Confession: We’re obsessed with the PBS Idea Channel. Host Mike Rugnetta takes on topics right at the intersection of media, pop culture, and technology. That’s basically where we live so naturally we’re into it. Every week Mike takes his viewers on a lightning fast thought ramble that connects unexpected topics across the spectrum. He regularly turns internet culture on its head and inside out as he examines the links between culture and cat videos or politics and GIF memes. It seems bonkers but it’s brilliant. Check out some of our favorites below.
If you want to get a sense of what it’s like to hunker down with the Idea Channel then this is a good place to start. Mike weaves together a fan-servicey anime, with themes as diverse as wearable technology and the global fascist movement. It’s a great introduction to the channel’s thought process and timely as hell given that we’re all a few weeks away from strapping on our Apple Watches for the first time.
This is one of the best dissections of the pleasures and perils of internet fandom culture that we’ve ever seen. It’s a hot topic right now, especially in the YouTube community, and Mike gives it the attention it deserves and places it in a much wider historical context.
If you’ve ever ranted about the diminishing comedic half-life of classic internet memes then this video is everything you’ve ever wanted.
As undeniable internet people the topic of net neutrality is near and dear to our hearts. This is one of the most perfectly executed explanations we’ve come across yet.
If you’re still mourning the death of Horse_ebooks, the internet’s favorite twitter spam bot, then let this video comfort you. Mike explores the notion that Horse_ebooks might be a perfect example of the internet’s native art form in action.
Every video on the Idea Channel is worth a look. The content is always current and it takes you somewhere you didn’t expect, which is always a treat. The channel also isn’t afraid to engage with the YouTube community’s issues of the day. It didn’t make our list but Mike’s response to the recent Sam Pepper controversy is well worth your time, as are any of his other videos.
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