I have spent far too much time on Ryeberg lately. The concept behind the website is simple, but brilliant. Curators ( "smart, distinguished people" like writers Pasha Malla, Russell Smith, Sheila Heti, Mary Gaitskill, video artist Mike Hoolboom, etc.) select and write about videos on YouTube (or any other video-hosting site). "A curated video—the end product in this process—is neither wholly video nor wholly text. In a sense, it is a genre unto itself, defined by its two indivisible, organic parts: video and text." The video clips provide a starting point for reminiscing, for theorizing, or for lyrical counterpoint. The essays are often funny, sometimes poignant, always thought-provoking.
For example, Jowita Bydlowska, in "Perverts are Mainstream" (http://ryeberg.com/curated-videos/perverts-are-mainstream/) writes about "an Agent Provocateur shoe ad from 2007. It looks sexy, dirty and it’s shot in the way that suggests a peeping Tom or a surveillance camera. It has a fantastic soundtrack. It implies a lot more filthy fun than you can see, which is why it may make you a bit uncomfortable."
Elyse Friedman, in "The Video Cure for Day-to-Day Disgust," (http://ryeberg.com/curated-videos/the-video-cure-for-day-to-day-disgust/) begins "More and more often (at least two or three times a week), I find myself exasperated and exhausted by the stupidity/greed/cruelty of people. Idiocy abounds, and sometimes I feel the need to remind myself that not all human activity is a roiling ocean of rotten pus. At these moments I never think about mankind’s great achievements, be they scientific, architectural or athletic. Moon walk, pyramids, Everest scaling… these kinds of lofty accomplishments do not make me feel any better about my fellow man. And while I can find solace in great art and music (Chopin “Nocturnes” soothe and smooth) it’s really only the goofy stuff that can restore affection. Like YouTube videos of the “Soul Train” line dance, for example:"
But these are just teasers! Nyla Matuk writes on the Aesthetics of Dread, taking off from T.S. Eliot's poetry readings (one video is a hilarious animated photo of Eliot as he mouths "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"). Mary Gaitskill writes about Michael Jackson and the Cruelty of the Ideal, via Edie Sedgewick, the Velvet Underground, and other things that don't have anything to do with Jackson. You can spend hours browsing on Ryeberg. Each piece is wholly idiosyncratic, juxtaposing the selected video(s) with illuminating writing. Ryeberg sets the bar high for this new form of engagement with the world of internet video.