You can find plenty of bizarre, disturbing, and absolutely useless stuff on Youtube (especially if you read the comments), but very few videos can actually be described as art. What follows is a list of some videos that I believe straddles the line between the two. Are they brilliant masterpieces, or pointless distractions who's only value is in how long they can keep us from doing work? I'll leave it to you to decide.
Lazy Town vs. Lil' Jon
I don't know how many times I've seen this video and I still find it hilarious. It's terrifying how well these two songs mash together despite their vast difference in content. You also have to consider how small the overlap must be between fans of Lazy Town and fans of Lil' Jon. In fact, I'd say the overlap consists solely of the twisted mind who produced this video. It get creepier when you notice the strong sexual undertones of the Lil' Jon lyrics contrasted with images of an innocent young girl dancing around and spraying fluid all over the kitchen. When watching this, it's hard not to feel a little bit dirty. It should come as no surprise that a solid 90% of the comments on this mash-up involve pedophilia. Yet I still find it quite funny, well put together, and pretty creative. Is it clever? Perverted? Somehow both? Is this making you uncomfortable? Then my job is done.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps on the Ukulele
One morning, Jake Shimabukuro woke up and decided that he would become god of a particular instrument. He settled on the ukulele which falls somewhere between conch shell and accordion on the scale of respectable instruments. I suppose he can be forgiven since he is from Hawaii where the uke is what bagpipes are to Scotland. But I just can't get over that he's playing one of the greatest renditions I've ever heard, of one of the greatest Beatles' songs on the ukulele with a skill that he must have sold his soul to the devil to acquire. I'm sure Satan was laughing all the way to the soul bank with that one. No matter how good you get at playing the ukulele, you're never going to reach the same level of fame, fortune, or non-stop sex that even a half-decent guitarist in a semi-popular rock band will get. Am I saying that Jake wasted his talent? Well if he's happy then who am I to judge? Snake-Eyes Damascus, that's who. Jake, you are simultaneously awesome and ridiculous.
TF2 Mass AI
I can't even begin to imagine how many hours it took to put this all together. EvilDaedalus had to Set everything up, make sure everything is in the right spot and does what it's supposed to do at the right time, edit all of the footage, and then synch it to the music, all of it done in his spare time while playing a video game for no purpose other than to look cool. Am I the only one who thinks that the making of this video was a colossal waste of time, effort, and skill? I suppose there are a lot of machinima people out there who'd flame me for the previous question, and they may be justified. Certainly there is some sort of beauty to this video, but then you realize it's a guy goofing around in a game engine making bots kill each other or dance around in silly ways. Oscar Wilde once said that all art is useless, but did he have something like this in mind? Probably not, seeing as how computers, video games, and the internet didn't exist when he was alive.
Slap Chop Scout and Kaboom Heavy
I included these two together since they both take dialogue from TF2 and insert it into infomercials to comical effect. The first thing you'll notice is just how well the voices of the Scout and the Heavy match the bodies of Vince Offer and Billy Mays respectively. Secondly you'll notice how well the dialogue, from a video game without a plot or much in the way of character development mind you, matches up with the actions in the videos. And lastly you'll notice how retarded it all is. Clearly a lot of effort went into making these videos as they had to find the appropriate dialogue, and then edit it into the video to make it seem natural. But after having watched these videos many times over, I can't figure why somebody would go to all that effort. It's the same thing with all the autotune remixes of any video that becomes remotely popular. Why do people do it? Do you see a point to any of this? The more I see of the internet, the less I understand it.
Matrix Ping Pong
Some of you probably remember this one. It was popular for a while, and I have to say that it is interesting to watch. The way it all flows together seamlessly and creatively is certainly impressive, but when it comes down to it, it's a glorified puppet show of two guys playing ping pong. It's so out there, that you know it has to come from Japan. At least it doesn't involve tentacles, though that is the next logical step. The whole thing looks awesome, and requires a high amount of coordination, but like anything else on the internet, it doesn't seem to amount to much more than a novelty to distract me for a few minutes. Am I being to harsh on these guys? They seem pretty proud of what they accomplished, whatever that may be. Then again, Johnny Knoxville seems pretty proud of what he's accomplished on Jackass, so maybe that shouldn't be how we judge what constitutes art.
Ryan vs Dorkman
This video is absolutely astounding. There's a good sense of humour, the sound and special effects are spot on, and the choreography is mindblowing. And it stars two uber-nerds trying to be action heroes in a warehouse. I suppose if you don't consider Star Wars to be art then you certainly won't consider this to be art either, but there is a graceful elegance to this video. I can't believe I just used "graceful elegance" to describe an amateur lightsaber duel, but there you have it. Is this truly a great example of human artistic achievement or is it just geek masturbation fodder? Is that a false dilemma? You bet your ass it is. Do you know what a false dilemma is? Well you'd better, because I'm not explaining it to you.
Bonus points to whoever can convince me that one of these videos is either art or tripe.