Fort Mill Times

Living in the video age

I don’t know why, but people are fascinated with home videos. They love watching them, they love taking them, and they love sharing them with friends and family.

Personally, I’ve never been much of a fan. I think there is some benefit to documenting an important event in your life. Filming a first birthday, a developmental milestone, a graduation or a wedding seem like decent times to have a camcorder handy, but even then, I’d want somebody else to do the filming. I like taking in those moments with my own eyes. I can’t count the number of times some amateur videographer is glued to the area in his lensfinder when something off-camera happens that is much more memorable and then you have to spend the next few minutes giving the poor guy a recap of the action he just missed.

But I’m clearly in the minority.

People love videos, and I know this because they send me links to “the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. LOL. LOL” that I inevitably don’t even chuckle at. It is almost like our humor has regressed as videos have become more widespread. “Candid Camera” kicked off the phenomenon where we can watch others make fools of themselves. Then, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” took it to a new level showing us weekly shots to the groin, dogs riding skateboards and montages of wedding bloopers, pratfalls and cute animals.

Now, every idiot with a camera posts their “hilarity” on YouTube, where millions of people click daily.

I don’t get it.

Watching some poor kid with a rare disease lip synch to Katy Perry doesn’t really jump-start the old chuckle reflex. Seeing some guy do a dance he calls “Double Dream Hands” makes me just feel sorry for his skills as a choreographer. Seeing hysterical lunatics scream at a camera because their favorite team lost, because they ate something that disagreed with them, or because they feel a great void left by Michael Jackson’s passing only wants me to call for tighter restrictions on who can own a webcam.

And that doesn’t even touch on those cute animals I mentioned before. Seeing a cat climb up a curtain or hearing a dog make a sound that remotely resembles a human’s voice is mildly amusing in person. It is less funny on video, and it is downright annoying when it comes attached to an email that promises to make my day brighter. It heightens expectations like a Nigerian email claiming you can get millions of dollars, but then it thrashes you back to Earth by wasting the next five minutes of your life with the video of a parrot singing Britney Spears’ latest song.

Somebody better get ready to film me because I’m about to blow a gasket. I wonder how many YouTube views that would get?

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