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America is not a Video

I understand that many nations in the Arab world are not free. I feel for that plight, as would anyone with a heart. I realize that some who are experiencing freedom for the first time are not accustomed to it, and therefore haven’t yet familiarized themselves with all of it’s features. But I cannot understand for the life of me how these nations that are protesting us don’t still understand THE ONE most basic and intrinsic feature of freedom: That the people in a free nation are free. Meaning the actions of the individuals within it do not speak with one voice. They are not a monolith. The individuals of a free nation have the freedom to say and do what they want, without approval of the government, or any other body, or any other person for that matter. Therefore, and here is the point I am trying to clearly and slowly and carefully delineate, so there is no further confusion that has sparked furious protest all over the Middle East… EACH INDIVIDUAL YOUTUBE VIDEO DOES NOT SPEAK FOR AMERICA. They do not speak for our nation as a whole, or represent the feelings of any more than that one individual video maker. IT’S JUST ONE STUPID GUY.

This also holds true for cartoons. I would have thought that the word itself, ‘cartoon,’ would make clear that they shouldn’t be taken so seriously, being that they are, after all, CARTOONS! JOKES! A satirical point. Not a life or death matter. Even if your holiest scripture forbids any depiction whatsoever of your prophet, does it make any rational sense that should it happen, someone should be MURDERED for it? Is that what your religion truly wants? (I had to capitalize the word ‘murdered’ there, since I already capitalized the word ‘jokes’ and the word ‘cartoons,’ and again, by definition, those words are far less serious than murder.) And then, by simple, obvious logic, they do not EVER deserve murder. (The word ‘ever’ is sort of benign, but still I felt like capitalizing it. Because it’s an important detail. Because it’s not cool to even kill people once in a blue moon over something so stupid.) And much like many cartoons and jokes, most YouTube videos are very, very stupid. Most of them are hardly thought out at all.

Therefore, please allow me to repeat… YOUTUBE VIDEOS DO NOT SPEAK FOR AMERICA. This is not spin, or an opinion, or even an apology. This is simply a fact. Some random person shoots and uploads a video, and the President never even knows about it. Not even Congress gets alerted. Nor do any Governors, or even the Mayor of the city where the video maker lives. NO ONE knows about it. Even YouTube employees have no idea about it. YouTube is automated. And, as someone who has a lot of experience uploading videos to YouTube, I can even sadly tell you that most often they are only ever seen by a few people. If any! Sometimes you work really hard on a YouTube video and it ends up with just 6 views. And that’s just because you watched it 6 times yourself.

So if there’s any chance you guys could please get down from your angry storming of our Embassies, for just a minute, to THINK ABOUT IT, just ask yourself if what you’re so angry about even makes any sense, considering this new information about how both YouTube and freedom work. I mean do you actually think that we as a nation approve of every one of the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of videos uploaded to this global video website? Tens of thousands of brand new stupid videos are uploaded every single day! Do you guys think the American President is sitting there in the Oval Office, national economy struggling, world economy in turmoil, people in his nation without jobs or healthcare, some of their most basic rights being called into question, all while we are AT WAR, and he is sitting there approving or disapproving cat videos? “This cat is cute, but very similar to about 18 million other cats already on YouTube. Denied!” the President declares.

The anti-Muslim video that some random individual in America decided to shoot and upload, the impetus of your being angrily on top of a building right now, or setting things on fire, or rioting based on, or in several tragic instances, even murdering good-natured human beings who were trying TO HELP your country, does not speak for us. We rebuke it. This anti-Muslim video was horrible, incredibly offensive, beyond stupid, idiotic, and just plain wrong. It wasn’t even well-made! It was so amateurish that it looks like it was made by a child. A child who is particularly bad at making videos. But it ALSO does not speak for America. It represents only that one idiot’s opinion. One out of 300 MILLION Americans. The other 299,999,999 of us agree with you. It should never have been made. But we also live in a fully FREE country. And so we can’t stop him from speaking for himself. Burn a flag with his face on it if you want. If a dumb video is really that important to you, then protest him. But please don’t blame us all. If for no other reason than WE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. Which is a pretty good reason. But only if you think about it.

Ben Gleib
Video Uploader / American
(two separate things)