Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Learning from History, YouTube Style!

When times seem uncertain, I think one of the most useful ways to gain a bit of clarity is by studying history. We've now had several millenia of human history and stories from ancient history might seem, not to put too fine a point on it, ancient history. But the fact is, when something happens in the present, chances are a very similar situation happened in the past and usually on several occasions. The tricky part is figuring which example from history the present course of events is most likely to follow. Is the current state of the world most closely mimicking the 1930's, or is it the turn of the last century battle between the robber barons and the progressives? Or can we look to the late Roman Empire for guidance?

For my part, those are rhetorical questions. All I know is that Cars is a prophecy of the future. Yes, I am obsessed with that movie.

Ultimately, the more knowledge the better. And a great place to gain that knowledge in quick and digestible format is YouTube. With some warnings of course. I've written before about my love of finding documentaries on YouTube. There are certainly a lot of great history documentaries available there. But there are also a lot of weird, amateurish consipiracy nutjob docos too, though much of it little distinguishable from the History Channel's current Ancient Aliens lineup.

My advice is to search for and double check that the documentary is produced in association with one of the reputable TV channels, such as BBC, PBS or Channel 4, or even Discovery or History, if it's an older show.

But there's also another weird phenomenon I've noticed with these documentaries. History docs are not necessarily the most sexy material (try as it might), so some uploaders have resorted to using "porny" thumbnails as clickbait.

For some reason, ancient history docs seem the most susceptible to this vibe. Take a look.

What's this one about? Nefertiti, wife of Pharoah Akenaten and a famous beauty from antiquity. Well, Nefertiti was a sexy Egyptian queen so this seems justified. Except it's Patricia Velasquez from The Mummy. But she was playing a sexy Egyptian queen, so still in the right ballpark, I guess.

Next is another documentary about Ancient Egypt, and the costume is similarly questionable in its historical accuracy. But at least the image is still clearly of Ancient Egypt, so it's still sort of relevant to the topic.

Now I'm starting to detect a disconnect between the thumbnail and the documentary that actually gets played. This one is supposed to be about the Etruscan civilization that preceded Rome. I think the image is of a drawing of a 19th century bather. This is actually more confusing than sexy.

And here's where we stop posting images to avoid running afoul of this site's content policy. Clicking on the links brings up the YouTube search page where these thumbnails are visible (NSFW!).

Are you interested in the migrations of prehistoric humans? Here is an upload of an episode of the PBS documentary "First Peoples". But looking at the search thumbnail, this development seemed to involved orgies.

Some users don't bother much with the pretense. Here's one about the Mongols, helpfully entitled "Mongol Empire know how to fight and have sex". There's certainly a lot of Mongols fighting in this documentary. Sex, not so much. I'm also not totally clear where the image came from. I guess one of the non-naked figures looks vaguely like a Mongol?

The uploader, by the way, "The Best Documentaries" actually posts lots of good stuff, all of which include Sex somewhere in the title and uses vaguely if not explicitly porny images.

Even better, look up "the Roman Empire sexual entertainment". The image is from the Spartacus TV series, which if you don't know it, just imagine Gladiator, only produced by Skinemax, before they got serious. Any idea what the documentary is about? Roman roads!

And now we get to a user who doesn't seem to be trying anymore. This user is "Documentary History". Sounds good. Every title has the word "sex" in it. Many of the images seem to be screencaps from porn movies. I'll have to do a lot more research to figure out which ones.

Wait, how did I get here again? I started with a serious discussion on history and ended up with porn pics. I guess it's sort of like what happens on YouTube, only in reverse!

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