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There are thousands of self-help books, which is weird, because if their audience were capable of book learning, they wouldn't be trying to empowerify their lifestyles with the power of wishing really hard. Or using words like "empowerify." If an author's only marketable skill is talking positively to people even dumber than them, they shouldn't be your life coach unless you're a head-trauma nurse or running for election. The Crystal Experience should only empower you if you're trying to destroy the Enterprise.

When your problem-solving strategy is "shiny rocks," you're either a horny magpie or doomed.

They need the opposite of books, something that doesn't require people to make an effort or even be capable of independent thought. And lo, YouTube was born. Unfortunately, it took the "opposite of book" concept way too far by allowing those people to transmit as well as receive, and now it lowers the average intelligence of users instead of increasing it. The longer people spend there, the more they need help, and the comments section proves that anything up to and including flamethrowers can only make things better. Which is why I've selected four music videos with important lessons for the modern YouTube user.

Be Confident

If you're putting something online, you'd better be ludicrously confident or unable to read. And the latter won't work, because YouTube commenter hatred transcends literacy. If we could bottle it, it would be powerful enough to dissolve the waste around Chernobyl, or at least make it look good by comparison. Some say that complete anonymity and immunity from physical violence turns everyone into assholes, but that's not true. It's having nothing better to do than being completely anonymous where no one can touch you that turns people who are already assholes into festering super-assholes. The only way to counter them is being immune to mockery, and one man has been swinging his hips right through criticism for 40 years.

Tom Jones is tanned confidence incarnate, and that's as in leather, not as in sunshine. When most music videos want to establish the singer as sexy, they fill a yacht with oiled models and pay them to remain smiling when he's nearby. When Tom Jones was told they needed to film a video about incredible sexiness, he said, "I'm already here. Start recording."

Tom Jones, Sony Music
And that background is nowhere near the whitest thing about his dancing.

That is his entire contribution to the video for "Sex Bomb," and it's not an ironic title. He knows that sex means sextuagenarian, crotch, his, stare at it, baby. The producers forced him to include some actual ladies, and he said, "OK, but keep them away from me so nobody gets distracted." In Tom's world, showing off willing women is like expecting compliments for wearing laundered clothes -- childish, unnecessary and revealing serious lacks in your lifestyle. In his life, sexy co-fun-havers are more easily available than tap water, because he doesn't have to go to the kitchen to get some.

Tom Jones, Sony Music
No, girls, YOU come over HERE because I'M TOM JONES.

The power of Jones' absolute immunity to mockery is demonstrated by the story of his chest hair insurance. Newspapers made fun of him for insanely insuring his hirsute pecs for $7 million, but when you find out what really happened, it reverses the polarity of that mockery. An insurance agent simply said that an anonymous person had requested a seven-figure chest hair policy, and the entire world said, "Someone's chest hair is worth $7 million? Obviously that's Tom Jones!" That's not mockery, that's a global award of manliness. And when the people mocking you are idiots only proving how wrong and jealous they are, you now know how to deal with YouTube commenters.

Stop Wasting Time

Back in the Cathode Age, shows could hold us hostage for an hour and a half of stupid talking heads with 10 tit-seconds and one good explosion. Now we can watch clips the world's best both simultaneously.

Twin pinnacles of information technology

Which makes it stupid that some YouTubers are resurrecting this habit of waste. Ten-minute videos made of nine minutes of their face and one minute of what the title promised.

Source (who does actually use YouTube for Awesome)
At no point does this man explode

This is especially terrible when a quick Facebook link leads to the 4 a.m. realization that you've spent another irreplaceable day learning that while kittens fall over more hilariously than people, skateboarding concretovores are still the trump card of naturally selected comedy. Again. This video is the antidote, proving that every three minutes and 28 seconds of your life is precious.

That video introduces 19 different continuities before a movie would get to the title.

And they all kick ass

There are over 200,000 possible combinations, and it manages most of them in about 200 seconds.

When this happens it will make perfect sense, meaning this video may be the first electronic hallucinogen

It's also the only video on YouTube to differentiate people based on color that isn't made by hateful retards. Kousuke put more work into those three minutes than most webcam whiners put into their entire lives. Hell, there's more intelligence and planning in that video than in most countries. So the next time someone feels the need to explain what his video is about when you already read it -- that's why you clicked on the asshole -- refuse to let these chronomuggers steal your life force and click away.

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Be Worth Looking At

YouTube's worst affliction is the "look at me" syndrome suffered by millions of idiots so starved of attention that even their own parents don't care when they go into their bedroom with a webcam, a cucumber and a determined expression. Or the ranting idiots demanding the world's attention without even bothering to sit up straight. Davros didn't slouch.

And unlike most webcammers you can be sure he wasn't masturbating at that desk earlier.

We're past the age of hermits, so appearing unshaven and screaming from a filthy cave no longer implies wisdom. It implies level 85 alt shamans and thinking "A/S/L?" counts as a pick-up line. If you want people to look at you, you have to be worth looking at. This clip is an antidote to lazy assholes. A YouTube video that makes you do things in real life might sound like a nuclear-powered device for making journalists write sensible non-scaremongering headlines, but nobody told Peter Fox. Or if they did, they did it in wimpy languages like English or sanity.

Waking up covered in dirt in a room that seems to be full of drumming monkeys, and trying to make breakfast a suicidal interaction with dangerous implements. Never mind music, this video is my hangover. There's also a dangerous-looking German man who doesn't speak English, making it a particularly good/bad night. Peter Fox then shoves the wall of reality and walks out of an explosion of everything you knew by doing exactly that in the video, and everything after that is exactly what you'd expect, because you couldn't expect anything sane.

Peter Fox, Warner
For the first time in history WE DIDN'T HAVE TO PHOTOSHOP IN THE EXPLOSION

If you stopped watching because it's not in English, you're missing the whole point. When you don't understand it, the human voice is just another musical instrument. Some languages fit perfectly, like Japanese pop (J-pop), Korean pop (K-pop) and Chinese rap (unfortunate). For pop, even the sappiest lyrics are no longer annoying, while the way every Chinese character has an integrated tone means good rap can be exponentially more sophisticated. True, most songs aren't good, but those that are sound like they worked out how to beatbox while still singing.

Peter Fox, Warner
If you can explain this image, please consult your doctor

Herr Fox shows that it even works in German, which sounds like someone rewinding a Klingon. Through a combine harvester. Singing in German is harder than making friends with Sergeant Rock in German, and being a singer is Fox's entire job, despite looking like his older brother is trying to kill John McClane. He doesn't know the meaning of the word impossible. In fact, he and I don't share the meaning of a single syllable. All I know is that this lunatic looks like he gives fewer fucks than a castrated grenade juggler, and every time I watch this video, I'm ready to kick more ass than 300 Spartans with machine guns and a crate of arrow repellent.

Peter Fox, Warner
Playing on a stage in front an army of monkeys is a pretty good analogy for YouTube.

Everyone uploading themselves should be made to watch that and tick a box saying, "Yes, I'm sure I deserve to be on the same Internet."

Get Good at Anything

Amateurs always want to show off what they've just learned, despite that exact status meaning they suck at it. And on the Internet, there's nothing to stop them. Instead, you have groups of people who suck telling each other to continue sucking, and the results are far less enjoyable than the other kinds of video about that. These beginners use the fact that most commenters will hatefully say they suck to ignore those who kindly and correctly explain how they suck. The result is thousands of hours of YouTube that will humiliate them for the rest of their lives. One technology hasn't haunted so many people since they opened the Ecto Containment Unit.

At least skateboarding amateurs will never be laughed at by their kids.

The only thing you'll improve on YouTube is your asshole-detection skills, and if you're on YouTube, that skill maxed out a long time ago. If you're asking for the world's attention, you need to practice and get things perfect. If you haven't seen this example, it's three minutes of solid good mood, which you'll desperately need after having been locked in a cave's cupboard for the last few years.

The only other person to kick so much ass with furniture is Jackie Chan. It also reverses the polarity of rap by showing you staying innocent and happy even when your video is about being surrounded by obedient bitches. But the fact remains that they're doing synchronized Ikean dog-wrangling.

OK Go, Paracadute Recordings
If someone told me they acted as "furniture dog elevators" I'd assume it was a sex thing

That shouldn't be impressive. We should be glaring at that, going "Who are these assholes?" and with even the slightest mistake we would have, but that's the point of recording things: You're meant to get something perfect for a few minutes and then show people, not act like you're on a one-person Big Brother.

OK Go, Paracadute Recordings
Yep, still a sex thing

Don't upload a rough cut of you almost getting the Mario riff right on your secondhand acoustic. Make an effort.

This guy put more effort into his Mario than most people put into their marriages.

One good upload is worth infinitely more than 20 crap ones, because uploading nothing is better than uploading 20 crap ones, because then you're not known as "that asshole with all the crap videos." Unless you're into scat, that is not a good reputation. Spend the time getting better at whatever you're doing instead, even if that's "eating fiber" and "the previous example." So that in 20 years when your co-workers discover your a cappella version of the My Little Pony theme, at least they'll still invite you to karaoke.

Hank Green often remembers to be awesome, even when he's not exploding. Luke also attempts to set his own digestive system on fire with spicy food and unbinds Prometheus with the 4 Craziest Alien Crossovers. He also tumbles and has a website.

For more online video adventures, check out The 3 Worst Pieces of Advice on the Internet and The 8 Most Violent Falls Ever Survived on YouTube.

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