Advice · Humor · News · rant

A Thank-you Note to YouTube

Hey all. In light of the recent fracas at YouTube, and given that’s where I choose to host my vlog, I though it high time to send them a thank-you note on behalf of the creative community. Enjoy!

Dearest YouTube,

Hello there. It’s me. Xero. You don’t know me, nor would I be arrogant enough to think that you’ll read this, but by golly, I just had to put these words to the digital page, because you’ve impressed me that much. You are owed some thanks.

xero.gifPictured: The once and future adult.

Gold star, full marks.

Beyond the technological prowess and innovative tchotchkes you’ve introduced into our lives, there is something more pure, more groundbreaking, more awesome in the truest sense of the word that you’ve supplied us content creators and consumers alike with over the past few years that bears notice.

Mind, this humble writer is not one of your content pillars. I’m certainly not pulling down multitudes of “views” and “clicks” and all the other delicious buzzwords that I can only imagine get printed off, ground into fine particles, and cut into lines to be snorted through crisp bills off the bare midriffs of terrified interns at the quarterly fiscal reviews.

In point of fact, I’ve only a bit over three hundred subscribers, and a grand total of views that would amount to half an hour of traffic on the truly monolithic channels. I’m not even a ripple across the sea of your bandwidth.

Nor am I one of those delightful success stories of creators pulling down impressive figures via ad revenues that inspire all manner of wondrous graphs, presentations, and double-speak economic jargon that gets promptly filtered through the fishnet cover of hyperbole and smashed clumsily together with the scrambling desire to appear hip and modestly approachable while being bent over whatever desk in whatever corporate sponsor’s office you happen to find yourself at the time.

ab533fa273e4c76ab861f3264f723105Submitted without need of editorial.

As an aside, I admire that kind of go-getter spirit, and boundless energy for taking one for the team. Well done, you.

But I digress. I don’t have ads on my videos. I’ve not for a long time. It’s not due to me adopting some iconoclast stance dripping Marxism while engaging in auto-erotic asphyxiation with the Che Guevara shirt I snagged out of the discount bin at Hot Topic. I leave that to the professionals on your social media team attempting to attract new blood into your swelling media family.

Realistically, I don’t have ads because I respect the terrible burden you have taken upon yourselves to protect content creators from our own follies. You, in your valiant way, have begun to educate the masses to the terrors of fair use, common sense policies, and why it is so vital to all of us both in terms of free speech and artistic and entertainment endeavor to embrace a draconian automated content I.D. system with open arms.

Your futurist worldview of a day where we are beholden if not subservient to lines of code and unscrupulous corporation representatives, no matter the contrary evidence we creators might provide, is truly on the cutting edge of the social contract. In olden times, you would be a prophet.

But truly, it all feels like family on your welcoming site.

You: the distant, stern but fair parent.
The channel strike: the switch that you—or, in fairness, the anonymous entity filing the complaint—force us to cut from the tree.
Our inbox: the area behind the woodshed where our just punishment awaits.

2ytPictured: YouTube Public Relations specialists attend to PewDiePie’s reluctance to embrace YouTube Red.

Every content creator, with the passage of time, will surely see the wisdom of those whuppin’s, and will thank you accordingly for your strong arm. They will also come to understand that this is ostensibly the only way your managers can attain sexual arousal after years of desensitization suffered from watching the dream of Web 2.0 die. For erections lasting longer than four hours, please consult a patent lawyer.

And with such liberal use of the rod to avoid the spoiled child, how could we not but ask, “Thank you, sir. May I please have another?” And, as always, you were quick to answer.

And that’s what impresses me most, and therefor what I believe you deserve the utmost kudos for: your recent forays into tightening your grip upon the choices made at every stage by the content creators that you have altruistically deigned to share ad revenue with.

You, in your mercy, once took it upon yourselves to scale down the daily 3 o’clock money-fights and angeldust jamborees to a conservative three times a week. And it was all for the sake of shaving a few wafer-thin slices off of your $70 billion net worth to dispense in flaky layers on the rest of we ungrateful serfs.

3ytSo very ungrateful, and unmarketably filthy.

O Captain, my Captain. I, at least, am grateful.

I am grateful, impressed upon, and honored, by your continuing efforts to instruct content creators of their place within the larger world. You have enlightened we video makers to the precise scope of the destructive power we have been unknowingly wielding, and the commensurate devastation we have left in our stumbling wake. You are showing us the disaster area that were were blind to for so long. Too long.

How were we to know, before your guiding hand slipped in—and graciously skipped copping a feel for once—that by reviewing a game, or a movie, we were condemning those that made it to the soul-crushing poverty defined by buying one less hand tailored outfit that day?

How could we have seen that by commenting on a particular news item, we were ourselves siphoning Time itself out of the veins of twenty-four hour cable news channels?

Would we have stopped ourselves willingly if we had known that the Snuggles Bear would cease to be able to spread his message of laundry Nirvana; that he would spontaneously erupt into agonizing hellfire if he dared appear before any video where someone made a swear, or had the audacity to present the ignominy of side-boob?

I shudder to consider the bleak future of a world made unfit for product placement, for it is a cold and gray thing where target demographics become legends of the “before-time”, and increased earnings become a dream of the hereafter only for the faithful and those unaware of any section of the plane but first class existing. Clearly, the rest of the aircraft is storage, is it not?

4ytBad choices were made. Regrets were had.

Spiritually, it is. Thank you for teaching us.

For ours is not to express, or entertain, or engage the viewer. Ours is the property that might house shelf-space, and rightly so. It is, after all, your mall. We can only be fairly considered storefront kiosks, and must be groomed to suit the true victims in this passion play: the companies. By rights, we should be paying them for the privilege of having their products be the figurehead of the ships that are our paltry videos.

And I defy those that call it censorship, for it fits no definition of the word I know. Censorship is, in and of itself, a calculated act of suppression, born of a shrewd idea to keep a populace more firmly in check as to not challenge the power of the governing body that thinks itself wiser than those it oversees.

Clearly, calculation, shrewdness, and wisdom do not pertain to this particular scenario, and it is patently unfair for anyone to saddle you with the accusation. Of those three things, you are blessedly innocent.

Nor is it hypocrisy, as some would proclaim. Though your terms of service are nothing new, they clearly spell out that “swearing, sexually suggestive content, violence, drug use, or usage of controversial subjects are not advertiser friendly”. So, while we video makers may gnash our teeth, we are missing the message so cleverly hidden in the tide of legalese that your lawyers ejaculated onto the blank word document during the annual barrister circle-jerk:

5yt“Nice arc, Stephenson. You’ve clearly done this before.”

Just because literally all of these things are commonplace on prime time television, and so kosher for Miller Lite to advertise upon, it does not mean they are comfortable pushing their carbonated sewage run-off on shows not under contract with large networks. And who are we to argue with the craftspeople responsible for Miller Lite, I ask you?

What’s more, even though said terms also convey that those using any of the aforementioned no-no’s for education, discussion, parody, or without the intent of shocking/provoking should be safe from losing their paycheck, you go one step further to instruct us on the capricious nature of the entire Universe.

No one is safe. Ever. Death—as is with the nullification of the ability to pay your own bills based off of your hard work—is often sudden, swift, and senseless. That’s a life lesson we too often ignore, and a piece of introspection that can’t necessarily be hash-tagged.


Instead, I’d submit that this is a brave act of submission on your part. You, as the public face, are truly shielding us from the awful wrath that might descend on those of us without the stock portfolio aegis necessary to fend off intellectual property holders. By implementing these penalties, and carefully cultivating the enclosure we are herded into, you are letting us know that we are protected. We are free to explore the boundless wonders and quirks of the human condition through creativity . . . provided we do so in a way that adheres to a myriad of company policies and advertising guidelines.


What? No. This is volume one of Disney’s ad policy. we’ve not even got to their morality statutes yet. Hang in there.

By ruthlessly suppressing your own gag reflex when knelt before these titans of commerce, you are really, without words, whispering your own promise of love to those of us that craft video entertainment upon your website. It is an oath, a vow, that none of us will ever have to intimately know, as you do, what it means to smile like a donut on command just to exist.

It is an inaudible embrace, and the words are softly spoken through each warning message in our inbox, and every subtle push away from the anarchy of sensible user-driven content and into milquetoast ad-influenced content hegemony. It says:

“No, my child, you do not have to stand for this. But as long as I am here, neither do you have to swallow for it.”

On behalf of everyone, thank you for taking that load off of us, YouTube.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s