Not long ago, my only worries about visiting YouTube centered around musicians. Legendary moralist that I am, knowing the artists weren’t making money from people watching their videos upset me terribly. So much so that if I ordered McDonald’s hotcakes for breakfast, I usually was unable to finish the sausage.
However, like many modern events, that terrible injustice has been replaced by one even worse. No, it’s not that every site has someone who’s written that the band you’re listening to isn’t as good as Rush. Although that happens a lot. No, YouTube now is the repository for racists and homophobes worldwide to type every bigoted term they know. And worse? Misspell them.
And it’s not just the spelling, which would have to improve about 50 percent to qualify as dyslexic. It’s that the sickening sentiments expressed on YouTube seemingly are made by grown-ups. And posted while these wackos, wearing “I Love Cliven Bundy” tee shirts, are at work. Often in the customer service or billing departments.
So, if you’re calling some large utility to ask for help and get put on hold for 20 minutes, while listening to Margaritaville, then get hung up on, it’s because of these Mensa members. It’s not that they can’t help you. It’s that they’re too busy in the “Comments” section of a Smiths’ song, reminding everybody of the earth-shattering fact that Morrissey is gay. Plus, they spell “Morrissey” incorrectly. Not to mention “gay.”
Of course, many of these geniuses also are typing such disparaging remarks instead of straightening out your utility bill. Which explains why, two weeks later, your gas and electric come to $2,200. Even though you live in a studio.
Also, from what I’ve seen, racists and anti-Semites are equally well-represented on YouTube. Making you think the only people who go there are either members of The Klan, Isis or The Palin family. Which also means they’re secessionists.
At almost every site, from Jackson Browne to The Jackson Five, I’ve also seen President “Obummer” blamed for everything. Usually from people pissed they’ve had to wait too long for everything they ordered. From their Girl Scout cookies to their AR-15. As for the anti-Semitic stuff, check out anyone sporting a Jewish name, from Leonard Cohen to Asher Roth. They’re all called “Zionists.” And, you guessed it, it’s spelled wrong.
Still, when things seem bleakest, you discover the slightest sliver of hope.
Take the video for Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic rocker, Freedom. One day, as I listened to it, I read the accompanying comments. Every one was positive. They sported words like “outtasite” and “inclusive” to describe this groovy tune. As Freedom neared its end, I thought, maybe not everyone who goes to YouTube actually is a bigot, boob or Bundy-lover. Now, if only Jimi had also been Jewish and gay, as well as black. Then I could’ve really tested my theory. But for now? I’ll take what I can get.