it would be interesting to see another version of the video depicting females dealing with the hard realities of sexism in other aspects of life, so more people can relate to it.
Secondly, merely having black female backing dancers does not make the video racist. By this logic a rap video that features no non-black models would be racist. Besides, if you take a closer look, you can see two of Lily's six dancers aren't even black. Finally, in the "making of" video, Lily did express concern that her video would be construed as an attack on arse-shaking singers like Miley Cyrus, so I don't think that is her intention. Rather its a point about how she as an artist is not going to conform to that industry pressure. As you can see, I'm a bit of Lily Allen fan and have been ever since she dropped her breakthrough album Alright, Still.
This last video came out less than 4 hours ago and already has over ten thousand views, which I predict will take off exponentially in the coming week. I personally discovered this video when a gay friend of mine shared it with me on Facebook in the hopes to devastate me with the news - luckily for me, I didn't have a huge crush on Tom so I wasn't badly affected.
What is the "news" anyway? Basically, a young Olympic medal-winning British diver addresses this video to the world to announce for the first time that he currently dating a man. Big deal, right? As Tom rightly points out, such a video shouldn't really be necessary but at this point in time in society, admitting you aren't heterosexual is a still a big deal. (Please note: the title of my article was my artistic choice, and Tom has not labelled himself as gay). If it's hard out here for a bitch, is it even harder for gay athletes? Coming out as anything other than heterosexual has historically had an impact on people's careers. For instance, basketball player Jason Collins struggled to get signed by team after coming out as gay. Why is this? I like the theory put forward by one writer on PolicyMic, that it is because cultural notions of masculinity do not include being gay, and masculinity is deeply rooted in sports. This urgently needs to change!
I admire Tom's honesty and bravery and was pleased to see so far on Youtube that he is getting loads of support (perhaps the bigoted internet haters are still asleep?). And in the wider picture, his video couldn't have come at a better time: Vladimir Putin, President of Russia - a country that is due to host the 2014 Winter Olympics - signed a law in June banning promotion of "nontraditional sexual relations" to minors. Gay rights activists have been urging the otherwise inclusive International Olympic Committee to take a look at how these anti-gay laws could affect the upcoming games.
Okay, so I've written a lot more than I thought I would. Sorry! I turned to Youtube to switch off my brain for a bit - little did I know it would make me think!
- REVIEW: Predatory Thinking by Dave Trott