YOUTUBE: Freedom to express thy self
11H55 TUESDAY, 26 APRIL 2011


YOUTUBE is one of the most iconic and forward-thinking sites on the Internet. One of those ideas that’s so fundamental, it’s hard to imagine life without it. And perusing the content on this postmodern melting pot has become one of my most treasured pastimes. I don’t know how many hours I’ve wasted reveling in the genius of videos like “Grape Lady falls” (a news report gone horribly awry, culminating in some priceless noises emitted from said Grape Lady), or gaping, open-mouthed at “Sittin' on tha Toilet” (which needs no explanation). But more often than not, I become quite taken with particular users.


Recently, my good friend Thabitha Serumula, introduced me to “Tonetta777,” a fifty something balding musical “prodigy” who barely gets any views, the fact of which adds to the allure of his videos- they veer between him dressed as a school girl, priest, and some weird “tribal warrior” (the mind boggles). Copious nudity, coupled with some truly insane dance moves, make Tonetta a must-see. My sister Amirah and I literally became obsessed with this guy, to the point where we began contacting him asking him to write songs for us. He replied a few times, much to our glee, but no songs followed.


If I’m in a bad mood, a quick dose of the surrealistic “Shoes,” which has had almost 35 million views, makes me feel safe in the knowledge that the rest of the world appreciates completely bizarre, off-kilter comic relief as much as I do. My friends and I spend hours sourcing new, weird clips, but always go back to old favorites, like “5 Black Males Repetitively Hump a Chair/ Wall/ Floor/ Mirror/ Air”- the title of which explains it all, but which really must be seen to be believed. In an age where everyone seems to be reaching for their 15 minutes, YouTube can make the everyman a hero and stars out of mere mortals. Not only is it a fascinating loophole in the laws of fame, but it also provides some strange sort of reassurance- that there is definitely someone out there more nuts than you- and there they are, right there in front of you.




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