Sims + Snoop = Pretentious Rambling Blog Entry

This post is for Amy. Long story short: The 10 Best Fan Made Hip Hop Videos With Sims Of All Time. (via boingBoing)

Short story long, this might not hold a candle to the media experience that is Bioshock (my current obsession) but in many ways I find this stuff much more exciting. I really, honestly believe in the democratization of media via technology--that we are returning to an era in which everyone's voice will have equal* volume, so to speak.

Once upon a time, anyone with a story to tell told it to anyone who wanted to hear, and people could listen or not. Then we discovered agriculture, and free speech went down hill from there.

Not that it had anything to do with agriculture itself (and not that I'm claiming to be any sort of historian) but with the rise of technology has come the consolidation of power and media. So for the longest time the model had been that the studio executives had sole control over who made a movie, the publishing houses controlled who could write a widely-read novel, and William Randolph Hearst decided who could cover the news. When I was a yoot, it was a big deal that Michael Jackson was allowed to have a widely seen music video. He was only capable of creating it in the first place because of his vast wealth, but at that time it would have been a private thing, shown only at concerts unless MTV had agreed to run it. This is changing, and I think that this is important.

So, the link goes to a bunch of "music videos" made from popular rap songs by fans. And if you watch them (especially if you compare them to the originals) you'll notice that they're... a little limited. Like the fellow said, speaking of the horse who could play the flute, "It doesn't matter whether he's any good, the impressive thing is that he can do it at all".

All I'm saying is that the limitations in these videos are purely technical (the lighting is flat, the textures are basic, &c.). What will happen when these same people, doing this in their spare time on their desktop computers, can create fully immersive, Hollywood-quality movies? I mean, I love dead Frenchmen, but I'd also like to watch films from other peoples' perspectives. What would happen to the concept of auteur when the director has total control over every single aspect of the film... and is a 16-year-old in high school?

*Well, certainly everyone's voice will not be equal. Some people will be better trained in how to present their ideas, some people will have more self confidence / irrational assurance than others, allowing them to speak with greater perceived authority, and I think we'll also have a culture of fame, in which some people have a "built-in" audience.

And yes, all of these things will be much easier for those with power (rich people have the time the learn, the money to hire speech writers, and the capital upon which they can build fame). Regardless, the way things have been for a very long time is that with enough money, you can simply purchase media attention in a way that most folks can't, and this is changing.

Peter Holman2008-10-14
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