Citizen Tleilax

YouTube Comments Have Literary Merit

FIRST! – A Book of YouTube Comments
Edited by Pablo Capra
Published by Brass Tacks Press
Zine/Booklet – 23 pages

Well, perhaps “literary merit” is an overstatement–however there is certainly a value in such expressions, however base they may predominantly be at first glance. The comments referred to here are mainly those which are posted as instantaneous reactions to what has just been viewed, requiring probably less than 2 seconds of thought on the part of the authors. These types of comments are of course not limited to YouTube; they can occur in various places across the internet: Facebook statuses, 4Chan (and related) forums, etc. Taken as a whole, the myriad collections of such comments on all manner of topics across the web present a revealing view into the state of mind of a mass segment of our internet-infused culture. I view them as a sort of collaborative folk art, combining to create a humorously absurd, abstract tale of the frivolity and often intellectually stunted nature of many of the internet’s denizens. These negative aspects abound, certainly, yet a keen sense of highly developed and succinct comedy appropriate to its environment is perhaps just as frequently displayed, if one has the correct mind to interpret it.

While one need not look far to read multitudes of such commentary in their natural habitats, Capra’s published collection recognizes that this incidental output from our society deserves more than a cursory glance as we wander through these very spaces on our own missions. Presenting these small blips of text on paper as a uniquely modern form of automatic poetry or literature imbues them with the strength of cultural documentation, a strength which allows them to outlive their inherently unstable environment where all might be lost when a video is removed or a thread deleted. I have myself thought on many occasions that similar things should be published, and I am glad to see it done here in this small booklet.