“Greetz from US Peres! Good luck mr. president!” writes PivotStorm, a US bank clerk with a penchant for using the F-word. Kigbfre, a woman whose comment is accompanied by a picture of her showing cleavage, posts: “Hello, I like your video.” YouTube users have found what political lobbyists across Israel are dying for — a direct line to President Shimon Peres.
Peres, 86, launched his own YouTube channel this week. YouTube’s co-founder Chad Hurley joined him at the Presidential Residence for the occasion.
Peres is by no means the first world leader to take to YouTube. Other important subscribers include members of the British monarchy, who have their own channel. But there is something rather unique about Peres’ initiative. For many public figures, turning to technology is a means to an end, just a way of getting heard. But with Peres, it’s part of the message.
Fact One: People seem to have a lot more time on their hands than me.
Fact Two: Hitler is an excellent object of fun.
YouTube offers almost infinite testimony to those facts. One of the cult memes currently infesting the internet video portal is a series of alternative comedy subtitlings to Oliver Hirschbiegel’s 2004 drama Der Untergang (The Downfall) — no, I’d never heard of it either.
This one (Hitler Gets a Cheap Font CD), although employing strong language that we would not tolerate here at the Forward, upholds the premise of our current article, A Bubbling Font of Creativity: Oded Ezer and His Hebrew Designs that typography is something more than just pretty letters, but is an inherent part of the design process.
This one (Hitler Finally Declares War on Hitler Parodies) is just as potty-mouthed as its earlier counterpart but funnier maybe because it is consciously part of the meme, self-reflective and sensitive to the action of the original film. It bears more relation to our other current piece, Sex and the Shoah, Through Survivor and Sons insofar as it asks how we, in the 21st century, should relate to the Nazis.
Insofar as the delightfully named AlbertHallProds (a reference, no doubt, to the wartime song which proposes the Albert Hall as a location for Hitler’s testicles) answers that question, he tells us that guerrilla subtitling should be undertaken only when it will be very, very funny indeed. Otherwise video posters will pay the ultimate price.
The stars of the videos mostly live thousands of miles away from each other. They have never met one another or the producer — and they haven’t even been told they would be making an appearance.
This is “Thru You,” a quirky homemade creation of 26-year-old Israeli Ophir Kutiel and the latest sensation on YouTube. It is a series of videos that consist entirely of clips taken from videos that Kutiel found on YouTube, mixed together and then posted back on YouTube.
The videos have caught the imagination of YouTube viewers around the world, and become an instant sensation, with many writing comments saying that this is art that truly reflects contemporary life. This one has attracted more than half-a-million hits:
Here is another one well worth watching:
To see Kutuel talking about how he made the videos click here:
Lots of cute Passover videos have been popping up the last couple of years. A reflection of the semi-new hipster Jewishness, I suppose. Search the topic on YouTube and an amazing 3,820 results pop up. Unfortunately, when I searched, the top link is to a video messianic Passover Seder. But look just a little further and you’ll find some good videos to watch as you take a break from making the charoset, and most of them are good fun to share with the kids in your life.
This one, from the Jewish outreach organization Aish HaTorah, has a nice message and clever graphics, though buried under a bit of psychobabble, which seems aimed to appeal to all those 20- and 30-something veterans of the therapist’s couch.
Some of them are schmaltzy enough to appeal more to bubbie than your teenager:
Passover Blues falls somewhere between the two, and is still worth a watch:
This one has nicely done graphics:
And this chuckle-worthy one has Family Guy-style animation:
But my all-time favorite, since I started noticing these videos a couple of years ago, is by William Levin and local folkie Michelle Citrin. It melds a little bit of offbeat cool with goofy fun. It may not be the newest, but the video that follows wins the award for best overall:
I’m just wondering now if some clever creative type is going to figure out how to boil the idea down to a Tweet.
In the second parking-related hubbub that has infuriated some Jews in about as many months, a YouTube clip that shows the likeness of Adolf Hitler enraged over a 250-shekel parking fine in Tel Aviv, has some Holocaust survivors up in arms. The parody, which borrows footage from “Downfall” — the 2004 movie about Hitler’s final days — shows the Nazi leader calling Tel Aviv’s municipal government “worse than the S.S.”
The Hitler of the parody goes on to complain to his deputies that “all of the money goes to this corrupted city council which for seven years is renovating the same meter-on-meter in Ibn Gavirol” — referring to a street in Tel Aviv.
And, don’t even get “The Fuhrer” started on the city’s public transportation system.
The clip, which contains an expletive, follows.
Haaretz is reporting that the chairman of the Centre of Organizations of Holocaust survivors, Noach Flug — himself a survivor of the Mauthausen concentration camp — wrote to YouTube demanding that the offending clip be removed.
In December, Facebook removed from its site the page of a group called “The Jew Parking Appreciation Club.” The group mocked with hateful language the way Jews park in a Sydney, Australia neighborhood.