Thursday, June 3, 2010

I'm Not Saying Google Has a Policy About Having Sex with Horses, I'm Just Wondering If They Think About It

Last year a video appeared on Youtube for one day. In that span, it earned over 100,000 views, made a brief splash on sites that aggregate bizarre media, then got taken down. At the time, I tried to link it in a post named "Fucked Up Video Wednesday: Now on Thursday," which neatly describes this one as well. But between writing and publishing, the video disappeared. Just to prove that the video had once existed — and that, no, I had not fantasized it — I left the Youtube embed code there, so at least people could see the preview image.

I then finished with this parting shot:
Apparently Youtube are staffed by gutless turds who take down perfectly awesome Johnny Boob videos and also can't seem to deal with a ridiculously buff black dude with a horse mask cantering around a backyard in the most disturbing way possible. Fuck Youtube.
Then, months later, I ran across it again, this time on MetaCafe, where apparently it had resided since September, causing almost no stir at all.

Having finally seen it again, I can sort of see where Youtube was coming from. Sort of. It's called "The Black Stallion," and the description of it reads, "Horsing around before the photo shoot." Here, look at it:

Now, I can see how this got flagged. Naive people probably see something like this and say, "Well, that's certainly a weird hobby." But Google employees — the people who now run Youtube — are probably somewhat savvier about the internet. Like me, their first impression when seeing a video like this is, "That guy's probably gonna get horsefucked by another man in that outfit." The first and only time I saw this, last September, that's what my mind leapt to. The internet just conditions you to this sort of thinking. Sort of like porn stores.*

* — Because I went to a school that furnished most graduates with completely useless liberal arts degrees, a really astonishing number of my peers have sold pornography, either in stores or on the internet. It hasn't been their own pornography, either manufactured or resold; they were just counter workers. The whole thing snowballed. One person got a job, and then he hooked up friends. It was easy work: sit at a counter, do schoolwork or watch TV, make ten bucks an hour, have an instant icebreaker at parties. But it did have a downside in that, even before the internet made this desensitization much easier to come by, it quickly made people jaded about what certain practices people probably engaged in.

Case in point, two friends of mine, J and D, once had this exchange, after D had been wandering around looking at boxcovers in J's store:
D: Hahahaha, you have to look at this cover. It's amazing.
J: (bored) What is it?
D: It's a girl, and she's naked, and she's standing in a public park with a remote-controlled helicopter.
J: Okay.
D: Isn't that wild?
J: There are a lot of weird covers, D.
D: Yeah, but does it fit in the plot or something? Why the hell would they have a giant remote-controlled helicopter there?
J: Because she probably sticks it in her asshole.
This story seems rather obvious today, but at the time it was almost bluntly transcendental. In a mean and probably horrible fashion, it changed the perspectives of countless people.

Here's the thing, though: despite the seeming obviousness of the above video content, both Youtube and I might very well have been wrong. For example, check out this link to the video's author. He has a channel at Metacafe under the account "Humanimal Alex." There are two videos of him as a deer, two as a lion, one as a dalmatian, one as a cheetah and one as a zebra. Go ahead, look at some more:

This is where it gets fairly simple. Googling "Humanimal Alex" turns up that this is a guy named Alex Kovas who does performance art. It's furry related, or at least enough so that "WikiFur" claims him, but at least there's some art and dedication involved. If nothing else, the guy's in ridiculous shape, which immediately sets him apart from the majority of furries out there, who seem to be predominantly repulsively large people looking for elaborate costuming to hide themselves or a thin social excuse for why they look like a quadruple-cheeseburger oozing slowly toward collapse in a microwave. ("I can't help it: I was born with the body of a human but the spirit of an obese panther.")

Whatever you think of furries (and in my case it's, "Not much," followed by my liberal's grudging, "But if it makes you happy and doesn't hurt anyone, be weird, I guess," concession), the fact is that this is relatively tame stuff once you make even a cursory examination. No matter how fucked up it might be, it's a pretty harmless level of being fucked up. It's certainly morally far superior to unedited and audio-redding-out vlogs from massive and sweating white people declaring the endless perfidy of the Jew and the inferiority of the black — all of which manage to stay on Youtube for years at a stretch, out of deference to freedom of expression.

What I'm suggesting, then, is that someone dropped the ball. Someone at Google could have, with as little cursory effort as I have made, used the search engine created by their own company to figure out whether this guy was a menacing sexual creep or just a bizarre performance artist catering to a niche enthusiasm. As in my case, it would have been the work of a dozen minutes — minutes, admittedly, that might have delayed a sojourn to one of the many company cafeterias, but they would have been just minutes nonetheless.

And if you want to suggest that my outrage about this first amendment issue is really an obvious and pathetic veneer for my being pissed that Google Adsense suspended my account and replaced all my pay ads with PSA banners days ago, cutting off the thin "singles night out at the Wendy's 99-cent menu" trickle that are my earnings on a weekly basis — and did so without even a warning email — then yes, you may very well be right. But let's not be so petty as I am. Let's look at the big picture, here. Let's instead suggest that the two incidents indicate a behavior pattern of poor decision making.

You've made a powerful enemy today, Google. I'm coming for you on my horse.