Me At The Zoo, if you did not know, is the name of the very first video ever uploaded to YouTube by one of the founders testing it out. Which is actually pretty misleading for the name of a self-funded documentary about one vlogger and his obsession with an International pop star? It suggests that somehow this movie is going to encapsulate the entire experience of the Internet as a vehicle for self-expression and a) no, it’s not, and b) I don’t think that Chris Crocker is particularly representative of the way that people express themselves in the year 2011 (or should I say 2007). For one thing, his intent from the very beginning was to get attention. The original Britney Spears video was well-calculated, and it was not his first video. He’d been trying to build a YouTube audience for awhile. I’m not saying this as a negative! Good for him. He wanted attention and he got attention. We should all be so lucky as to know what we want in this world and to succeed so decisively in getting it. But I don’t think that his aggressive attempts for on-line microcelebrity are in any way demonstrative of something bigger. There are other people like him, just like there are other people like everyone, but it’s not some kind of universal truth. All of that being said, I’m sure his story of social ostracism and the relief and freedom the Internet offered is an interesting one, and probably worth telling. Here are some other thoughts about the Internet:
The Internet is (somewhat) new and interesting, but it’s not nearly as interesting as it thinks it is. It’s the girl at the party who tells everyone that she’s totally crazy and you keep waiting for her to do something crazy and everything else that comes out of her mouth for the rest of the night is the most boring shit you’ve ever heard. Like, there are certainly some modern conveniences that we have VERY quickly come to take for granted, but most of that is speed and accessibility. YouTube, ultimately, is the world’s longest episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. And I’m pretty sure people felt the same revolutionary excitement that they now feel about Twitter when 3M introduced the first pad of Post-Its. If the Internet is particularly good at one thing it is the constant creation and perpetuation of its own heroes. There are so many! Chris Crocker, Tae Zonday, Double Rainbow Guy, the list of people in a Weezer video from three years ago goes on and on. Epic WIN.
Obviously, I am being reductive. I’m sure someone much smarter than me will one day be able to explain WHAT IT ALL MEANS. But one thing that I think it would be nice to see, and maybe if the filmmakers behind Me At The Zoo get their full Kickstarter funding they can put this in the final movie, is an exploration of how the Internet DOESN’T matter. You know what I mean? Like, especially for people like us who spend all of our days wandering through this Garbage Forest, everything can seem so IMPORTANT and like it actually MATTERS to HUMAN LIFE. But most of it doesn’t. And when you finally log off for some holiday weekend or whatever, you are reminded of that in a really powerful and undeniable way. It’s all some bullshit graffiti GIFs on a Second Life dot matrix bathroom stall. The Internet takes itself so seriously, which is actually so OLD MEDIA of it. (Please see: all the stories the media is constantly publishing about kidnapped journalists, as if we are all journalists and we can all relate and we are all terrified of this. No offense to actual kidnapped journalists, please come home safe, but how many stories am I really expected to read about it? Bad things happen. Maybe you should have just gone to law school like dad wanted.) Relax a little, Internet! Put yourself in perspective, please.
I would like to see that in a documentary. It will be called Fake and Gay.