2 videos happened across my desktop today, in close proximity to one another, and gave me a moment’s pause for thought.
They shared some elements of their visual language, but what was most striking was the stylistic similarity to “What Barry Says”, a pretty bleak critique of US militarism from 2003:
Now, I was always a bit suspicious of old Barry – while some of his points hit home, the entire thing was cloaked in the sort of overblown language (“War Corporatism”?) which you usually hear peddled by the Trots who sell the Socialist Worker around London. Without the stunning visuals accompanying it, his narrative just comes across as a directionless paranoid rant.
Nevertheless, the overall effect is reasonably stirring. For my money, though, today’s 2 videos were far more effective
First up, we have “Iran: A Nation of Bloggers”, a succinct and moving summary of young Iranians’ embrace of blogging as a way to protest the wrong direction many of them see their own country taking:
And then we have a speech by Harvey Milk (who’s obviously in the news again right now), set to modern visuals and a bit of mildly stirring music:
It’s almost become trite, in the wake of Obama’s presidential campaign, to talk about “hope” and “change” – but to me the contrast between 2003′s paranoid rant and 2008′s uplifting hopefulness really hit home. All the more because, despite the phenomenal victory of our President-Elect a month ago, the economic outlook is crushingly bleak; even as Obama won, bigotry claimed a victory in California; people are scared, confused and uncertain.
And yet hopeful. If everything else is washed away, it seems we still have that.