We all know that the Internet has its drawbacks. (Why do I know that Sandra Bullock's husband cheated on her? Why does a certain relatives think I enjoy videos of kittens?) But its power to aggregate—pulling material from across time and around the world—can still knock your socks off. I stumbled across an example this week: the UK Guardian’s list of 50 greatest arts videos on YouTube.
The list is a couple of years old, but the clips are classics. Madonna's very un-polished first show at Danceteria in 1982. Vladimir Nabokov and Lionel Trilling discussing Lolita. Stravinsky conducting Firebird. Pollock dripping paint, Nirvana practicing in a garage before they hit. All these things existed before, somewhere; but you’d have spent years of your life hunting them down. In the mountainous slag heap of YouTube, there are plenty of loose diamonds, if you know where to look.
And if you do want to see some kittens, click here.