By Derek Davison (source: LobeLog)
*Editor’s note: Yesterday we covered the arrest of a group of young Iranians in Tehran, who made a video to Pharrell’s hit song, “Happy.” As noted in our story, the original fan video, which received over 160,000 views on YouTube over the month it was online, has since been marked private, but reproductions have been flourishing on the Internet. As of this posting (on May 22nd), a May 20th (two days ago) upload by Pooya Jahandar has over 721,000 hits, and counting...
Friends, who among us has not been confronted by that irritating and morally corrosive internet video that both grates on the nerves and threatens to undermine everything that is good and decent in society? Are you interested in protecting others from being exposed to this filth? I’m here to help. Here’s a step-by-step guide to keeping YouTube’s dangerous grip off our beloved Islamic Republic:
Step 1: Find an offensive video to ban
You might consider deliberately looking for something to get mad about strange, but rest assured that combing the internet for something that outrages you is a completely legitimate and highly productive use of your time.
Now, you can’t redirect people’s outrage with just any video. Please use a discerning eye and find something that is really offensive. Like kittens - nobody likes kittens, with their little slashing claws and sharp teeth. Babies are also good - I mean, who likes babies? Or, hypothetically of course, you could find a video of pleasant-looking young peopleviolating the long-held prohibition on men and women appearing together in an internet video and dancing to a song sung by an American who wears a funny hat. You’ll want something that’s gone a little “viral” but hasn’t blown up too much, because then you won’t be able to greatly increase awareness of the existence of the video while simultaneously trying to make sure that it never gets seen.
Step 2: Denounce the video and arrest the participants, ideally in the most public manner possible
This is simple logic. How will people know that the YouTube video they probably haven’t seen is bad and offensive unless you do something very public to let them know? Answer: they won’t. This is not good; you can’t suppress something that only a few people know about! So put somebody in uniform, a police commander maybe, on camera to denounce the video and reassure the public that anyone who films themselves in a “false utopia” will be jolted into reality by squatting naked!
Then, arrest everybody involved in the making of the video. This will be difficult if we’re dealing with kittens because of the scratching and biting. Babies, on the other hand, are surprisingly easy to arrest, but they are unable to go on TV and confess to, well, whatever. This is why if you can find a video of dancing young people, that’s really the way to go. Anyway, stick the arrestees on TV and pressure them into confessing to something, anything, so the people watching know that regardless of who’s president, conservative forces will always be in control.
Step 3: Let the power of modern media work for you
By now your efforts are really starting to pay off. By publicly drawing massive amounts of attention to this video that a relatively small number of people had seen before you pointed it out to them, you’ve not only managed to alert your own public to the excellent work you’re doing, but you’ve gotten the foreign press interested as well.
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) May 21, 2014
This is great; young people think of the news media as “square,” which means “uncool,” so if the video is being covered by the media then people will be less interested in seeing it. Maybe you’ve even inspired a bunch of people to reproduce the original video so that even if the original is taken down the copies will still be available. This is excellent news, because our people are notoriously counter-culture and will not want to watch something if it’s all over the place, so the more copies of the video there are, the less likely it will be that anyone will look at it. If you’re really lucky, a major celebrity, like the American in the funny hat if you went that route, will publicly denounce your actions, maybe even a couple of times, and this is gold!
Step 4: Release some of the participants in the video, but keep at least one so that the story doesn’t go away
By now it may be time to goose things a bit, to make sure that everybody keeps talking about the video you don’t want them to see, so publicly release most of the people involved, but hold one or two folks back in order to extend the story still further. This will give you more options for suppressing any knowledge of the video’s existence, like maybe a nice public trial or something.
Step 5: Congratulate yourselves on a job well done
Mission accomplished, my brothers and sisters! If you’ve followed these steps, then the offensive video that you found has been totally suppressed and its copies are not themselves all going viral, and your actions have not spawned a massive social media campaign against you, thereby exponentially increasing the number of people who have seen or are at least aware of the video.
About the Author: Derek Davison is a Washington-based researcher and writer on international affairs and American politics. He has Master's degrees in Middle East Studies from the University of Chicago, where he specialized in Iranian history and policy, and in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied American foreign policy and Russian/Cold War history. He previously worked in the Persian Gulf for The RAND Corporation.
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