Tuesday, June 03, 2008

YouTube Medical Video: The Weird, the Ugly, and the Sometimes Helpful

By Scott Mowbray

Want to take the measure of American health obsessions (and those of the rest of the world, for that matter)? Go fishing in YouTube, the billion-screen multiplex of the video id. The channel contains a deep and often deeply weird vein of health content, ranging from the inspiring to the neurotic, the crackpot to the almost pornographic. The following is part one of a periodic survey—periodic meaning whenever I get around to it.

Creative and inspiring

Linda Van Bael’s “Chronic Pain: A new me” is a homemade stop-motion animation showing hundreds of drug ampules and other chronic pain paraphernalia from a year of treatment. All the medical bits come together by the end of the video to form the image of a human body—the “new me” of the title. Since being posted in January 2007, it’s had an undeservedly meager 720 views in the English version (all viewing numbers were noted the hour I wrote this), compared, say, to the 4,923,931 views of a video of a Scottish Fold kitten in a shoe. Painful lesson here for YouTube artists: I don’t care if it’s about open heart surgery, put a kitten in your medical video. Read More

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