Kabir Vega Castellanos
HAVANA TIMES — For some weeks now, we’ve been watching an Internet video series called Hola, Soy German (“Hi, My Name is German”) rather religiously at home.
The star is a young Chilean who uploads videos to the Internet every week. Needless to say, these videos take a long time to get to Cuba and they are passed on from one computer to the next. The show’s originality made a positive impression on me the first time I saw it.
In itself, the show is fairly simple: German tapes himself in his room taking about a different topic every time – in a humorous fashion, of course. The surprising thing is how dynamic he makes the show through a complex montage in which his position and appearance changes every five words.
If he tells a story involving more than one person, he plays all of the different characters and the fast-paced cutting makes it seem as though there are ten different people in the room. With next to no resources and a lot of creativity, he manages to throw together a short performance that holds one’s attention, in a medium as competitive as the Internet.
What I like about Hola, soy German the most is how different it is from WDF (“What da Faq”, that is to say, “What the Fuck” written phonetically in Spanish).
I honestly hate that show, which basically consists in making people laugh by mocking and even humiliating people in videos. To my dismay, all of my friends love WDF and it is the only show they talked about recently.
After watching Hola, soy German, I’ve realized that not all shows need to take down somebody in order to become popular. If German wants to criticize or mock something, the joke is done at his own expense. He portrays all of the defects or negative attitudes he talks about. He doesn’t violate anyone’s privacy with videos of other people, nor does he get publicity by mocking others.
I may be treading on thin ice here, as I’ve never used Facebook or other social networks. I am only sharing how I see things from Cuba. My question is: why are there so many people degrading others in a space as public as the Internet?
German shows us that it is possible to appeal to people and be very popular and still be respectful of others, that one needn’t make anyone feel bad.
When someone was humiliated in the past, before the advent of communication technologies, the incident stayed between the aggressor and the victim, and perhaps those who witnessed it. There was little talk of it, the facts were often distorted and the whole thing blew over quickly.
One of the negative things about the Internet is that, if you’re humiliated in any way and happened be filmed by someone, the embarrassing video is likely to be uploaded to the Internet for half the world to see, ruining your self-esteem. I’ve read that videos of actual rapes have been uploaded to the Internet and that it has pushed people to suicide (unfortunately not the rapists, but the victims).
I am not saying the Internet shouldn’t exist. I also don’t want you to think I write this out of envy because I live in Cuba and have no Internet access. People tend to misinterpret me.
What I am talking about is the massive moral degeneration that is being encouraged these days, about the fact that, instead of “love thy neighbor”, the maxi appears to be that, to be successful, one needs to humiliate people and ruin their lives.