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Friday, April 10, 2015

Subscribe to This: Wisecrack on YouTube

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 2:00 PM

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Like the rest of us, I watch a lot of movies and televsion shows, and try to read a lot of books — I'm currently making my way through Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed, which I can't recommend strongly enough — but I also watch a lot of YouTube, particularly the educational channels. Learning new things is fun! Especially when it's presented by people who try to actually make it fun without talking down to their viewers. Among my favorites is Wisecrack, which describes itself as "the channel where you'll learn your ass off."



Three of their best recurring shows are Thug Notes, 8-Bit Philosophy, and Earthling Cinema.

The most famous of the three is Thug Notes ("Classic Literature. Original Gangster."), starring comedian-actor-writer Greg Edwards as Sparky Sweets, Ph.D., who summarizes and analyzes classic literature into what Edwards describes as "a dialect for most students to understand — and most Americans, really." It's very funny, but it's also a thoughtful analysis of the real-world relevance of the themes of the given work. Regarding 1984: "See, if you want to roll like a G'd-up totalitarian dictator, you can't just tear down the truth like Hitler, whose dumb ass actually burned books that weren't feeling his flow; nah nah, you gotta build that shit back up like Stalin, who actually rewrote those motherfuckers to be in line with his flava." The swearing is bleeped out for classroom-friendliness, of course.



Here's a great interview about Thug Notes with Edwards on The Tavis Smiley Show.



Then there's 8-Bit Philosophy ("Video Games Make You Smart"), which uses old-school video games and recreations thereof to explore some hardcore philosophical concepts. The text itself is a bit more straightforward, with an unseen narrator who sounds not unlike Peter Jones, the voice of the Book in the original Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Instead, the graphics do the heavy lifting, such as Søren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus interact with Mario in the original Donkey Kong as a parallel to Camus's The Myth of Sisyphus, in a discussion of why suicide is never the answer life's problems, even if that gods-damned monkey keeps taking the Princess away.



Earthling Cinema ("Your Favorite Movies Get Probed By Aliens") doesn’t quite work as well for me as the other two, but it has its moments as alien Garex Wormuloid tries to make sense of humanity via our movies. "The Joker's terrorist acts aren't random. They try to prove a point: morality is a sham. Take away humans' physical comforts or safety, and they will turn into wild animals — not literally, like we can. I'm talking metaphors here."


Subscribe to Wisecrack and learn some new shit, baller.
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Sherilyn Connelly

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