The year in overflowing culture
For at least a century, nearly two, the world’s chin-cutters are obsessed with the idea of a ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture: poetry vs. pop, ballet vs. B-movies, opera vs. reality TV in which people are forced to marry other people they’ve just met. The dichotomies are endless, and while there has been a (much needed) retreat from such posh delineations in recent years, there is also a case for a third category – one that does not exist on the continuum between high and bottom: “overflow” culture.
It is impossible to overestimate the volume of things that are produced, edited and put online today. The cup of content is overflowing, and much of what’s in it is confusing and weird: a woman pour oil on itself and use a swing tossing her body in a wedding dress, a man sawing his figure in a mattress for a prank. Despite the fact that these videos total over 100 million views each (and at least one took a lot of money and time) no one is talking about it, why would we? What is there to say? We ignore the sheer madness and futility of the content machine, as it mostly manifests as a one-second flash in front of our eyeballs before our finger lights up.
Cultural writing, by definition, has to analyze some form of culture, and these videos aren’t culture, not really, they’re content. As journalists around the world now cover digital creativity, and sometimes some overlooked aspects of the content machine become odd enough or important enough to cause mainstream coverage (think Elsagate, or 5 minutes of crafting ‘ egg “bigger than before”), we mostly ignore the overflow culture; we got used to the churn. But sometimes we have to stop and take stock. For the benefit of future historians, here’s a look back at some of the things that have captured attention, if not attention, in 2021.
Since the birth of pizza and the subsequent birth of pizza cutting tools, people have asked themselves a gnawing, burning, and overwhelming question: Who cuts pizza better, boys or girls? In this 35-second stolen TikTok uploaded to the VS YouTube channel (unfortunately the original TikToker is not credited), two videos of a “girl” and a “boy” cutting a Margherita pizza are placed side by side. . The slicing techniques exhibited are almost identical; there is no punchline; the video simply ends.
Although the YouTube clip has over 50 million views (7 million more than the last music video uploaded to Justin Bieber’s channel), the question of which gender is the best pizza slicer remains, alas, unanswered. Or maybe it was a work of performance art, designed to demonstrate the uselessness of gender stereotypes. In the end, don’t man and woman decide the same way?
This is not a YouTube video of a man hiding in a human-shaped hole in a mattress, covering himself in sheets and surprising his girlfriend (probably joking) is not entertaining, how could it not be, when we all have so many days and voids to fill? It’s the logistics of this video that fascinates: Was a new mattress bought especially for the 58-second clip? How did the owners of the YouTube channel Woody & Kleiny cut the mattress so well? Was someone hired to do the job?
The questions continue. How was the mattress subsequently thrown away? How does the prankster in question justify such indiscriminate waste? Was it worth it? Was it worth it? Was it worth it in the end?
Despite the increasing homogenization of the Internet, Facebook’s content remains remarkably unique. Namely: In July, the social network hosted a video in which a person named Adley leaned in front of the camera and poured oil down her neck saying, “This is my last resort because I can’t not return it “about a wedding dress held in front of her by two unidentified accomplices. After Pam’s non-stick cooking spray is liberally applied to the lace, our heroine propels herself forward on a swing and jumps into a dress that she very clearly could have put inside without lubrication or a play area. for children.
the kind of fake CCTV footage is huge on Facebook, as are videos that claim to show husbands stepping on their unfaithful wives. This video, uploaded by the Sarcasm Facebook page, under its logo of a Chandler Bing cartoon, is made up of tense music and covered in big red circles and bright yellow letters. While the video has a mind-boggling 410 million views, no one in the comments section seems particularly convinced by its authenticity, likely because the man the “woman” is cheating with chooses to hide by lying down. side of the couple’s double bed (why don’t they think of hiding inside The mattress?). Facebook pages like this are now regularly accompanied by disclaimers, and Sarcasm’s reads: “Note: All videos on this page are for entertainment purposes only. All characters, events and ideas are fictitious. These are parodies and should not be judged in real life. You were warned.
Combining the thrilling pleasures of ASMR with the traditional pleasures of a cooking clip is nothing new, but this 4 minute and 20 second video is disturbing with its emphasis on crushing and crushing the raw chicken. Unlike the internet’s deliberately provocative cooking videos, this recipe is pretty standard and harmless (and the ingredient list is actually included in the video description!). Still, squelching isn’t something you can imagine being endorsed by the executives of a culinary TV channel, even if it steals from the Lieblingsrezepte YouTube account (“favorite recipes”). Things only get worse in the more recently uploaded video, “If you cook chicken this way, you will be amazed at the results!“(Spoiler: a hair dryer is involved.)
A woman and a girl are seated at a table, each in front of a bowl filled with sliced hot dogs and pasta; the woman asks the girl to bring her a drink, and when the child leaves, the woman steals the hot dog slices from the girl’s bowl. You – and 224 million other viewers – might think you have some idea of his greedy motivations, but wait! The wife then swaps the bowls so the girl has more hot dog than she does – selflessness at its best. But still wait! The woman is now rummaging through the bowl of pasta in front of her to reveal two full sized unminced hot dogs lurking inside. It is impossible to write a concluding sentence because there is no conclusion to be drawn. The content simply ends. Another video follows.
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