Still blogging from suburban franchise coffeehouses, so this post will have to be relatively brief, but I’ve been intrigued by the discussions of ten best lists, starting with Andy Horbal’s list of reasons why he doesn’t like ten best lists (also see Jim Emerson’s response to Andy). Keeping with my personal blogging tradition, I’ll wait until after the holidays before I contribute my own top ten list, but thinking about this year’s list has encouraged me to reflect on my viewing habits and how those habits were altered to some extent by moving from DC to North Carolina this year (of course, given that I had a chance to attend Silverdocs, this year, you can probably guess that once again, my list will be loaded with documentaries).
But as online video culture continues to evolve, I’ve also been thinking about what it might mean to start creating a “canon” of internet-based videos. Obviously, online video is still very much an ephemeral, nascent medium, but it would seem that such a young medium would stand to benefit from this form of preservation. As many film scholars have pointed out, most early films have been lost, in part due to the fragility of the film medium but also because not enough people recognized the importance of preserving this important part of our history. So I’ve been contemplating what it might mean to create a “ten best list” of online videos or whether it would even be plausible to compile a representtaive list when there is so much material out there. There’s already one interesting Top Ten list out there, compiled by the folks at lulu.tv, which includes what I regard as one of the best online videos of the year, “George Bush’s Imagine” (thanks to Virginia Heffernan for the link).
Of course a top ten (or twelve) list of online videos brings to the surface questions of taste and aesthetics that are far from established (the same might be said of top ten film lists, but critics’ lists do tend to overlap quite a bit). The lulu.tv list is notable because the listmakers chose to list single films from a set of categories or genres (machinima, mashups, parodies, remixes, male and female vlogs) rather than simply choosing ten favorite videos, an approach that succeeds in depicting the diversity of material now available online. I’m not sure I’ll have enough computer time until after the New Year, but I may try my hand at compiling a similar list or at least highlighting a few of my favorite online videos from the last year.