We watch the Oscars for the dresses. We watch the Golden Globes because everyone’s drinking and they’re funnier than the Oscars. We watch the Daytime Soap Awards because — well, wait, does anyone actually watch the Daytime Soap Awards?
One thing I wish we could watch is the inaugural YouTube Video Awards, the winners of which were announced last week. Much as I’ve always sort of bemoaned the fact that, say, the National Book Award isn’t accompanied by a big splashy NBC-sponsored television event with pretty gowns and $1,000-a-head entrees — imagine William Faulkner at the podium! Joan River asking Eudora Welty “and who are you wearing?” — I’m pretty damn disappointed that the first ever YouTube Awards hasn’t even been on par with the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards — or, hell, even the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism. I mean, aren’t we living in the age of the internet? Isn’t user-generated content supposed to the Next Big Thing? What say we hire out the Gaillard for an evening, fellows, and give these heroes their You Tube Award in style?
No? Well, alright then, let’s just send a press release like we always do.
Designed to celebrate “the individuals who were on the forefront of the most creative and popular original content in 2006, helping to cultivate the YouTube community and foster the online video phenomenon,” the awards are actually pretty dead-on. Most creative? That dancing-treadmill video from wacky band OK Go, a group of guys for whom I’d sell my left kidney if it meant I could have a drink with them one evening after work. (And I don’t say that about the George Clooneys of the world, you know.) I can’t count how many people forwarded this video to me by e-mail (or how many e-mails from the management of V — Charleston’s swankiest health club –I likely would have received if I’d tried this myself. Which, to be honest, I was kind of hoping to.)
The YouTubie for “Most inspirational” video went to that Free Hugs guy, who filmed himself wandering around Sydney, Australia, embracing random strangers while an emo-style soundtrack droned in the background, the 00’s version of “Everybody Hurts.” The “Best Series” accolade was awarded to the hilarious and highly original “Ask a Ninja” sketches created by a pair of L.A. comedians. I’d never heard of any of the others (Smosh for Best Comedy? Terranaomi for Best Music?) but I’m sure they were all very deserving of their Officially Sanctioned Creative Recognition.
Next year, however, I’d like to request a star-studded, televised bash with expensive cheese and magnums of champagne. Instead of Oscar statuettes, they could hand out five-inch flatscreen monitors, or tiny fist-sized cameras with superb filming capabilities. OK Go could perform live with a whole army of treadmills. The goal, in our web-saturated lives, is to inspire a whole generation of YouTubers to create new and original content, isn’t it? Well, alright then — get Jack Nicholson in the front row and put the YouTube Awards on prime time television. Perhaps people will pay them some attention.
Holly Burns would never accept a free hug, no matter how inspirational. Find her on the web at www.nothingbutbonfires.com.