New Criticals

For, the experiment's audaciousness was promptly and definitively gutted, thereby mirroring yet again the tempos and rules of the Internet (the class went viral, and the Internet can only laugh at something once, and only for about a week or two at that; but the gesture itself had become sort of memed-out; by 2010 lots of people did lots of wacky "let's do this online" experiments, and often monetized them, too). I found myself hacking away in the weeds of YouTube—the teacher (who hopes to learn)—with very little that seemed new or exciting or sustaining about either my effort or YouTube (other than the many to-be-expected if still-funky and always-flashy fixes). The hard work my students and I had engaged in during 2007—to create systems for studying about and in YouTube—proved adequate to cover whatever superficial changes were happening over the years in its style and infrastructure. And the repulsion factor—having to watch so much trashy media, so many advertisements and music videos, even if this did give me some useful insight into the momentary predilections of 18-22 year olds, people with whom I spend quite a bit of time—arrived earlier and louder on every subsequent pass. Really, how many bad videos does any one person need to consume?