Friday, June 20, 2008

Did not! Did too!

The Internet often serves as the battle ground for many a clash between cricket fans of different nationalities. The flame wars of the newsgroups hierarchies and the IRC channels are the stuff of legend (I did my fair share of flamethrowing back in the day before tiring of the sport and withdrawing completely). But almost any space that lets rival groups speak in the same space invites similar pyrotechnics, especially when nationalist sentiment is close to the surface. Comments threads on blogs are the most common spot now for cricket fans to lock horns. Witness the activity on major newspaper sites after the events of the new year Down Under. But another sphere of fan interaction which is considerably less policed, and hence sees way more uninhibited writing, is the YouTube comment space for cricket videos. The language on some of these threads is amazing, and leads me to wonder how quickly restraints can be loosened when anonymity seems guaranteed. It also provokes thought on the nature of the video (as opposed to text) as stimulus for the comments to be found there. Very few YouTube cricket video comment threads remain non-abusive; someone invariably feels the need to insert anatomical references; someone feels the need to reply, and we're off and running. Needless to say, India-Pakistan clashes provoke the most colorful language and the most vivid imagery. The videos themselves, of course, can often be the very contribution that a fan wants to make to a dispute. Thus we have the 'highlights' video, dedicated to incompetence in, or the particularly singular failure of, an opponent (and which needless to say either invites video responses dedicated to making a counter statement or a slew of more vituperative comment).

In any case, I plan to start writing some comments on YouTube segments that are worth a closer look, and hope I'll get some comments on them - just not the kind that I find over at YouTube itself!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think someone should write an adaptation of Godwin's Law that applies to cricket clips on youtube.

Something like "As a youtube comment thread grows longer, the probability of a puerile nationalistic feud between Indian and Pakistani supporters approaches one."

10:08 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

DS: I think you've just stated it. The only modification I'd suggest is "rapidly approaches". I think the graph of the function has a pretty steep curve.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Would you be interested in blogrolling me, I'll be happy to return the link.

The address is

Please email me back.


5:31 AM  
Blogger cdak said...

Samir you're spot on there, it's mad! I have no problem with 'puerile nationalistic feuds' on the internet, but the indo-pakistani youtube comments phenomenon tend to lack a level of biting wit...i guess one must stick to messageboards for that...

1:44 PM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Cdak: Wit isn't what I associate with those threads! BTW, just blogrolled you, thanks for the link.

1:55 PM  
Blogger cdak said...

I admit I was being somewhat facetious, but actually inter-island rivalry in a caribbean context is often quite good natured and funny. of course, by no means always...

4:01 PM  

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