A Walden for the YouTube Age

Primtech_1Marissa Grunes at Paris Review:

In many ways Primitive Technology is in fact deftly attuned to the logic of the Internet. Witness the number of knockoff channels: Primitive Skills, Primitive Life, Survival Skills Primitive, et cetera. With his millions of subscribers, the channel’s creator earns a comfortable sum from YouTube. (In one of those tidy ironies of the Internet, his identity as thirty-something-year-old John Plant came to light after he complained to Facebook that users who posted his videos directly to the social media site were effectively robbing him of thousands of Australian dollars in YouTube views). Nor is this seeming contradiction so surprising. The channel’s carefully edited videos are streamlined, consistently and effectively branded, and even faintly humorous in their command of comic timing. Plant is adept at wielding both primitive and contemporary technology.

As one becomes aware of these incongruities, other questions bubble up. Plant lets us know that he lives a modern life, in a modern house. He has a college degree, and has been cutting lawns for a living while creating the world of Primitive Technology. He has access to power tools, safety matches—all sorts of equipment that would make his projects easier. Does he ever “cheat” offscreen?

more here.