Saturday, November 21, 2015

The downside of vlogging about current affairs

One of the things that YouTube suggests as a way to attract viewers to your channel is to make videos about the hot topics of the moment. It’s a good piece of advice, as long as your channel can accommodate the subject at hand, but it does have its disadvantages.

One of those is the risk that your video will be made to look silly when things suddenly change. As I have now found out.

The news that Germany had decided to send the very controversial singer Xavier Naidoo to the Eurovision Song Contest was, it seemed, a godsend to me. It was relevant to Germany. It was a story that could be made to look ridiculous. It introduced non-Germans to a German celebrity they may never have heard of, not to mention a conspiracy theory ditto. Germans were busy vlogging, blogging and tweeting about it. Perfect.
Oh, drat.

So it was probably inevitable that, hours after I published the video, the news broke that, following harsh criticism, Xavier Naidoo would in fact not be competing after all.


Nevertheless, it’s a decent vlog, and I’m quite proud of it. I’ve been trying recently to do pieces that are more comedic, and this is the sort of tenor I’ve been aiming for. Not that it doesn’t accurately reflect my genuine feelings on the matter — it does — but that the monologue builds up to a punchline, which is the last sentence. I think it’s possible I may have upset a few Xavier Naidoo fans among my viewership, but it’s quite hard to take him seriously.

In addition to the things I said in the video, a lot of Germans were quite annoyed that Naidoo had simply been accounced as the German entry: until now, TV viewers have always had the chance to vote for the act they wanted to go through, but this year they’re only getting to vote for the song. Quite a few are complaining about this as if it were an attack on their democratic rights.

Well, there are a couple of things to say about that. First off, the actual contestants at the Eurovision Song Contest are not the performers, but the songwriters. The performers just perform the material, but they don’t get the prize. Second, not every country lets their viewing public vote for the performer: a very large number don’t. Third, the last time Germany got to choose the performer — last year — it all went horribly wrong. The winner, Andreas Kümmert, pulled out; so it was the runner-up, Ann-Sophie Dürmeyer, who performed. She came joint last with the Austrian entry, having scored a total of no points.

Well, there was drama there, that’s for sure. But that’s really why it’s such great fun (that, and the relentless cheese). Personally, I think that if you consider a Eurovision Song Contest win as a matter of national pride, you’ve probably not understood the Eurovision Song Contest.

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