YouTube is probably the greatest anthropological project ever launched. It has managed to expose the multitudes of the human condition more than any other medium ever created, and allowed people to express themselves in more diverse ways than at any point in history. This weekly column is an outlet for me to share with you some undiscovered gems, as well some very well-trodden gems, and discuss just what it is that makes the chosen accounts so intriguing.
WHAT: An unreal amount of top 10-style videos.
HOW MANY SUBSCRIBERS AT TIME OF WRITING: 10,655,400
WHY SHOULD I CARE: WatchMojo is the most popular channel featured on this series to date. It's also, in my mind, one of the strangest and most intriguing.
Over the past couple of years, the list format has had what I will begrudgingly call a renaissance. Whereas once it was an easy last-minute feature for print media, a simple yet contentious thing to stick into a magazine with not a lot else going on, now they are the go-to format for online 'content'. As we all know, the list lets off a little fire in our brains, the small flame that erupts every time we become irate with disagreement, or buoyant through having our tastes vindicated.
Lists are now as ubiquitous and omnipresent as the air we breathe. WatchMojo is the Buzzfeed of YouTube, smashing out lists all over the shop. But what makes WatchMojo bearable, where your standard .gif-laden clickbait is not, is kind of subtlety. Essentially the two things are one and the same, right? Both are idle, momentary distractions, pleasant yet ultimately useless, right? WRONG.
WatchMojo's weird parlance and officious approach to their often ridiculous top tens is very enjoyable indeed. Take their video 'Top 10 Worst Attacks on Journalists'. Here are ten examples of foul attacks on journalists trying to do their jobs, to expose the rank corruption seeded at every stage of life, sometimes giving their lives to do so. Yet their struggles are immortalised here by a soft-voiced Canadian woman delivering a script of their pain in a typically matter-of-fact way. It's the cadence of these things that intrigues me. That undulating, newsreading style, the basic format of every voiceover, though here it's just regurgitating opinions widely held by millions of people.
What I like most about WatchMojo is its little nods to how silly it is. For instance, when it does 'Yet Another' of something, or a 'Quickie' of the top ten World War I movies, WatchMojo knows what it is. Though I've no doubt that compiling, editing and producing one of these fucking things every single day doesn't come without its stresses, at least they've tried to not make it feel like that.
WatchMojo's extreme popularity is a testament to not only to its widely beloved format but also the straight face with which it delivers it. Sometimes the depressing need for constant 'things' to be consumed and discarded can actually be all right. It's no surprise that YouTube, the Best Website In The World, is home to the one of the only good examples of content farming in existence.
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