In YouTube, anyone with an internet connection, a camera, and an idea has a potentially enormous platform for expressing themselves to the world. Consequently, most YouTube videos—like most ideas—are boring and bad. But for the long and monotonous videos below, tedium is a virtue. Like paintings by Rothko or music by Steve Reich, these YouTubes are boring and good—transcendentally, addictively, narcotically good.
College flautist Azeem Ward’s senior recital is tomorrow. The UCSB student invited about 600 people to the event on Facebook and woke up yesterday to find that an additional 3,400 had confirmed their attendance. Before the event page was taken down or made private, that number had jumped to 41,000. What the hell happened?
YouTube is, for the most part, the place where everything Right and Good goes to die. But move those lifeless cat and listicle corpses aside, and you’ll find a dark, fascinating world that’s all too easy to get lost in for hours. So instead of losing part of your own life to YouTube’s depths, we’ve brought the underbelly to you.
Navigate to 33°30’52.5”N 73°03’33.2”E in Google Maps this morning—a rural area south of Rawalpindi in Punjab, Pakistan—and you’ll find an oddly shaped park. Just like Calvin pees on the Chevy logo on the backs of countless Ford trucks, there’s Google’s Android logo taking a leak on Apple. Who put it there?
Has this magnificently corny PSA graced your Facebook newsfeed lately? Inspirational rock music. Dejected kids pulling stickers from their shirts, revealing words like "revolutionary" and "healer" underneath. A title card: "Stop psychiatric labeling of kids." You've got the Church of Scientology to thank.
Right now, if you wanted to, you could log onto the internet, order a bunch of drugs, and have them delivered to your doorstep. There's none of the awkwardness of dealing with your shady, coked-out bartender, but all of the legal risk: If the cops found out, you'd still go to court. Not so for Random Darknet Shopper.
Here are a few computer games that were marketed to girls in the 90s and early 2000s: Barbie as Princess Bride, in which the titular doll sits around “waiting for her future husband to come home” according to one reviewer; Fisher Price Dream Dollhouse, a game about a dollhouse; and Chop Suey, featuring snake charmers and “turtle boys” and narration by David Sedaris. Which one would you like to play?
Some people role play to escape the dreariness of their day-to-day lives. Some people role play to bring back childhood memories. Some people role play to explore fantastical worlds of their own creation. I role play because I want to know the answer to the question “What if powerful and intimidating Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer interrupted anime demons having cybersex on Twitter?”
Hiding at the bottom of Dave Holmes's (very entertaining) write-up of the March 23, 1988 pop charts is a link to an incredible document. It is titled "B-Rock Party." It is a home video, shot the night of June 28, 1988, of a party attended by some exquisitely 1988 suburban teenagers. At 1:36, a set of parents arrive home unexpectedly and, to the great benefit of future generations, the camera continues to record.
Snappy & Friends, a short animated show sponsored by Kellog's Rice Krispies, first aired sometime in 1949. In 1968, a visionary toy scientist named Alex Cartwright created an artificially intelligent robotic arm that could play full games of Stratego, Battleship, and Candyland, to the delight and vague unsettlement of its opponents. One of the defining rock bands of the hippie era was Digital Lady, an acoustic-guitar-and-kitchen-utensils ensemble that featured the brother of Richard Nixon's press secretary on percussion.
In Chapter 10 of his 2012 book Atheism and the Case Against Christ, Matthew S. McCormick provides a list of "gods and religions in history that have fallen out of favor." Between the Chinese deities Jade Emperor and Ji Gong on this list sits Jar'Edo Wens, an exotic-looking nonsense phrase some Australian guy added to Wikipedia seven years prior.
As you're sitting there in a poorly lit office in front of your MacBook Air screen, perpetually hopscotching from one text-filled vessel for banner advertising to the next, absorbing the media, so is ContentBot. As you're socially sharing the most compelling images, videos, and personal essays that you find, in service of furthering your personal brand, so is ContentBot.
Using Venmo sometimes feels like making a deal with some personal-finance devil. Venmo gives you an embarrassingly convenient way to send money to friends, and all you have to offer in return is perpetual access to your most private banking information. It's a potentially precarious arrangement, but for the most part, it works astonishingly well. What happens when it doesn't?