First thing first, I am a fan of the channel. I love the chemistry between Ethan and Mark -two individuals with distinctive personalities, the witty and surreal sense of humour, the sudden and inexplicable bouts of ominousness and even the occasional thought-provoking and emotional moments.
It is my kind of things. A Monty Python-esque comedy mixed with psychological and cosmic horror, sprinkled with a bit of drama. Difficult to categorise, has unexpected moments of depth. It is genuinely one of my favourite Youtube channels ever… and it was intended to last only for a year.
Some people express regret about missing the whole thing. But, I argue they are the lucky ones; they didn’t have to dread about the channel’s death and they don’t have to grieve when it finally arrives.
They don’t have to deal with the mess that is the human emotions.
Admittedly, I am also among those who save some of the videos. But, worry not, I won’t share them to the masses.
Interestingly, the channel reminds me about those lost works. You know, lost films, lost TV shows, lost books, lost music, works that we will never immerse ourselves into because no known copies of them survive.
I naively thought the problem lied on reliance on physical copies and digitalisation was the solution. But, I was wrong.
Even before Unus Annus, I already realised there were such thing as lost Youtube videos. There are Youtubers -some of whom I personally adore-, who have their videos either privated or deleted for various reasons; some even remove almost the entirety of their catalogues.
If they were deleted because they featured individuals who were eventually exposed as unsavoury, I won’t miss them. But, if they were done for other reasons, I will miss them dearly.
But, it is disheartening how a significant chunk of Youtube is already lost to history, despite the website being less than two decades old. Regardless of the videos’ quality, an extensive Youtube archive will benefit the future generations of internet users, many of which will surely become creators themselves.
Yes, I am one of those nerds who think history can serve as precautionary tales. Radical, I know.
Actually, I am being a hypocrite here.
While I do think preservation is important, me downloading Unus Annus videos have nothing to do with that. If that is the case, I would have downloaded every single one; instead, I only downloaded my personal favourites.
So much for the good cause, eh?
As preservation is not a concern, I still don’t know why I spent hours downloading them. Months before the deletion, I already knew watching them as mere MP4 files would not be as enjoyable. After the deletion, my concern was proven right.
I tried watching them. But, I miss the feeling of watching videos on a platform where they were also watched by millions of fellow viewers. Even though I barely interact with any of them, even though this is not my only fandom, I still miss the sense of belonging.
It is obvious how the channel is impactful to my life. I already miss the past even though it is still less than two weeks old (as the time of writing this sentence). I am actually grieving its demise, despite knowing the date of death beforehand.
Don’t get me wrong: I will be able to enjoy the videos again. But -and it is a big but-, I have to stop watching them for many years. The longer the wait, the more I will likely to forget them. The more I forget about them, the more nostalgic it will be. The more nostalgia I have, the more positive emotions I will experience.
I am confident with my speculation because I have personally experienced something similar. The more I forgot about my childhood films, TV shows, music and books, the more enjoyable it was to re-visit them as an adult.
While I am sure the outcome is worth it, I doubt I would deliberately make the effort.
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