It is fair to say that a civilization can be measured by what it reads, but also what it watches. A review of the most googled videos of 2012 (also referred to as the most watched videos or YouTube’s top ten viral videos), reveals a society with a short-attention span (most videos are under 4 minutes long) and fascinated by musical artists, a war criminal, politicians, comedians, and a skydiver — in that order.
At the top of the list of the most googled videos is Korean rapper PSY’s entertaining satirical dance (can you say giddy-up, partner?) the “Gangnam Style” with more than 140 millions views (by March 2013, the numbers of views shot up to 1.4 billion). Gangnam Style is sure to join the Hall of Great Dance Fads like the Macarena (sung by Los Del Rio, 1969) and The Robot (1990s). At position 2 is Walk Off the Earth’s clever acoustic cover of “Somebody That I Used to Know” that answers the musical question: how many people can play a guitar simultaneously? In a field of mostly frivolous, forgettable videos, at position 3 is a very serious 30-minute long documentary titled “Kony 2012” by film maker Jason Russell for Invisible Children Inc. The goal of Kony 2012 is to raise awareness about war criminal/terrorist Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, responsible for killing more than 2,600 civilians and accused of abducting more than 66,000 children to become child soldiers and sex slaves. In position 4 is a video that will thrill tweens: “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen featuring tween singing sensations Justin Bieber, Selena, Ashley Tisdale, et al hamming it up (a modern dat Rat Pack-Lite) for a completely uninspired, mindless music video.
During an election year, it makes sense that a presidential debate makes it into the video list; however, dropping in at the fifth position, is a parody of the debate starring two impersonators duking it out rap-style in “Obama vs. Romney Epic Rap Battles of History.” Clearly this performance cost Romney the election. At position 6 is the clever video, “A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square” that shows what happens in a quiet town square in Belgium when someone presses a button. This is an expensive and carefully directed video intended to go viral to promote dramatic shows on TNT (“We know drama”). At position 7 is a comedy routine (rant) by two comedian/entertainers from Atlanta, Emmanuel and Phillip Hudson titled: “Why You Asking All Them Questions?” If this is the best comedic performance of the year — comedy is in deep trouble. Next at position 8 is indie recording artist Lindsey Stirling, a talented young violinist, teaming up with an inspired cinematographer, Devin Graham, to create an enchanting music video. In the video, Lindsey plays her instrumental song “Crystallize” on violin while dancing through a stunningly beautiful ice castle constructed in Colorado. At position 9 is a guide to raising a child in the internet age (updating Dr. Spock perhaps): “Facebook Parenting: For the Troubled Teen” that probably resonated with frustrated parents all around the world. Tommy Jordan, an IT specialist from Albermarle North Carolina, angrily reads his rebellious 15-year-old daughter’s blocked Facebook post — a rant about not being a slave to her parents and insisting to be paid for her chores. His dramatic response to Hannah’s post is to take out his gun (a .45) and fire several rounds into her laptop (“This one’s from your momma!”). He advises Hannah to get a job and buy her own laptop. It ends with a friendly, “Have a good day, y’all.” At position 10 is Australian skydiver and daredevil, Felix Baumgartner’s (“Fearless Felix”) spectacular, jaw-dropping jump from the stratosphere (over 24 miles high), breaking three world records: 1. Highest parachute jump/freefall: 128,097 feet (24.2 miles); 2. Fastest jump/freefall: 833.9 mph, traveling faster than the speed of sound (Mach 1.24); and 3. Highest manned balloon flight: 128, 097 feet. It was one of the most fascinating and riveting events of the year, viewed in real time by more than 8 million people around the globe.
List of top ten viral videos/most watched videos of 2012:
1. Gangnam Style by Korean rapper PSY
2. Somebody That I Used to Know by Walk off the Earth
3. KONY 2012
4. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen featuring Justin Bieber, Selena, Ashley Tisdale
5. Obama vs. Romney Epic Rap Battles of History
6. TNT’s A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square
7. “Why You Asking All Them Questions?” by Emmanuel and Phillip Hudson
8. Crystallize by Lindsey Stirling
9. Tommy Jordan’s “Facebook Parenting: For the Troubled Teen”
10. Felix Baumgartner’s Supersonic Free Fall
For further reading: http://www.google.com/zeitgeist/2012/#the-world