Winnebago Man, an Exploration of the Future

I am absolutely intrigued by the trailer for the film Winnebago Man. The original Youtube clip is of course hilarious, and the movie looks like a good documentary, but the thing that intrigues me the most is the idea of how Youtube is affecting us as a culture. I hate the way that previous sentence sounds. It is absolutely dripping with pretentiousness, but I am genuinely fascinated by the effect that Youtube is having, and will continue to have, on us.

I have seen a few pictures of my father as a child and fewer pictures of him as a young adult and the same goes for my mother. I know about them, I know where they are from, I know where they spent their childhoods and have even spent a significant amount of times in those areas. My father played in a bluegrass band before I was born, and I have heard some of their recordings.  Before songs I can recognize my fathers voice in some of the pre-song banter and I can hear the sense of humor that I have come to emulate as the not-quite-but-pretend-to-sometimes-be adult that I am today. These are the only physical remnants that I as their child have of them before I was part of their lives. I don’t really know who they were before I was born, but I think (and possibly fear) that with the advent of Youtube and Facebook, my kids will be able to see who I was.

What the hell do the memories of my family have to do with Winnebago Man? Not much really, except that I feel like Winnebago Man is sort of the first exploration of this approaching phenomenon.

Winnebago Man was just trying to make a commercial for his Winnebago and despite his obvious years of spokesperson training, he was struggling and getting frustrated. Years ago, an event like this would have been lost in obscurity. Maybe a few, “remember that time” recountings would occur and would always end with, “you had to be there,” and then the conversation would move onto the latest and greatest Winnebago*.

It’s not a perfect example of recorded memory, this being a commercial and all, but the idea is present. A part of this man’s life was recorded, one that would not have normally been shared with the world, and now he is witnessing the effects.

With Youtube and the absurd amounts of cameras everywhere, memories are getting captured in real time, and being committed to an archive. My kids will be able to see who I was in motion, and they will be able to see how awesome I think I was, and how much of a loser they will know I really am.

I may just have to purge my Youtube account before my kids learn how to use Google. Fingers crossed they don’t find this blog.

*I assume Winnebago salesman, their family and friends discuss Winnebagos exclusively.

About Kyle Hilliard
I used to be a freelancer. Now I write for Game Informer magazine. Someday, when the time is right, I will grow a mustache.

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