Why the You Tube hate on Metafilter/AskMefi? August 13, 2006 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Why the You Tube hate on Metafilter/AskMefi?
posted by DieHipsterDie to Etiquette/Policy at 2:36 PM (174 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

*grabs popcorn and prepares for a show*
posted by Funmonkey1 at 2:45 PM on August 13, 2006


This is a legit newbie question. Not looking for a fight. Just wondering.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 2:49 PM on August 13, 2006


Because people think good links have to involve at least 2 hours of reading.
posted by bob sarabia at 2:49 PM on August 13, 2006


Let's ask this guy!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:50 PM on August 13, 2006


It's low-hanging fruit, for the most part.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:52 PM on August 13, 2006


DieHipsterDie,

I am curious as to how it's a n00b question since you have been a member since November 2004?

I've only been a member since April 2006 and I smell a bit of a troll in this thread....
posted by Funmonkey1 at 2:53 PM on August 13, 2006


i think the hate is partly because there have been so many, so suddenly. And the one link FPPs exacerbate that. But as monju says, its an easy target. No-one wants this place to turn into Snark Fark

On Preview : funmonkey1, he doesnt say he's a n00b, he just says its a legit n00b question...
posted by criticalbill at 2:57 PM on August 13, 2006


I registered in 2004 but don't keep up with the internal preferences/inside jokes of the site. For instance, I didn't understand the Pepsi Blue thing till I read it on the FAQ.

Not a troll. I have no opinion on You Tube.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 3:00 PM on August 13, 2006


Brcause it's a phenomenon that's caught on and people need to prove how cool they are by being bored with it.
posted by jonmc at 3:03 PM on August 13, 2006 [5 favorites]


fair enough! It is a good question that gets put into play everytime there is a YouTube FPP.

criticalbill sums it up nicely in saying that no one wants this to be fark. I have to add there is also a vocal supposed intellectual elite which frowns upon anything that might not consist of multiple non-visual links on arcane topics.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 3:05 PM on August 13, 2006


in fark's wildest dreams they couldn't have imagined metafilter.
posted by quonsar at 3:10 PM on August 13, 2006 [2 favorites]


This has been covered before. Search is your friend.
posted by purephase at 3:11 PM on August 13, 2006


I have to add there is also a vocal supposed intellectual elite which frowns upon anything that might not consist of multiple non-visual links on arcane topics.

I think it'd be fairer, and more accurate, to generalize that a bit:

For any one of a variety of distinct sets of post-style preferences, there exists a vocal group who frown upon any observable uptick in deviations from that preference.

Dislike for YouTube/GoogleVideo/Etc links is (or, perhaps rather, has become) a common style preference, and the uptick in video in the last however long (year or so? Six months?) has been very significant. The product of these two things is an unusually pronounced group reaction to YouTube posts.

Of course, stating it this way doesn't give one the luxury of dismissing only the biases of Those Other Guys. Sorry about that.
posted by cortex at 3:15 PM on August 13, 2006


in fark's wildest dreams they couldn't have imagined metafilter.

Nonsense. It'd just have great big tits and say nice things about their photoshop entries.
posted by cortex at 3:16 PM on August 13, 2006


1.) Because people expect static HTML, and web pages that require extended loading time or that contain audio content are annoying. For many people, reading the Internet isn't much different than reading a newspaper, and those people don't much appreciate web pages that "talk back."

2.) Because it's a meme. "There are neat videos on YouTube." Yeah, we get it. Thanks. If I want to check 'em out, I'll browse the site. Just as I don't need you to FPP every humorous article you find on Fark or every cool hack you see posted to Slashdot, we don't need to give every "Most Viewed" video on YouTube its own MetaFilter thread. Incessantly mining one website again and again and again and again and again does not constitute "the best of the web."
posted by cribcage at 3:17 PM on August 13, 2006


For the record, I could give a fuck about YouTube FPPs. Just tryin' to answer the guy's question.
posted by cribcage at 3:18 PM on August 13, 2006


I think monju_bosatsu got it: It's low-hanging fruit. Finding a good video on the YouTube is about as hard as finding an interesting article on Wikipedia. Just poke around for a few minutes and you'll find something. It's no harder than finding an ass in your pants.

I could give a fuck about YouTube FPPs.

You could, eh? Do you, though?
posted by Plutor at 4:10 PM on August 13, 2006


I think maybe part of it is that "best of the web" really should be things which only the web can do. Which is to say that it should be at least a little bit interactive.

Television is television, whether it's a video clip in a flash plugin or a videotape. It isn't a uniquely-web kind of thing.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:18 PM on August 13, 2006


Kids today with their fancy markup language and plug ins. People can't see the forest for the trees. Quality content CAN exist in video form, but lots of people are too blinded by the crap to believe it.

Plus, people want conversation more than funny links. Which is arguably not the point of Metafilter.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:18 PM on August 13, 2006


Posting YouTube links is like posting articles from The Onion. We know about the site, we like it, it doesn't have to be reposted every time the content changes.
posted by LarryC at 4:26 PM on August 13, 2006


I think maybe part of it is that "best of the web" really should be things which only the web can do. Which is to say that it should be at least a little bit interactive.

I don't think that's true at all. In any case, YouTube is most definately something only the web can do, unless you want to mail people DVDs.
posted by riotgrrl69 at 4:33 PM on August 13, 2006


bob sarabia writes "Because people think good links have to involve at least 2 hours of reading."

I'm waiting for y2karl's YouTube FPP.
posted by orthogonality at 4:34 PM on August 13, 2006


Posting YouTube links is like posting articles from The Onion. We know about the site, we like it, it doesn't have to be reposted every time the content changes.

The Onion is a publication by a small group of people, including content with a very limited scope, whereas YouTube is more of a medium than a publication, allowing anyone to contribute almost anything. Also, unlike say Slashdot, interesting content is easily buried on YouTube, making it suitable for linking here if the content is good enough.
posted by riotgrrl69 at 4:38 PM on August 13, 2006


Battleship Potemkin (youtube link).
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:49 PM on August 13, 2006


some ingmar bergman (i'm trying to raise the bar here).
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:53 PM on August 13, 2006


some porky pig (i'm trying to lower the bar back, thankyouverymuch)
posted by jonmc at 5:04 PM on August 13, 2006


Because "YouTube" sounds just like "U Tube", which is what German submarines were called in WWI by the sailors aboard the U.S.S. Jacob Jones, which was sunk 6 December 1914 - carrying my great-grandfather and 63 of his shipmates to their watery graves.

FUCKING U TUBES

*sobs*
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:06 PM on August 13, 2006


1917

*sniffle*
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:13 PM on August 13, 2006


i think this thread has just been godwined.
posted by quonsar at 5:16 PM on August 13, 2006


FUCKING U TUBES

hey, I know I'm cute, but a t least romance me a bit before trying that, sailor.
posted by jonmc at 5:26 PM on August 13, 2006


Posting YouTube links is like posting articles from The Onion. We know about the site, we like it, it doesn't have to be reposted every time the content changes.

Bullshit. Posting YouTube links is like posting articles from online periodicals in general. And I don't want to "poke around for a few minutes"; I want people to find the good stuff and show it to me. That's what the "Filter" in MetaFilter means. But jonmc has it:

it's a phenomenon that's caught on and people need to prove how cool they are by being bored with it.
posted by languagehat at 5:49 PM on August 13, 2006


That's the same reason why I hate U2.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:51 PM on August 13, 2006


marvelous old man from Japan.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:19 PM on August 13, 2006


Besides the other reasons cited, those FPPs are annoying to those of us who don't have Flash (apparently Macromedia/Adobe are too bloody cheap to invest in a 64-bit compiler).
posted by clevershark at 6:20 PM on August 13, 2006


OMG, madam that was the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. How did he lean over like that? Wow! The ending was precious.
posted by caddis at 6:45 PM on August 13, 2006


But jonmc has it: "it's a phenomenon that's caught on and people need to prove how cool they are by being bored with it."

I don't mind being asked to justify my opinion. It's part of the reason I participate in forums like this, because intellectual discussion and debate is healthy and amusing. But I do take a bit of umbrage when, after politely trying to explain that I oppose abortion for reasons X, Y, and Z, someone jumps in to explain that, "No, in fact, you oppose abortion because you want to punish women for having sex."

Just sayin'. A guy asked nicely why people oppose YouTube and he got some reasonable explanations, and then a couple people decided that today was Ironic Projection Day.

You could, eh? Do you, though?

I suppose I begged that question.
posted by cribcage at 6:50 PM on August 13, 2006


"I didn't understand the Pepsi Blue thing till I read it on the FAQ."

Which you did immediately upon joining, right? At least, in its former version on the offsite Wiki?

"i think this thread has just been godwined."

You mean godwon.

The Onion is published in a weekly format. There isn't a "Best of YouTube" and best is subjective anyway, at best. As for a weekly publication of all YouTube content, well that's just crazy talk. I think people are mainly objecting to the jackass backyard stunt homevideos, and things like cats flushing toilets and especially stuff that's been around since the death of Usenet. With youtube FPPs, it's really hard to control the flow of doubles since many duplicate copies of stuff exist on YouTube. Hell, I uploaded a video that I couldn't find, only to be later shown that it was already there for months, just with shitty keywords.

But on the subject of linking to periodicals, I'm only half joking when I complain about single-link New Yorker posts. I mean, seriously, if I wanted to read the New Yorker, I'd just frickin read the New Yorker. At least with YouTube FPPs, it's not something I'd generally find on my own. But then, I don't spend 14 hours a day in front of a browser, reading every single DiggDotBoinger out there, crying "I'm BORED. Amuse me!"
posted by Eideteker at 7:16 PM on August 13, 2006


i think this thread has just been godwined.

He said World War One, quonsar.
posted by Dasein at 7:16 PM on August 13, 2006


some ingmar bergman (i'm trying to raise the bar here).
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:53 PM PST on August 13 [+] [!]

some porky pig (i'm trying to lower the bar back, thankyouverymuch)
posted by jonmc at 5:04 PM PST on August 13 [+] [!]


Har!

And isn't the Net made up of a series of YouTubes? So YouTube-hating MeFites are kinda biting the hand that feeds them, no?
posted by diddlegnome at 7:36 PM on August 13, 2006


riotgrrl69 writes "In any case, YouTube is most definately something only the web can do, unless you want to mail people DVDs."

FTP, BitTorrent, UseNet? Even most email systems (unfortunately) can handle 90% of the YouTube stuff.
posted by Mitheral at 7:38 PM on August 13, 2006


And isn't the Net made up of a series of YouTubes?

The hideous truth.
posted by Ryvar at 7:52 PM on August 13, 2006


Another part of the YouTube hate is the fact that you often just get a "Watch this [link]" and have to figure out what it is by watching it. Before you've decided if it's worth wasting your time, you've already spent well over 100 seconds staring at it. Not too different from most websites, but folks have by now developed a schema for skimming webpages. I think the reason they're complaining (to give the benefit of the doubt) is not so much that they hate youtube; otherwise they could just peep the URL and skip it. Rather, they are complaining about the method of presentation; from lack of context, to poor editing (hay guyz watch this but skip to the 6:14 second mark), to the fact that they're still on dialup. It's not the content so much as the framing. With different framing, they would know more about what they were getting into before clicking the link, and would end up wasting less time. I think more conscientious posting guidelines than usual are called for on all video FPPs, at least until people have developed a better schema for handling video links or until video 'goes away.'
posted by Eideteker at 7:56 PM on August 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


He said World War One, quonsar.

them WW's all look the same to us hippies.
posted by quonsar at 8:00 PM on August 13, 2006


Don't hate the player, hate the game.

I think we need to distinguish between bad posts, and bad content. The context is often wonderful, the FPP's are often not. Anyways, I'll have a new opinion for you in about 11 minutes, so stay tuned!
posted by blue_beetle at 8:09 PM on August 13, 2006


Those of us still on dial-up don't have the free hours to wait for a YouTube video to download.
posted by rfs at 8:18 PM on August 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


What does "." mean??????////
posted by Krrrlson at 8:20 PM on August 13, 2006


Because people like to make a lot of little rules for what does or doesn't constitute a good thread.

"No youtube!"
"No one-link posts!"
"No Boing-Boing!"
"Nothing that's older than one week!"
and blah blah blah blah blah

Of course, if everybody actually listened to all of this crap, a good percentage of my favorite threads would have never been posted.

Really, the only posts that everyone seems to agree on are the art/photo related ones, and even then, all they can manage to say in the comments is "nice post."
posted by Afroblanco at 8:32 PM on August 13, 2006


I skip 90% of the YouTube stuff because its generally crap. And when I do give a try on that lame ass Peter thread, I get dragged into a pissing match with people who think a difference of opinion on the worth of the post means something besides a difference of opinion on the worth of the post.

Also, YouTube's video quality is atrocious.
posted by fenriq at 8:35 PM on August 13, 2006


AskMe: "Are there any community blogs that track the best of YouTube?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:43 PM on August 13, 2006


Thank You Maskman - Lenny Bruce.
posted by tellurian at 8:44 PM on August 13, 2006


I went to YouTube today and browsed through the "most recent videos". I couldn't figure out what one of them was, so I clicked and was presented with a guy fucking his Husky (dog) in the missionary position.

I'd say any hate is probably deserved.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:54 PM on August 13, 2006


and
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:05 PM on August 13, 2006


Yeah, because people didn't start fucking their dogs and sharing it on the internet until YouTube came along.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:07 PM on August 13, 2006


i, for one, welcome our new dog-fucking, youtube-video-sharing overlords.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:15 PM on August 13, 2006


The point being, YouTube made it too easy for people like me (with no interest) to see people fucking their dogs.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:17 PM on August 13, 2006


You'd rather they make you jump through hoops to do that, Kickstart70?
posted by Jimbob at 9:23 PM on August 13, 2006


Imagine a Beowulf cluster of Husky-dog-fuckers... oops, wrong website.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:34 PM on August 13, 2006


MetaFilter isn't YouTube.

/sarcasm
posted by scarabic at 9:40 PM on August 13, 2006


I'm amused at the notion that anything should be judged by the worst that someone can find about it. Hitchcock, The Beatles, curried lentils? Suck. Getting out of bed? Sucks. Leonardo da Vinci? Are you kidding? Have you seen some of the sketches he drew in the margins? Obviously a talentless hack.
posted by Tuwa at 9:53 PM on August 13, 2006


T'aint the site or the medium; it's the quality and the (lack of) context, as Eideteker said.
posted by peacay at 9:56 PM on August 13, 2006


All I can say is please give a warm welcome to the maturbating cat.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 10:03 PM on August 13, 2006


Why do Americans say "I could give a fuck" when it makes more sense to say "I couldn't give a fuck"?

The same with "I could care less" rather than "I couldn't care less"?

If I could care less - there would be lesser things than the thing I didn't care about, whereas if I couldn't care less - there would be nothing I didn't care about more than the thing I didn't care about.

This is something I couldn't care more about.
posted by strawberryviagra at 10:03 PM on August 13, 2006


i don't have a problem with youtube. i will say this, though: i dislike certain youtube posts every bit as much as I hate boingboing, somethingawful, and newsfilter links.

those certain youtube posts are the ones that are just one of the latest top viewed videos. i specifically hate when people post things that are already widely distributed and therefore need no help from mefi to hit my retinas, such as boingboing and cnn.

some people respond to this criticism by saying "well, not everyone reads boingboing/somethingawful/digg/slashdot/cnet/nytimes, etc... so what's wrong if we like to see that stuff linked on mefi?"

nothing. but we're not redistributors for the internet's most popular web sites. frankly, if you're interested in newsfilter, tech news, eff fights, subway anagrams, youtube's greatest hits and all that, and you're NOT reading those sites, part of the reason why is because you expect mefi to hip you to the highlights. it's this aspect of things that bothers me. it makes mefi into little more than your personal rss aggregator, and i think that's a bad position for mefi to be in. if we didn't link to what monju so accurately calls the low hanging fruit, it would be virtually no effort for folks to go exactly where they already know this content exists, and then talk about it on their own blog, if ranting into the ether about shit is that important to them.

but honestly, that's just my opinion. like i said, i have no problem with youtube, so long as someone's finding the good shit buried in there where most people haven't bothered to look, yet. you know, like i'd hope we do for the rest of the internet.
posted by shmegegge at 10:10 PM on August 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


so I clicked and was presented with a guy fucking his Husky (dog) in the missionary position

lnk pls, kthxbye
posted by jonson at 10:13 PM on August 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


re: the old japanese man

cyril takayama is the illusionists name (I dug it up after seeing that video the other night) and you can find quite a few videos of him on youtube.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 10:20 PM on August 13, 2006


Thanks weretable, that guy rocks.
posted by bob sarabia at 10:35 PM on August 13, 2006


-so I clicked and was presented with a guy fucking his Husky (dog) in the missionary position

-lnk pls, kthxbye


jonson is sure determined to win that $30! You know, there are cheaper ways. Hell, mouth like you've got, I'd say you could make $45, maybe $50 in the same amount of time you spend composing an FPP each day. I'll e-mail you my contact info, but I'm going to have to refer you to another pimp, because I don't handle dudes.
posted by Eideteker at 10:53 PM on August 13, 2006


Why do Americans say "I could give a fuck" when it makes more sense to say "I couldn't give a fuck"?

I think they are saying it sarcastically.

Either that, or they are dropping the "like" which should be found at the beginning of the phrase. Ironically, one instance in which "like" would actually have a real purpose in Ameringlish, and they choose not to use it.

Oh, and what shmegegge said.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:08 PM on August 13, 2006


It was cool to learn from that AskMe UbuRoivas linked that Fark created fark.com/video last month.
posted by mediareport at 11:17 PM on August 13, 2006


Tomorrow's MeTa: "Why the Fark Video hate on Metafilter/AskMefi?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:25 PM on August 13, 2006


Ha, the tables have turned, my ceilingless friend!
Who's watching who now?!?



Thank you, weretable.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:33 PM on August 13, 2006


Why do Americans say "I could give a fuck" when it makes more sense to say "I couldn't give a fuck"?

If you think that's bad, wait until you hear "I could give a rat's ass" and the always classic, "I could care less."

and then a couple people decided that today was Ironic Projection Day

Isn't that every day?

Why the You Tube hate on Metafilter/AskMefi?

Because it's not the content, because every video is obviously different and of varying quality. It's the medium. It's like a TV network that does nothing except run Saturday Night Live re-runs. Sure, every sketch is different ... but they're all still sketches.
posted by frogan at 12:07 AM on August 14, 2006

Brcause it's a phenomenon that's caught on and people need to prove how cool they are by being bored with it.
God, that's so jonmc of y...waitaminute.
posted by scrump at 12:59 AM on August 14, 2006


"Why do Americans say "I could give a fuck" when it makes more sense to say "I couldn't give a fuck"?

Because of the implicit completion: "...but I don't."
posted by majick at 12:59 AM on August 14, 2006


Thanks
posted by strawberryviagra at 1:06 AM on August 14, 2006


Another part of the YouTube hate is the fact that you often just get a "Watch this [link]" and have to figure out what it is by watching it.

Now that's a gripe I can get behind. But obviously the problem isn't the YouTube, it's the thoughtless posters. Burn them!

"Why do Americans say "I could give a fuck" when it makes more sense to say "I couldn't give a fuck"?


Because (for the millionth time) language isn't about making sense. People say "I could give a fuck" because they hear other people saying it and they like the sound of it, so they say it themselves. Why do "slow up" and "slow down" mean the same thing? It isn't logical!! (And please don't try to come up with some ad hoc bullshit about how they don't really mean the same thing, or how it's logical that they do because "up" and "down" can meet at the edge of the universe.) If you try to make language fit your notion of logic and consistency, you're going to waste a significant portion of your mental powers and get needlessly aggravated for the rest of your life. Just try to accept that "making sense" or "being logical" isn't a primary reason most humans use language and you'll have an easier life and will be able to devote that mental energy to something more productive, like snarking on MeFi.
posted by languagehat at 6:27 AM on August 14, 2006 [3 favorites]


Because so much of what gets posted from YouTube is the video equivalent of "OMG! Puppies!", or merely "LOL! Kewl vid from Jackass wannabes!", which is definitely stooping into Fark-like territory.

The truly good YouTube-based posts - like the well-outlined one on the "Barbie Girl" mime phenomenon, or todays/yesterdays 87 year old video blogger - are few and far between. But there's invariably another FarkFilter/YouTube post on the front page every single day...
posted by Pinback at 6:38 AM on August 14, 2006


People say 'I could give a fuck' out of mistake . It's the same as people saying "I could care less." That's wrong and means you could care less. The saying is "I couldn't care less." Somewhere along the line it got messed up.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:04 AM on August 14, 2006


The saying is "I couldn't care less." Somewhere along the line it got messed up.

Right, so even if everyone in the world but you says it the "wrong" way, it's still "wrong," because you are the guardian and only true master of the English language. You might try taking a linguistics course sometime and find out how language works.
posted by languagehat at 7:15 AM on August 14, 2006


I couldn't not care more or less.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:17 AM on August 14, 2006


languagehat, any idea where "I could care less" comes from? I was curious, but an illicit google has provided only more people arguing over whether or not it makes any sense.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:19 AM on August 14, 2006


language isn't about making sense

Sense isn't something that can be made, it is something that must be sensed.

posted by Plutor at 7:30 AM on August 14, 2006


You might try taking a linguistics course sometime and find out how language works.

I've got four years of linguistics courses? And you?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:34 AM on August 14, 2006 [2 favorites]


DieHipsterDie writes "I've got four years of linguistics courses? And you?"

This is going to be good.
posted by Mitheral at 7:34 AM on August 14, 2006


I should say that "wrong" isn't the right word for "I could care less." Somewhere in the last ten years it changed from couldn't to could. "Couldn't" makes sense. "Could" doesn't. I think I was 30 when I started hearing people using the later.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:37 AM on August 14, 2006


LANGUAGE BRAWL! GITCHER PROGRAMS, T-SHIRTS, POPCORN!

That's wrong and means you could care less.

If you're willing to presume that a literal reading of a transcription of an utterance is the source of meaning, sure. If you're dealing with living breathing human beings who don't just transliterate but speak, arguments for meaning based on dry interpretations goes right out the goddam window.

If I say "I love you" to someone, what does that mean? Does it matter how I say it? And to whom? Or does the phrase "I love you" have some intrinsic, monolothic, literal meaning which trumps any question of idiom or intonation or emotional context?
posted by cortex at 7:39 AM on August 14, 2006


And be aware that statements about when, precisely, language changed, based entirely on your own anecdotal perceptions of said change, are almost always wrong.
posted by cortex at 7:40 AM on August 14, 2006


This article pretty much covers the loss of the negative in "Couldn't care less."


posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:41 AM on August 14, 2006


http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-ico1.htm

What happened to my linky??
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:42 AM on August 14, 2006


Thanks for the link, DHD :)

I actually have The Language Instinct, the book referenced in that link, but I haven't read it since university and I think it's in a box under the bed. So now I am ashamed.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:56 AM on August 14, 2006


Ω ≤ 1/∞; where Ω is My Level of Caring
posted by yeti at 8:08 AM on August 14, 2006


I've got four years of linguistics courses? And you?

ABD.

I should say that "wrong" isn't the right word for "I could care less." Somewhere in the last ten years it changed from couldn't to could.


Ah, the four years start to come back to you.

languagehat, any idea where "I could care less" comes from?

It's shorter and easier to say (both phonetically—no /dntk/ cluster—and rhythmically); I presume that's how it got started.
posted by languagehat at 8:09 AM on August 14, 2006


When I was younger I said "I could care less" when I meant that I coudn't because that's what I heard other people saying, then one day I said it and I thought about what I just said and I stopped the conversation I was having and I said "No, wait... I meant I couldn't care less, you understand? Couldn't!"

I still understand when people say "I could care less" and I wouldn't dream of correcting them, but I have to admit the incorrect and illogical usage of these stock phrases is a subtle cue for me to stop paying as much attention to what my interlocutor is saying to me because it makes me think I'm speaking to one of those Eliza type "What do YOU think it means?" pseudo-Turing programs I had on my Amiga, no thinking just talking. I probably miss out with this kind of knee-jerk snobbishness, but there you go...

"I couldn't give a rat's ass" on the other hand is a phrase of such magical content that I don't care if it is used correctly or not. A rat's ass being such a perfect metric of contempt.

My feeling on youtube is that most of the links are not that interesting, but since I wouldn't part with even one of my carefully hoarded rat asses on a link I don't care about I just ignore 'em or hover around and see if any of the clever grumpies come up with anything funny and rude to say about them, I win every time that way, it's like a perfect day at the track with 6 $10 20 to 1's and a cold beer and a plate of oxtail stew and cocoa bread and everything's coming up wino!
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:11 AM on August 14, 2006


It's shorter and easier to say (both phonetically—no /dntk/ cluster—and rhythmically); I presume that's how it got started.

That I'll agree with. To a point.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:11 AM on August 14, 2006


Comment by DieHipsterDie to languagehat: "I've got four years of linguistics courses? And you?"

I think I can just stop reading MeFi now, because I will never come across something better than that sentence.

DieHipsterDie : "Somewhere in the last ten years it changed from couldn't to could."

I think it came from a mix of two phrases:
"I couldn't care less" and "like I could care less". Map the two across eachother and the overlapping sections (bolded) are "like I couldn't care less".
posted by Bugbread at 8:22 AM on August 14, 2006


Cortex, I love you too, but I'm just not in love with you.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:24 AM on August 14, 2006


I could give a rat's ass but I'm fresh out. On the other hand, even if I had a bushel barrel full I wouldn't give one.
posted by Carbolic at 8:28 AM on August 14, 2006


I used to think Americans were a generous people, until they got greedy with their epithets.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:42 AM on August 14, 2006


*bursts into tears*

I have you the best four years of linguistics courses of my life, you son of a bitch!
posted by cortex at 8:44 AM on August 14, 2006


"have" being a perfectly acceptable dialectal variation on "gave" where I grew up

*lights slimepuppy's lawn on fire*

posted by cortex at 8:45 AM on August 14, 2006


I think I can just stop reading MeFi now, because I will never come across something better than that sentence.

Well good for you, shithead. Go fuck your mom.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:53 AM on August 14, 2006


And you too, Cortex.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:56 AM on August 14, 2006


I...uhh....
*popcorn*
posted by fnord at 8:56 AM on August 14, 2006


Uh oh, dudes are bringing moms's into this shit, about to get all knuckle crackin' and shovey-shove up in this piece, I say we meet in the parking lot at 3:05 pm and first one with a torn collar and a bloody nose says "awwwright man, shit I was just kiddin', your mom is a lovely lady."
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:58 AM on August 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


This is the best of the web.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 9:02 AM on August 14, 2006


Because (for the millionth time) language isn't about making sense.

I could agree more.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:03 AM on August 14, 2006


*studies to be come an Asser Of Rats so that people can give*
posted by jonmc at 9:05 AM on August 14, 2006


Well good for you, shithead. Go fuck your mom.

Those four years really paid off.
posted by cribcage at 9:11 AM on August 14, 2006


ABD ?
Although to be fair, I care much more about your track record of smackdowns erudition on the topic of linguistics than I do about credentials.
posted by peacay at 9:11 AM on August 14, 2006


Well thank you, peacay.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 9:13 AM on August 14, 2006


can there pleasepleaseplease be a flameout now?

p.s.: I am the guardian and only true master of the English language. haha.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:13 AM on August 14, 2006


Well good for you, shithead. Go fuck your mom.

Raw, man? Take a deep breath. Nobody means any harm. You said something silly, people are riffing off it. This sort of thing happens on the Internet—and at the pub. Roll with it and everything is good.

If you don't see anything funny about boastfully rolling out your college coursework in argument, on the net no less, as a credibility taunt against goddam languagehat of all people, I can understand why this might seem a little bit more caustic than it is.

Seriously, it's like you just got in an argument with a cardinal and cited your comp. theo. degree and said Hey, Watchoo Got? It's funny. It's a misstep. It's not a big deal, but don't expect folks not to chuckle.
posted by cortex at 9:14 AM on August 14, 2006


Hey, what up with all the uncomfortability and tensionosity now? We were all havin' a good time up 'til when them linguisticists got all testyfied.

And more importantly, is Cortex s'posed to get jiggy with bugbread's mom, too?

Dirty inquirin' minds need to know!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:15 AM on August 14, 2006


Thanks, Cortex. Mentioning a linguistics B.S. was silly. I fell for the bait. I apologize to you.

I'm off to get a beer.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 9:17 AM on August 14, 2006


ABD (4th definition)="All But Dissertation"
posted by kosem at 9:19 AM on August 14, 2006


I suggest a pint of Old Speckled Motherfucker, good man yourself.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:21 AM on August 14, 2006


languagehat has an Asian Breast Disorder? Poor bastard.
posted by peacay at 9:26 AM on August 14, 2006


And more importantly, is Cortex s'posed to get jiggy with bugbread's mom, too?

No, no, she's my Thursday night. Today I've got...

*thumbs through rolodex*

What the hell kind of name is Helen Ampersand?
posted by cortex at 9:28 AM on August 14, 2006


Monday Daddy!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:30 AM on August 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm all for acknowledging the fluidity of language, but I also think it's BS to pretend that ignorant, lazy thinking becomes correct purely through repetition. This way lies madness, truthiness, and civil wars in forcefully occupied territories.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:44 AM on August 14, 2006


You forgot Poland.
posted by cortex at 9:54 AM on August 14, 2006


The less said about "quarter to..." versus "quarter of..." the better.
posted by meehawl at 10:08 AM on August 14, 2006


I'm all for acknowledging the fluidity of language, but I also think it's BS to pretend that ignorant, lazy thinking becomes correct purely through repetition.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:44 AM PST on August 14 [+] [!]


So how do you pronounce "chandelier"?
posted by Tuwa at 10:15 AM on August 14, 2006


Very carefully!
posted by cortex at 10:18 AM on August 14, 2006


What is Fark?

And remember, Mr. Roger's YouTube is acceptable.
posted by juiceCake at 10:51 AM on August 14, 2006


Tuwa: "So how do you pronounce "chandelier"?"

So far, I've never gotten much further than, "Hey! Look out for the chande-!"

As I said, I'm all for acknowledging the fluidity of language. Pronunciation and definitions of words, being arbitrarily assigned in the first place, will change naturally with usage. So the pronunciation or meaning of "chandelier," though having common accepted characteristics dependant on time and region, is free to evolve. The phrase "I could care less," however, though commonly misused, will never be "correct" as a substitute for "I couldn't care less" because it is internally inconsistant by definition.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:11 AM on August 14, 2006


But do you accept that the definitions of words change, even to the point of being largely antonymous to their prior definition? And do you accept that idioms, fixed phrases that are not equivilant in meaning to the literal interpretation of their parts, are valid and non-lazy, non-ignorant forms of speech?

If both are yes, then taking issue with "I could care less", an idiom with a very clear meaning to fluent speakers despite any logical contradiction with it's literal interpretation, is silly. It is correct simply because speaker and listener model the utterance to mean the same thing.

If both aren't yes, elaborate! I am interested in a conflicting view on the subject.
posted by cortex at 11:17 AM on August 14, 2006


Irregardless, I think commonly misused words do become "correct" usage, if not by definition.
posted by yeti at 11:28 AM on August 14, 2006


"But do you accept that the definitions of words change, even to the point of being largely antonymous to their prior definition?"

Yes, I stated as much. That isn't actually relevant here, though, because the word "could" is, at this point in time, not widely considered as replaceable for the contraction "couldn't," except when referring to the likelihood of finding WMDs in Iraqi deserts, attaining victories in same deserts, or caring less.

"Do you accept that idioms, fixed phrases that are not equivalent in meaning to the literal interpretation of their parts, are valid and non-lazy, non-ignorant forms of speech?"

This requires a more serious answer. While I grant that nonsensical idioms can become valid expressions without reflecting poorly on the future locutor, I don't grant that they are necessarily born without reflecting lazy, ignorant usage. So, for example, WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY may become acceptable usage in the dystopian near-future, that doesn't make its origins less nefarious. Similarly, it may become acceptable to pronounce the word "nuclear" as "nukular," but that doesn't make the people who popularized the mispronunciation any less ignorant. Dig?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:36 AM on August 14, 2006


Yes, but what's the boundry between ignorance and convention? At which point in the chain of usage does the neological behavior cease being classified as ignorant-of-existing-standard and start being fluent-use-of-dialectal-usage?

Are the folks who learned the regionalism "nukular" from their friends and neighbors and parents ignorant, or correctly deploying the local dialect? Where in the line of years and generations does that fulcrum reside? What's the ratio of exposure to general-standard vs. local-standard that decides that adoption of the local dialect is ignorant vs. fluent?

What about folks who want to ax you a question? What about folks who say "innit"? What about folks who begin explanations with "the thing is, is..."? Etc. Calling it ignorance or laziness beyond the specific point of active creation of the neologism is a tricky thing, because where do you draw the boundaries?

And you can't include conspicuous deployment of a non-standard word or phrase or idiom, because by virtue of their very conspicuousness they are not ignorant, merely defiant.
posted by cortex at 12:15 PM on August 14, 2006


To summarize with respect to "I could care less":

It is possible that the progenitors of the phrase "I could care less" were literally ignorant of the logical backwardsness of the phrase they were using, but the moment the idiom became a term in circulation with a fixed meaning understood isomorphically by fluent speakers and listeners alike, the question of ignornance was moot because the phrase was being used correctly.
posted by cortex at 12:19 PM on August 14, 2006


I bet "Go fuck your mom" will always mean "I'm off to get a beer".
posted by Heatwole at 12:28 PM on August 14, 2006


This is the best of the web.

Amen, motherfucker!

ABD ?

Yeah, I was going deeper and deeper into debt and insanity until it finally occurred to me that, given that 1) there were no jobs in my specialty (a new opening every time somebody died), 2) I hated my dissertation, and 3) I hated teaching (I love explaining things to people one on one, but standing in front of a hundred bored kids who want nothing less than to pay attention to what I'm saying makes me want to mow them down with a Kalashnikov rather than magically bring them to love the subject), everybody would be better off if I stopped borrowing money, bade farewell to the Ivied Halls, and got a real job. And so it has proved. (But I sure miss the library...)
posted by languagehat at 12:33 PM on August 14, 2006


The fact that I cannot accurately pinpoint where a given transition takes place in no way means that there is no transition. This is a common fallacy (as I have no doubt you are aware). Which means that at the boundaries I have at least as much right to label the usage "incorrect" as another to vote for early adoption of the new convention. And in cases where the new usage insinuates a lack of clarity of thinking on the speaker's part, my opinion is that the old "correct" way merits greater consideration. Precisely because your earlier statement - "It is correct simply because speaker and listener model the utterance to mean the same thing." - obviously doesn't hold true, yet. In this case, for example, the speaker means to imply that they couldn't care less, but doesn't give enough critical attention to their own words to realize that they are actually saying the opposite. I may grasp their intent, but because I notice how sloppily it has been conveyed, they have inadvertantly communicated unintended information.

I can flip you the bird and you'd probably understand me, but that doesn't make it English. This, either: ;-p
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:35 PM on August 14, 2006


Oh, and I have no problem with people asking for my credentials. If you're going to sound off all authoritative-like about language, you should be willing to say what you're basing it on. (Though I probably didn't need to take Old Irish, Vedic Sanskrit, and Hittite in order to pontificate on MetaFilter.)
posted by languagehat at 12:43 PM on August 14, 2006


Dude, I didn't mean to sound "all authoritative" about language. Sorry if it sounded like that.

In any case, my understanding is that the original phrase was "I couldn't care less." Somewhere along the line we started to hear "I could care less" which makes no sense when you look at it. Which leads to the question: In 100 years will "could care less" be the norm, the negative form being long forgotten? Will we have people wondering how the heck it makes any sense?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 12:56 PM on August 14, 2006


Sure, it's incorrect, perhaps even dumb, but that's how usage goes...
posted by clevershark at 1:02 PM on August 14, 2006


previous contranym fun
posted by MetaMonkey at 1:04 PM on August 14, 2006


Est-ce quelques choses qu'on aurait besoin d'une maîtrise de l'anglais de comprendre?
posted by blue_beetle at 1:10 PM on August 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Apparemment!
posted by clevershark at 1:16 PM on August 14, 2006


languagehat: "Oh, and I have no problem with people asking for my credentials."

Excellent! I've long wondered how you justify your haberdashery cred.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:38 PM on August 14, 2006


"In 100 years will 'could care less' be the norm, the negative form being long forgotten?"

Google currently has more than 5 times as many hits for "could care less" than for "couldn't care less"... but in both cases, most of the first page of results is taken up dealing with which is correct. Take from that what you will.

Oh, and DHD -- when languagehat said "you," I think he meant "I" (by which I mean him).
posted by nickmark at 2:41 PM on August 14, 2006


Some days back I considered creating a thread where I essentially asked why YouTube is taking over MeFi, but I decided against it because no matter how I worded it, it came off as being a troll. That wasn't my intent. It was just that I'm curious.

YouTube.com has only been around about a year and a half. It has, last I checked, over 85 posts tagged in MeFi. Comparatively, Nine Eleven happened five years ago this September, and has only accumulated about ninety some odd posts in three times the time.

That's just passing strange to me.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:52 PM on August 14, 2006


Dude, I didn't mean to sound "all authoritative" about language. Sorry if it sounded like that.

Ack! No, no, when I said "you" I meant me! Damn this confusing English language! See, you don't need to be ungrammatical to be confusing. No, you didn't come off as trying to be an authority, you were just stating your opinion, which is your God Matt-given right.

Ah yes, upon review I see nickmark figured out what I meant. Well analyzed, sir!
posted by languagehat at 3:08 PM on August 14, 2006


That's just passing strange to me.

Why? There's only so much you can say about 9/11; YouTube is not comparable to a news event, it's a medium. It's like discovering a library of printed books; are you going to get fed up with people pulling new discoveries out of the library just because you've seen other books from the library? "Plato, dude? Yesterday it was Aristotle, the day before that Shakespeare... can we move on already?" Not that I'm comparing crazed cats and pontificating septuagenarians to Shakespeare, but you see my point.
posted by languagehat at 3:11 PM on August 14, 2006


And to think I'd given up on this thread! That was awesome.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:25 PM on August 14, 2006


Except that instead of Plato and Shakespeare we keep getting Goosebumps.
posted by caddis at 3:27 PM on August 14, 2006


languagehat: "Not that I'm comparing crazed cats and pontificating septuagenarians to Shakespeare, but you see my point."

Now is the winter of our rheumy cat
Made spastic hairball by this bit of nip;
And all the ailments that creep about our house
The rattling breath temporary stilled.
Now are our comb-overs draped like death-house shrouds;
Our cottage-cheese arms lunge for toppling lamps;
Once disapproving visages chang'd to howls of mirth,
All of talk of failed chances drowned in merriment.
Grim-visag'd death throws back his shadowed cowl;
And now,--instead of swinging soul-stained scythe
To sow our lives, He joins, enchanted, with--
To watch the nimble feline play,
And pause to lick his hairy arse.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:36 PM on August 14, 2006


DieHipsterDie writes "Well good for you, shithead. Go fuck your mom."

Told ya.

ZachsMind writes "It has, last I checked, over 85 posts tagged in MeFi. "

It's a lot more common than that, we average better than 1 a day.
posted by Mitheral at 3:39 PM on August 14, 2006


Well good for you, shithead. Go fuck your mom.

Those four years really paid off.

fantastic stuff : )
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:43 PM on August 14, 2006


Why do Americans say "I could give a fuck" when it makes more sense to say "I couldn't give a fuck"?

I've never seen any logical problem with the phrase. To me, "I could give a fuck" implies an unspoken "...but I don't."
posted by brundlefly at 3:51 PM on August 14, 2006


Those four years really paid off.

fantastic stuff : )


Man, education has never stopped anyone from resorting to insults.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 3:53 PM on August 14, 2006


ZachsMind writes "YouTube.com has only been around about a year and a half. It has, last I checked, over 85 posts tagged in MeFi. Comparatively, Nine Eleven happened five years ago this September, and has only accumulated about ninety some odd posts in three times the time. "

Evidently Nine Eleven is old news. In the words of the Ramones, "I don't care 'bout history | 'cause that's not where I wanna be..."
posted by clevershark at 4:24 PM on August 14, 2006


Though I probably didn't need to take Old Irish, Vedic Sanskrit, and Hittite in order to pontificate on MetaFilter

And nor should you even have wanted to, as Latin is the only cromulent language in which to pontificate.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:26 PM on August 14, 2006


ZachsMind: At the risk of getting all out-of-character serious on you, perhaps another explanation could be that tags didn't exist when 9/11 was the topic du Jour, or for some time after? Which, when coupled with the fact that subsequent peripheral posts may not have been tagged with 9/11, but still relevant to 9/11 (think War on Terror and War in Iraq), maybe the numbers aren't quite as scary as they seem. But IANAS. (I am not a statistician.)
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:33 PM on August 14, 2006


For example, a Yahoo search on YouTube returns 4,880 hits for MetaFilter. A Yahoo search on 9/11 returns 80,700 hits. So I think YouTube has a way to go before it officially overruns the site.

Although - ironically enough, the spellCjecker wants to replace "YouTube" with "outnumber." So maybe I'm wrong.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:42 PM on August 14, 2006


Latin is the only cromulent language in which to pontificate.

arent you forgetting Ubbie Dubbie?
posted by jonmc at 4:59 PM on August 14, 2006


ZachsMind : "YouTube.com has only been around about a year and a half. It has, last I checked, over 85 posts tagged in MeFi. Comparatively, Nine Eleven happened five years ago this September, and has only accumulated about ninety some odd posts in three times the time. "

As It's Raining Florence Henderson points out, tags didn't exist in 2001. In fact, they've only existed since January 2005, so a year and 3/4. 9/11 has accumulated roughly the same amount of tags as YouTube has in roughly the same amount of time, despite tag drift to tags like "War on Terror" or "Iraq" or "Afghanistan War" or the like, and despite the event having occurred 5 years ago.
posted by Bugbread at 5:04 PM on August 14, 2006


languagehat, so are you saying phrases become teh cool just because people like how they sound? Say what?

weretable, thanks so much for the info on that "old" guy - I will have fun checking his other stuff out tonight.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:13 PM on August 14, 2006


iccl
posted by owhydididoit at 5:14 PM on August 14, 2006


strawberryviagra

Wedge would like to say "i gives a fuck"
posted by 29 at 5:40 PM on August 14, 2006


Me, I'm lying prostrate on the pavement, staring at the sky.
posted by strawberryviagra at 7:03 PM on August 14, 2006


so, itsrainingflorencehenderson just rocked my socks. anyone else?
posted by shmegegge at 7:07 PM on August 14, 2006


I always assumed that "I could care less" was not intended to mean the same thing as "I couldn't care less," which obviously states an absolute position on caring about some subject; I think "I could care less" means instead that the speaker cannot even be bothered to concretize the degree of their emotional involvement in whatever matter is at hand, which is a sort of indirect method of indicating their actual position by implication.
posted by clockzero at 7:08 PM on August 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


*inhales deeply*

*long pause*

*exhales*

Whoa.
posted by nickmark at 7:20 PM on August 14, 2006


I've always thought that instead of saying "I could care less" or "I couldn't care less," people should sing, at the top of their lungs "I should care / I should go around weeping." If you want, you could continue with the "I should go without sleeping" line. That'll stop the suckers dead in the tracks.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:06 PM on August 14, 2006


arent you forgetting Ubbie Dubbie?

Forgetting? After four years of linguistics?

Gubbo fubbuck yobbur mobbom.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:04 PM on August 14, 2006


I think people also have a very fundamental "Ooh, TV, this should be good" response in their lizard brain to moving pictures, and they let themselves be suckered into watching something. Later, they regret this failing of their rational mind and want to take it out on the poster and...

Wait, you kids aren't even talking about this anymore, are you? Well, I'm gonna shut up before I'm the one marked as a derail.
posted by Eideteker at 1:33 AM on August 15, 2006


Jeez, the flameouts are getting pretty tame around here. Where's the endless banter of personal insults across the ether and trading of links to out-of-context comments dredged up from years gone by? Where's the abuse, I say?

Place is turning into a cesspool of understanding.
posted by dg at 2:43 AM on August 15, 2006


Metafilter: Place is turning into a cesspool of understanding
posted by moonbird at 5:30 AM on August 15, 2006


I like the idea of Kermit the Frog singing "Once In A Lifetime" wearing David Byrne's Big White Suit a heck of a lot, but not enough to post it to the front page.

It's seriously one of the best music videos in history.

I am not averse to sneaking the link in anywhere else though. My sense of honour and decency having been eroded by working 12 hours on my day off, too much Guitar Hero, too many hotdogs, two hours sleep and dreaming that my face was being licked by a baby reindeer that made the exact same noise as Uni from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.
posted by longbaugh at 6:16 AM on August 15, 2006


170 comments and nobody has stood up for the prescriptivists?
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 6:25 AM on August 15, 2006


Thank you, longbaugh. That video made my day.
posted by languagehat at 6:58 AM on August 15, 2006


well, they are better than google at something. can't make google think you are cheating on it.
posted by the aloha at 8:43 PM on August 15, 2006


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