Of Pugs And Priests | December 2015 Update

In December I finally found a place to live. I am writing this blog post from that apartment, five months later. It’s been great for video production and general sanity to have a solid place to stay. So great, in fact, that I’m diverging from the practice of the past two years and getting a sub-letter for the summer rather than giving it up. The fact that I can do this is a sign of the growing financial viability of this whole thing, largely due to Patreon, and I’m very grateful. But before settling into my new place in January I had one last month of excessive travel to go. In December I produced videos from Italy, Malta, Turkey and the United States.

Despite all the travel, we managed to crank out six videos in December 2015. The subject matter was almost as varied as the places in which it was created and uploaded. “Spotlight, Catholic Priests, and the Ferguson Effect” is an interesting example of the ways this format allows odd connections. The video is partly a review of the excellent Spotlight, and partly a condemnation of the mindset that blames Black Lives Matters protesters for a spike in crime that hasn’t even been conclusively demonstrated yet. “4 Reasons to Stop Paying Attention to Donald Trump” is a throw-away video in almost every sense. That Tuesday morning, while I was putting together the vastly more interesting Saudi Arabia video that came out two weeks later, my computer crashed. So I grabbed the family dog, sat down at the kitchen table, and begged people to stop talking about the politician everybody wanted to talk about. Many thanks to Mom and Wicket for helping me deal with this nightmare situation quickly, if not particularly artfully.

Ukrainian Parliament Crotch Brawl… Is it Funny?” is my first attempt at a text rather than narration based Facebook-optimized video. I like it, and it’s a fun format to experiment with. Unfortunately I haven’t had much success with the format, either on YouTube or on Facebook. “Trump, the San Bernardino Cover-up and Saudi Arabia” is, I think, one of the more important videos I’ve done. It’s got some actual news analysis in there. Saudi Arabia was the main factor in the San Bernardino shootings, but its involvement was systematically ignored by western governments and media. The vid looks at this problem in detail, and shows how cover-ups like this lead to the success of populist politicians like Trump.

The one thing about viewership I can say with great confidence, after two years of obsessively looking at analytics, is that nobody watches political videos over Christmas week. So I didn’t take that week’s video too seriously. A dog humped my arm and I turned it into “A Frustrated Pug Wishes You A Merry Christmas“. The final video of the year, “The BBC Is Full Of It“, documents my fading love affair with the British Broadcasting Corporation’s news service, and why we should look at all news sources with suspicion.

Views continued their upward trend in December 2015, up to 13,939 from 11,037 in November. One of the top five, and one of the top ten videos in December were produced in December. Two of the six videos crossed 100 views on their first day, and one crossed 250. Five months later, four of six videos have topped 200 views, and those four have also topped 300. At the end of December 2015 we had 135 videos, all but four of which were viewed in December, 74 of which were viewed 10 or more times, 22 of which were viewed more than 100 times, and four of which were viewed more than 1,000 times (FATCA, John Oliver, Hillary Clinton, Putin-Estonia).

And so we close another year. It was a good one. Total views were up to 158,049 from 90,079 in 2014. When I started 2015 I was pretty certain that it was time to give up on the whole video thing. By the end of 2015 I was convinced it was worth going all the way to the November 2016 election. Quite a switch. Many thanks to all of you who have watched, liked, shared, commented, and most importantly contributed. Thanks for making this all seem possible.

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