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March 30, 1989
Last Visit: 5 hours ago
Addicted to Rio de Janeiro
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Favorite visual artistNorman Rockwell, M.C. Escher, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Bob Ross, S. Neil Fujita, Maitena Burundarena, Scott Adams, Bill Watterson, Frank Miller, Charles Schulz, Robert Crumb, Marjane Satrapi and Hergé.Favorite moviesBlade Runner, Midnight Cowboy, Brazil, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apocalypse Now, Spirited Away, Akira, Toy Story, Babe, Das Boot, All About My Mother, The Matrix, Taxi Driver, Manhattan, The Exorcist, Reservoir Dogs, The Wild Bunch, Moonstruck and The Sting.Favorite TV showsMarried With Children, Spitting Image, Step by Step, Full House, Doug, Seinfeld, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Punky Brewster, Oz, Boy Meets World, The Decalogue, Boston Public, Moonlighting, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Fraiser and Columbo.Favorite bands / musical artistsRush, The Cure, Ramones, The Beach Boys, Vangelis, Run-DMC, The Church, ABBA, Thin Lizzy, The Doors, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, 2Pac, Madness, Charles Mingus, Frank Zappa, Kraftwerk, Queen, Roxy Music, The Beatles, Pat Metheny Group and AC/DC.Favorite booksThe Little Prince, Animal Farm, 1984, The Lord of The Rings, The Jungle, The Jungle Book, Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant, The Prince, Lolita, Watchmen, Fight Club, Euclid's Elements, In Cold Blood, and Sex, Drugs & Magick.Favorite writersAntoine de Saint-Exupéry, George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Anton Chekhov, Humberto Fontova, and Truman Capote.Favorite gamesFor PC: Team Fortress 2, SimCity 4, Hotline Miami, Half-Life, Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, Limbo, Tomb Raider (1996) and Just Cause 2. For XBox: Need For Speed Underground 2, L.A. Noire, BioShock, Dead Space, Banjo-Tooie and Brothers.Tools of the TradeMS Paint, Paint.NET, Windows Live Photo Gallery Editor, Adobe Photoshop CS6 and my Motorola XT1069.Other InterestsStuding economical and political subjects, drifting across my city, keeping up with my football team Flamengo, creating characters and screenplays.
In our day and age, misinformation and ignorance can run like wildfire through the internet, and it has been quite explicit that audiences prefer to take easier and more comfortable answers over researched - but ultimately confrontational - conclusions. In this scenario, people who take their times spreading education and reason on YouTube should be listened and reverenced. After all, several audiences are in the search for some solid knowledge over easy answers, and since they wouldn't have a lot of confidence in television content, their families, or even their own schools, they end up resorting to YouTube videos. As I previously declared here in DA, channels like Discovery and its sisters have been taken by sensationalism, and parents are some of the main responsible for teaching misinformation to their children. YouTube then ceases of being only about drunk people, cats, SFM, and things that would be possible only in Russia; it becomes an educational escape for those in need.
YouTube is filled with personalities of education and information, and besides being intelligent, they have enough charisma to entice us into what they are saying. Michael Stevens from Vsauce has a warm “cool teacher” vibe (and his awesome eyebrows) going for him; MinutePhysics and AsapScience are also a marvel to see and to absolve with their “done-right-now” illustrations, making their themes even more digestible. And don’t get me started on the great Australian Brady Haran; the father of several educational channels in YouTube, and most particularly Numberphile: a true treat for (would-be) mathematicians and numbers enthusiasts, receiving regular guests like the awesome nerd James Grime, the short scale hater Tony Padilla, and the math comedian Matt Parker.
However… some are not as cool and enticing as these others. Some are condescending, almost proud of their intellectual situation, and actually casting a negative image on those who seek to bring information to the world via the internet. And the example I bring of this condescending man of education is actually a man I once admired… until I got to know him better.
Before him, let me talk about someone else that at start, I also used to enjoy… but upon looking closer, I started to dislike greatly: the Nostalgia Critic. I know that the NC is hardly about bringing information and education to the masses, but anyway, when I first meet him, I thought him to be really good. I thought several of his jokes to be funny, his sketches to be worthy, and his puns to be well triggered. But as I started to know him better, I began to see a different man, maybe because I was looking at him beyond the superficial layers. And with time, I realized: some of his puns may be funny, but others were unfunny and offensive, almost depressing and hateful. His hysteric attitudes hardly made him look mature and trustworthy as a critic; he would step over films that weren’t so hateful as he declared; he wanted people to believe he knew better over most people; he would put down fandoms like Loki, and so on. This is when I realized: “what a douche!”. And this is the same process that happened between me and Mister C.G.P. Grey.
Grey is super popular on YouTube, making videos that reach an average of 3 to 4 million views. He is easily one of the most recognizable names in the internet education area. Names, I said: he always hides his face because, as he declared, he values his anonymity greatly, and he prefers to represent himself with a sticky figure (as seen in the video down below) and his logo. I don’t know about you, folks, but should the internet have any real rules, one of them would be that if you want to preserve your anonymity, a good start is to stay away from the internet, and particularly, from highly popular sites like YouTube. Nevertheless, his face is still quite visible if you search at Google, so there goes his "anonymity" ambitions (maybe, what he actually meant is that he won't show his face while it's in motion). An American eradicated in Britain (just like Stevens from Vsauce), he also has the podcast “Hello, Internet” (named after his traditional greeting), which he runs with Brady Haran.
The way I met Grey was interesting: I was looking educational videos on YouTube when I saw one declaring the difference between Holland, the Netherlands, “and a whole lot more”. It was a nice video, and a good way to get started with him. So I decided to check out his channel, and his other videos. Using of pop culture references and a humorous - yet confident - narration, some of them were incredibly good, like the ones explaining the Vatican City, Macau and Hong Kong, as well as historic and scientific misconceptions.
But... the same that happened between me and the Nostalgia Critic, happened between me and him: as I watched his videos - getting more in touch with him -, I started to know him better, and to realize he was something of a too much self-assured guy, interested in declaring his opinions as if they were facts. I have nothing against him spreading his bias… but there is a big problem when he spreads them as the truth, to people without background who want to know more about the subjects he talks about. One example of this is his bashing against pennies. While of course I agree they are monetarily unnecessary (and even prejudicial), Grey however made sure to portray penny lobbyists as people who love inefficiency, incapable of even talking their arguments into light. There was no rational debate between how good the pennies are versus how they actually aren’t: Grey made sure to display penny defenders as literally booing practicality. Going even further, in his misconceptions videos, he added jokes that would poke with the ignorance of people. Grey seems to love the opportunity for an easy pun… but to insult the people he is trying to reach, almost like saying “lol, you is stupid!”, is nasty to say the least. In one of his videos, he debunked the 10% of brain myth – a myth so accepted that even Luc Besson utilized it as a main element in “Lucy” (see? This is the ignorance spreading I was talking about). Grey and AsapScience made sure to declare this is BS. But while the Canadian geeks debunked this myth with their traditional illustrations and even complemented by adding data such as the brain being 3% of the human mass and that it consumes a lot of energy ("that's one busy brain!"), Grey made sure to declare: “if you really think that you use 10% of your brain, maybe you do only use 10% of it”.
Imagine a person who would believe, ignorantly but misguidedly, that such factoid is true. People around him would say that a lot, and he wouldn’t know better. The idea is that, with so many astounding mysteries in the world, the concept of our brain using so little of its capacity wouldn't sound so unbelievable. All the sudden, a man comes around and points out: “what you believed is wrong. Do you have any idea of how stupid you were being?”. A simple “no” won’t do: he has to go to that joke, no matter who’s in the way. In another video, Grey explained the ins and outs of copyright matters, and why someone can't just make a Harry Potter movie, or a Star Wars movie, thanks to trademarks. Sounds informative enough, but Grey just has to - for some reason - put down the Prequels, in an attitude that was completely uncalled for. Maybe it was because - as I very declared here in DA before - he wanted to look cool, and denigrating the Prequels has become a synonymous of cool among the youngsters. Peter Travers also has this line of thought, and he's everything but awesome (or trustworthy, for the record).
And when he’s not mocking people or arts, he is lionizing his own opinions: one of his posts declares how AWESOME Reddit is. He declares that it’s great because it puts news in your front page that are based in what you usually see: it’s a personalized media portal that only shows you what you might want to know, and he concludes the video declaring something akin to “you won’t imagine how your life was before it”. Nice points, right? Well… you don’t have to be a nagger to realize the holes in Grey’s Reddit fantasy. Bill Maher himself pointed out that Reddit does have a problem, and it lies especially on the custom matter. You see, if your page will only exhibit news that might interest you… how will you know in full the matters of the world? And even further: how will you find interest in new themes that might entice you? New themes and subjects that would pass unnoticed by your Reddit? Maher declared that, when you have paper news, even then you’ll go straight to what interests you. Not that Maher is against Reddit, but you see… the paper is complete. It’s not customized, for it has a little bit of everything for all. And as you would be reading the news you’re interested about, your eyes might spot a theme you usually don’t care for, but that for the situation, it might interest you. Example: you’re reading about sports, but some news on economics catches your eye. And instead of just reading about the New York Giants as you wanted, all the sudden you are also reading about different news that caught your interest. And now, economics is something you want to know. And now, you have more information - and opinion - over people who just read about their customized news. Tell me again how Reddit is super awesome, Mister Grey.
And I imagine: the way he worshiped some popular internet website... it didn't sound very educational at all. Given that he sells mugs and shirts with his logo, it may very well be a possibility Reddit contacted him into making an ad (which is not reprehensible at all), disguised as education (which is). It is true that several popular uploaders - including ScienceAsap and even JonTron - eventually gave room in their videos for Audible, Amazon, and others. But here's the thing: they reserve a room, usually at the end, for the advertising. And I'm not convinced that Reddit worship was a genuine display of opinion or enlightenment.
To make matters even more showing, Grey defends the Monarchy of Britain like if he were a Briton himself. He made a video defending why the Monarchs actually cause British taxes to go down, instead of up. His explanation is that, after all, the Royal family owes a lot of terrains, and from these terrains, the United Kingdom draws profits. Should the Royal Family leave, it would take its lands as well, with all its profits. So instead of being paid the governmental fee of 40 million per year, they would take the far greater profits their lands generate, which go to the UK instead. Wonderful, right? Well… another uploader released a video far less popular – and much more extensive – explaining why Grey would be wrong, and how this whole situation is much more complex than what he displayed. And upon watching that video, you question: did Grey want to make an impartial video about the cost and the gains of British Monarchy to the UK… or did he want to declare the royals are super awesome as well, to the point of not researching deeply into the economics of the United Kingdom? The other video got that 50/50 thing of dislikes and likes: I'm pretty sure people were irate with the uploader for daring to contest Grey's definitive opinion by making a deeper research.
Look, this might sound as a big rant from an enormously envious guy. But in fact, this is an outburst from someone who used to trust C.G.P. Grey, only to discover he is someone filled with bias when he shouldn't be, poses his opinions as fact, and can be incredibly rude with his “edgy” sense of humour. His success consumes me a little: all the suddenly, his opinions will become facts in the mind of many, and there they’ll go, treating penny defenders as scum, believing anyone misguided by popular misconceptions needs to be hit by a harmful stinger. Don't get me wrong: I don't hate Grey. In fact, I cannot help but to find his proposition of education fascinating. But proposition differs of reality, and the reality is that Grey can fall victim of his own ego. I don’t feel “envious"; I feel disappointed.