6 billion others

Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love… true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in. Hub (Robert Duvall)

Tonight we watched Secondhand Lions – it’s a great movie. Broadbrushed, the two codgers could’ve been my uncles, and I guess I wouldn’t be the first person to wish that they had been. I got to thinking about how one of the things that separates us from the beasts is humans are storytelling animals. Other animals don’t bother to explain (at least as far as I know) things, and have to resort to the deus ex machina of a god, fate, luck, or whatever. But humans do. When the going gets tough, the tough tell stories. I think that that’s where the writers of Lost have lost it. When two people are stuck in a lift, or even waiting for a bus – when things become bad (read: when the time is ripe) enough they’ll start to swap stories. People (myself included) wear earbuds to keep conversations away, but they’re only semi-effective. People want to tell stories. One of the reasons why I don’t enjoy tv is because storytelling (between people) is the – the – first casualty. The writers of Lost have become so desperate to – well, I can’t tell what exactly – but they’re moved away from what made the first series so interesting – revealing to us the stories that were being revealed to each of the survivors, and in particular, how their (as are our) stories were/are entwined together. Was fascinating, now very less memorable than Gilligan’s Island.

The ‘net is growing up to become the premier tool for humans to tell stories. We’ve finally got the method. We’ve always had the motivation. And now we have opportunity on a scale unimaginable a decade, perhaps even five years ago. Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the man who brought us Earth from the Air, has recorded an extensive selection of short video clips – interviews of people from around the world – telling their hopes, dreams, and fears – their stories, in their voices. Entitled ‘6 billion Others‘, the site presents us with testimonies holding potent magic. They’re compelling in their commonplace – these are everyday folk telling everyday thoughts. According to the blurb, in 2008 you’ll be able to listen to the thousands of testimonies which have been collected, and add your own testimony to the site. In the meantime, take a look at the project, the team, and some interviews that have already been made. It’s not for the faint-hearted with dialup access, and an elderly computer. This site requires demands a high-speed connection, Flash, and a minimum resolution of 1024×768. Our high-speed connection still struggled. Hopefully they’ll get some umph behind the servers – based on the current it feels as though it wouldn’t take much to bring the site down. And that would be most unfortunate, because the work that’s there is beautiful – it’s lovely to see video in portrait rather than landscape – this is about interviews with people, not an imitation of tv as is the norm with u-tube etc.

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