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23 February 2020

On Consuming YouTube

Muhammad Iqbal
The writer is an undergraduate student based in Islamabad

Let's admit it. YouTube being back is exciting. We can all go back to the simpler times; streaming videos proxy free. Especially good news for our Pindi Boys, now you get to watch that new steamier-than-the-last song with overtly or covertly suggestive lyrics that Bollywood has conjured up, in HD with minimum buffering.

Bollywood has come a long way towards making videos actually more appealing than simply amusing but somehow, there is ALWAYS a wardrobe disaster around the corner. It hits when you are almost happy for the industry out of neighborly love.  We live in a world where hobos like myself know where to draw the line and a multi-billion rupee industry doesn't. Bollywood is responsible for the aesthetical depreciation (moral depreciation too, some would argue) of more than one-fifth of the world's population. What other industry can boast of having an impact on that many lives? Who can lay claim to perfecting the art of churning out remakes? With a local touch of course. Because there is a thing called integrity.

Apart from the music videos, some of which reach a billion views, YouTube has much more to offer. If you're looking to test the limits of your imagination of human stupidity or human bizarreness, you will find things that shock you, amuse you or creep you out. You will also find videos that make you appreciate human ingenuity, creativity and human kindness. These videos warm you up; make you feel proud to be a member of this creation. Most people however, expect giggles out of YouTube. And giggles it delivers. If you're looking to be entertained on YouTube, and the first video does not do it for you, you just need to refine your search. It has enough content to find that weird, secret, funny bone you have and tickle it till you’re in tears. The recommendations it offers are uncanny; YouTube knows what you would like to see. Here is the part where we offer prayers of gratitude that YouTube is a website and not an individual with an institutional position of power or a particular category of issues. Self-censorship is stifling.

We also have our own servers for the website now. We get to see 'PK' right next to the logo which makes our heart swell with pride at the acknowledgement of this site which is unparalleled in entertainment, comfort and even creep (here I refer to the eerily accurate recommendations again; it’s unsettling). The terms of the agreement have not been made public though and activists believe that an increase in censorship may result; which is good for us too; lest some unorthodoxy unravel the centuries-old, strong, pure moral fabric of our society.  

For all the content that will be censored however, you still have free access to content that will definitely aid in becoming a smarter, knowledgeable and maybe even a more compassionate human being. This article will suggest two channels that sat well with the author’s desires and requirements. There are many more channels like these which deal with a WIDE variety of subjects with equal skill. We would suggest exploring channels on your own while we hope that the channels mentioned below will serve as a taste of all that YouTube has to offer.

Crash Course (https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse)

I stumbled upon Crash Course at a time of dire need. I was in the middle of the all-too-familiar process of panicking about a mid-term and chastising myself for procrastinating when I turned to YouTube to at least familiarize myself with some concepts. I ended up getting a good grade on the mid-term and the course in general. All thanks to Crash Course.

Crash Course, as the name suggests, specializes in delivering knowledge and explaining concepts in 10 minute videos. The host of the show is articulate, the tackling of the subject matter is unbiased and holistic, tasteful humor is incorporated in almost all videos and they use interesting animations and graphics to make the subject matter stick. Sometimes, the pace becomes too fast and you have to pause to absorb all that was imparted. In the crash course on World History, the host explores multiple narratives, perspectives and theories while putting all the major events of our history in an appropriate context to enable deeper understanding of our shared history. I highly recommend everybody to watch at least a couple of videos in their free time and see crash course is good enough for them.

The School of Life (https://www.youtube.com/user/schooloflifechannel)

The school of life is a channel envisioned to cater to the needs of the modern world. While a lot of the educationists deal primarily with marketable knowledge (one of the curses of the capitalist world), the school of life deals with questions and ideas more relevant to living in our time. If you peruse the videos on this channel, you will come across some really interesting titles. From ‘On being out of touch with one’s feelings’ to ‘what charity really means’ to ‘the fear of being bad in bed’, the school of life touches upon topics that are relevant, prevalent and not likely to be discussed in school. Most videos are short and deal succinctly with the topic at hand. You will likely be exposed to alternative perspectives and ideas which might make you think and explore further. At the very least, you can witness the school of life discuss phenomenon which are too tabooed or too commonplace to discuss but important nevertheless. You would be glad that someone is talking about it.