“tl;dr” is internet slang for “too long; didn’t read.” We are living in an age where we are constantly bombarded with news articles, verbose Facebook rants, blogs, and an endless stream of think pieces we believe we just don’t have the time for. Our response has been to say, “Nope, too many words,” and turn to Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. On the one hand, as a bookworm and a fan of using 10 words when probably only two are necessary, I worry about my generation’s acceptance of 140 character limits. On the other hand, a YouTube channel whose videos range from Peep eating challenges to thoughtful pieces on the US public school system recently raised over $1 million for significant international charities. Traditional media is changing, and overall, I think this is a good thing.
Over the past year, I’ve been exposed to some incredible films and I’ve been paying more attention to the power of digital media. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s okay, and even very effective, to let TV do the talking. New media is exploding with educational content that is fun, easily accessible, and proves that paying attention to current events and learning more about the world around us doesn’t have to be difficult or dull. YouTube is about more than cat videos and panda sneezes. A documentary can be entertaining without the voice of Morgan Freeman.*
So, this blog is for those who might be interested in engaging more with current events and world news, but too often find themselves saying “tl;dr.” Do you have a vague idea of what Congress is and how it works, but you’re not confident you could pass the American citizenship test? There are YouTube videos for that. Not sure what “Gamergate” is all about, or why it matters? I know some videos that can explain it to you. You want an introduction to the long, complicated backstory that is the Israel-Palestine conflict? I have film recommendations for that.
I want to be clear here: Watching YouTube videos and documentaries does not an expert make. If you want to know all that there is to know about US foreign policy and have people respect your authority on the subject, go read a book. Read many books in fact. Take classes. Talk to experts.
I’m not going to share educational shortcuts. They don’t exist. Movies, television, and short videos can serve a purpose in education–to an extent. A love story set in Iran might encourage you to read up on the rich history and culture of that country. In fact, I hope it does. My goal with this blog is to share new and creative media that might kickstart your education, and inspire you to approach news articles about healthcare and tax cuts with interest, rather than a “tl:dr” attitude.
In the same vein: I am not an expert. This blog is an attempt to help educate people through media, but it is also a writing exercise for me. Basically, I want to throw Vlogbrothers and PBS videos at people in a more organized fashion than random Facebook updates. My hope is that people will find some merit in this, actually watch the films, and go out into the world and engage in awesome dialogue about current events, politics, and culture. Educational media may not be the only way to decrease world suck, but I think it’s a great first step in the right direction.
tl;dr: No, you actually have to read this one. Go back to the beginning. Or read my About page, I guess.
*Not gonna lie, though: his voice definitely influenced my affection for March of the Penguins.