The success of YouTube has generated lots of spin-offs, each with its own agenda, including The Hub: a “YouTube for human rights,” GodTube: “broadcast him,” and lots and lots of free porn (probably the agenda with the most entertainment value, so props).
The new kid on this block is BigThink, a YouTube for ideas, whose motto is “We are what you think”. It even has financial backing from ex-Harvard President Lawrence Summers. Eventually the Big Thinkers want to create a facebook-like social networking feature for serious intellectual types.
It’s a nice idea. Really, I applaud their efforts. I think it has a lot of potential. This could be a great way to fight holiday brain-rot, except… it’s BORING (you might not think so, but then again you’re probably just pretending– the emperor has no clothes!). I’m willing to cut BigThink some slack because it’s brand spankin’ new, but I hope they’ll come around eventually.
Case in point: I just watched composer John Harbison talk for two minutes about composition. I have an active interest in the subject– I’m a music major and I compose. I’ve heard of Harbison, studied him in class, and listened to his works, some of which I don’t hate. I understood everything he said and can place it within a larger historical dialogue. Even so, I was bored to tears.
The problem? The entire website is all talk. “Experts” sit in front of a white background and talk. talk. talk. Harbison is a composer– a video of a composer talking about composing while giving no concrete examples and no soundbytes to demonstrate his points is useless, no matter how articulate he is (and in fact Harbison is not all that articulate in the video).
Also, I believe Big Think’s dullness is directly related to its puritanical streak: I knew the big guys behind BigThink had the wrong idea when I read Summers’ one worry about the site: “Let say someone puts up a porn video next to my macroeconomic speech?”
Obviously Summers overlooked the fact that the best ideas put porn and economics together. Seriously, ever read D.H. Lawrence?
Since Wesleyan is the pioneer institution for the intellectualization of porn (those of you not in the know google COL289: Pornography), I say we generate a porn dialogue on BigThink (preferably with more ambitious cinematography than the videos currently on there)– do whatever you want, but keep it intellectual, guys.
BigThink, you’re welcome.
oh and p.s. speaking of D.H, the entire text of Lady Chatterly’s Lover is availabe here.