Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Musical History According to Youtube – and other short film fun

I would like to see a Broadway show that tells the story of western intellectual history based totally on Youtube musical numbers. It could start with the Declaration of Independence:

Then it could move on to the great economic debate[1] of the last century.[2]

And then could move on to the history of science with one of the epic rap battles. This one is my favorite (though it contains entirely too much focus on Hawkning’s disability).

“There are one million…million, million, particles in the universe that we can observe
Your mom took the ugliest ones and put them together into one nerd.”[3]

And while I am punting on a blog post with clips, I might as well make it worth your while. This is one of the finest deconstructions of western plausibility structures I have seen in some time:

“If they eat glitter”

And finally, here are two videos our resident film maker[4] made for our campus ministry. The first one is just fun featuring phenomenal steady cam work:

Hunted. from Matthew Francis Pye on Vimeo.

And, finally, these are just the credits of a telanovella[5] he did to promote one of our events.

La Vida Collegio: Opening Titles from Matthew Francis Pye on Vimeo.

And yes, that is our half-wit bunny that Frank is stroking.

For the second year in a row, a promotional piece he did for us made it into the UC Davis film festival, and, on top of that, a cynical reviewer from the campus newspaper (who panned many of the entries) kind of went on and on about how much he enjoyed this.

This post was written while listening to the Brand New channel on Pandora

[1] Note: don’t lose patience with this clip in the first 2 minutes. Once they start throwing down, its transcendent. Also, I’d like to say, that the film makers declare Hayek the winner, but portray Keynes so fairly, that I am not sure that they are even justified calling the match based on their own arguments.
[2] Incidentally, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I think the exchange actually demonstrates the difficulty of the choice. I did not understand the stimulus solution and am not sure it was a solution…but can’t refute those who say that we would be catastrophically worse off without it. But I guess that is the point for me. The modern supporters of Hayek (including his rapping self in the video) seem to present their position as an all or nothing alternative...while the Keynesian alternative seems to fit well into an economic ‘toolbox’ where one solution does not fit every problem. The bust/boom cycle is a problem, but I’m not sure that Hayekian models make it better – it seems like they could make it worse.
Incidentally, the bottom-up/top-down processes are at the heart of a lot of the debate about ecological processes over the last 5 decades and, surprise, you cannot account for ecological processes without both.
[3] These epic rap battles are kind of crass, and the earlier ones are better in content than the later ones (thought the production is better in the later ones). But ‘Nice Peter’s’ other stuff is pretty great too. I recommend his picture songs, especially nom, nom, nom, babies.
[4] Matt Pye, a PhD student in plant physiology.
[5] I have asked him to consider to bring this genre back to tell the story of Joseph and Potipher’s wife when we teach Genesis this year.


Landon said...

Oh my gosh. That Keynes/Hayek video is the best YT vid I've seen in a good while. Can't believe I hadn't seen it.

JMBower said...

These were classic. I'm not sure I'm as charitable as you are about the Keynes/Hayek....I thought it was pretty strongly weighted toward Hayek...with Keynes giving a couple lines of general idea, and then going for several stanzas of Hayek rebutting. But it was hilarious, regardless. I was all set to get all uppity about it, but then you went and said it much better. (I will say-while not a Keynes fan in general- Hayek is 100% right as long as the economy operates in a vacuum unpolluted by actual people or morality. He completely fails to understand the importance of some measure of certainty, and that unlike the market, people's lives don't have the same ability to ride the economic ups and downs without crashing.)
Excellent pairing of videos, regardless.