Webtacular World Issue #12 February 23, 2014

Goodbye Olympics! Hello Netflix binging!

STORY OF THE WEEK (7 min. read)
What: Ukrainian President Removed From Power
Why: Because this has been a very tumultuous turn of events in the last few weeks surrounding what began as peaceful protest against the government for economic decisions distancing Ukraine from the E.U. towards Russia and turned into a bloody battle over a public square.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. watch)
What: Sexanomics
Why: Because what initially starts as a catchy video about the supply and demand of sexual relationships between modern men and women quickly becomes a work of investigative journalism.

LONGFORM TIME!!!!!
I initially found this video via Metafilter, which if you’re not familiar with, you can think of as a Reddit for adults. These type of quick explanation videos have been making the rounds for a number of years, one of the most popular you may have seen being the work of C. G. P. Grey. The videos generally use text of the words spoken interspersed and with cartoons or some other artistic form in order to educate viewers about some relatively complex subject. They can be very useful in this regard, since they can effectively convey lots of material into a simple, easy to digest format. However, this format can also lend itself to oversimplification, or, in a potentially more detrimental case, factual manipulation, as is the case here.

As the video started, I was immediately hit with the feeling that something was off. For example, the first facts given were that marriage in the U.S. were at a historic low (fair), immediately followed by the fact that online dating site revenues were at an all time high (Huh? Of course they should be- the technology that has developed to utilize these services have grown along with the decrease in social stigma to actually meet someone online, why are these two facts related to each other?) The video continues with assertions about reasons for people having sex (men: pleasure; women: emotional bonding and relationship security), how women are the “gatekeepers” of their sexuality which has an explicit cost, which then inexplicably changes the cost to a meaning of potential for children, and then, most ridiculously, setting up the example of pesticides wreaking havoc on the “natural systems” in comparison with the effects of birth control. To sum up, the video finds that sex is “cheap” compared to previous eras because of the advent of birth control,which causes an imbalance between the women who want to get married and guys who only want to have sex, with the added value judgement that this is a “very bad thing.” By this point, I needed to figure out exactly why this video was made, and more importantly, who made it.

It turns out that the video was made by The Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. This is a relatively new think tank based in Texas. What is most notable about the company is that one of its preeminent members is Mark Regnerus, who is most famous for publishing a study finding that gay parents were less successful at raising children in comparison to heterosexual couples, and then having that study thoroughly torn apart. All of this greatly leads to the possibility of this video as not economic at all, and more of a thinly veiled political message.

Moral of the story- don’t believe everything that you read or watch on the internet.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (7 min. listen/ read)
What: The End Of Solitary Confinement
Why: Because even though some people have done terrible things, that does not mean they should be treated as less than human.

GETTING OLD THING OF THE WEEK (7 min. read)
What: Aging Gracefully
Why: Because as getting old starts to become a reality, you might as well have some advice from an expert.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: First Openly Gay Athlete Goes To…
Why: Because after all the media hype about football draft rankings, a team just goes and re-signs a guy who had been in the league for years before publicly coming out. I’m sure everything is going to be Completely Different. (Someone needs to invent a sarcasm font).

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: Bill Murray: Reviewed
Why: Because Bill Murray continues to have one of the most enjoyable on screen presences of any current actor, even if not all of his choices make sense.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. watch/ listen)
What: Pomplamoose Does Pharrell
Why: Because even though Pomplamoose has been around for a while, they always seem to find ways to stay in the forefront of what can only be called the Youtube music genre.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. look)
What: Kiev On Fire
Why: Because the pictures make the story that much more real.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: Kurt Vonnegut’s Thesis Was Rejected. So It Goes.
Why: Because even some of America’s greatest writers were not that great at English.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. watch)
What: Congratulations! You Scored Only 500!
Why: Because people are still setting record runs of a game that is as old as I am.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK
What: Springy Goats; Anti Pixar; Chewbuacchus
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: $3700 Millennium Falcon Lego Set
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,

Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

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