Here I am, trying to dance like a monkey for you.
Now, I only have 46 minutes to write something to entertain you today - so let's see how much I can write during that time frame.
I think I'll just select some things on my mind and "riff" on them.
Topic 1: On Use of the Phrase "Riff" or "Riffing"
Pretty sure that using the term "riff" dates me, somewhat - you don't hear people say "I'm gonna riff on this for a minute" anymore.
To be honest, it's kind of a douchey thing to say. It's the type of thing that my college professors would say before they'd wax libtardedly about why we misunderstand Karl Marx or why Dick Cheney was a war criminal (actually, they might have been right about that one . . .).
"Riffing" is just another way of saying "I have some quick thoughts about that subject", but the riffer rarely keeps their ruminations concise. Basically, saying you're gonna "riff" on something is a way for someone who considers themselves to be intelligent to try and connect with people they view as less than.
I'll probably still use the term, though - it feels like weaning myself off it would be a waste of time.
Topic 2: On Creating Content
I've been in the content game for nearly. . . three years now? Maybe more? I'm not sure I really want know the number of hours of my life I've wasted making memes, writing blogs, making videos to try and flex my creative muscles.
I'm not sure why I bother to continue making new stuff. Sure, our audience keeps growing - but it never grows fast enough and each time I think someone is going to give our videos a big boost, I'm usually disappointed.
As embarrassing as this is to admit, I want people to love we do as much as I love what we do. I suspect that, on some level, all content creators suffer from this same character flaw - vanity.
For me, the biggest thrill from making a new video comes in the moments before it's publication - when all of the work that preceded it gets validated (or rejected). I genuinely love participating in the live chat during our video premieres on You Tube - which are usually attended by are most ardent supporters and people who get the inside jokes and remember things from past videos that I had long forgotten.
But then those moments end and I'm left with trying to find a way to get people to watch a 90 minute video on The French Revolution.
How do I do that? Well, basically, I have to rely on my ability to get people to watch from links I post on Twitter (where people do not like to click links) and on the kindness of others.
I do not like asking people for favors. I do not like bothering people that I do not know. I want our work to stand on its own and gain the attention it deserves without having to fucking beg.
That is, unfortunately, too much to ask.
So I will continue to do whatever it takes to make this thing a success. Mainly because I think the work we do is worthy of your time, but also because I am human, have an ego and believe my work is worthy of your affirmation.
Internal dialogue: Wow, I can't believe I just wrote that all out. I'm such a pathetic cunt.
Topic 3: On Gerard Van der Leun
I shared news of Gerard Van der Leun's illness on Twitter last week and I was sad to learn that he passed away last Friday. Gerard operated the blog AmericanDigest.org, had his work published in many places, including Time, Omni and Penthouse, and authored at least two books of which I am aware.
I had the pleasure of exchanging e-mails with Gerard the past several months. He found a video we made on YouTube and shared it on AmericanDigest.org.
Truth be told, Gerard was one of the only writers/bloggers/content creators that ever took the time to write a kind word about the work we've been doing.
Here's an excerpt of what Gerard wrote about The French Revolution - Good Thing, Bad Thing? :
... Flappr’s summation of The French Revolution is carefully tuned to the times in which we find ourselves now; times in which we are one false-flag incident away from the moment when “The Guns Come Out.” And the tune that this visual history plays is both brilliant and laugh-out-loud funny. It is accurate in its history and yet scathing in its satire.
In the hands of Flappr this is a righteous revision of all the revisionary garbage that’s been spewed out about revolution in the last century.
I discovered this blog from Gerard after noticing a spike in views on our analytics dashboard on YouTube and was able track this anomaly back to his website.
After locating his e-mail address, I sent Gerard an e-mail, thanking him for his kind words and the generosity of sharing our video with his audience. We began exchanging e-mails after that and Gerard he was not only gracious and funny - he offered to help.
Mr. Van der Leun later shared Sundress Nationalism and The First Thanksgiving - Good Thing, Bad Thing? on his website. Not because it benefitted him much, but because he saw we were small, struggling and needed a boost.
If you read some of the remembrances written about Gerard from around the blogosphere, you'll see that my impression of him was shared by many.
A brilliant writer. Funny, friendly and a man of the world. It sucks that's he's gone. I feel cheated for not having the opportunity to get to know him better.
Rest in peace, Mr. VdL.
Happy Wednesday and God Bless America.
P.S. I lied, this took me like 90+ minutes to write.