Sunday, February 28, 2016


ARE THERE GAYS IN SPACE??? | Tyler Oakley 

Hey, as questions go this may not be the equal of "Is the formation of cancerous cells generally more due to environmental factors or to an organism's inability to cope with them?" Still, it makes a great teaser title for a video and for one, it got me to click on its link.

 By the way, the video doesn't seem to offer a serious discussion of this question, much less provide an answer. But we do get to see Tyler Oakley, its producer, show us why, at least in part, he's such a big YouTube star.

And now that I've treated myself to a few minutes of Tyler, while I may not be hooked on him, I do see something very special here and I think I understand what it is that makes him so popular. So popular? Check out this guy's YouTube stats (as of this writing):  8,004,669 subscribers • 554,426,539 views. Yes, you read that correctly; this guy has had over 500 million views of his videos. That's got to be better than a good number of broadcast network shows. And by the way, his videos are basically just him looking into his camera and talking and then using some simple video editing software, throwing in some still photos and some text titling. I don't see anything else. In other words it’s the kind of production, from the technical standpoint, that could be done by a Cub Scout.

What's the appeal of Tyler’s videos? THAT's a question worth asking - never mind the gay's in space gimmick!  Let me take a tentative stab at defining Tyler's message for the world. It seems to me he's saying to his 7 Billion fellow travelers on Spaceship Earth "Hey, THIS is me, and aren't I FAB-u-lus! And, because you know it, too, let's have some fun just being together, being in touch! Let's dish about what's wonderful and what's not... and, let's just be nice and enjoy ourselves! That's really all there is to life, right?" And you know what, who can argue with that? Not me, that's for sure!

In this particular video of Tyler's (he's got  a gazillion of them, Girlfriends) we see Tyler simply responding to questions sent to him by his fans via a Twitter hashtag he set up for this (#AskTylerAnything). He handles important items like "if I decide to eat myself will I become twice as big... or will i  disappear completely ?" and "yo show us your phonecase!!!" (TRANSLATION: Show us your phone case. We'd be interested to see how you express yourself through this important fashion statement personal accessory.)  and "do you think #GagaInSpace2016 might become a reality??" (INTERPRETATION: Lady Gaga in Outer Space? - An effort to put Lady Gaga in Outer Space? - Other??? This one may defy translation for those who don't get it instantly)... and other important questions. AND THEN, he begins to handle questions like "WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT TRUMP" and we get some very sensible answers, none of which involve any attempt, whatsoever, at serious political analysis, simply the down to Earth, good sense thinking of a guy, who like the rest of us, is stuck on a planet that seems to go completely kerflooey at times.

Oh, I should also paint a bit of a word picture here to describe the persona of Tyler, although I think that far better still, you should simply watch a few of his videos. Tyler, is a little effeminate, true, but mostly he comes off as (and here's a descriptor for a man that you don't hear all that often) SILLY. That's not silly, bad, by the way; it's silly unusual but silly self-confident. And truth be told, it's a disarming quality and seems to work in his favor, because in this world of phonies, a man who chooses to show his silly side to the world is clearly not covering up who he really is with a veneer of seriousness and macho. His heart's on his sleeve and how do you knock that?

At any rate, the stream of questions that Tyler chooses to respond to in this video eventually comes around to one from Laura, and Tyler shows us a photo of Laura holding up a copy of *Tyler's book "Binge" as he explains "Laura says "Can I be your person of the week?" and we next see Tyler on screen shrugging his shoulders and replying in his silly, talking too fast, near falsetto, overly dramatic voice ".. Of course you can, Laura, thank you so much for buying my book... if you wanna be my person of the week all you gotta do is send me a picture of you and my book, and you might be my new person of the week... and while we're talking about Binge it has been on the New York Times best seller list for 10 weeks now... And I just got a gift from my publisher, and it's like kind of  the most amazing thing in the world... my publisher sent me a plaque that's like my book cover and a print out of the NY Times best seller list - here I am... thank you for making this a reality... I cannot wait to hang this up and like think about the cool things we did together... I can't believe it was on the NY Times best seller list for 1 week let alone 10 weeks now, so thank you, thanks again for the wonderful reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and all the places that you got the book... Thank you! Thank you. That's all the questions that I'm going to answer today...

Are we witnessing narcissism? Duh! A far better question for today's members of the human race,  hominids who  have now self-empowered themselves through Social Media to fully realize cultural and personality traits that we just didn't have the technology to indulge, explore, and bring to full fruition just a decade ago, would be, "Are we witnessing a healthy, well-adjusted narcissist who has taken full advantage of the resources he's found in his environment to commune with his fellow humans in ways that serve his needs and theirs, meaningfully? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
I will not be purchasing Binge, although I will look for a copy to check out to satisfy my curiosity (Sorry, Tyler) and while I may not be a fan (I'm not a subscriber to his channel... not yet) I find this guy to be engaging. It didn't take more than a few seconds for him to win me over. His goodness simply leaps out of the screen at you. And in a strange way, I feel that I walk away from my hour of Tyler Oakley videos a better person. 

Here's another video (below), one that complements ARE THERE GAYS IN SPACE??? This one is a snippet from the Ellen Degeneres Show, in which she interviews Tyler as a sit down guest and gives some worthwhile background and history about Tyler Oakley, the young man who made himself something of an equal of hers by sharing himself on YouTube.