2007: The Year in Videos

Reasonoids pick their favorite clips of the year that was.

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It's the first day of 2008, and outside of Iowa and Pakistan there's not much news and not much to worry about. Kick back and click the "play" button as reason editors and friends of the magazine remember the most striking, funny, historic, stupid, or impactful videos of 2007.

Update on January 2: Due to an editing error, some video picks were not included in the original posting of the article. Submitted for your viewing pleasure are three new selections:

Radley Balko
reason senior editor

I'm nominating the lot of police brutality and taser videos. The most popular this year were probably the "Don't Tase Me, Bro" video from a John Kerry event in Florida (see below) and a Missouri teenager's recording of an abusive police officer who had pulled him over. The genre as a whole is the result of the mass democratization of technology, and represents an important shift toward transparency and accountability in law enforcement. More than a few abusive police officers have lost their jobs after a video went viral, which likely wouldn't have happened were we still in the pre-Internet age. Mass watching of the watchers is a good thing, and we ought to be encouraging more of it, both to weed out bad cops and to protect the good ones from frivolous claims of abuse.

Ronald Bailey
reason science correspondent

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' weekly television talk show, Alo Presidente, infamously runs on for hours. In September, 2007 viewers were treated to more than eight hours of presidential bloviation. Chavez' hero, the notoriously long-winded Fidel Castro, has never even gotten close to that record.

In November at the Ibero-American Summit, Spain's King Juan Carlos told Chavez, "Why don't you just shut up!" Juan Carlos' words have been turned into a popular ring tone. I nominate it as the "best" video of 2007 because it was way past time that someone told Chavez to just zip it.

Nick Gillespie
reason editor-in-chief

I continue to laugh every time I watch the meeting of minds between singer-songwriter John Mayer and Justin Long (the Apple Computer guy) outside an L.A. nightclub. Mayer–drunk on booze or maybe just strict construction of the Constitution?–goes on a pro-Ron Paul rant that is magical not just for its intensity and heartfeltness but for its very existence in the first place. Years ago in reason, we excerpted Tyler Cowen's What Price Fame?, a study in how contemporary celebrities are impotent puppets we pay astronomical amounts to entertain us (Cowen's piece is not, alas, online). This is true, even when we agree with them. It's a great world where this sort of footage is widely available.

Katherine Mangu-Ward
reason associate editor

This mashup of the classic Apple 1984 ad and Hillary campaign footage ends with Obama's website address but wasn't approved by his campaign. When the maker's identity was feretted out by the Huffington Post, he said: "This ad was not the first citizen ad, and it will not be the last. The game has changed." Ne'er were truer words spoken in 2007.

Jeff Taylor
reason online columnist

A perfect creation of ad hoc media—found it via Fark.com, builds on a previous YouTube upload of Hubble telescope images set to the Tool song Lateralus—and adds immense value, meaning, and insight, all because some guy—philriehl—decided to do it. The 9:24 vid—that number is important—illustrates and explains a Fibonacci number sequence clearly enough for everyone to feel their inner gnostic stir. Beautiful, powerful, and inspiring.


Jesse Walker

reason managing editor

Who is the YouTube candidate? It might be Ron Paul, thanks to his ability to inspire hundreds of homemade videos, some of them gloriously weird. But Mike Gravel is the guy who makes weird videos, or at least sends them out with his stamp of approval. My favorite is this Lennonist rap featuring psychedelic animation and clips from Duck and Cover.

Matt Welch
incoming editor-in-chief of reason

I can never tell whether this surrealist attack on/celebration of John "Walnuts" McCain was based on any particular knowledge or point of view, or whether it was just a one-time burst of inspired guesswork, but I do know that it only gets better—and creepier—on the 200th viewing. "I want to help people… in their lives" may yet go down as one of the most chilling predictions of the 2008 presidential campaign.

Tyler Cowen
author of Discover Your Inner Economist

The best video clip I saw this year was John McLaughlin playing "Cherokee."

David Harsanyi
author of Nanny State

My favorite video of the year:

Markos Moulitsas
netroots paterfamilias

The Huckabee parody ad. Nothing captured better the absurdity of the GOP's entire field.

Brendan O'Neill
editor of Spiked Online

Mia Farrow in Second Life talking about Darfur: It's not my favourite video of the year. But in capturing the naked narcissism of celebrity activism, it's one of the most startling. Mia Farrow's young-looking, sexy avatar addresses a virtual audience of students, activists and lizards in Second Life. Like most Save Darfur activists Farrow says precisely nothing about the politics driving the conflict in Sudan; instead she describes horrific occurrences and shows photos of distressed Darfurians. As Mahmood Mamdani wrote in the London Review of Books (Essay of the Year), activists like Farrow "obscure the politics of the violence and position [themselves] as a virtuous, not just a concerned observer." It's fitting that Farrow's speech takes place in the cartoon world of Second Life, since the aim of Darfur activists is not to get to grips with the reality on the ground in Sudan but to create a virtual plane of moral superiority that they can occupy. Darfur is a "defining moment for the human family," says Farrow. She's so vain she thinks somebody else's war is about her. Watch this vid to glimpse Kipling's colonialism updated: the Web Surfer's Burden.

NEXT: Could Ron Beat Rudy Twice?

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  1. My personal favorite

    Gay Duck in a plot to kill Borat
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dhS2zXyfck

  2. Not new by any means, but new to me this year: Vanilla Fudge peforming “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” live in 1968. You know the music is going to be good when there are psychedelic projections in the background and multiple Marshall stacks.

  3. Andrew: that is the best Vanilla Fudge video I have ever seen, aside from their video for Shotgun.

  4. By the way: Vanilla Fudge is scheduled to tour in 2008, as well as Blue Cheer!

  5. For me, the best video of 2007 is a trailer for the upcoming documentary Orange Sunshine. It’s about the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.

  6. I can’t help being a shill for Big Wiki?, but how about the commenters compiling a companion list here.

  7. Fuck, Tool is awesome. Maynard for President.

  8. Daily Kos is a Reasonoid? Did an alternate universe coalesce sometime around midnight?

  9. Katherine wins the thread, I’d seen that St Hill vid before, but man, it is just great.

  10. Rimfax, that’s cool.

    Two nominations, both new to me in 2007.

    BB King, Clapton, Jimmy Vaughn, and Buddy Guy do Rock Me Baby

    Bonus: the Blasters do Roll ’em, Pete in 1982. This is truly a gem–recorded from the Uncle Floyd show on UHF back in the olden days.

    And, of course The Wine Commonsewer theme song: Bloomfield and company (Electric Flag) do Drinkin’ Wine live at Altamont in ’68. Stellar performance even with one non-functional mike.

  11. If you want comedy rather than music, you can’t beat the complete, unabridged fight sequences of Peter Griffin versus the chicken on Family Guy. This particular YouTube is so well crafted that you even get the “prequel” that explains the reason the chicken passed Peter the bad coupon to begin with.

  12. Rimfax, does the Wiki page automatically update from this page or do I need to physically log in and edit? Thanks.

  13. the cartoon world of Second Life

    But, in all fairness, isn’t all of this Hit & Run commentary “cartoonish”? Let’s start the new year with a bit of honesty, shall we? Aren’t we all, still, at this point, merely circle jerkers?

  14. Kos?

    My favorite videos are the ones I made. Funkier ones I made here. Another one I made for another one of my profiles is here:

    youtube.com/watch?v=sbDG4pxLmWM

    It’s not that visible, but part of that has some nasty drop-offs on the right.

    This one’s pretty good:

    youtube.com/watch?v=6lbvSBNLLoo

    This one’s so very, very bad I’ve only managed to make it through partway a few times:

    youtube.com/watch?v=FONt47Z0KZg

    This one from the early 90s is very good, as is this one from ’87 or so:

    youtube.com/watch?v=CPhRhCkOB8A

  15. the only way that Mia Farrow video could have been funnier would be if a bunch of 4chan types had bum rushed the event with dancing bears and Mario Brothers blocks.

  16. Never mind, I figured it out. Probably the slow and clumsy way, but I edited your Wiki page. 🙂

  17. Thank you Jesse Walker for making me feel less weird about how much I love that Gravel video.

  18. TLB, isn’t Markos Moulitsas the Daily Kos? I’m pretty sure but I could be wrong. Maybe I should check.

  19. Not to nick pits, TWC, but that performance was Saturday, June 17th 1967 at Monterey Fairgrounds.

    Earlier that day was Country Joe & The Fish. Here is their performance of Section 43. Groovy, man!

    Sorry, I’m a geek for those old rock festivals. Monterey was peaceful and innocent compared to Altamont, which was scary beyond belief:

    The Flying Burrito Brothers — Six Days On The Road.

    Jefferson Airplane — The Other Side of This Life.

  20. Correction:

    …..Bloomfield and company (Electric Flag) do Drinkin’ Wine live at Altamont in ’68 Monterrey in ’67……

  21. Gene, that’s a great Burritos tune. Now THAT was at Altamont.

    I think we should have a contest to name the best recording of SIX DAYS ON THE ROAD.

  22. Gene, I see you beat me to my correction. 🙂

  23. Didja see the comment on the Country Joe vid about all the hot women? Smirks and sez, yeah, no duh.

  24. I think we should have a contest to name the best recording of SIX DAYS ON THE ROAD.

    I wish the New Riders Of The Purple Sage recorded a version. I heard them in concert many years ago and they played that tune.

  25. If I enjoyed that, Tee, does it mean I need professional help? 🙂

  26. This must be “Post if you’re 17 or younger” day.

  27. Warty,

    “Fuck, Tool is awesome. Maynard for President.”

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about (was there a Tool video linked previously?), but did you see this? Very funny. Maynard’s latest project…

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=BY5in8JY0ao

  28. And WTF is Moulitsas doing in that list? Is the “I don’t know what the hell libertarian means, but it sounds cool so I adopted the label for myself” crowd now considered friends of Reason? Where is Bill Maher’s entry?

  29. It’s New Year’s and this is the best Reason can come up with? Pathetic and disappointing, I must say.

  30. JLM:

    Magnificence piled on top of awesomeness. The coolest thing about Puscifer may be that Milla Jovovich guests on the album.

    Tool came up because the second video was the Lateralus Fibonacci series video: here

  31. For some reason, I have to keep watching this:

    http://www.cyriak.co.uk/moo.html

    I suppose that makes it my favorite for the year.

  32. Not new by any means, but new to me this year: Vanilla Fudge peforming “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” live in 1968. You know the music is going to be good when there are psychedelic projections in the background and multiple Marshall stacks.

    You pedestrian feeb. Don’t you know that crap is the McDonald’s of music?

  33. You pedestrian feeb. Don’t you know that crap is the McDonald’s of music?

    McDonald’s is selling CDs now?

  34. McDonald’s is selling CDs now?

    Go here to read about me letting the hoi polloi have it for daring to listen to crap and call it “music.”

  35. Warty,

    Yes, I guess I should have rtfa, instead of skimmed through it…and watched the videos.

  36. Go here to read about me letting the hoi polloi have it for daring to listen to crap and call it “music.”

    No thanks. I’m not big on foreign food.

  37. Go here to read about me letting the hoi polloi have it for daring to listen to crap and call it “music.”

    Haha. Ken, I actually wrote another lengthy response to your response and it looks like you haven’t read it yet. Do check it out; maybe it can change your attitude towards pop music a little.

  38. For those who are interested, I defended pop/rock from the snobby classical establishment here (same thread, earlier post).

  39. I wish I could say my favorite video of the year was the one of Eric Dondero getting kicked in the nuts. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been made yet. I remain optimistic!

    If everyone else is gonna post old stuff, so am I…

  40. the hoi polloi? My teeth hurt.

  41. This, by far, is the worst video of the year. Do not watch it.

  42. If everyone else is gonna post old stuff, so am I…

    Fiield Musicians of the Civil War

  43. Pig, you are the man.

    While I’m listening The boy walks up and says….

    Dad, what’s a nervous breakdown?

    TWC: That’s when you go crazy.

    The Boy: You mean like Aunt Colleen?

    TWC: Yep, and she ain’t the only one.

    The Boy: Huh?

    TWC: Yep, half my side of the family are bat crazy. Four generations. I dunno. Maybe genetic.

    The Boy: Are you going to go crazy dad?

    Mrs TWC: Your dad has really bad judgement. Go to sleep.

    TWC: I ain’t crazy.

    TWC: If I was going crazy that woulda happend long ago.

  44. All heil das Techno Viking.

  45. Oi Vei:

    From the Wikipedia entry on “hoi polloi;”

    “…In idiomatic English, it is no more redundant to say “the hoi polloi” than it is to say “the rabble,” and most writers who use the term continue to precede it with *the* …[13].”

    If you’re going to be a grammar snob at least know what you’re talking about, ‘k? Now excuse me, I’ve got to go fap to Jackson Pollock’s No. 5.

  46. As soon as redundancy admits of degrees, I’ll tow my kow to the very unique Wikipederast. But thank you for showing me the rabble’s current orthodoxy.

    Kisses.

  47. Wikipederast

    Did you mean Wikipedant? Wikipederast is an awesome coinage in any case, though.

  48. No; -pederast, as in shameless, howsoever sincere, corruption of the innocent.

  49. This, by far, is the worst video of the year. Do not watch it.

    Nooooooooo.

    That is NOT the worst video of the year by far. You want the worst? Really?

    Google “2 girls, 1 cup”.

    I am NOT even going to post a link to it. If you dare watch it, you do so at your own risk.

  50. Oi Vei:

    It’s not redundant in any degree. I guess that’s difficult to admit when you have THE EL NI?O crammed up your rosewater-smelling patootie, but the hoi polloi in this case are correct.

    But say it however you want if it makes you feel better, which by your definition is probably “at all times and in all ways superior to the hoi polloi.”

    PS: C WUT I DID THAR?

  51. “…In idiomatic English, it is no more redundant” – Wikipatui

    More kisses!

  52. And since you’re unable even to spell my name correctly, I leave you now.

    Respectfully submitted.

  53. I think the Mia Farrow comments were equal parts unfair speculation and unnecessary cynicism. The fact that a concerned person speaks from the heart about the humanity of the situation does not imply at all vain egotism, but your nasty critique does. After the first speaker established the basic political situation, what Mia said, as well as her intentions, are perfectly acceptable and seem to come from genuine compassion. It’s nice to see some wealthy people and/or celebrities to spend their free time trying to help rather than seeing how much they can lavish upon themselves before they die, which is probably what you would do in her position, due to your obvious preoccupation with self-awareness.

    However, they were all nice videos, so thanks for sharing. Hostility invites more of the same, so I should think you would predict the sort of reaction I’ve just given you… as I expect more of the same (which is why I won’t be bothering to read them).

    Happy new year.

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