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Do you know what is the most viewed video on YouTube by number of views? Here it is. 14 billion views in less than seven years. And there are many videos like this. I wonder, what is this song about? What does it teach? What is the meaning of it at all? From my point of view, shaped long ago by the fairy tales of Sergei Mikhalkov, Samuil Marshak, and Agniya Barto, there is no meaning in this song. But it must be, since it was watched and appreciated by hundreds of millions of parents and children! No, it shouldn’t. It’s simple: what millions like now is the quality standard. But it wasn’t always like this.

Just a few decades ago, there was no internet, no YouTube, and all mass media had editors or even editorial teams that decided what to publish and convey to the viewers, and what to discard immediately. Moreover, even earlier there were countries where censorship was rampant at the state level, which not only discarded inappropriate material, but also sent the authors to camps.

Fortunately, you will say, those times have passed. It is not just a time of triumph for freedom of speech, but also a time of almost complete uselessness of editors and censors. A few years ago, I experienced this myself. It happened like this. I wrote a technical article and sent it to an online publication. They rejected it, explaining why. I sent it to another publication, where they also rejected it, citing a reason that completely contradicted the first rejection. The editors advised me to correct the article in opposite directions. In the end, I published the article on my blog, presented it at a conference, and received much more views and likes than I probably could have gathered in one of those respected publications.

I believe that if such events had happened 50 years earlier, I would not have been able to publish my thoughts without satisfying the strict requirements of one of the editors. I would have been limited by censorship. Moreover, if I had published my article independently through the so-called samizdat method, it would have been easy to end up in camps (at the very least, I would not have avoided a severe reprimand). It seems that the horrible times of the past are gone, and it’s wonderful that there is no longer censorship or editorial boards, only the internet! This is just at first glance.

As I understand it, the task of censorship is not so much to limit the creative impulses of authors, as it is to protect all other citizens from the consequences of these impulses. Just as the police punishes hooligans not because they want to harm them, but to protect others. Videos like the one we started this article with, in my opinion, are real online hooliganism.

You will say, but people are satisfied. They watch, like, subscribe to YouTube channels. How is it hooliganism if the majority is delighted and shows this content to their children, who presumably swipe their fingers on the screen and moo with pleasure? The thing is that the consequences of domestic hooliganism are obvious and unpleasant to us: neither broken windows, nor the smell in the elevator, nor graffiti on the walls in the entrance are liked by the absolute majority. The consequences of online hooliganism are much more tragic, but at the same time less obvious to most: the population’s intelligence decreases and the desire for the beautiful disappears. This is scarier than the smell in the entrance.

But the authors of this simple song and similar content that fills YouTube are not to blame! They are just doing their job, trying to meet the demands of society. But if 50 years ago the interests of society were represented by a strict editor of the magazine “Youth” and the artistic council of the “Song of the Year” festival, now the interests of society are represented by YouTube, which expresses them through the number of likes. No matter what the author creates, they are forced to adapt to the tastes of the crowd, which will undoubtedly enthusiastically perceive uncensored language, below-the-belt jokes, and in every sense pornography.

I am finishing up this article while in China. A couple of days ago, I was talking with an acquaintance who is Chinese, and he mentioned that there is strict censorship on their online video platforms. It is forbidden to upload anything that, in the government’s opinion, does not correspond to the moral image of a builder of a healthy society. And of course, any political videos are also prohibited. Perhaps, considering everything mentioned above, such restrictions make sense?

Translated by ChatGPT gpt-3.5-turbo/42 on 2024-05-27 at 01:21

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