‘YouTube’ is an amazing medium. The facts and figures are even more amazing. They look much more interesting when formatted into a jazzy diagram, so here they are.
Some of the stats in the picture are a little out dated now (We all know that ‘Gangnam Style’ by ‘Psy’ is now the most viewed YouTube clip currently (HORRIFICALLY)) It is simply to show you how gargantuan the site is now.
Most of the time, people visit YouTube to quickly watch a video clip of panda sneezing, or a dog talking, or maybe to look at a fish with a hair style like Elvis Presley. I think this is a crime. There is so much information on the website, that if you come away from a YouTube session having not learned something new, it is surely a session wasted.
I used to use YouTube purely for nostalgic reasons. I would type in a request for ‘top 10 Premier League goals’ or an episode of Men Behaving Badly, watch them then go on what I can a ‘YouTube Tour’. A ‘YouTube Tour’ is when you click on the suggestions list down the side, and keep on doing so until you end up watching something totally unrelated to the original video you requested. The other night I ended up watching a clip of Lex Luger body slamming Yokozuna in 1993, and I cant even remember what I was watching at the beginning.
On a recent ‘YouTube Tour’ I was watching a clip from Russell Brand’s controversial documentary about drug addiction from a couple of years ago. This led me to a clip from Newsnight where Mr Brand (on a promotional tour for the documentary) got himself into a debate with a vile man by the name of Peter Hitchens. Basically Peter Hitchens is a journalist for the Mail On Sunday and has very strong opinions. He took an instant dislike to Russell Brand, and his documentary, and did his best to shoot him down. Russell called him a ‘silly willy man’ or something ludicrous like that and made fun of him, which was all very amusing.
The next stop on my Tour was a revelation, and has opened my eyes as to how powerful a man’s opinion can be. I was led to a clip of Peter Hitchens’ brother, Christopher Hitchens. If like me you had never heard of Christopher Hitchens, he is an English journalist who spent the last 30 odd years of his career on American T.V and radio, leading debates on such subjects as religion, politics, racism, sexuality and Darwinism.
I was not going to bother watching the clip because of my dislike of his brother, Peter, but I thought “what the fuck” and watched a quick clip of an argument that he was having with a white supremacist about, you guessed it, racism. To my surprise, the man was not only strongly opinionated, but also had charisma and a certain charm (unlike his brother.)
I was hooked!
I spent not only that night, but many nights since watching as many clips of him debating that I could get my hands on.
His political views were that of a left wing socialist, and he describes his religious beliefs as a ‘Antitheist’ (Which is similar to an ‘Atheist’ but with a twist, Google it). These two strong beliefs led him to be put into many debates with Religious fanatics, the KKK, Right wing politicians, and at one point, found himself in a three-way debate with Salman Rushdie and rapper Mos Def (Very strange indeed.)
Many of his debates regularly followed this pattern:-
:-Ask question to opposition or guest
:-Listen to the reply with a smug look on his face
:-Take a breath
:-Then shoot the mother fuckers down!
He was in many ways a mean man, and he put his argument across in a similar to the way that Brian Clough would belittle many a interviewer in the past. He would tell the opposition why he thought their opinion was wrong (which when he was debating religion, he revelled in it), told you his views on his subject, then sat back and watched the person sink into their seats to their death!
Christopher Hitchens made him to be disliked, but it was this contemptuous attitude to his fellow debaters that drew me to him. Don’t get me wrong, if, in the unlikely event that I happened to ever meet the man, no doubt, I would of enjoyed nothing more than to pulverize him into oblivion, but in his medium, he was a god. (He wouldn’t like that description I feel.)
After a few nights intently watching the man on YouTube. I decided to ‘Google’ the man, to learn a little more about him, and see what he’s up to nowadays.
To my horror, his description on Wikipedia read: ‘Christopher Eric Hitchens was a British-American author and journalist.’
Did you see it? the emphasis being on the word ‘WAS’. The man is dead!
He died in 2011 from Hereditary Oesophageal Cancer (no doubt, not helped by his lifelong chain smoking and alcohol abuse) I was strangely taken aback by this this news. I had only just found the man and now he was gone.
Christopher was asked by a religious nutter towards the end of his life if he would accept the wonderful offer of religion, to save his soul.
“Wouldn’t you like to go to heaven and meet Shakespeare for example” the bible-basher asked.
Christopher’s reply went something like this: (not word for word, but pretty close)
“I can meet him, he is immortal in in the works that he has left behind. If you have read those, surely meeting the author would be a disappointment”
This response is kind of ironic for me really, because, as I had only just discovered Christopher Hitchens, and lost him in the space of a fortnight. He is immortal in the works that he has left behind……. And on YouTube!
Here is a link to Hitchens at his finest:
Martyn Taylor is a 31 year-old father of three and lives in Hull. His pastimes include watching 80s action films over and over again and and debating the all-time Premiership XI with Mr Miles. His knowledge of American sitcoms of the 90s stands second to none. He once walked into a men’s public lavatory absent-mindedly singing the theme tune from Two And A Half Men. You can find him on http://www.twitter.com/shirleysblower but he never tweets, so just follow him on here.