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In which John discusses the frame, and what's not in it. This isn't really a video; it's mostly just a question.
I will be live-editing the anthropocene reviewed book with your help here this afternoon: https://youtu.be/UXMIxYDfFTE


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Good morning, Hank, it's Tuesday.  So something you might not know from having watched my last couple videos is that this has been the most stressful week period I have experienced in a while.

There are many, many advantages to making a video every Tuesday, like, for starters, it gives structure to my week.  Without vlogbrothers, I am not sure that I would even know it is currently Tuesday.  Also, in order to be creative, I need accountability and discipline, which weekly videos provide and I get such a strong sense of encouragement and connection from the conversations within this community and I feel really lucky to have a strong sense of community, especially right now.  Plus, making one thing every week, even though it takes a lot of time and energy and so on, actually makes it easier to make other things, because I am forced every week to think about what I am thinking about and why I am thinking about it.  

Like, a lot of the ideas in my books got their start from vlogbrothers videos, as did many of the essays in The Anthropocene Reviewed book, but the big downside of making something every week is that you can't necessarily talk about how you're actually doing in the moment.  Like, a family member of mine recently had COVID, which, for a variety of reasons, was very scary, but I didn't want to talk about it here because, 1) I've learned over the years that once you share something, you can't unshare it, and also 2) I don't really feel comfortable sharing news about other people and 3) I didn't yet know how serious it would be or if anyone else would get it, so I am here inside of my world having a difficult experience but then when I go to make a video, I'm not necessarily ready to talk about it, so I have to uh, pretend.  

I mean, of course, the central trick of the social internet is that whenever you make something, you choose what's inside the frame, but as viewers, the rest of us can't help but believe what's inside the frame because it's literally all we can see.  Like, like, like, like I, like, like I have all these speech particularities--like, like I have all these speech particularities that means that it takes like 45 minutes to record a four minute video, but you don't see any of that.  

I-I-I-I cut all those.  I cut--I cu--I cut all of those so--I--I cut all of those--I-I cut all of those so that to you, it doesn't seem like I stutter or trip over my words, but that's not real.  That's the frame, and I have to confess that I find participating in this simultaneous romanticization and commodification of experience a little nauseating but I also don't know how else to handle it.  

Like, if I take a week off, that also raises questions, but also, I don't want to take a week off because I benefit from making vlogbrothers videos in all those aforementioned ways, so I don't know, maybe the best strategy is to try to call attention to the frame at least some of the time and to acknowledge that a lot of stuff, in fact, the vast majority of stuff, happens outside the frame.

Side note: this is one of the reasons I still use jump cuts in my videos, it's a little visual reminder that there is time between when I say x and when I say y.  It's an attempt to acknowledge the existence of the frame, whereas videos that are filmed without jump cuts often feel very natural to me, but in a way that I know ultimately is inauthentic.

Now that everyone seems to be okay and the crisis has hopefully passed, it is easier to talk about, but even so, I realize that by not going into detail, it feels like there is a mystery that I seem to be teasing.  I know that I can't help but try to puzzle through similar things when they pop up in my subscription box, but again, this is something I don't know how to find my way through, because I want to be able to tell you that the time is difficult without violating anyone's privacy.  

So yeah, that's all I wanted to say, really.  I don't know if it's possible to remember that there is a frame.  I know that I am constantly forgetting it when I'm online, but there is one.  

This hasn't really been a video so much as it has been a question.  How do I navigate the labyrinth of the social internet better?  If you've got answers, let me know, but for now, I have to get back to work because the last edits for The Anthropocene Reviewed book are due in three days, which is the other thing that's a little bit stressful.  Nonetheless, I am glad that I made a vlogbrothers video this week, and thank you for being here.

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.