YouChoose brings politics to the YouTube age

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The YouChoose section of YouTube has started to allow presidential candidates one week each in the Spotlight on the News & Politics page of the massive video site. During their time in the Spotlight, they will be able to pose questions to the YouTube community. In response, people everywhere can upload their own “RE:” videos answering the questions asked.

This is your chance to engage the leaders who are competing for the most powerful position in the country. Let them know what you think and keep an eye on their replies. This is a great chance to get to know the candidates better by speaking across the level platform that is politics on YouTube.

This is a very interesting idea that YouTube is trying out. They are taking advantage of their massive active user population to possibly influence the ’08 elections. So what does this mean? I think that the number of 18-24 age voters will go up. If this does nothing else, it will put good amounts of information right at the fingertips of millions of YouTubers. Giving people information where they already are (in this case, YouTube) is a very important aspect of informing potential voters. People are lazy, and putting political information in a place that doesn’t make people go out of their way is great.The Spotlight pages that the candidate pages are nice because they aren’t just places to post videos. They let you see both critical and fun facts about the candidates. This adds to the concept of putting information where people already are.

The downside? You are allowing the millions of pre-teens ample space to start more flame wars. As nearly every web forum has proved, it only takes one idiot to post something like “i will pwn u all! u suxors!” to have an entire thread to go astray. Hopefully the users of YouTube will keep their heads on while talking about politics so that we can see some actual intellectual debating go on.

Right now, we have Dennis Kucinich, Duncan Hunter, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, Ron Paul, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Tom Tancredo, and Mitt Romney up on the page.


The Knife + a Trannie: Pass This On

Usually I prefer to watch music videos before I read reviews for them, but that’s just what I prefer. It usually happens that the reason why I watch a video in the first place is because of a review I read. So if you want, go ahead and watch the video above before you read this… Oh, in case you care, what you are watching is Pass This On by The Knife released in 2006.

OK. That is one of my favorite music videos for many reasons. Reason #1: It’s dead simple. There is nothing here that isn’t essential to getting the video’s mood/feeling/perspective across; no wasted time.

Reason #2: It’s fun and awkward at the same time. With a transvestite trying to swoon the random audience the whole time, and with everyone ending up doing their own variation of a dance in the end, can it get much odder? (The answer is yes, just watch some of their other videos.) It’s odd because teenage boys are dancing, but it’s fun because they seem to be really into the music. It isn’t some contrived choreographed routine; it’s what they are feeling, their movements.

Reason #3: There’s a trannie. Come on, who doesn’t love a trannie? Especially when he/she is used in place of the original artist. Rickard Engfors, the transvestite in the video, does a great job of making you believe that he is really singing the song (just as he does in the live performance.) His extremely bony body sort of freaks me out, but that’s partially the point.

Reason #4: It stays true to its artists vision. The Knife, which is comprised of siblings Karin and Olof Dreijer, does not reveal the faces of its artists. They are always seen with strange masks on; currently they are on the crow’s beak idea. The fact that they are not in the video sticks with their hidden identity persona.

This video just makes me smile. Oh, and I haven’t really mentioned the song. I think it’s amazing as well. But then again, this is a review of the video, not the music. Take away what you will, just try to appreciate it at least. Be ready to hear more about The Knife in the coming weeks.

Alanis Morissette’s Humps better than BEP’s

Why is it that this spoof/cover/mockery of the Black Eyed Pea’s My Humps by Alanis Morissette far better than the original? Yes, the YouTube video that has garnered over 4 million views so far is very funny. But as Adam Polselli points out, it’s the song that really shines here.

The fact that she has completely redone the song, and not just dubbed over the music, emphasizes the stupidity of the lyrics. Watching/hearing this cover makes you wonder how the original version was able to peak at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Leave it to Miss Ironic to shove the materialistic nature of our society in our faces…

Being John Malkovich

the movie's poster
the movie's poster

Anybody looking for a stoner movie even better than The Wall? Because if you are, Being John Malkovich will definitely sooth you for a while. The basic premise of the movie is that Craig Schwartz (John Cusack), a failing puppeteer, finds a door that allows its entrant access to the world as seen through John Malkovich’s own eyes.

Sounds pretty cool, huh? Let’s go farther. The door is located at Schwartz’ work behind a filing cabinet. The floor the offices are located on is #7 1/2; it has ceilings about 4 feet above the floor. Schwartz’ wife (Cameron Diaz) discovers her lesbian tendencies after her first “trip” into Malkovich and later uses the door to have sex with Schwartz’ love interest at work. Those are the basics without giving away anything important relevant to the ending.

Nearly everything about this movie makes you realize that your imagination isn’t as cool as you think it is. One very strong and interesting aspect of this movie is the lack of special effects. The view of people sliding into Malkovich’s mind is the only sequence I can think of. Another small weird observance of the movie is the number of cameos it has. Randomly, we see Brad Pitt, Andy Dick, Sean Penn, Winona Ryder, Charlie Sheen, and all three of the Hansen boys (yes, those Hansens). If only we could have seen Keanu Reaves, it would have been complete.

Time for my final opinion. I give it a B+. If I did drugs, I would definitely give it an A+, but alas, I do not smoke pot or do anything of the kind. This movie is by far the most original, creative piece of work I have seen in quite a while.

EMI takes first steps for DRM-free music on iTunes

It is official: EMI is going to offer its library of music on iTunes without DRM. For those who don’t know, DRM is what prevents you from doing whatever you like with your music (ie. using something other than an iPod). DRM stands for Digital Rights Managements. DRM is applied to every file you buy in iTunes, every song you download in Rhapsody, basically it’s everywhere. It’s also crippling your free usage of what you pay for.

After Steve Jobs’ blaming the record industry for DRM saying that he’s all for DRM-free music, but not taking any personal responsibility for the problem, the major record label EMI has published a press release stating that it will be offering higher quality, DRM-free music on the iTunes Music Store. Here is a great summary of the points made today (by Gizmodo): Continue reading “EMI takes first steps for DRM-free music on iTunes”