Events expose YouTube's political water-boarding of PoliSat.Com by banning Usama Girl video and WretchBoarding video.·
November 8, 2007--
By Jim Wrenn,
Editor and Washington Bureau Drawer Chief at PoliSat.Com.
YouTube banned two PoliSat.Com videos: "Usama Girl" and "WretchBoarding." I think it did so for political reasons. PoliSat.Com had posted two identical versions of each (for high-speed and highest-speed connections). YouTube only banned one version of each video. I think it's failure to ban both versions of each was oversight. (One could speculate that the banning of only one of two versions of each video differing only with respect to file-size for connection-speed purposes evinced an effort by YouTube to do no more than placate a complainer, but I think the bureaucratic-oversight explanation best describes reality.) To view the original versions, scroll down further on this page.
Here's the sequence of events: Weeks after having banned the "Usama Girl" version for highest speeds, it banned the high-speed version of WretchBoarding. Despite my having sought explanations from YouTube, the only explanations I received were the original notifications that the YouTube "staff" had agreed with unidentified YouTube users that the "content" of each video was "inappropriate." YouTube accompanied the notification of the second banning with an additional notification that if YouTube were to deem a third video as warranting banning, it would terminate PoliSat.Com's YouTube site (polisatDOTcom). Assuming bureaucratic oversight to be the explanation for YouTube having banned only one of the two versions of each video identical except for file-sizes/connection speeds, common sense suggested that it would be merely a matter of time before YouTube would classify one (or both) of the remaining versions of "Usama Girl" and/or "WretchBoarding" as "inappropriate" and assert such classification as justification for terminating PoliSat.Com's YouTube channel. Such action would have minimized PoliSat.Com's capacity to challenge YouTube's actions in a potentially effective way. It wouldn't have been "David versus Goliath" but rather "ant versus Goliath."
What were PoliSat.Com's choices under the circumstances? (1) Leave undisturbed at its polisatDOTcom site on YouTube the thus-far un-banned versions of each video identical to the banned version except for file-size/connection-speed characteristics and wait for Goliath's "other foot" to drop on the PoliSat.Com "ant," (2) disable or delete the yet-un-banned substantive twins of the two already-banned videos and take no further action, (3) revise those two remaining videos to omit what I believe to be the content that politically motivated YouTube's decision to ban their substantively identical but different-file-size/connection-speed counterparts, or (4) disable or delete them after creating and posting a new version of each with "censored" frames replacing the frames to which I think YouTube politically objects and thereby enable PoliSat.Com to afford YouTube users (and others) an opportunity to evaluate YouTube's and PoliSat.Com's respective positions. (Such "censoring" would, of course, be self-censoring by PoliSat.Com rather than by YouTube, because, in my opinion, a privately owned media business banning from its publications content it deems "inappropriate" is not "censorship" of the free-speech rights of the author of such content. The constitutionally and legally appropriate remedy for such author is to attempt to amplify his speech in the marketplace of ideas in order to challenge the judgment of the business in banning such content.)
Choice (1) would have afforded an intellectual "fig leaf" for YouTube to dramatically reduce PoliSat.Com's means for challenging YouTube's prior actions. Choice (2) would have been self-defeating. Choice (3) was not available because YouTube does not provide users the means for revising a particular video while leaving otherwise undisturbed the YouTube URL by which users who like the video can access it or post it on their sites. Thus, I selected choice (4).
Now, to the main point. Choice (4) creates at least the possibility that PoliSat.Com can make the point intended by both banned videos more effectively than would otherwise be the case. One of the ways of doing so is to explain the etymology of both videos while also affording viewers the opportunity to view the self-censored versions of each of them now posted at PoliSat.Com's YouTube site and also view the uncensored original versions. That's the purpose of this installment of Political Satire/Commentary at PoliSat.Com.
Note: The self-censored versions now posted on PoliSat.Com's YouTube site are available for viewing by clicking here for Usama Girl Censored and here for WretchBoarding Censored. Those self-censored versions are also available for viewing in Windows Movie Video (wmv) format and Flash format by clicking the video-preview images above. Likewise, the uncensored, original versions of both videos are available for viewing in both formats by clicking the video-preview images below.
What were the etymologies and satirical points of the original versions of "WretchBoarding" and "Usama Girl"? "WretchBoarding" came first. The idea arose from Google News sources' uncensored publication (via Google News) of news photographs of Code Pink "Breasts Not Bombs" protestors in San Francisco publicly exposing their breasts to attract attention to themselves in order to attract attention to their signs and messages denigrating and demonizing our military. Here are the links to both of the July 24, 2007, articles preserved for posterity in in the WayBack Machine's archives of the internet for the Fog City Journal article and the San Francisco Sentinel article. However, Google News has apparently deleted or omitted both articles from its much-vaunted "archives" of Google News-- veeerrrrry eeeennnnteresting. So much for Google News' claims for the accuracy, comprehensiveness and reliability of its Google News Archives.
It seemed to me that a suitable way to satirize those loony women exposing their breasts in public to attract attention to their signs and activities designed and intended to denigrate and demonize our military would be to imagine Gitmo interrogators exposing detainees to the sights of the news photographs of the "Breasts Not Bombs" loons as a form of "torture" to become known as "WretchBoarding." Supermodels these loons are not. Additionally, I remembered that several years ago critics of interrogation techniques reported to have been employed at Gitmo went ballistic over reports that such techniques included use of scantily clad, super-model-caliber female interrogators as a form of humiliation designed to lower the resistance of male detainees professing to be Muslims. So, the idea of forcing detainees to observe pictures of the "Breasts Not Bombs" loons would traumatize them in the opposite way and thereby induce more confessions. Indeed, WretchBoarding holds the potential for becoming a more effective tool against hardened terrorists than the covert "Buurka Streeper" operation being run by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld under the secret command of Dick Cheney. (Long after creating the "WretchBoarding" video, I partially reprised the idea in "Usama Girl"-- scroll down for more about that.)
Note: The uncensored, original versions of both videos in both Windows Movie Video (wmv) and Flash formats are available for viewing via the video-preview image links on the left/right above and the right/left below. Additional versions for in-page viewing are at WretchBoarding, at UsamaGirl and in Flash format here.
An additional inspiration for "Usama Girl" was the proliferation of candidate-adulation videos, of which "Obama Girl" was the first of many. The political-speech intent of "Usama Girl" was/is to illustrate the political contrast between genuine feminists, who support our military's efforts to defeat enemies of the "liberation" of women from the shackles of medieval, patriarchal, religious fanatics, and faux feminists, who denigrate and demonize such efforts-- and especially those faux feminists who prance around bare-breasted to garner political attention to their hatred of our military.
To incorporate into political-satire videos the uncensored news photographs of those bare-breasted loons as means of satirizing such faux feminists' denigration and demonization of our military was no less valid than Google News including news reports publishing the same uncensored news photographs to illustrate a political news "event." Paradoxically, such faux feminists' irresponsible and unpatriotic use of their freedom to bare their breasts in public to attract attention to their efforts to denigrate and demonize the people who have risked (and continue risking) their lives, suffered crippling disabilities and paid the ultimate price warrants a paraphrasing of one of Winston Churchill's most famous statements, which he made after British pilots prevailed against numerically much larger fighter/bomber forces in what became known as the "Battle of Britain."
Now, I address the central question. Did political motivation play a role in YouTube's decision to bar the original versions of PoliSat.Com's "Usama Girl" and "WretchBoarding" videos? I lack empirical data to prove a pattern of greater tolerance by YouTube in applying its "inappropriate content" standard to videos posted from the Left than from the Right (or from the center), but I believe that fairly conducted empirical analyses would prove such disparity. Who has the resources to do so? Not PoliSat.Com. Are there organizations capable of doing so? Of course. Would PoliSat.Com welcome their assistance? Of course. Can the economic power and market dominance by YouTube provide leverage to operate as a "force multiplier" for legitimate criticisms against it? Of course they can. Those factors were key elements in my selecting choice (4).
Virtually everyone reasonably knowledgeable about the internet knows that Google owns and controls YouTube. They are virtually a single entity: Google/YouTube. Everyone not living under a rock knows Google/YouTube has political agendas notwithstanding any denial of such. Google/YouTube manifest political agendas in a variety of ways -- sometimes subliminally, sometimes overtly, and sometimes ham-handedly. More often overtly, but occasionally subliminally, Google/YouTube functions as a political media organ for Al Gore's "man is warming the planet" religion masquerading as science. (Don't forget that genuine scientists -- unlike medieval theocratic hierarchies -- don't equate the challenging or questioning of their beliefs with heresy or demonize those doing so as modern-day equivalents of "Holocaust deniers," the latter of which analogies is unpardonably offensive to the Holocaust victims and their relatives and survivors.) Google's adulation of Gore is not new-- it dates back to a time long before Gore began his journey to an "Inconvenient Truth" and well before the Google/Gore collaboration to create "Current TV."
Sometimes Google/YouTube is so eager to promote political agendas with which it agrees that it ham-handedly accommodates a legally indefensible and frivolous request from a political "ally." A example was Google's recent, eager embrace of the patently specious "trademark infringement" claim by MoveOn.Org as grounds for Google's Ad Sense division to refuse to carry internet ads for Maine Senator Susan Collins criticizing MoveOn.Org for funding candidates attacking her. Belatedly conceding what, in my opinion, Google knew ab initio to have been the case-- i.e., that such "trademark infringement" claim by MoveOn.Org was contrived and specious at best-- Google relented when MoveOn.Org (which, in my opinion, likewise knew such claim to be specious ab initio) furnished Google a "fig leaf" by withdrawing such "claim." Indeed, information that subsequently came to light makes it obvious that there's far more to the politically symbiotic relationship between Google/YouTube and MoveOn.Org (and its political allies) than meets even the keenest eye.
Continuing to assert such claim had become too embarrassing even for MoveOn.Org as well as for Google. This was quite unusual because MoveOn.Org has consistently demonstrated a lack of civility in political discourse and consistently trafficked in political hatred to a degree rarely exceeded by others on the fanatical fringe such as White Supremacist groups, Daily Kos, ANSWER, Code Pink, Neo-Nazis, Paleo-Stalinists, Huffington Post, Usama bin Laden, Aymen al Zawahri, Noam Chomsky, Hugo Chavez, Danny Glover, Rosie O'Donnell, Brian de Palma, Michael Moore, and other apologists for totalitarian fanatics claiming to be instruments of Allah, etc., ad naseum.
What's the "right" way to combat Google's/YouTube's use of vast financial assets and market dominance to promote some political agendas (those on the Left) and oppose others (those on the Right) subliminally, overtly or ham-handedly? Free speech and consumer choice. How does one battle bad speech? With more effective speech against it.
PoliSat.Com's political satire/commentary is sometimes (often?) brutal and heavy-handed, but anyone familiar with it would know that I direct brutal/heavy-handed satire/commentary only at those who have first directed brutal, heavy-handed and spurious attacks on others. One of the favorite whines of the Left today (MoveOn.Org, Daily Kos, ANSWER, Code Pink and others of their ilk) is that President Bush "questions their patriotism." How utterly laughable to anyone but the ideologically blind on the Left. What they blindly consider "questioning" their "patriotism" is when a person (Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, etc.) targeted by them with ad hominem attacks correctly characterizes such attacks as vicious. Cindy Sheehan is one of the most accomplished practitioners of such tactic.
The Left, like many in the education establishment today (but unlike most teachers in the 1950's and early 1960's) can't comprehend (or simply choose to ignore) the moral difference between starting a fight and fighting back. It was no later than soon after commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 that Ted Kennedy, revered by the Left only slightly less than the still-dead Che Gueverra, made a speech accusing President Bush of having "cooked up" the toppling of Saddam at his "Ranch in Crawford" so that Bush's friends could make "profits" from war. If that's not a vicious attack on Bush's patriotism, it's difficult to conceive what more would be needed to fit the definition. Not only was such statement an unwarranted, vicious and defamatory accusation, but it also was one of the first utterances (of many then yet to come) by Bush-hating politicians and celebrities providing gift-wrapped propaganda to the people trying to recruit others to kill our troops.
Yet when anyone aggressively defends Bush from such irresponsible, vicious attacks by drawing attention to the patently transparent and politically-self-serving motives of such attacker, the attacker squeals like a stuck pig claiming his/her "patriotism" has been "attacked." What hogwash. While our troops were risking their lives for our country, a faux intellectual goon such as Al Gore gave a speech accusing Bush of having "betrayed our country." (Later, after he made such frothing-at-the-mouth Elmer-Gantry/Cotton-Mather-type attack on Bush's patriotism, he had the unmitigated gall to write a book purporting to promote the need to restore "reason" to political discourse.) I don't recall anyone on the Left having characterized Gore's vicious, defamatory attack on Bush as an attack on his "patriotism." If an accusation that one has "betrayed" our country is not an "attack" on such person's "patriotism," what is? The term "pond scum" is too complimentary to serve as a suitable epithet for Gore.
In contrast, when anyone makes the common sense point that such statements by a former Vice President provide extremely powerful propaganda material to our enemies in their efforts to recruit fanatics to kill our troops, Gore and his defenders speciously, vainly, narcissistically and vacuously (did I leave anything out?) characterize such common sense assertions as an "attack" on Gore's "patriotism." When did the Left become so blind? It wasn't recently.
During the war in Vietnam, the Left characterized justifiably brutal criticism of Jane Fonder for posing approvingly with anti-aircraft gunners in North Vietnam, whose mission was to shoot-down American pilots, as "attacks" on Fonda's "patriotism." Characterizations of Fonda as the equivalent of "Tokyo Rose" were not reckless attacks on her "patriotism," they were justified characterizations of her treasonous actions no less justified than comparable characterizations of "Tokyo Rose" during World War II. Yet since the Vietnam War, it's become an article of faith on the Left that characterizing public actions or pronouncements by "prominent" or famous Americans that patently provide propagandistic aid and comfort to those trying to kill our troops as a form of "aid" or "comfort" to "the enemy" borders on criminality. The Left thinks such exercise of free speech in criticizing purveyors of such "aid and comfort" is "fascist," but that's because Leftists seem to believe that mere rejection of their supposed wisdom by anyone is "fascism." Their mindset is so Stalinist they think all but they are "fascists." Most of them (especially the celebrity wing of today's Left) wouldn't know "fascism" if it bit them on their assininity.
--Jim Wrenn, Editor and Washington Bureau Drawer Chief at PoliSat.Com.
Permanent link to this installment: http://PoliSat.Com/PoliticalWaterBoardingByGoogleYouTubeEtAl.htm.