So, this is what people do now.

Before I launch into this Friday’s rant, you need to watch at least a little bit of this video.

This is someone who has, apparently:

  • Taken apart a perfectly good xylophone.
  • Bought a whole bunch of hot wheels cars, probably well over 150.
  • Created some method of releasing those cars at consistent speeds across multiple tracks.
  • Either researched or wrote a piece of music that could be played with a xylophone and sound reasonably good.
  • Implemented, tested, and eventually recorded the result of all this on video.

So who knows what we’re talking about here. Possibly 100-200 hours, and maybe $500-$750 in hard costs? Then there’s the cost of the labor, which we can’t even estimate.

All this to get you to watch a 2-minute video…

…which doesn’t even have ads attached. So it’s not even being monetized. This may be part of a long-term strategy to build the video’s authors into hard-core influencers, or it could all just be done for the sheer geeky glory of it. Art for art’s sake, as they’ve been saying for about a century.

But is this really where our society is at now?

I’m being a little harsh here, I know. Entertainment is an important part of our lives and it always has been. Even people who barely get by in horrible harsh ways find opportunities for entertainment. It’s really part of who we are.

And, I’m probably being hypercritical toward this video’s makers because I doubt that they could really have made substantive progress on saving the world if they hadn’t taken a few minutes to create a video of hot wheels cars playing a song on a xylophone. For that matter, I doubt that in the time I took to write this article, I could have made any progress in saving the world.

After all, it’s not like anyone was harmed in the making of the video and it’s a cute little distraction.

And yet, I have to ask again, if this is where we are now. And if that’s good for us.

One of the nice things about YouTube and internet culture is that everyone has the opportunity to be a content creator. This gives a lot of folks access to mass distribution who would never have gotten it in the past. I’m sure that eventually this will mean the rise of whole new art forms coming from people who would never been part of the “establishment” in the past. It’s the evolution of the human race, nothing less, as we move away from everything we know about information and entertaibment distribution.

That, in itself, is a noble goal. This particular video probably doesn’t advance it much, but perhaps if you combine all the ridiculous time-wasters on the internet, they might all mesh in some unforeseen way and we’ll find the next Beethoven, John Lennon, or Rembrandt in a place we were never expecting. It probably won’t be on a hot wheels track pointing toward a xylophone, that’s all I’m saying.