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Unplanned companion pieces and the ephemerality of ephemera


excused from moderation duty
Staff member
November 17, 2022: Harris “hbomberguy” Brewis releases “ROBLOX_OOF.mp3," a video essay about a sound effect that turns into a work of legitimate investigative journalism about perennial video game hanger-on Tommy Tallarico:

November 20, 2022: Kevin "Defunctland" Perjurer releases "Disney Channel’s Theme: A History Mystery," a documentary concerning a ditty from a cable TV ident:

By some cosmic coincidence, these two fine videos, published days apart, are united by a common theme: the authorship of ephemeral audio. They go great together, and I suggest watching them in that order and close enough together that you can remember the one while watching the other. hbomberguy's investigation leads him down a maddening rabbit-hole of egotism and lies, breaking us down, and then to build us back up we have what Defunctland found on the other side of Disney's wall of pure, uncredited branding.

And they've both got me contemplating the loss of ephemeral art and of information about ephemeral art, whose significance (if it ever attains any) can never be known until later. This month in the news we're witnessing Elon Musk presiding over the arson of Twitter - much will be lost there as well as its systems fail, since only Twitter itself had the means to back up Twitter, and now nothing does.

(Anyway, I made sure to save copies of these video files.)

History is the study of records of the past, as distinguished from archaeology, which is the study of the physical evidence of the past. Notably, neither of them is the study of the past. The past is no longer around to be studied. Epistemologically speaking, if you don't have a personal memory of it, your only significant options to have any idea about what happened are attestations and artifacts. In this age, the artifacts are digital, but it remains as true as ever that archives are the raw materials of history and journalism is its first draft.

Anyway check 'em out.