Imagine this. You run a venerable TV comedy show. It’s not as relevant and funny as it used to be. That it’s on a major TV network is not the strength it used to be, given the fragmentation of media and the rise of the web. To make things worse, TV writers were on strike for months.
But things are getting better. The writers are back at work. You can now air new content. Your former lead writer is guesting on your first post-strike show. She does a couple of minutes that are funny, challenging, quotable, current, relevant, controversial, and YouTube-able.
You, dear reader, probably know where this is going. The show is Saturday Night Live, the network is NBC, the star is Tina Fey, and the quote is “Bitch is the new black.” One of the main impressions of the show is that the clip that people want to see is no longer as readily available, since NBC had it taken down from YouTube.
Contrast the self-destructive, content-hoarding, anti-viral antics of NBC with the actions of The Onion. The Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early video may be even better than the “Bitch is the new black” clip. I think that it is, but I can see how others could differ.
What I am certain about is that The Onion is smarter than NBC with respect to viral video. The Onion posted its content at YouTube. It didn’t force the removal of content that allowed thousands of bloggers to spread the news that it has funny, relevant content.
Perhaps you think I overstate the idiocy of NBC. If so, I thank you for the complement: it wasn’t easy to do.
Or perhaps you think that the current issues of one little “democracy” and the media that cover it don’t amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of human affairs. If so, let me share with you a video about said grand scheme, just as Drawn! shared it with me.
And yes, I will feel silly if the “Ascent of Man” video is taken down, just as the “Bitch is the New Black” video was. But I don’t think I will feel silly – at least, not for that reason.