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Worth Watching: current.tv

A while back, Al Gore bought a cable channel that replayed foreign news broadcasts. Yayoi and I used to watch the English-language Japanese news broadcast from Tokyo. Pretty groovy. Though, they never could keep to a straight schedule.

Well, this puppy has had time to incubate and morph in to a new creature, that will air short videos of between two and five minutes, and they are inviting viewers to submit content. Sort of television meets Internet blogging.

If you visit their web site, at http://www.current.tv/, you can sample the very first fruits of this effort. Unfortunately the web site requires Shockwave and you can not, as far as I can tell, sit back and watch the videos full-screen. Nevermind that . . . you can watch short videos from the winners of their first contest on there, and you’ll see things like:

Second Place: Coming Out: The Youth of Iran
An exciting look behind the Islamic Theocracy, you get to go to an “Ecstasy Party” and watch the host pester Iranians about when they’ll be openly gay.
Fourth Place: Tensions
Some chilling footage from Miami about street protests during an FTAA meeting. A pro-FTAA businessman went to film that day and got shot in the head, nearly killed. He is now sueing the city.
Fifth Place: How to Start Your Own Holiday
By replacing a holiday you don’t like, like Valentine’s Day, with your own Holiday, in this case, Quirkyalone Day!
Sixth Place: Battleground Minnesota
“Shakademic” Chris Johnson sets out on a quest to meet the big politicians of Minnesota and secretly get them in to a rap video.
Tenth Place: Hip Hop, NY
A little taste of the dance scene in New York City.

The pieces definately feel amateurish. And in these days where people trust the established institutions less and less, amateurish conveys a sense of honesty, not to mention vitality. I like watching this stuff, and if I watched TV, this is the sort of stuff I wouldn’t mind flipping through. It is like a hipper, younger, smarter version of MTV. I hope it goes somewhere. One place I hope it eventually goes to is Internet distribution via open file formats, so I can watch it without screwing around with cable. (Or, for that matter, Shockwave.)

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