Free Speech & Social Media
I’ve come to really enjoy finding new YouTube channels like A Booktube Book, The Loftus Party, Eat Your Kimchi, Meejmuse, Two Hearts One Seoul, Life Where I’m From. These people clearly work hard and create high quality videos that YouTube doesn’t pay to produce.
I just saw that YouTube is cutting back on their creators’ pay by demonetizing videos (see the video at the top). Huh? What’s more they don’t give any warning to their creators. People have lost 80% of their income in some cases and they weren’t told that what they created would be demonetized. Can you imagine doing that to say Big Bang Theory personnel or
Google makes an estimated $8.5 billion USD. They don’t pay for production or development of content. They offer a well known site, but it’s nothing that can’t be replicated. No one is going to go to the site if it’s an empty void with a Red and White logo.
One solution is described above with the idea of sponsorship. The problem is that I can’t see sponsoring each channel I like. It’s as if you didn’t just pay for each cable channel you wanted but you had to pay for each show. Do people want to subscribe to cable, Netflix, Hulu, and each YouTube channel. If you subscribe for $4.99 per month for each channel (and with YouTube you don’t know if how much programming you’ll get in a month because life happens and sometimes the channels don’t have new content for weeks).
Cutting revenue by 80% by a multi-billion dollar company is pure greed from a company that’s got trouble with free speech issues.
Now that’s another problem with YouTube. It’s censoring or restricting videos with content it disagrees with.
Do no evil? right.
The Worldwide Web, that is.
You might guess that means I’m back in China and encountering Internet problems and you’d be right.
Blogs and other social media have long been taboo so the real problem was with my VPN service, SwitchVPN. I don’t blame them as the big ol’ PRC can be powerful and can take down access to a service. But I was very disappointed in their lack of customer service. It would take 24 hours to hear back from them and then they’d right, “We can get on so you should be able to.”
Well, not necessarily since I’m in China and you aren’t. I could get on if I was in Cambodia or Singapore, but not from China. I’d email them again and not hear anything so I’ve signed on again with StrongVPN and all seems fine. Knock on wood. They always had great customer service, I just had a problem last year when the government here had them in the crosshairs. Now they seem to have gotten past that.
This might be the most aggravating internet disruption I’ve experienced. I know it’s about the history and I know I’m not the center of the universe. But this week my new library course started and all university websites are blocked. My VPN hasn’t been at all reliable and I spent a couple hours last night trying to set up a new one that I had to pay for (since I’m only here another few weeks that didn’t sit well with the penny pincher in me). I can’t get this site I use to do a review game for students or a site that just lists the 3000 most common words of English. No library sites. The list goes on and on.
The teacher for this new class has decided to use WordPress, which of course is always blocked, for the course content. I’ve emailed him several times to explain my difficulty. Finally, I’ve gotten online through my first VPN this morning. The trouble is I can’t count on it and I don’t want to fall behind in the class. I’ll have to set up the new VPN later today to have a back up.
Hopefully things will return to normal June 5th.
Library Wars is a Japanese film based on a manga series by Hiro Arikawa. The film focuses on the conflict between the Japanese Library System’s credo of supporting protecting intellectual freedom and the government’s Media Betterment Act of 1989 that legalizes censorship.
The story opens in 2019 when the Betterment Squad, a band of armed men all dressed in black suits, open fire in a library killing all but one librarian. Next the Betterment Squad descends on a bookstore where they pull all the improper books off the shelves and out of the hands of customers. One high school student, Iku Kasahara, hides an adventure book behind her back and which the Betterment Police soon find. A tug of war between Iku and the book police ensues. When the Library Defense Squad, a department of the library system that’s armed and can shoot to warn, arrive one of its soldiers comes to the girl’s aid. He approves the book for library purchase. Immediately this soldier becomes the girls hero. Iku plans to follow in his footsteps.
Years later Iku joins the Library Defense Force. She’s an energetic, able, idealistic recruit who soon becomes the sole woman to make it into their elite force. Yet she does so despite Dojo, her drill sargent’s harsh treatment of her.
The film’s got an upbeat didactic tone, as many manga do. Itu is a typical genki (i.e. Energetic in a very Japanese way) woman. She’s easy to root for as she has the right mix of skill, idealism and flaws.
Though Dojo’s unfair to Itu, we forgive him because his tough treatment is a result of his idealism and eventual love for this rookie.
Library Wars is a fun film with a message. The message is put out there rather blatantly, but I found I could excuse that as I don’t often see intellectual freedom promoted to the culture at large. Like manga do, it makes an esoteric idea accessible and can promote discussion of big ideas like intellectual freedom amongst us ordinary folk. While the film should fall flat for its message, it doesn’t because you sense the characters do believe that intellectual freedom is worth dying for.