That public speaking is an activity with a high built-in degree of risk and failure constitutes almost the only topic of most VEDA vlogs. In a large percentage of them, the vlogger purposefully draws attention to his own awkwardness as a way of diffusing his fear of inferiority and defusing the power of others to reject him. Somehow, vocalizing the awkwardness justifies the awkwardness itself - while conflating the universal fear of rejection and the specific vlogger's anxiety into something that, in his mind, is innately interesting to everybody.
Transferring the topic to traditional, face-to-face communication instantly impeaches it as something of fascination to anybody. All but sociopaths feel some tentativeness when meeting someone new, but even so, the aim of that meeting is to forge even a temporary bond of interests by avoiding awkwardness. Rarely, if ever, does one soliloquize on the structure of the discourse. If every cocktail party conversation consisted of one man insisting at a woman, to the point of the woman's silence, about his complete inadequacy to feel comfortable in talking to her, human society would become a telescoping infinity of toxically dull nebbishness, like Woody Allen in a hall of a thousand mirrors.
Thus the vlog medium hides behind the act of its performance. This brings us to the central point of why vlogs are so awkward to watch, much less to make: human speech developed as necessary interpersonal dialogue, a give and take between two or more people in order to transfer and develop ideas that otherwise could remain locked dangerously and despairingly forever inside the mind. Vlogs operate as desperate monologues, cast into the ethereal abyss of the internet, addressed to a non-existent Other, in the futile hopes of peer validation. Even adding the function of allowing others to make a response video does nothing to ameliorate the atmosphere of vain appeals to nothingness. In essence, vlogs seem more akin to prayer or schizophrenic babbling than to diary writing.
Since the advent of Reality TV, the necessity to produce a show out of one's own life has grown exponentially. Reality TV did not cause this phenomenon, as it no doubt stemmed from the same collective feeling as its amateur following, but rather it has validated this feeling that, in order for something to be real, it must be recorded and shared. YouTube provides the most direct example of this, though trends such as using Facebook to "check-in" and Twitter to update people on one's daily activities follows the same logic: one's real life exists more in its symbolic representation as shared information than in its actual lived experience.
In a way, these denizens of an LCD-lit underworld justify their boredom by recording it and commenting on it. More and more we live in a society of spectacle, but not the one Debord envisioned when he wrote his cultural milestone. More than operating as passive observers, willfully assimilating the spectacles of power, we ourselves are expected to be the spectacle, to attract viewers to our existence.
Although generalization often falls short of its broad scope, and each one of these vloggers is a unique angel, two types of vloggers seem to come to the fore. The first type, the aforementioned ennui-ridden callow youth (invariably surrounded by trappings of obvious material prosperity that provide no satisfaction or even reflection), lackadaisically emphasizes the hollowness of their existence and the total absence of critical thought, creative impulse, or even passionate opinion.
The second type falls on the opposite side of the spectrum in appearance, but shares a similar root: the over-produced TV-show style vlogger. These people litter their videos with graphics, cuts, angle changes, music, all the various misdirectional devices television shows use to make themselves interesting. However, what we take as natural in televisionland seems hilariously incongruous in the vlog format. Typically, these boldly terrible productions have as little content as a pasty weirdo with a molestash wheezing about not having much to talk about. They just try to hide it behind quick edits and zany randomness.
Dr. Oz, professional TV doctor, offers up some dieting tips and advice on how to remove all your negative ions.
I was able to pull some strings and secure an advance copy of this year’s PAX panel schedule. Enjoy!
Push button, get infinite gameplay and pleasure. Or attempt a 3 point shot.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.