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Is a weblog by Emma Humphries

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28 Oct 2022 » Blogs with Cosplay

ML generated image of a person in 18th Century garb smiling at the camera. The person looks kinda like Tom Scott.
Credit: Emma Humphries via Midjourney Prompt: "a youtube personality making a video in 18th Century costume"

Sean Austin recently wrote about the internet becoming even more like TV under the influence of TicTok (a platform that launched a thousand panics) and YouTube Shorts, describing it as channel surfing through thousands of Public Access Cable TV channels.

The YouTube video essay is the Public Television show of the internet (think of Burke’s Connections and all the BBC seriousness parodied by Dianne Morgan’s Philomena Cunk.) It has motion graphics, citations, bespoke soundtracks, production values, and sponsorships (from the audience via Pateron, as well as questionable libertarian operations like 80,000 Hours.)

And there’s the subgenre of YouTube essayist who presents in as many costume changes as pop star’s arena show.

These creators are making fantastic work, discussing important ideas (and yes, reader, I support their Patreons) and the video essay works fantastic when talking about film and tv (um, long and short form video.)

But sometimes, I wonder if what I’m watching is a blog post with cosplay, that’d be easier for me to read than watch.

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