Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tongue-in-Cheek Politics

The question of the political dynamics of the YouTube "community" is a complicated one, since -- as Henry Jenkins pointed out in his "Nine Propositions Towards a Cultural Theory of YouTube" -- a participatory culture is not necessarily a progressive one. Yet on the issue of gay marriage, the populism of YouTube has definitely leaned toward support of the civil rights arguments being put forward for legitimizing same-sex partnerships by the state, albeit often in the form of heavily sarcastic diatribes that seem to affirm that which is being mocked.

Different variations on top-ten or top-twelve lists that use irony to put forward a number of propositions seemingly against gay marriage (only to be refuted with humorous counterexamples) may be rising to the status of an Internet meme. See the text version, the vlog version, the guitar-accompanied version, and many others for examples of how more than one genre can serve as variation on a theme. (For more about vlogging or video blogging, check out the work of Alexandra Juhasz here for an explanation of vlog conventions.)

High school pal Mitsu Hadeishi of the New York art space Synthetic Zero offers this similarly tongue-in-cheek ditty to his Facebook friends.

Of course, more direct arguments about the gay marriage issue are also available on YouTube channels, such as this vlog-style one and the more professionally produced video to which it responds.

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