I had the most incredible experience today, I was looking through the You Tube front page videos and for some reason, which I normally don’t do, clicked on the feature video. I had seen this video featured on You Tube all weekend. The title didn’t compel me to click though, it was just more human tragedy. In the end, and I don’t even really know why I did. Perhaps, it was a combination of a few things, its position on the page, the arrangement of the figures in the feature still, perhaps it was the colors in the video and since it had been up all weekend there were well over a million views so, I finally clicked to see what it was all about. My first reaction was, “Oh, right, this is very sad, I’m not going to advocate this,” so I hit the back button. Then it hit me. “Wait, was that? Could it be? nah…” I click back and looked closer, to my shock and surprises the person in the video turned out to be someone I knew personally.
At first I thought this couldn’t be him, then I enlarged the video and was soon certain. I tried to doubt, walked away, struggled to get a clear head, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t filling in things with my own experiences along with what I was actually seeing.
I started to feel ill. I really didn’t know what to do next. The video was a private camera, shorter and edited versions had then been ripped and uploaded by several people and put on a number of video sites. I felt overwhelmed, I wasn’t sure what to do. I did a search and started to trace its origins. It took me a few minutes and a couple of e-mails asking, “Where did you get this video?” which of course lead me right back to You Tube. I rattled off a quick message to the channel owner asking how this film was acquired. I’m still waiting for that response.
Throughout this whole process I kept thinking how devastating, heartbreaking and embarrassing this video would be for his family, and to add to this tragedy the person featured and being mocked in front of the whole world on You Tube’s front page died.
I realize few, if any of the millions watching know who he was, and at this stage of his disease only those closest to him or who saw him often may recognize him, but it’s clear now that this will forever leave a very painful mark in my mind and in the minds of those who loved and cared about him, the tragedy and death of a very kind and very talented man.
The comments were equally disturbing to read, most laughed, some declared this video fake, while a good number were rather heartless and more than mean, not one sympathetic remark. I kept thinking, what if this were someone you knew, what if this was your father, brother or friend? I felt like I was reading things said by the ‘God Hates America’ cult.
All the time knowing that if I did respond to the thousands of comments nothing of value would come of the exchange, so my only and paltry response was to click the You Tube thumbs-down until I ran out.
c3I tried to call You Tube and Google, I kept thinking of his mother, father, sister, brother, his wife and most of all his child who all subscribe and use the site, but I was met with a very foreboding and hard brick wall – the person who answered the phone had no one she could transfer me to. Her instructions were only that I contact Google via their web site. She also said she had no supervisor I could speak with, that she would directed me to a voice mail system. When I briefly explained my experience she had absolutely no reaction, only repeating that I could contact someone through the web site. Even when I put her in the mix suggesting it was her image millions were watching being put into such a sad and vulnerable position, there was still no reaction, she remand silent. Other than repeating that I should go to the web site, I could have been speaking to an unconscious cold metallic blinking light and incomplete Altaire box.
I know I shouldn’t be surprised about this internet business attitude, but it left me feeling alienated with little recourse, how could this happen in the US? I’ve been stonewalled in the past by tech support overseas, but in the US? Is this the culture Google nurtures and requires in their employees, is it what we should expect from them? Are they that immune to customer service and their responsibilities, not only as civilized Americans, but as human beings?
Even though this video is now public and has been seen by millions I felt somehow there should be some modicum of personal discretion required when trying to wrap my head around what I was experiencing. I wanted to speak to a real live person who had some authority. All that was offered was an e-mail que to some anonymous Goggle address that required me to disclose my personal information and details. Now I felt vulnerable.
Staring at the video, now paused, I thought You Tube is profiting from nothing less than human tragedy. With all the great and powerful potential Google You Tube has they’ve decided instead to feature pain and suffering and dish out heartache and despair only to up their CPMs and ad revenue.
I started to feel angry, noting there was copy-written music attached to the featured and now most popular video on You Tube, I flagged it with the only option awarded to me, drug abuse.
Opening up my g-mail I started to wonder, how do you say there is a heartless embarrassing video of a dear friend of mine your business is featuring and projecting to the world to profit from. The man in the video is now deceased and his family and friends are still suffering and morning his loss, this is the last image I and they will take with them the rest of their lives?
How do you say this in an e-mail and not to a human ear?
The drawings scattered here are just a few pieces of this man’s work – there are hundreds of them, he drew thousands and gave most of them away to the people around him or those who expressed pleasure in his work, everyone who knew him liked him and trusted him. He could fix anything and if he couldn’t do it, no one could. Most of his life he looked and dressed strange and differently long before it was in or cool to look and dress strange and interesting. He was truly unique.
He could draw on anything, any kind of paper, from matchbooks to wood, to a child’s face and always free hand, he seldom used a ruler. When he traveled across the country he’d go to the out of the way places, the home diners and cafes and he’d draw what he saw then give the work to the owners of the shops, at no charge, but on occasion they would offer him a free cup of coffee, that’s all he took. Look on the wall above or behind the cash register at a small cafe or your local diner, you might see one. People were so impressed they would frame them.
c4aNo mater where he was, no matter what tools he had at his disposal; be it a pen, a knife, a piece of chalk, a crayon or a cigarette wrapper he would constantly create. Every action in his body, even his job as a technician was met with an artistic gesture. He was a rare human being, an honor and pleasure to know.
He was also a person who would stop and give any stranger a hand if they needed help and if you were down on your luck he’d give you what he could out of his pocket or help you find food and shelter. He seldom passed judgment on another person and he worked hard to dispel negative thoughts, wanting to build rather than destroy, even towards the end in his debilitating condition he tried his best to make things right.
To see him in this video, in this particular light and how it is represented is nothing short of devastating, adding only insult to injury. It is not deserving of the person he was, nor an expression of his talented gifts and most of all the kindness he expressed no matter who you were, rich or poor, whatever your station in life.
I’m very angry right now and perhaps haven’t half the tolerance and patience he might have had with people in a similar situation. There seems to be little I can do about this video other than to say, shame on Google You Tube for promoting and profiting off these videos, shame on the people who keep uploading this tape in order to mock the disabled, and a pox on the house of the person who released it, may you personally suffer an even greater tragedy at the hands of many vulgar opportunists..
Finally, Google’s Motto, “Don’t Be Evil” well, maybe I’m a little late to the party, but that’s just a load of bullshit.