YouTube a true window on the world

You can find anything you want in the online world

YouTube on the internet serves up hours of varied fun when TV is mainly movie re-runs or vapid reality shows, and offers first-hand information when researching new topics, unlike my younger days when the best I could find was a paragraph or two and a black-and-white photo in an outdated encyclopedia.

I’ve smiled at the twins in their highchairs swaying in unison as Dad strums his guitar; their video made it to Ellen Degeneres’ show. Or the wee Russian kitten fiercely defending his cigarette.

When I’ve gotten wind of a TV interview broadcast I regret missing, I’ve googled the interview and watched it days, even weeks, later.

If I read an article about a musician whose music I never knew about, with YouTube I can sample some of the person’s recordings or stage performances That’s how I got to know Kenny Rogers’ early band, First Edition, after reading his memoir, “Luck or Something Like It”.

I’ve also googled unusual musical instruments after they were mentioned in someone’s biography. For instance, the dobro, a particular style of resonant guitar. It came to my attention in the New York Times obituary of Mike Auldridge who recently died at age 73. The Times called him “a guitarist who became one of the most distinctive dobro players in the history of country and bluegrass.”

I also came upon Paul Tanner, “developer of the electro-theremin used to give the Beach Boys’ ‘Good Vibrations’ its eerie hook.” Samples followed of the instrument playing background to the Beach Boys song.

Many in my extended family are musicians, particularly fiddlers, mandolin and banjo players. Those living within reasonable driving distance often get together for jam sessions. From time to time they post a few of their tunes to YouTube where all can tap a toe to their beat, regardless of our physical distance.

And when it comes to instructions for new fangled gadgets like a Kindle, YouTube shows  a 23-page clearly illustrated manual.

But YouTube is equally useful in ‘outing’ miscreants, such as the 2010 Vancouver hockey rioters. Or the four seventh grade Greece, New York school bus students who harassed their 69-year-old bus monitor to tears. What followed after parents and authorities were confronted with the raw evidence of the monitor’s bullying would never have transpired without wide public sharing of the candid YouTube video on major TV news stations.

For once, bullying students suffered real consequences, and their parents inconvenience , when the students had to move to another school. Usually it’s the bullied student who must move. Donations for the bus monitor poured in. The bus monitor picked up a final cheque of $703,833 to retire with money to spare. She’s using the extra funds to foster anti-bullying programs.

Another YouTube ‘reveal’ began as a cell phone video filmed by an Ohio grandmother after a neighbour and his 9-year-old son repeatedly mocked the foot-dragging walk of her 10-year-old granddaughter, Hope, who is disabled by cerebral palsy, as the girl left her school bus. Within hours, the YouTube video was shown on Fox News, and to a large studio audience and millions of Anderson Live TV viewers.

Two months later the father plead guilty to reduced misdemeanour charges of disorderly conduct and aggravated menacing and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Without public exposure of his mocking ways he might have continued to torment Hope into her teens.

At the moment, I’m chuckling my way through the 201 episodes of “All in the Family”, which aired for nine seasons. By googling an episode title, I’m able to see the complete episode. Next I plan to review the 97 episodes of “Archie Bunker’s Place”.