Category Archives: Free Speech

“Well At Least They Allow Comments”

For a while now I’ve found the trite complaint of a closed YouTube comment section to be vapid. (Equally so the stale honor or praise of leaving it open.) But just today I took another step in my understanding of the issue.

When a comment section is closed, to a YouTube user, it feels like their only method of communication (or complaining, harassing, etc.) with the YouTuber has gone. That’s in part why it’s perceived as valuable. It’s the habitat they’re used to; it’s what they see as the clearest, most direct form of feedback.

And to a certain extent it certainly is. My Pavlovian response to a YouTube video ending is to scroll down. This is something I fight, because in the vast majority of comment sections, there is nothing of value below. It’s still the most immediate place to see responses, though.

YouTube comments for a long time have been treated as this “standard discussion forum” across the Internet, available around most videos online, when in fact its evidentiary purpose is for hurling shit and making jokes so lazy they’d make Reddit cringe. The comment box is ubiquitous on the Internet Locus For Viewing Moving Pictures, so it makes sense that it became the collective dumping ground. To see a space carved out to not be made messy (by closing comments) seems counter to the entirety of YouTube culture. PewDiePie crossed that line and quickly went back.

This YouTube culture is the same one that would bring the phrase “free speech” into the equation, even though YouTube is a company that can do whatever it wants with your comments, and comments are on another person’s channel who has full right to delete them or ban people for any reason. Comment spaces are only as free as its owner allows them to be, and they don’t Hate Freedom if they choose to curate more closely or close them altogether.

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Are Millennials Too Sensitive for Comedy? (No)

Pete Ludovice, a professor at Georgia Tech and comedian, and Charlie Bennett, a Georgia Tech librarian, had a conversation on their podcast Consilience about the sensitivity landscape of comedy. I enjoyed Charlie’s excellent questions to Pete as well as Pete sharing his personal experience and assessment of the evolution of comedy throughout the years. It might seem strange to say, but I also very much appreciated the reservation both of them had, as is usual for the podcast. Rare is it that a discussion of political correctness and comedy goes without lambasting young people for their feels or calling them buzzkills!

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February’s Top 10 Podcast Episodes

I’m a little behind in putting out this list due to being in Huntsville, Alabama for much of March. Towards the end of February, I didn’t have the time to wrap up this post and send it out, but the highlights from last month remain what they are be it the first, fifth, of thirtieth of March.

Several of these episodes are less “exceptional” episodes from their shows as much as they are important markers in big events that occurred or changes that were happening to the shows. This list could also be used as a reminder of what happened in my preferred corner of the podcasting world this month.

Here’s the list:

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January’s Top 10 Podcast Episodes

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It’s the beginning of 2015, and while I spent a big portion of January out of town and not listening to podcasts, I caught up in the meantime, especially during long drives for work. I was moved by a lot of thought-provoking and insightful content this month, as well as some laughs.

Check it out:

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