Posts Tagged ‘Youtube’

Discourses about homelessness

October 6, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve lately been working on materials on the sociology of homelessness, in which context I came across this very wonderful YouTube clip.

The first segment is done cartoon style. In summary, the chair of a town council meeting says ‘Homeless people have been sprouting up all over the place – what can we do about it?’ Someone suggests giving them designer sleeping bags so they don’t look so untidy (I don’t think they suggest funding it through placing advertising on the bags – I think I heard that as a real suggestion in a real meeting at some time!). Eventually someone makes a liberal stand: ‘The homeless aren’t monsters. They’re people, like you and me!’

And the response? ‘You mean they’ve adapted? Copied our DNA?

‘Nuff said.



Learning, humour and irony

September 23, 2012 Leave a comment

This last week I’ve been rewriting some material on sociology, which prompted me to investigate what’s available on Youtube. I was intrigued by some of the stuff I found.

Here’s one, 3 minutes or so long, on the sociology of the family for A-level students. Things I liked about it: the flat, emotionally unengaged voice of the character that keeps repeating ‘I feel your pain’; and the punchline at the end. Wonderful.

And here’s another, on homelessness and poverty. Six minutes in total, but the best bit is the cartoon at the beginning. One character argues that homeless people are real people, like you and me. And another asks, with a note of incredulity in his voice: You mean they’ve adapted? Copied our DNA?

Humour and irony as tools for learning. Excellent stuff.

Feelgood music for hard times?

April 4, 2011 2 comments

I do, albeit fitfully, try to Keep Up With Things. I get tired of doing the y6dsl;ltgg ting thing (i.e. beating my head against the keyboard in the hope that words will flow from it painlessly). I make a coffee, watch a snippet of TV or radio, or see what’s new on Youtube. And what’s new suddenly seems to be the lambada. All over again.

The lambada, for those who haven’t come across it, is a dance. It seems to have originated in the north of Brazil, and Wikipedia describes it as ‘generally danced with arched legs, with the steps being from side to side or turning, and in its original form never front to back, with a pronounced movement of the hips. At the time when the dance became popular, short skirts for women were in fashion and men wore long trousers, and the dance has become associated with such clothing, especially for women wearing short skirts that swirl up when the woman spins around.’

It became very popular internationally in 1989 when a French musical producer encountered it, returned to France, created a band (Kaoma) and put out a lambada style single sung in the original Portuguese – the video for which included some very suggestive dancing. If that isn’t a good enough example of globalisation, it then turned out the song he’d chosen was an unauthorised use of the translation of a 1981 song by a Bolivian band. Law suits followed and money changed hands. The actual song involved, in Portuguese, was ‘Chorando se foi’ (‘Crying, he/she went away’). Whether that was apt given the legal battles is of course a whole other question… but is seems Kaoma are still around, judging by recent Youtube video of them performing in various cities in Europe.

Anyway. The thing is, this was a song from the 1980s that suddenly seems to have been recovered, plundered, and given a new lease of life. In the last week or so I’ve been hearing techno and trance versions, quotes from it as four and eight bar breaks in the middle of other sings, and Youtube seems to have recent lambada-derived music from all over the place – including among other things a Russian version.

It is a known feature of global, postmodern culture that artefacts are taken and transplanted from one context to another, and the past is ransacked for ideas that can be recycled. I have no particular issues with the lambada being recycled. It was a catchy summer tune and while it’s not quite my style, it does have a certain something. I do have an issue with my brain putting on constant loop as an internal soundtrack but that’s not the lambada’s fault.

I do wonder, though, what drives the seemingly random processes of creative people selecting this or that tune for recycling, and what drives the fact that it’s suddenly taken off again. The best I can do is suggest that it was feelgood music in an era of economic hardship; now we’re back in austere times, feelgood music is suddenly important again and maybe the tunes from previous periods of economic downturn are the places people are looking for it.

Thoughts welcome…

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