Mike Diva’s “Turbo Time”

     “Turbo Time” is a new YouTube show created by Mike Diva for Bammo. Bammo is a professional YouTube channel created by the media company Big Frame, an official partner of YouTube’s Original Channel programming initiative. Google is funding the Original Channels and the goal of this program is to innovate new media entertainment.

     Mike Diva, MysteryGuitarMan, DeStorm, & Corridor Digital are the four YouTube stars selected by Big Frame to develop original content for Bammo. “Turbo Time” was the first video uploaded to the Bammo channel.

Turbo Time” (NSFW)

     Initial reactions from many YouTube members involved confusion, anger related to said confusion, and attempts to express this rage by smashing their hands onto their keyboard. Many comments served only to (a) broadcast the author’s horrifying lack of reading comprehension skills and (b) further reinforce the beliefs of childfree people. Here are some of my thoughts on this video:

To those who gave “Turbo Time” a thumbs up: Thank you. You get it. You understand what this video represents.

To those who gave “Turbo Time” a thumbs down: Here’s the deal – Google gave money to YouTube in hopes of innovating and revolutionizing new media. No, “Turbo Time” isn’t safe, user-friendly, or easily accessible. On the other hand, it’s irreverent, experimental, shocking, and smart. Regardless of whether you enjoyed it, you should (at the very least) appreciate what it represents in the grand scheme of new media and the future of entertainment.

     Shows like “Turbo Time” are important milestones and bravely pioneering the next evolution of YouTube as we know it. The creators of these shows are trying something different and new. Unfortunately, part of their contribution to the long-term evolution of new media includes enduring confusion-fueled ridicule from shortsighted basement dwellers, few of which actually produce their own content.

To accusations that “Turbo Time” somehow ripped off another other shows (“Tim And Eric Awesome Show Great Job!,” “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” etc.): You’re ignorant, so here’s a little education. Yes, “Turbo Time” would fall under similar genres to the shows mentioned. Names for these avant-garde genres include Surreal Humor and Anti-Humor, both literary & artistic art movements that date back to works like Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865). Check out Andy Kaufman’s stand up comedy, Marcel Duchamp’s artwork, Frank Zappa’sShip Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch” album, and episodes of Monty Python’s “Flying Circus.”

     Now look up the following words: homage, parody, and satire. There’s a huge difference between “ripping off” and creating work within a specific art style. “Turbo Time” is indeed surreal, but it’s also unique and progressive. Hopefully, shows like this will inspire other artists and benefit maturing new media realms like YouTube.

     This issue goes far beyond “Turbo Time.” The confused, angry, and mostly asinine responses to Mike Diva’s latest project are cultural red flags, indicative of a bigger problem. Novelty and change are threatening to some people and, often, those who (a) feel threatened and (b) base their actions upon that threatened reaction are simply revealing their ignorance.

     Rejection and angry dismissal of artistic evolution is nothing new, though. From a purely artistic angle, consider composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) and his iconic opera “Tristan und Isolde.” Audiences criticized the novelty, complexity, and unabashed humanity of the opera’s story and performance style. A music critic said this about Wagner’s work: “[It] reminds one of the old Italian painting of a martyr whose intestines are slowly unwound from his body on a reel.” Today, “Tristan und Isolde” is considered one of the most revolutionary, influential, and important contributions to western classical music.

     YouTube users are unbelievably lucky to have what many artists throughout the centuries long dreamed of – access to creative resources (especially technology) and a global platform upon which to showcase their work. However, a cultural eclipse is intruding upon the spotlight for new media’s evolution. The immediate rejection and anti-intellectual dismissal of shows like “Turbo Time” (for daring to present something different and challenging) is a frightening glimpse into the possible future of new media.

     How will artists thrive in this virtual realm when the surrounding community deems their cultural currency as worthless? How long can such an unprecedented and advanced resource for the artistic community be overlooked and misunderstood? What encouragement or incentives can we offer artists to continue creating a progressive foundation for this new landscape?

     Philosopher Seneca the Younger (4 BC-65 AD) once wrote, “Non est ad astra mollis e terris via / There is no easy way from the earth to the stars.” I hope the ignorant reactions to “Turbo Time” are merely a precursor to greater creativity and appreciation. However, when the majority consistently produces and consumes pop culture sewage like “Skating With Celebrities” over “Arrested Development,” is it naive to hope that society is still capable of being enriched and inspired by art and entertainment (and vice versa)? I could go on forever about this subject, but I’m going to stop here before my decency filter wears off.

TL;DR: Being dumb is easy. Being smart is hard. Maturation is painful. But evolution is good. Make art.