This one was a bit of an ordeal, honestly. A full 30 minutes of produced video, which is only part three of four, got a bit daunting. Every step of the way was a bit of a struggle. I hope it’s worth watching. Heading back to do more YouTube Drama before I attempt “Yemen vs. Empire” Part 4.
A number of months back I ran a poll asking which of a selection of geopolitics YouTubers I should do a review of. I was surprised to see Whatifalthist win the poll dramatically. The few videos of his I had watched had struck me as inoffensive and vaguely amusing. Having now done a deeper dive, it’s clear I was missing a lot. This kid, and I do mean kid, I think he’s like 22, does delightfully nerdy deep dives on European history, but his takes on countries and events outside of “Western Civilization” are sometimes… problematic. As I looked into it further, I was surprised to find that he has a lot of the same educational gaps and right wing ideological hang-ups that I did when I was 22. It’s an odd artifact of our age that he is working out his ideas with an audience in the hundreds of thousands. I don’t think he should be pilloried for it. This was an interesting video to write. If I were criticizing someone with serious institutional backing, or over the age of 25, I think I would have been a lot harsher. But this kid literally seems to have grown up on-line, starting a YouTube channel half his lifetime ago to answer fun nerd questions. I’m not sure I got the balance right. Let me know what you think.
This video is another attempt to shake up the style a little bit. It’s been a while since I’ve done an all visual video, and this one almost qualifies. I’ve noticed that a lot of the successful geopolitics videos on YouTube tend to be lighter on the speaking in person, and heavier on the storyblocks and animated maps. Storyblocks is a stock video website I’ve been subscribed to for about six months now. It’s a cheap service, and you get what you pay for, but it’s a fun way to build a video. The selection is limited enough that after going through the library, I am beginning to see the same clips over and over in the work of my competitors. I think I have a few more rudimentary animation skills than a lot of the other geopolitics YouTubers, and I think I mixed animated graphs well with the storyblocks clips. Let me know what you think!
I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a while. Heck, and one point, I thought I might make a multi-video series covering all the ways the Gulf Monarchies worked to destroy the Arab Spring. It’s a vital point that gets over-looked. Yes, as my “Everybody’s Lying About Islam” series documented at length, Saudi Arabia’s century of power and wealth has been terrible for world Islam. The Saudi Wahhabi project has been a sort of cultural genocide against what was a much more diverse body of Islamic practices half a century ago. That matters. But beyond the religious aspects there is the fact that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are proselytizing monarchists as well. They have extraordinary wealth and influence in Washington, DC, and for the past 10 years they have used it to crush democracy across their region. This is the real tragedy of declining democracy this century. The Arab Spring could have made 2011 a new 1776, or 1989. Instead Arab Democracy was strangled in the cradle by a set of absolute monarchies that simply would not exist without the United States.
I’ve been avoiding watching videos by the YouTuber Kraut for years now. At the request of a viewer, I finally took the plunge this past weekend, and found it pretty irritating. Having now written and produced a 15 minute video, I think my problem is largely with the style of argument. The blithe assumption that there is no point in even discussing the details of politically useful mayhem is infuriating to me. This style of argument is often used against my attempt to analyze the horror in Syria. Part of Kraut’s anger at Chomsky is that he would even dare to attempt to construct a chronology of deaths in Kosovo. A chronology of death, and the awareness that only a few thousand people died in Syria before the US intelligence community and ally intervention is a key part of my critique of what happened there. If Kraut and folks like him got their way, we wouldn’t be able to establish basic information about catastrophes. That’s not a world I want to deal with. So, to the horror of my 20something self, I’ve managed to make a 15 minute video defending Noam Chomsky.
Last week my TikTok Account got hacked. It was a profoundly weird experience, and it’s very hard to avoid the suspicion that it was politically motivated. In today’s video I talk about this experience, and I speculate as to why this happened. The internet is a very weird place, and I expect it’s only going to get a lot weirder. Last week I got to personally experience one of its weirder aspects, and I think it’s worth documenting. We hear a lot about on-line disinformation, it was unpleasant, but educational, to involuntarily experience one of its newer forms.
This video also explains why I’m attempting to branch out to TikTok in the first place. Being on one platform is no longer working out for me, so why not two?
Today’s video is kind of a case study in the importance of striking while the iron is hot. I was very, very excited to make this video a month and a half ago. An outline, and copious notes came to mind almost instantly. But instead of finishing off the script, I focused on the other two videos in the series, confident that this would be a big blow-out finale. Early next week when I finally sat down to write this script, I was a bit non-plussed. The ideas and the outline still made sense to me, but the vigor and rigor of the ideas have gone flabby. I don’t know. The video still makes some worthwhile points. But I’m not particularly happy with the final execution. I am, however, happy to have finally said my piece on cryptocurrency. Should be able to avoid this topic until the next run up in price a couple years from now.
Today’s video is an attempt to bridge a gap I see in a lot of economic discussion on twitter, in academia and in mainstream journalism. There seems to be a growing sense that the US economic consensus is changing in a bigger way that it has for four decades. The old Reaganite consensus seems to be falling apart. Some deplore this shift, but many more seem to love it. What neither the pro- or anti-camp seems to be doing in a serious way is reckoning with how cryptocurrency fits into this picture. This is a major oversight. How can we talk about the economy, money and finance without discussing a growing insurgency against all of those things? Today’s video attempts to put the two pictures together, and point out that Crypto ideology is very much on one side of this broader economic debate.
I’ve been bothered by Cryptocurrency for quite some time. I started following it seriously again after the 2017 peak and crash. I’ve always been leery of talking about it because I so fundamentally did not get why it continued to be a thing. After researching it at great length in recent months, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the world that’s crazy, not me. If cryptocurrency continues on its current trajectory, it’s got a lot of terrifying implications. I begin to unpack those in this video, which is intended to be the first of three.
One of my goals with this channel is to constantly add to the breadth of countries covered. I think today’s video does a great job of doing exactly that. You’ve certainly heard me complain about Libya before, but I’ve always avoided this aspect of the tragedy, because it’s just so damn complicated. There are a lot of moving parts to the fall of the Sahel. Two developments convinced me to take the time necessary to make this video happen. One negative, and one very positive. The death of Chad’s president at the hands of a militia trained in Libya, and the almost miraculous ( and very tenuous ) emergence of a unified government in Libya. Diving into Chad, and comparing it with what I know about Sudan gave me some more perspective on the region. Obviously, I am barely scratching the surface here, but I feel like this is a crucial piece of information for understanding this vital region of Africa. I also enjoy the way the information was conveyed. I hope you do too!