I understand what you mean Jen ... Part of me finds the reaction we all had/have fascinating too.  The full range of the social impact of vlogging is still kinda new after all.

However, like Chuck, another part of me is irritated by the whole thing (and the more I think about it the more so I become).  I guess my feeling is that if this was meant to be a part of some artistic experiment in video/vlogging ... a simple frame at the end stating "This was Fiction: Kevin is alive and well." wouldn't have limited his ability to explore this fiction. 

If it was however an experiment on how such a video would effect me the viewer ... that doesn't seem fair ... I didn't sign up to be in any experiment today (and the content was not pleasant).

For the sake of discussion ... I'm not a regular viewer of the site and in my cursory review of other works I didn't see any fiction (characters/plots), and experiments seemed clearly labeled as such ... so I left the site feeling all the things we can expect people feel when they believe they've just re-lived a very real and tragic moment with someone when they found their friend dead.  It wasn't a feel good moment.

I'm not willing to say it crossed any line of acceptable/not-acceptable but it definitely was ... harsh.  I for one would have definitely (if even at the end) put up a "No Kevins were actually hurt in the making of this fictional episode" notice.  It seems only a simple kindness to the viewer to do so.  I don't see how relieving the very upsetting emotions this sort of scene inspires would have diminished the work, or its ability to inspire those emotions in the first place.

I don't know if it was meant as a mean spirited hoax or just simple case of a class project distributed to an audience that wouldn't recognize it as such ... assuming it was the latter, I think this is a good example of "You never know who is watching".  It's easy to forget that our work can potentially reach people who might not be 'in the know' as to how the site works and the style of the producer.  I know I usually operate on the assumption the same group of people are going to be watching tomorrow as there was yesterday; but still I try to limit any 'inside jokes' for just this reason.

If it WAS meant as a trick on the viewer, then yeah I think it probably was "too much" ... not because it was lie, but because it was a lie designed (seemingly only) to wound the viewer.  Films and movies may wound their viewers, but they do it in a larger context of entertainment or education.  Fake scenes of such disturbing content without that larger context ... seems just mean. :-P 

In any event, I'm very glad Kevin is ok ... tell him to avoid parties and toilets. ;-)

On 4/24/06, Jen Simmons < [EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
Well for one I have to disagree that this is "worse" than the insidious
creeping take-over of the vlogosphere imagination by corporate or
corporate-copy-cat consumption-oriented / advertisy /
product-placementy / slick-is-better /
we-all-want-to-be-like-the-media-on-tv trends. I find that WAY more
dangerous and problematic.

I am wondering myself why I find this fascinating. I am surprised by my
own reaction. Perhaps it's because I know Kevin and there's something
not-typical about his approach to all the violent weird stupid
perverted content that I am way way tired of after teaching student
filmmaking in Philadelphia for the last three years. He is handling the
same subjects, but somehow there is something else going on too --
perhaps it's just that he's smart and it shows to me, while most of the
other students make such work in such a mindless knee-jerk
"stupid"/blind way.

I think my reaction is mostly because of a workshop I've been in with
Kevin taught by Ralph Lemon where we've been exploring danger and risk
and fear all semester. Doing weird things like setting out to drop 40
lb weights on our feet to see how we can't actually drop it on our
feet, but will naturally jerk the body out of the way.... it's
impossible, truly impossible to explain this by text, but it's been a
great investigation of the fear we who are artists confront every time
we try to make art. Artists live on the edge of real danger all the
time. Somehow I can't separate this video Kevin made with that process
of exploration, and in the context of that very specific investigation,
this is hilarious.

But... yeah... I think in any other context I too would be deeply
disturbed and offended.
I think it's interesting to me because I'm trying to figure out what
the difference is in my self. And I am also asking in a deep deep way:
what is happening here. What social rules are Kevin violating? How will
the reaction unfold? Will there be a huge outcry? Or will this all blow
over fairly quickly? Will people react? Or just take this in as one
more thing...

I see your point that it may be numbing us to real pain. I find the 27
Law and Order and copycat shows completely irresponsible for exactly
that reason. And find it completely ridiculous and amazing that NBC has
gotten both super-christian in the last year  and super-violent (come
on -- an AMY GRANT reality tv show??? and more than one "miracle"
reality tv show... and more murder "investigations" than I've ever
seen.) I'll be just change channels zipping past NBC and get assaulted
by a scene of a graphic rape and murder. It seems like an extremely
perverted rape-by-proxy thing, what, letting the viewers fantasize
about what it would be like to rape and murder someone?? It' very
offensive to me. And I see no one talking about it. Why aren't the
christians outraged about that?? Instead they are freaking out over a
gay kiss or people talking about evolution... it's crazy crazy crazy.

I also know that I am numb to the violence in my student's work because
it's so horrible here at Temple. The most unbelievably violent films
get made by the undergraduates here. And no one talks about it. After
four years I think my perspective is totally warped. And having people
on the outside say -- "uh, no, this is not acceptable" is a welcome
breath of fresh air.

So people, please everyone say what you think. I want to hear what
people really think and get a sense of where different people are on
these issues -- some how that is fascinating to me. What do people
think is the line that we shouldn't cross when it comes to violence? Is
Kevin's film too much because it is violent? Or because it is lying?


On Apr 24, 2006, at 6:07 PM, Chuck Olsen wrote:

>  You find it fascinating - why? I find it tiresome and irresponsible.
>  God, I must be getting old. I used to appreciate a good arty blog
> prank.
>  The problem is this: Rather than using vlogs to enrich the human
>  experience, and expand our exposure to the range of human experiences,
>  pranks like this numb us to it. It numbs us to real death and real
>  pain, and cheapens it.
>  This sort of prank is worse for the vlogosphere than any
> advertisement.
>  --- In videoblogging@yahoogroups.com , Jen Simmons <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>  >
>  > I'm wondering whether to chime in now, or wait and watch this
>  > discussion go for a while more. I find it fascinating.

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