Because YouTube said so…

Because YouTube said so…

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
May 23, 2009

A question arises, in this modern age, as to whether reading is a dying art that will soon be replaced by video presentations.  Is one capable of deception, more than the other is?  Does one provoke more thought than the other does?  Is one healthier than the other is?

In May 1993, a video production by an Indiana BAR attorney was making its way around the country.  It was titled: “Waco – The Big Lie” (I use this video as an example since, though old, it was one of the first of the “patriot” videos to use mass deception through this means).The video focused, primarily, on the use of a flame-throwing tank alleged to have been used by the FBI in igniting the Mt. Carmel Church on fire — which resulted in the death of nearly 100 people.

As the narrator described the events, you see a tank gun barrel jammed through the wall of a portion of the building.  As the tank withdrew, there was a flame colored element along the side of the tank.  Along with the voice of the narrator and the footage, thousands of people became outraged that the government would use a flame-throwing tank to immolate these people in their own home.  Even some of the Davidians, after watching the video, began to believe that the government had reached an extreme level of depredation by these actions.

A few months later, Mike McNulty (C.O.P.S.) obtained the entire footage of the event.  There was more footage both before and after the brief episode shown on the above-described video, which plainly demonstrated that the narration was grossly in error.  Though there were many other indications of the absence of a flamethrower, the most apparent was when the apparent “flame” fell to the ground — and bounced.

If both videos were watched without the benefit of a narrator, a more honest evaluation of the events was apparent — there was no flame-throwing tank at Waco.  When the narrator has a purpose or mindset, all you get from the video is the narrow channel that he is willing to give you.

On the other hand, written accounts of what happened on April 19, 1993 provide many descriptions of events that were not captured on video, and probably give the most realistic picture of what occurred, even though these accounts were also subject to the bias of the reporter.

This tends to support the contention that videos might misrepresent events, leading us to false conclusions as to what really happened, more so than print or written media.

Let us look at initiation of the thought process while reading and watching videos.

How often, when watching a video, say, a movie, or, more significantly, and informational video, do you stop and rewind the video so that you can ‘capture’ or grasp what was said or presented?  I know that I have done this, many times.  Sometimes it has gotten so frustrating that I am more willing to leave a part not understood than return and watch it again.

In fact, when I am watching a video, especially an informational one, I find that I have to develop a complete reliance on the presenter.  He sets the pace — and, I must abide by that pace.  There is little, if any, time to reflect on or contemplate what was said — until after the video is over.

However, when reading, I set the pace.  If I wish to contemplate something that was written, I simple divert my eyes and direct my mind to evaluate that subject which has grasped my attention.  If I encounter something that is not quite clear, in my mind, without effort, I return and reread the particular objet of my concern.  Moreover, as far as visualizing, well, I have often paused during the course of the reading to visualize the setting or event that provokes the desire to do so.

I suppose that this can be compared to movies and books of the same title.  A very good example is “2001: A Space Odyssey”.  I know that I saw the movie, first.  It was many months before I was able to read the book.  Upon reading the book, I was, all of a sudden, able to impart meaning to many of the events that occurred in the movie that had more appearance of visual sensationalism than of comprehensive reflection of an idea.  Upon watching the movie a second time, many of the confusing or not quite clear parts of the movie really made sense — because the book had laid the foundation.

This has been true of many other book/movies that I have read/seen.  To me, it is clear that much more pleasure and understanding comes from reading rather than the expedient of watching.

I have watched a number of YouTube presentations on subjects dear to the Patriot community.  One that I was direct to the other days is broken into segments.  I watched the first segment and listened as the guy told me what he was going to do.  But, he did nothing except describe, in sinister terms, an organization that was politically motivated and was seeking influence on Capitol Hill.  No, it was not about the NRA or GOA, but it was only different in its purpose, and, probably better funded.

In another rather lengthy presentation, dealing with legal status, I watched over an hour of a two-hour presentation.  In all that I watch, though many ‘legal’ opinions were given, not one shred of legal material was cited.  I am left to either believe, or not believe that which is presented.  If I am not prone to researching to find the evidence that either supports or disproves what has been presented, then I am left fully at the mercy of the person presenting the video.  At this point, quite often what we accept as the truth is either something that is well presented (theatrically) or says something that we wanted to hear, anyway (Waco flame-throwing tank, for instance).

At this point, many of us will become advocates of some presentation, or another.  There are two reasons for this advocacy.  First is that we believe what we have heard and want others to believe what we have heard — so we ask them to watch the video and believe what is heard.  Then, we have something in common!

The second possibility is that we are not sure whether we should believe what we heard.  It is easier to encourage others to watch the video and then to see if they believe what was presented, or, if they find fault with it, and, hopefully, will bring that fault to our attention (even though we really do not want it).  It is more likely that the person that we have asked to watch the video, whether they find fault with it, or not, will never bring it to our attention.  Why should they tend to take away from the communication between us that has developed, even if only to the extent of suggesting that they watch the video, by presenting what appears to be fault within the presentation?  It is better to let sleeping dogs lie.  If, however, they did bring forward their concerns over the information within the video, we would, most likely, not want to talk with them, any more.  After all, they challenged what we offered them, and, more importantly, they challenged our belief system.  We Don’t Need Them!

So, let us look at whether one method is, perhaps, healthier than the other is.  Videos are watched in a computer room (or equivalent), television room or movie theatre. Restricted space, often less than comfortable surroundings and, at best, filtered air.  Reading, however, can be conducted nearly anywhere.  Outside is a nice place to read, in pleasant weather, and is fresh air at its best.  Reading can be interrupted for other responsibilities, and returned to, at any time.  It can fill in otherwise wasted time, if the book is available.

But, probably most significantly, reading burns more than three times as many calories as watching videos.  A chart at informs me that, with my 200 pounds, I burn 181 calories for 2 hours of video watching and 597 calories in 2 hours of reading.

In this modern age, where video production has become a hobby, conducted by hundreds of thousands of people, and presented to even  greater numbers through media such as YouTube, we have become inundated, perhaps overwhelmed, by the proliferation of information This phenomenon has been dubbed “information overload”, and is a result of too, too much information.  We must settle on accepting that that does not challenge what we have learned to believe, regardless of how we came to believe what we do.

Sit back and reflect, however, on what the consequences might be if we accept erroneous or incorrect information; suppose that after years of effort, things only get worse; suppose that the time finally comes when our lives depend on what we do.  Do you want to stake your life on information that has not suffered a very critical review by you before you accept it is absolute truth?  Is your life worth it?


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