Bum Genius

Michael McLaughlin is something of a “bum genius,” so to speak. He created the video above, which is causing quite the stir on Youtube. We asked Mr. McLaughlin to explain why he filmed it, and he was happy to oblige. Take a look at what he had to say, after the jump.

With the plethora of videos now available on the Internet, instant entertainment has never been closer to people’s fingertips. Professional, semi-professional and homemade videos of all types are nearly everywhere you click. Trailers for movies, or advertisements for products must necessarily keep their content safely nestled in the “prime time” category – that is, clean and friendly enough for all to watch as if it were family viewing time at home in front of the tube. Not so for the purveyors of home made videos that do not depend on a customer base or TV network to keep them afloat! The simple joy and creativity of making a video for no other reason than to please yourself, and hopefully others, with no constraints on content is now available to anyone with a video camera and an internet connection.

The availability of professional or semi-professional video editing software has allowed people to produce videos that, while homemade, still rival the production values people are used to seeing. But it’s often the completely amateur, shaky-camera, pixel-ridden clips that people are drawn to. For many, it’s infinitely more interesting to tune into footage of real life and real people. There’s an endless fascination with peering into an event, be it funny, heart-warming or disturbing, that was experienced and caught on camera by an everyday person just like yourself, and who you would otherwise never know anything about.

Of course in a medium such as this, people can post almost anything they want. So inevitably, among the sea of funny cat videos, precious babies uttering their first words, and overcome women being proposed to on camera (by the way if anyone ever did that to me, I’d be like “turn OFF the camera you dink!”), it’s also easy to find videos of the truly stupid, the disgustingly scatological, and the downright offensive – all ranging somewhere between hilarious and useless.

For those who enjoy and find funny what others deem offensive, such videos are easily found. But what about people who somehow or other are exposed to something they find distasteful? Let’s face it – no one can be shielded from running into all manner of strange animals when surfing links linked to other links within pages related to other pages.

Thus we finally get to MY video – “Bum Bum Cartoon.” My two favourite movies are “American Beauty” and Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life.” I cried watching “Forrest Gump.” I am university-educated, full of love for the world, and consider myself to be a very sensitive person. So WHY would I make a video called “Bum Bum Cartoon”?

Well, first of all, I was keen on using my new video editing plug-in that purported to turn plain footage of me (or actually, not so plain) into a cartoon. And hey, it works – very well!

Okay, if you haven’t watched it yet, you’re thinking “WTF is the Bum Bum part about?” But you see, dear video watcher, the big surprise of the video will be ruined if I tell you what this means.

Well, let me see…. Bum Bum! Not butt, ass or posterior – Bum Bum! Not even a single Bum! No, it’s got to be Bum Bum! Why? Because it’s something a child would say. Remember back to childhood? “I have to go pee pee!” Yes, the doubling of such words was taught to us as children to render non-offensive and innocent the terms and phrases we were to use when referring to various actions or body parts. Thus, for me, Bum Bum is an attempt to communicate something silly, childish and harmless. As the phrase appears in my video, if I’d used anything other than Bum Bum, it would have indeed been too literal and not nearly as inconsequential as I believe it to be.

But apparently, it’s not as inconsequential as I believe it to be! When I first posted this video, it sat there for awhile at 200 views after I directed my family and friends to it. Then one day, due to the nature of the internet (and probably the nature of the video) it shot up several thousand views.

I was thrilled! …Until of course I started reading some of the comments. The “likes” and “dislikes” were equal and have remained so. But a taste of the comments follows:

1. This is the worst s**t I’ve ever seen! God I hate you!

2. I can’t wait until the entirety of the “YouTube Generation” grows up to be in their 60’s and has to explain why they did stupid bulls**t like this on? the internet to their grown kids or grandchildren.

3. This is disgusting.

4. Get a life. Not cool.

5. Are you on meth?

Of course there were some good comments too, but I was indeed surprised by the amount of negative feedback. I mean, okay! It’s over the top and strange. But that’s the point! I was trying to make a video that would make people laugh their heads off at the sheer absurdity of what they would see. I assumed (half-mistakenly) that everyone would know that I am not serious – not one iota!

While I WAS prepared for some people to find it stupid (it’s not exactly brimming with PhD material…), and a few others to find it distasteful for their own (as I saw it) puritanical senses, I was fully unprepared to discover that a “few” would be roughly half of the viewers!

Interestingly enough, ALL of my friends and family found it hilarious. I suppose that’s because they know me, know who I am, and are aware that I’m KIDDING! And to be honest, while I understand that some people will not like it, I find it a little sad that others have found it literally enraging or horrifying. It just shows how seriously some people insist on taking things.

And in the shifting, sometimes scary world in which we live, my video is supposed to be an ESCAPE from seriousness, a reason to laugh even as you say “WTF?” and forget the trials of the day. This is supposed to be laughed at! You be the judge!

–Michael McLaughlin

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