Parabasis: YouTube is Changing Everything (For the Better!):
When blogging became a widespread phenomenon there was the hope, the promise, that people's standards for paid writing would perhaps get higher. After all, if there's a hundred really great film reviewers (or political commentators) regularly churning out high quality material for peanuts, why should we listen to Richard Roeper? In reaction to this, the mainstream media regularly unleashed a series of stories about blogger ethics, blogger meanness and other blogger badness to try to delegitimize it's closest competitor. I remember thinking that the theotrosphere had arrived when the Times did a piece on how corrupt bloggers (whom I'd never heard of) were given special treatment to review plays, including celebrity access etc. These stories became common for awhile (mostly in political realms) but now that the blogosphere is an accepted reality everywhere except spellcheck, the Times itself now hosts a large numbers of great blogs and has gotten rid of TimesSelect, which limited people's access to their online content.
And now, perhaps, the same thing is happening with YouTube. YouTube is changing the way we think about film. If a movie is meant to be just entertaining well... then it has to be more entertaining than 90 minutes of entertaining YouTube clips, or else it's not worth your money. The more free stuff is out there, the more value must be added for each dollar you spend on something. Our standards as a culture may actually be changing for the better.