Sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!
June 22, 2016 1:40 PM   Subscribe

"I have found a new way to watch TV, and it changes everything" — Jeff Guo of Wonkblog discusses how his new habit of fast-forwarding TV relates to the history of reading, and considers the role of the content creator in an age of hackable content. (non-WaPo link)
posted by Johnny Wallflower (122 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have a better idea, watch less TV and be more selective of the TV shows you watch.
posted by Pendragon at 1:42 PM on June 22, 2016 [27 favorites]


I don't really understand the problem but more TV isn't the answer.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:45 PM on June 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


fck evrthng abt ths
posted by bondcliff at 1:46 PM on June 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


I did this when I was in grad school, with Netflix. Not the streaming netflix, the DVD netflix. They'd send me the DVD of 1/3 of a season of Little House on the Prairie* and I'd watch the 8 episodes that night and send the DVD back in the morning. *Don't judge me.

They did eventually start throttling me in the way they did back then -- giving you return envelopes that went across the country instead of to your nearest depot. I photocopies the address section of an envelope addressed to my nearest depot, taped that over the far-away address of every envelope they sent me, and that way I never ran out of episodes to watch.

Of course it helps that those 1970s/80s shows were slower to begin with. I'm not sure how I'd feel about doing this with contemporary shows which tend to be much faster-paced.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:55 PM on June 22, 2016 [12 favorites]


Harrumph about excessive tv watching all you like, but this person is a prophet. I just choked down an episode of Agents of SHIELD in half the time. That show is like the joyless homework I do as part of a larger interest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Speeding it up was a blessing.

I don't know why it never occurred to me there might be an extension to do this. I already did it for some local files through BSPlayer and for podcasts through BeyondPod.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:56 PM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


I've been listening to podcasts at 2.5x for so long, regular talk radio sounds like all the people on air have been slipped barbituates and are about to lose consciousness.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:57 PM on June 22, 2016 [22 favorites]


I was writing a long rant about this insanity, how it relates to the abbreviated viewing of content via GIFs+text, how this is further evidence shortened attention spans, etc. But then I got bored and skipped to the "human suck" part.

So...humans suck.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:57 PM on June 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


This article is more intelligent than the "and it changes everything" quote would lead you to believe, actually.

I was reminded of the way that I absolutely cannot stand audiobooks, news videos with narration and NPR because I get so damn bored with the pace - this article seems to suggest that this is typical and that most people seem naturally to prefer faster pacing. It made me wonder whether I would start to enjoy video if it were faster - as it is, I always go for the transcript, the book, the critical piece, etc.
posted by Frowner at 1:58 PM on June 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


BTW, slowing things down turns any show into the tv equivalent of the slowed-down-to-sound-drunk-Jeff-Goldblum-for-Apple-ads.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:58 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


Try watching Gilmore Girls like this and see how long it takes for you to start bleeding from every orifice and you put your face through the screen just to make the pain stop.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:59 PM on June 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


Last year I read an e-book using one of those focus & accelerate APPS. I could do it, even at the fastest rate, but I didn't enjoy it at all.
posted by chavenet at 1:59 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


The day we stop being judgemental about people's media consumption is the day that absolutely nothing changes because it never mattered in the first place.
posted by selfnoise at 2:00 PM on June 22, 2016 [22 favorites]


I'm way too into audio to handle the level of distortion over-quantization causes. Beyond everyone sounding like they've had one cup of coffee too much and the hyperkinetic squirrel frenzy their movements now make... It just becomes an unpleasant experience. Silence and slowness is a virtue. So is accepting your choices, and opting to enjoy things fully instead of cutting it to 62.5% of the enjoyment.

Now for longer, slower-paced... required watching, this could be a good thing. Maybe this is okay with the news. This may be a good way to get through Roots (9 hours 33 minutes would compress to five hours 58 minutes) if you had to watch it. But, if I had to watch Modern Family and Game of Thrones, and I only had an hour to do it - I'd watch GoT and stop watching Modern Family. If I really liked modern family, I'd drop GoT, and speed up my viewing even more.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:03 PM on June 22, 2016


Next up: consuming your food in the form of a pill. (How many weeks of your life are spent chewing food? Inefficient!)
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:03 PM on June 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


I also really want to see shaky cam fight scenes with this now. Show me Gladiator. Does it look like the cameraman now has a hand tremor?
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:04 PM on June 22, 2016


When I was in high school I went through a stretch when I listened to my LPs at 45 rpm instead of 33, figuring (correctly, in a sense?) that I could listen to more music that way. This was at least as urgent and terrible an idea as anything else I did at 16. (But! I can still sing all the lyrics to “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” at breakneck speed and smurfy pitch.)

This technology is a lot more sophisticated but I can’t help looking askance at the premise.
posted by miles per flower at 2:05 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Not sure what software you're using to speed up your hypothetical news, or Roots (watched at normal speed this week. Good, but violent. I don't like the violence), Nanukthedog, but the software I used did not result in high-pitchced voices. It compensates for the speed somehow. It just sounds like the actors talked faster than it turns out they actually did.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:06 PM on June 22, 2016


Yeah, modern tools for speeding up playback also pitch shift to correct/prevent squeakiness from sped up speech.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:07 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Upon seeing the headline I, too, was ready to shout at a cloud. Then I R'd TFA.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:07 PM on June 22, 2016


I was reminded of the way that I absolutely cannot stand audiobooks[...] because I get so damn bored with the pace

Discovering the Youtube speed settings at 1.25x to 2x settings is magical.
posted by bonehead at 2:09 PM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


The most common objection I hear is that this ruins the cinematic experience. Annette Insdorf, a film professor at Columbia, told me: “Sometimes watching a movie is like lovemaking: Isn't a sustained seduction more gratifying than momentary thrills?”

That's a remarkably diplomatic way to call someone a wanker.
posted by zamboni at 2:09 PM on June 22, 2016 [16 favorites]


Yeah, modern tools for speeding up playback also pitch shift to correct.

You guys ALMOST sold me on this, until you dropped this bomb. If I can't hear my Game of Thrones characters as chipmunks, there's no reason to do this.

Seriously just read the synopsis, and save even more time. Or just read the arguments in the IMDB reviews.
posted by happyroach at 2:12 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have a 12" 45 of the extended dance mix of Pet Shop Boys' version of "Always On My Mind" that I like to play at 331/3. I maintain this is the better way to listen to it.

Also, punk 45s sound like metal when you play them slow.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:12 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Remember when people used to be able to fit a compelling character arc into two to three (or, very occasionally, four) hours of screen time? How you could have loud moments and quiet moments but never actually get bored because it never felt like the medium was killing time?

I think they were called films.
posted by belarius at 2:13 PM on June 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


I don't think this is any more awful an approach than skimming/speedreading a bit so that you can tear through three cheap paperback mysteries in an afternoon on a hammock instead of two.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:13 PM on June 22, 2016


I just choked down an episode of Agents of SHIELD in half the time. That show is like the joyless homework I do as part of a larger interest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Speeding it up was a blessing.

Try watching Gilmore Girls like this and see how long it takes for you to start bleeding from every orifice and you put your face through the screen just to make the pain stop.

Couldn't you just...not watch shows you don't like?

If the heavy tv watchers here stipulate to the non/minimal tv watchers that they're better people than we are and we're personally making the world a terrible place, can they all just nope out and have a smug off competition somewhere?

It's not about whether watching too much TV is bad or not, but about trying to be more selective. As with the above-quoted posts, why watch things that you find terrible? Why speed them up to watch them more efficiently instead of just finding things you do want to watch, at normal speeds?

Unless it's your job to watch TV you don't have to be watching junk you don't like.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:20 PM on June 22, 2016 [11 favorites]


This is the only way to watch recorded academic lectures. You can watch/listen to those at nearly 2x speed and they actually become much more bearable. Regular lectures become glacial in comparison.

Why speed them up to watch them more efficiently instead of just finding things you do want to watch, at normal speeds?

FOMO, social bonding, an economic decision that you'd devote 15 min per episode instead of 20 to make it worth your while.
posted by GuyZero at 2:22 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Couldn't you just...not watch shows you don't like?

I'm not always watching for, or better put, just for enjoyment. I'm frequently trying to watch news, learn something, or how to do something. In that case, I just want them to get on with it. A transcript would be better, but a speed multiple is a good second-best.
posted by bonehead at 2:26 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Try watching Gilmore Girls like this and see how long it takes for you to start bleeding from every orifice and you put your face through the screen just to make the pain stop.

Fixed it.
posted by slipthought at 2:27 PM on June 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


It seems very weird to me to want to watch things faster to watch more and that watching them at "regular speed" is a waste of time ... isn't the whole exercise of watching then considered a waste of time? Why not just read recaps?

I don't think this is any more awful an approach than skimming/speedreading a bit so that you can tear through three cheap paperback mysteries in an afternoon on a hammock instead of two.

Nope, but in both cases the appeal is simply to finish (and say that you've finished) rather than actually enjoy what you're reading, or that's what it sounds like.

Actually, it sounds a lot like pornography or drugs to me. Those are the two analogs where I can really see people wanting to FINISH what they have so they can GET MORE.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:28 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


If you have a newer TiVo (Bolt or Roamio), there's a "Quick Mode" now available that will let you watch at 1.3x speed with pitch-corrected audio.

My kids were playing with it as a joke, but I'm gonna try an hour-long episode of something as a test.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:31 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Modern Family clip was unpleasant, not so much for the weird speech patterns but because the zooms and POV changes are much too fast and jarring.

I can see this working for something like a lecture or audio show where there are no bodily cues fighting for attention, but for a primary visual medium like TV or film, it seems distracting.
posted by madajb at 2:32 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have a 12" 45 of the extended dance mix of Pet Shop Boys' version of "Always On My Mind" that I like to play at 331/3. I maintain this is the better way to listen to it.

Also, punk 45s sound like metal when you play them slow.


See also: the slowed-down Dolly Parton, "Jolene" and "9 to 5".
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:32 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


belarius, yes, absolutely. I like some of the recent crop of serious-drama-tv shows, but even the good ones suffer from tv bloat: excessive retreading of the same idea (Mad Men) or needless plot chaff (Oliver Platt in the first season of Fargo). Movies can't afford that much fat.
posted by factory123 at 2:36 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Podcast-wise, Overcast's Smart Speed is fantastic. It doesn't speed up speech, although you can do that separately- it elides silences and pauses in a reasonably seamless way. According to these little status line in settings, it's saved me 26 hours so far.
posted by zamboni at 2:37 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I don't get this. If I like something, I want to spend my time enjoying it. If I don't like it well enough to watch for real, I'd just stop. You can read the Wikipedia summary in five minutes if you only want to know what happens.

I like the analogy of skim-reading books, because that's something I've never understood, either - someone in my life (fine, it's my mother-in-law) finishes every book she starts even if they're awful, complaining the entire time about the awfulness. Why?! We have one life! Read (or watch) something you like!
posted by something something at 2:37 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I've been doing this for a while (don't mean that in a "hipster" way). What really helps is loading the subtitles in with it.
posted by WCityMike at 2:37 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


See also: the slowed-down Dolly Parton, "Jolene" yt and "9 to 5" yt .

See also also: ChipmunksOn16Speed, A&tC songs as slowed back down to their normal pitched vocals, and the accompanying musical changes to phenomenal doomgaze.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:39 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


As with the above-quoted posts, why watch things that you find terrible? Why speed them up to watch them more efficiently instead of just finding things you do want to watch, at normal speeds?

I'm watching The Sopranos right now.
I'm in the last season and I'm pretty sure I know how it's going to end up (no spoilers please).

But to be honest, it's gotten a little draggy and quite frankly, I don't really care about these characters anymore.
On the other hand, I am curious how they get to the end I know is coming.

I could just jump to the final episode and see what happens, but something like this might offer an alternative to just giving up on the whole thing.
posted by madajb at 2:45 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Couldn't you just...not watch shows you don't like?

I don't think you should assume that if someone does this it means they don't like the show. I love Little House on the Prairie * and now own the first 6 seasons on DVD. Back then, netflix was the only way to get it (I mean maybe I could have bought DVDs on amazon, I guess, but I was a grad student with no money). The local rental place didn't have them, and of course if I had rented them I would have had to pay for each disc rental when I was already paying a netflix monthly fee. And the best way to get the next disc (so I could watch more, because I love it, not because I hate it) was to finish this disc and send it back. So I finished a disc a night and sent it back. Who said I was watching a show I don't like?

*Didn't I already tell you not to judge me?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:45 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Science Has Great News for People Who Read Actual Books

A 2014 study found that readers of a short mystery story on a Kindle were significantly worse at remembering the order of events than those who read the same story in paperback. Lead researcher Anne Mangen of Norway's Stavanger University concluded that "the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does."

Our brains were not designed for reading, but have adapted and created new circuits to understand letters and texts. The brain reads by constructing a mental representation of the text based on the placement of the page in the book and the word on the page.

The tactile experience of a book aids this process, from the thickness of the pages in your hands as you progress through the story to the placement of a word on the page. Mangen hypothesizes that the difference for Kindle readers "might have something to do with the fact that the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a story is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you're reading."

While e-readers try to recreate the sensation of turning pages and pagination, the screen is limited to one ephemeral virtual page. Surveys about the use of e-readers suggest that this affects a reader's serendipity and sense of control. The inability to flip back to previous pages or control the text physically, either through making written notes or bending pages, limits one's sensory experience and thus reduces long-term memory of the text.


This is seriously powerful. It validates my experience with having trouble reading at night like I've been accustomed to do so for the past 4 decades. Now I see "science" telling me to read for at least 45 minutes offline everyday with a paperbook for my brain's health and longevity. Thank you science.
posted by infini at 2:46 PM on June 22, 2016 [14 favorites]


From TFA:

Four episodes of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" fit into an hour.

I can't think of a worse example of a show to do this with. At normal playback speed, I estimate my wife and I catch 3 out of every 4 jokes, to the point that we routinely use the 30 second skip back button to make sure we get the ones we miss while we're laughing or thinking about the previous one. If you're watching at > 1x speed, I'm thinking you'll get maybe half the jokes if you're lucky.

Maybe for formulaic sitcoms with plenty of laugh track breaks this sort of thing could work, though.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:46 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Nanukthedog: I also really want to see shaky cam fight scenes with this now. Show me Gladiator. Does it look like the cameraman now has a hand tremor?

Gladiator fight scene on Youtube; use the cog to select 2x playback speed.
posted by miguelcervantes at 2:46 PM on June 22, 2016


I'm watching The Sopranos right now.
I'm in the last season and I'm pretty sure I know how it's going to end up (no spoilers please).


They all get run over by a truck.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:01 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


The alternative is background viewing. I chop up my attention span usually, rather than the video/audio, by doing something else and playing the media in a small window off to the side.

To get full attention at full speed, something has to be either mentally taxing or emotionally compelling. Battle of the Bastards was watched while I did several other tasks and then read another book on my phone, switching attention between as the scenes revved up. I'd read the recaps of GOT previously to keep track because I'd skipped out on the show and even the background watching or fast-forward method was 30 minutes vs a 3 min skim of a recap.

If something is really good, you give it attention. It can be a play or a film theatre or a TV show or a novel - anytime someone is producing a piece of art meant to be consumed linearly, they're asking for a chunk of attention and that's something you can choose negotiate.

When you're not walking out mid-live performance - then you're remixing the planned linear experience and that's your active consumption of a packaged production that's separated from the creator's direct production. Read the last chapter of a mystery novel. Skip the first season of Parks and Recs. Watch Gus Van Sant's Psycho before Hitchcock's Psycho.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 3:02 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Couldn't you just...not watch shows you don't like?

I'm not the one watching it, but I have just as much right to the couch/living room area as other people that shall remain nameless to whom I am married.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:04 PM on June 22, 2016


I listen to a lot of audio books on my daily commute, and setting the playback at 1.5x definitely keeps me focused on the content instead of drifting off into other thoughts.
posted by KGMoney at 3:07 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I do a lot of driving for work and listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks as a result. I routinely listen to audiobooks at 1.5x but podcasts I generally listen to at normal speed. I can't imagine listening to something at 2.5x, I have to concentrate to understand everything just if I bump it up to 2.0x. I'd probably listen to podcasts at 1.5x too but I use Apple's iOS podcast app and their speed up algorithm Makes things noticeably less intelligible than Audible's.

I've never considered watching video this way, but I'm not inherently opposed to it. I just don't routinely watch enough video to justify it.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:09 PM on June 22, 2016


Not sure what software you're using to speed up your hypothetical news, or Roots (watched at normal speed this week. Good, but violent. I don't like the violence), Nanukthedog, but the software I used did not result in high-pitchced voices. It compensates for the speed somehow. It just sounds like the actors talked faster than it turns out they actually did.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:06 PM on June 22 [+] [!]


No high pitched voices, squirrel frenzy refers to the frenetic jarring motion that so many people have mentioned. The noise I mentioned refers to the effects of quantizing background noise, where silence loses its silence and instead you get maybe a 410Hz square wave outlining the silence that is deafening. The voices don't get squeaky, just ... its the audio equivalent of the uncanny valley.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:09 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


The podcast app I'm trying out has a jump forward 30sec. Works pretty good.
posted by sammyo at 3:18 PM on June 22, 2016


I can't stand when things that could be print are only available as audio/video - so slooooooow. So this sort of thing is definitely up my alley.


No high pitched voices, squirrel frenzy refers to the frenetic jarring motion that so many people have mentioned. The noise I mentioned refers to the effects of quantizing background noise, where silence loses its silence and instead you get maybe a 410Hz square wave outlining the silence that is deafening. The voices don't get squeaky, just ... its the audio equivalent of the uncanny valley.


The background noise is always quantized in digital audio though, along with everything else. Maybe what you've got low frequency content being shifted into an audible range, or (particularly) artifacts from pitch-independent time manipulation.
posted by atoxyl at 3:22 PM on June 22, 2016


They all get run over by a truck.

I had my money on a horrific stripper pole accident.
posted by madajb at 3:29 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


See also the Chrome extension HTML 5 Video Speed Control to speed up those long youtube videos.
posted by fings at 3:31 PM on June 22, 2016


Couldn't you just...not watch shows you don't like?

I'm not sure how it was in the past, but nowadays TV (broadly speaking) is more about being a cultural touchstone than something that you are expected to actually enjoy. You watch certain shows because the act of watching marks you as a member-in-good-standing of a particular social class. If you enjoy the show, great. If not, that's fine, your enjoyment was irrelevant anyway.

For example: I watched The Wire, because as a white liberal, this is something that is expected of me. If I wade into a discussion about inner-city issues with other white liberals and I don't get a reference to The Wire, I will lose standing within that group. It's a fairly simple calculus: replace "white liberals" with "nerds" or "stay at home moms" or whatever and their particular cultural touchstones, and you'll have the same effect.
posted by Tyrant King Porn Dragon at 3:32 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Baseball. I can get home from work and catch up on a [recorded the night before] game in time to start watching the next live broadcast. Great when my team is on the wrong coast and don't start playing until after 10pm. The veeeery slightly speeded up commentary actually keeps my mind engaged, and I don't even notice the speed of players.
posted by ezust at 3:37 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


I have been resisting doing this with audiobooks and podcasts; will try it next time.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:38 PM on June 22, 2016


You watch certain shows because the act of watching marks you as a member-in-good-standing of a particular social class.

Yes, that's right. I watch Little House on the Prairie to be cool among my cohort of praire-loving, feel-good watching, anachronistic-values-importing cohort of friends.

I get what you're saying, but I don't know anyone who would do this (except, you, insofar as I know you, which I basically don't). I can't think of any show that I feel obligated to watch because I would somehow look bad or feel excluded for not watching it.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 3:39 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


I have done this for audiobooks, but I resist. Unlike TV, I pay for audiobooks, so I feel like making them take longer gets me more entertainment hours for my money. It is less entertaining at the slower pace, though, because my mind wanders, so there's that.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 3:40 PM on June 22, 2016


Well, I feel kind of dumb for not doing this already. But only with certain types of things. A lot of the time that I'm watching a standard format, not very visually compelling documentary or something like that, I'll get a little impatient with the pace and end up either multitasking or getting distracted, and I'm kind of liking the idea of speeding those up.

Movies, though? You advise people to fuck around with Mulholland Drive*? Do you recommend people go to Michelin star restaurants and glorp ranch dressing all over their meal like a petulant child before even trying it the way it's meant to be?

* OK. Apparently, I can't make it do it in the link, but let it be known that I meant to link to that at 1.5 speed.
posted by ernielundquist at 3:45 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


"I don't really like this show but I watch it because my personal friends (or coworkers etc.) do" has got to be pretty common. I can only think of a couple shows where one might be regarded as culturally illiterate for not having seen them.
posted by atoxyl at 3:46 PM on June 22, 2016


Slightly related: sometimes when I'm in a particularly depressive mood, I'll randomly choose the most sentimental and heartfelt film I can find on Netflix (Homeward Bound, Steel Magnolias, The English Patient) and immediately jump to the last 13 minutes of the film. Most often it's for films I've never viewed, but also old favourites that I've seen time and time again. It somehow helps me feel better. I get the "resolution" of whatever problem or issue that was at the heart of the film. My sister hates that I do this. That I have this urge to spoil emotional moments that she claims would be more rewarding had I watched the prior hour and a half leading up to them.
posted by Fizz at 3:51 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


nowadays TV (broadly speaking) is more about being a cultural touchstone than something that you are expected to actually enjoy

I've often thought you could get decent numbers for a channel whose programming was just a season's worth of "Previously, on..." intros slapped together.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:59 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


Discovering the Youtube speed settings at 1.25x to 2x settings is magical.

The first time I did this was turning Rammstein from sludgy stomp to metal disco. Also speeding up dude's deep German spoken word stuff was hilarious.

But seriously, I can't get with this. For information transfer, I can understand the point, especially if a recorded lecture or podcast is slow, but I'd much prefer to read a transcript. For art? If I can't focus on a thing because it's paced badly or I just don't really like it, why even bother? I don't need to keep up with every culturally trendy piece of content, and if I'm not willing to enjoy a film/show in the way it was intended, why the hell should I worry about 'spoilers,' just read the damned summary and then you can pretend to be up-to-date with your friend group or whatever. I can't imagine that watching the Red Wedding fast forwarded is less pointless than just reading the spoilers.

Anyway, here's my antidote to this speed-it-up-and-cram-it-down-your-brain concept.
posted by Existential Dread at 4:01 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm a bit ADD, and there are shows or movies that are ok to good at 3-4x with subtitles that are close to unwatchable at normal speed. Sometimes the pacing is off, sometimes there are too many establishing shots or filler scenes. A lot of imperfections in shows are improved by speeding it up. I watch at super-high speeds less than I used to, but it still helps with a subpar episode in a generally great show where I want to stay on top of the plot & character development.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:01 PM on June 22, 2016


Tyrant King Porn Dragon: "You watch certain shows because the act of watching marks you as a member-in-good-standing of a particular social class. If you enjoy the show, great. If not, that's fine, your enjoyment was irrelevant anyway."

I have never encountered this mindset. I mean, you exist, so obviously this mindset exists. And you're probably not the only one, either. But it's rare enough that I've never encountered it before.

(Now, watching the news, on the other hand? Yeah, lots of people hate the news but watch because they need to feel in-the-know. But The Wire? People try it out because all their liberal friends like it, and either they enjoy it and watch all of it, or they slog through one season and then give up. Nobody watches five seasons of the Wire and says, "I don't like it, but my friends do, so I watched it all". Or, well, almost nobody, apparently.)
posted by Bugbread at 4:03 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


That 160 speed Modern Family clip made me pretty anxious and a little seasick, so I think I'll skip this technique.

I mostly use tv these days as a way to short-circuit my analytical brain while I paint or knit, so seeing more tv, faster, isn't necessary.
posted by Squeak Attack at 4:11 PM on June 22, 2016


Speeding up the presentation of television shows while reducing their runtimes is a wonderful idea with no downsides. Can you imagine the possibilities that will open up for the networks to cram even more advertising into shorter shows? This will be a good stopgap measure until they can beam ads through the Google Glassports or whatever content delivery device will be implanted into our cerebral cortices in about 20-30 years.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 4:18 PM on June 22, 2016


Existential Dread: "For art? If I can't focus on a thing because it's paced badly or I just don't really like it, why even bother?"

Because some things would be enjoyable except for the pace, and you can fix that? If a restaurant makes delicious hamburgers, except they put pickles on them, and you don't like pickles, you could just eat somewhere else, or you could eat there and ask them to hold the pickles, right?

I mean, I totally understand why you, personally (or anyone else in the "just don't watch it" camp), would just choose to eat somewhere else. That's fine. But do you find it bizarre that someone else might say "Hold the pickles" or "Extra mayo" (or, if you love pickles or hate mayo) "Extra pickles" or "Hold the mayo"?

I dunno. Seems so many people (not you, Existential Dread, now I'm just talking about the article and thread in general) are trying to aim for extreme positions. "Everything must be sped up!" "Nothing must be sped up!"

Things which are enjoyable sped up: Enjoy 'em sped up
Things which are enjoyable at regular speed: Enjoy 'em at regular speed
Things which are enjoyable slowed down: Enjoy 'em sloooowed doooown
Things which aren't enjoyable: Avoid 'em

Unless watching TV, reading books, or listening to music are your job, then do them however brings you pleasure, be that sequentially or out of order, fast or slow, forward or in reverse.
posted by Bugbread at 4:18 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


(And, yeah, to be clear, I'm talking about stuff which you enjoy when sped up. If you're talking about something which you find a slog at regular speed, and then when sped up just becomes tolerable, then fuck that.)
posted by Bugbread at 4:26 PM on June 22, 2016


Unless watching TV, reading books, or listening to music are your job, then do them however brings you pleasure, be that sequentially or out of order, fast or slow, forward or in reverse.

Granted, de gustibus non est disputandum. I was thinking more about people feeling obligated to keep up with specific shows or films without actually really enjoying them, and then speeding them up to cram them in in a shorter time period. But then, I'm horribly out of step with pretty much everything; my tv habits are basically tuning into the Ventures Bros marathon for 15-20 minutes a night during wind-down.

Except Breaking Bad. I managed to get through that one.
posted by Existential Dread at 4:28 PM on June 22, 2016


Quantity != Quality
posted by Thorzdad at 4:36 PM on June 22, 2016


Nobody watches five seasons of the Wire and says, "I don't like it, but my friends do, so I watched it all". Or, well, almost nobody, apparently.

Yet somehow someone (i.e. me) ends up watching 6 seasons of Game of Thrones even though he doesn't like it because his wife isn't gonna read the books and he has to tell her everything that's wrong about it. Go figure. (Honestly, I've slept through 30-40% of the series.)
posted by mrgrimm at 4:47 PM on June 22, 2016


I'd much prefer to read a transcript

So would I, I read much faster than I listen. But I'm old apparently. Kids (i.e. younger than me) these days, be it gardening or soldering or cooking or some other limited audience thing, prefer to make a video of how-to-do-thing. Often video helps, sometimes not, but that seems to be the preferred way to communicate how-to these days, particularly for the less formal kinds of communications. I mean, I can understand it. It's much easier to talk into a phone for twenty minutes than write it up as a blog post. Half the comments would be about your misuse of a single "it's" anyway.

The thing is, most people don't talk very quickly. So 1.5x speed it is.
posted by bonehead at 4:49 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a phase in most medium/genre developments where the thing stops becoming blatantly, hideously awful, and starts becoming so tolerable that decent people might even stand it. TV ramped up to that, from the mid-80s to the mid-00s. (Some genres and mediums evolve more quickly; TV, however, is a uniquely difficult medium to create for, since it runs long and costs a lot to produce.)

Beyond the initial delight that something we love doesn't suck anymore!!, we hit a point where it starts to feel sickeningly overwhelming. Especially since, as the enthusiastic gatekeepers of a newly-blossoming culture, sometimes we feel responsible for overseeing its growth firsthand. (This often goes hand-in-hand with that culture's finally being appealing enough to reach significant audiences, which leads some to feel betrayed and abandoned, or else to act like the magic's somehow been lost. Which it has. Something that was once exotic and rare has now become commonplace.)

I think the step after that is growing the fuck up and moving on, and I say that lovingly. We should not, as either individuals or as a culture, let ourselves be defined so fully by something with such a broad, fundamental appeal. Why bother, when there are new and exciting worlds to explore?

TV's one of the bigger examples of this during my lifetime; social networks also fit the bill, and games are almost at the point of tolerability, and comic universes fit into this slot too. The Internet accelerates a lot of these trends, I think. Music, which is a far quicker-evolving medium, used to have decade-long movements; now I find myself getting tired of new trendy genres about two months in. And the tech industry got its second wind with the mobile revolution, but now it's looking as if wearables and smart homes/cars and VR are too niche to have the same universal, revolutionary quality to them, and a lot of people seem to be wearying of the constant level of amped-up excitement—thank God.

One of my tests for various entertainments is: can I apply the method this author is talking about and make the thing I like even better? If I prefer a TV show when it's sped up, I'll drop it (and my favorite shows are increasingly the ones that give serious amounts of shits about pacing and editing). If a video game would be more satisfying on turbo mode, or if I fast-forwarded through, I'll find something else to do with my time. If I find myself skimming a book looking for nuggets, I'll put it down and find a better book instead.

It's really a shame we don't teach media literacy at young ages, because this aspect of it—evaluating its worthiness against the value of your time—matters as much as the "don't believe bullshit" part of it does. It's so easy to feel the need to follow every aspect of the culture you belong to, and to forget that in fact things work the other way around. Culture is defined by what you care about. Once people start following its pace instead of it following people, things start to stagnate, and it's up to the next wave of enthusiastic geeks to pick up the reins.
posted by rorgy at 4:55 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


bonehead: "So would I, I read much faster than I listen. But I'm old apparently. Kids (i.e. younger than me) these days, be it gardening or soldering or cooking or some other limited audience thing, prefer to make a video of how-to-do-thing."

Yeah, this is a key thing that I think a lot of us olds misinterpret about youngs. "I'd rather read it, but young people would rather watch a video" -- No. As you say, the whole "video instead of text" is fully a function of how people would rather make content, not how people would rather consume it.

I find myself totally guilty of this, too: when I need to discuss something work related with another company (so a somewhat formal situation, not something informal like talking to a colleague), I'll spend five minutes writing and rewriting an email, making sure it's polite but not too polite but no wait this part may be unclear but no wait now I've overexplained but no wait let me just start from scratch until fuck it, I pick up the phone and just call the person instead. It's not that I prefer voice to text when receiving information, but when conveying it it's just way easier.

rorgy: "If I prefer a TV show when it's sped up, I'll drop it (and my favorite shows are increasingly the ones that give serious amounts of shits about pacing and editing). If a video game would be more satisfying on turbo mode, or if I fast-forwarded through, I'll find something else to do with my time. If I find myself skimming a book looking for nuggets, I'll put it down and find a better book instead."

I don't understand this at all. "This dinner tastes good. I could put some pepper on it and it would taste even better. So I won't eat it at all. This music sounds good. I could turn the volume up and it would sound even better. So I won't listen to it at all. Chatting with my friends is fun. It would be even more fun if we went out on the porch to catch the evening breeze. So I won't chat with them at all."

I mean, if you can't make the improvements, sure. If you prefer a TV show sped up, but can't speed it up, go do something you like better. If you prefer skipping cut scenes in games, but can't skip them, go play another game. But if you can eliminate the stuff you don't like, leaving only the stuff you do like, why would you choose not to do something you find enjoyable?
posted by Bugbread at 5:11 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


I sometimes speed things up a little bit, but the clip of Modern Family in the article was borderline incomprehensible to me.

Yikes.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 5:13 PM on June 22, 2016


I fast-forwarded most of the second season of Daredevil so whatever this is, I like it.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:22 PM on June 22, 2016




I think this is perfect for all the dying shows that I can't quite quit.

I understand the argument for quitting them. The last few seasons of Castle/Bones/Mentalist, I was hoping they'd cancel it. But when it pops up on Hulu, I have to know if they've righted the ship. It's the itch I can't reach, and I lack the willpower to just let it go.

Plus bickering about the quality of various shows is basically the national past time of my family. If we aren't hate-watching some television, we'd have to have real arguments at Thanksgiving.
posted by politikitty at 5:28 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here is something that's bugging me. I'm partly reminded because my neck is still feeling a little hot about that Mulholland Drive thing, but it's also relevant.

Back when the new episodes of Twin Peaks were announced, someone did a comic or something featuring Dale Cooper talking to a bunch of TV characters from currently popular shows, and the point of it seemed to be that television had evolved so that shows now had even weirder plotlines, and Twin Peaks was coming up old and tired in comparison, since the sole measure of quality was the sequence of concrete events in the story.

That comic missed 90% of what made that show great. At the time, I figured maybe they hadn't been paying attention when they watched it, or maybe they even gave up and just read synopses somewhere. But maybe they just watched it sped up. Which is fine if they want to watch it that way for their own amusement, but their opinions about it weren't very well informed, so if they're watching it in order to talk about it and express opinions about its quality, it's like those people who change up recipes and then complain when they don't come out right.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:28 PM on June 22, 2016


Ha!I did something like this last night when my husband was in the room. I was watching Cake Wars. I love seeing the cakes, I have zero interest in the manufactured drama or the host or any of the other time fillers, so I can condense an entire show into about 10 minutes. My husband was like "Are you just fast forwarding because I'm here?" To which I said,"Oh no, this is how I watch any show where I'm not actually going to learn anything about techniques, I just don't usually watch these kind of shows if others are around because I'm sure it's crazy making." Turns out, he'd much prefer the food network at high speed. Win, win.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:29 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


jimw: "Sometimes the cable networks do it for you (to fit in more commercials)."

Yes, cable companies will slightly speed up shows to make room for more ads, but the difference can be hard to detect — in part because the brain adapts to the higher speeds.
posted by Bugbread at 5:33 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


(Edit too late to add, I'm a luddite in that I don't watch stuff on computer or tablet, I don't have Netflix or premium cable channels, and I have no idea what's popular in media, so I couldn't do what the author does, because TiVo doesn't have sound when fast forwarding. I've never seen game of thrones, because I didn't like the one book I tried to read, I really pretty much watch news, food shows, bbc and pbs. I think I'm officially a dinosaur. Lawn, grass, all you kids, etc.)
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:40 PM on June 22, 2016


I just turned in my ballot for the Emmys and I would be dishonoring those nominated if I sped through all the films. On the other hand, I just skimmed the WaPo story--headline says it all.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:54 PM on June 22, 2016


I sort of get it. I love doing this with lectures for school or with audio recordings. In fact, I find those things often excruciating to listen to at regular speed. I wish I had that for regular conversations. (I'm often reprimanded for talking too quickly, so I guess maybe I just live life at 1.5x speed. Or something.)

In fact, one of the things that irritates me about movies/TV/podcasts is the fact that I can't (or used to not be able to) adjust the speed that I watch them at. So I definitely get the impulse. But, for me, it still doesn't really replicate the advantage of reading, because the speed is still constant.

I guess there are times this might come in handy. For example, when I'm watching a show that I like, but I'm seeing an episode for the first time, and I'm stressed out because I'm worried about what's going to happen, but I'm too stubborn to look up spoilers, or once in a blue moon, because I'm watching it in real time (*cough* person of interest series finale last night *cough*). That would usually be for shows that I know I'm going to go back and re-watch anyway.

I know there are a million shows out there, but I still have a hard time finding any show I can really get into. And most of the time, I don't think watching a show faster would make me like it more. I also don't see the point in speed watching an episode of Hannibal when I've literally seen the episode twenty times already. (Of course, my ability to re-watch shows I love so many times probably makes me weird in my own right.)

It does appeal to me for the occasion when I get sucked into a show, and then later regret it, but can't quite pull myself away. Or, on large ensemble shows where I'm less interested in certain characters/arcs. (What I do now is just read the general plot arc and skip those parts.)

I didn't find the clips they included in the article hard to follow or anything, but the game of thrones one just seemed to kind of ruin it. (I don't actually follow Game of Thrones, but still.) It probably works better for comedies, but the camera motions being sped up were pretty off putting.

Just now, I did go and watch some youtube SNL clips on 1.5x and 2x speeds, and that worked pretty well. I think it helps that there aren't a bunch of camera jumps.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:56 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I get the "resolution" of whatever problem or issue that was at the heart of the film.
I love this so much. I've compared the evolution of 20th century popular music to porno compilations, starting with basics like skipping the slow parts and evolving to the barrage of continuous pop shots. Maybe Baudrillard was right and the inevitable future is for every art form to become the purified injectable version with immediate payoff, a new version of pornography tailored to each emotion and each instinct. Or was that Gibson's idea? I forget.
posted by idiopath at 6:01 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


I love being a speed reader, but trying to speed up a listening/viewing experience just sounds like it'd be a pain to listen to all around.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:03 PM on June 22, 2016


As someone who aspires to work in television, I'm obviously expected to keep up with the industry and the state of the art, and that means watching a lot of television. Especially the goddamn critical darlings like goddamn Game of Thrones. Am I enjoying Game of Thrones? Absolutely fucking not. I think it would be a lot more watchable at 1.5x speed, and I can't believe I never thought of that.

This might improve Star Trek too.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 6:12 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Then I R'd TFA.

ಠ_ಠ
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:20 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm watching a Bob Ross video at 0.5 speed right now, youtube turns off the audio when I go slower.
posted by idiopath at 7:15 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm watching a Bob Ross video at 0.5 speed right now, youtube turns off the audio when I go slower.

The audio isn't actually off, you're just in a happy little dimension, a little quiet alternative dimension without any sound. It'll just be our little secret.
posted by Fizz at 7:27 PM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


Oh god I just imagined Bob Ross sounding like Marvin the Paranoid Android (the one from the original BBC radio series, not the movie), spouting snide lugubrious sarcasms about so-called 'happy little trees'.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:28 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I held down PgDn while reading this article. The system works!
posted by duffell at 7:33 PM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


"Here I am, brain the size of Endor..."
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:36 PM on June 22, 2016


Well, I feel like an idiot for watching things at 1.0x regular speed and either liking them and continuing to watch that way, or disliking them and then not watching them any more.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:06 PM on June 22, 2016


I can't even comprehend enjoying video like this. Don't you miss so much? The extra beats in the jokes, the quick facial expressions, the magical nuance?

Though, admittedly, I'm pathologically uptight about missing not a single damn thing sohelpmegod. Seriously. When I'm watching a recorded show and fast forwarding through the commercial break, if I resume playback even 8 or 10 seconds into the show I must repent and rewind immediately.

Because of this it drives me batshit crazy to watch things at other peoples' homes. DUDE, we just missed like 30 seconds of that and YOU'RE NOT EVEN REWINDING AND ARE YOU KIDDING ME WE'RE REALLY GOING TO JUST SIT HERE AND KEEP WATCHING WHILE PRETENDING WE DIDN'T JUST TOTALLY MISS THOSE TWO SENTENCES OF INTRO DIALOGUE?!

And I want to believe that if I unpacked this crazy in a guided hypnotherapy session I would sob at the recall of some deeply buried traumatic memory of missing an intro scene of The Smurfs and being mercilessly ridiculed the next day at kindergarten. But, unfortunately, and much less interestingly, I'm resigned to the theory that it's just my own special snowflake brand of really-weird-ass FOMO slash OCD slash sometimes I'm just fucking strange.

But, uh, yeah, YOU speeder upper people are the crazy ones. Let's go with that.
posted by bologna on wry at 8:29 PM on June 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


I don't think this is any more awful an approach than skimming/speedreading a bit so that you can tear through three cheap paperback mysteries in an afternoon on a hammock instead of two.

The idea that entertainment is a thing that properly demands to be consumed efficiently pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with 2016.

Well, that and its efficiency at killing off worthwhile people.
posted by flabdablet at 9:18 PM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Also: 90% of everything is still shit even when you speed it all up.

I like the fact that taking my time over the 10% reduces opportunities for the 90% to get at my eyeballs.
posted by flabdablet at 9:21 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


flabdablet: "The idea that entertainment is a thing that properly demands to be consumed efficiently pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with 2016."

"I like this and I want MORE!" is something that's wrong with all of history.
Yes, it's what's wrong with 2016, but it's also what was wrong with 1916, 1816, 1716...
posted by Bugbread at 9:36 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Nothing wrong with wanting more. The wrongness, in my view, is the idea that cramming one's pleasurable activities into as little time as possible is a smart or even sane way to achieve some kind of work/life balance.

When I was a child, science fiction promised me that technological advancement would usher in an age of leisure, where the machines did most of what needed doing so that we humans could spend most of our time doing as we damn well pleased. Now I'm in my fifties and it looks to me like what it's done instead is nudge us all toward becoming frantically, frenetically, crazily busier.

Thinking? Ain't nobody got time for that.
posted by flabdablet at 11:14 PM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm not saying it's a smart or sane way to achieve work/life balance, I'm just saying "trying to pack in entertainment is not a new phenomenon." It's not a 2016 thing, it's a perpetual thing.

There's an expression in Japan, "nagara-zoku", meaning "doing-something-while-you-do-something-else tribe" (i.e. "multitasking tribe", but without necessarily the work connotation that comes with the word "task"). The expression was created in the 1950s by the older generation when complaining about the younger generation's habit of doing more than one thing at a time. Watching TV while studying, listening to music while chatting with friends. When I grew up, in the 70s, humorists would make jokes about how their kids would be playing with toys, and then when someone tried to change the TV, would say "Dad, I'm watching that!" In the 1980s, when we went on a family trip, my dad would bring a stack of books to read in the car.

Whenever there has been more entertainment available than time to take it in, people have tried to cram in their entertainment. Setting aside whether that's a good or bad, I'm just saying it's not a 2016 thing or even a 21st century thing.
posted by Bugbread at 11:32 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Aged 11, I was rated at school as reading 1100 words per minute, with a reading age of 18. I would polish off a paperback between dinner and bedtime. Now? I manage perhaps 500-600 wpm, and spread my books over several days (though I often have several in progress). You know what? I don't miss it. I get more out of each book now, because instead of focusing on finishing the book ASAP I am relating the book to many other things in my head as I read it.

Don't get me wrong. Experience your reading, listening or viewing however gives you the most pleasure, but this piece really annoyed me because the guy sounds so smug about his "discovery". You know what? I just checked the cog on my YouTube (Firefox for Android, also the YouTube app). I can change the picture quality, but not the playback speed. I never knew I could change the playback speed because in fact I can't, and it's not a feature I miss.
posted by Autumn Leaf at 12:43 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm just going to pretend this is an Onion article, or he was just being sarcastic, which is what I thought most of the way through reading it.
posted by bongo_x at 1:11 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


When I was a child, science fiction promised me that technological advancement would usher in an age of leisure, where the machines did most of what needed doing so that we humans could spend most of our time doing as we damn well pleased. Now I'm in my fifties and it looks to me like what it's done instead is nudge us all toward becoming frantically, frenetically, crazily busier.

Worth reading: Workers of the World Relax, written by the founder of Canada's now-defunct Work Less Party.
posted by duffell at 3:56 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Canada's now-defunct Work Less Party

I wonder if it was difficult to maintain the day-to-day business of an entire political party when everyone calls out every day.

Also, I wish to now change my U.S. political affiliation from undeclared to Canada's Work Less Party. Finally a political platform I can fully get behind. And by 'get behind' I mean 'agree with', not 'actually do something'.
posted by bologna on wry at 6:43 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tangentially related: Beyond Digital vs. Print: On How We Consume Media
posted by chavenet at 7:51 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Enjoy 'em sloooowed doooown

Wow... that track reminds me of the falling scene in Dredd where Ma-Ma is thrown from the top of Peachtrees' 200 stories by Dredd after he's dosed her with Slo-Mo.
...which, after wiki'ing it, I see the Bieber slowdown influenced the Dredd music.
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:11 AM on June 23, 2016




This Kids in the Hall sketch would really lose its mojo if sped up.
posted by duffell at 5:40 PM on June 23, 2016


Man, this would not work on me. Maybe for lectures where I don't care about mood or pacing (as is when I read a textbook) but tv shows and fiction books? No way.
posted by picklenickle at 7:52 PM on June 23, 2016


I did have the thought the other day while I was attempting to watch the show BrainDead that I wished I could fast forward it, because hoo boy, I was not liking it, I just want to like it because of the Jonathan Coulton songs at the beginning.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:52 AM on June 25, 2016


In Douglas Coupland's Microserfs, some of the characters talk about renting subtitles foreign films on VHS and watching them on fast forward. I latched onto this immediately. If any type of media I consume allows consumption at faster speeds I often go for it. Not so I can consume more of it necessarily but because my time is limited and I frequently enjoy and understand it just as much. The human brain is very flexible about time.
posted by Durhey at 8:15 AM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh my God, I have been doing this for years and never thought to check if it was a Thing. That Chrome extension is a game changer--I have been checking out DVD's from the library and watching them with VLC.

I'm intrigued at the conversation that is happening here. I don't use this for TV, I use it for films. And not guilty pleasures, but serious films. It's not because I'm trying to catch up with the content flood (since I'm relying on the library, I really only can watch films that have been out on DVD and aren't in too high demand). It just lets me do more of a thing I love.

I've definitely considered that people may think I'm missing the point if I watch, say, Schindler's List at 1.7x speed (my go-to speed), but it doesn't even register with me anymore. In fact, it has allowed me watch and re-watch and really absorb films in the limited free-time I have. It's an unqualified positive to me.

That being said, on a flight I took recently, I limited myself to 1.3x because I was afraid my seat-neighbor would ask me why I'm watching things so fast...
posted by Don Don at 9:17 AM on June 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Fuck it, let's just figure out that computer-to-brain data transfer technology from The Matrix. That way we'll be able to find out what happens in every movie of all time without putting ourselves through the tedious bother of appreciating art.
posted by duffell at 10:09 AM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


How anyone else watches things has no impact on me, but I can't help but notice the "pro" explanations here remind me of addict talk.
posted by bongo_x at 10:40 AM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think though this also highlights a difference I've noticed in what people get out of media. This is like people who read the ending of a novel they didn't finish to find out what happened. That's not what I get out of media. I don't care what happened. The particulars of the story aren't nearly as important as the telling, like the words of a song are not as important as the music and performance. This whole idea is to me like saying "I don't have time to listen to this song right now, does the old man die at the end, or do they indeed rock all night?" The idea that exactly what happens to completely fictional characters is the most, or only important part is completely foreign to me.

I noticed this coming up when there was internet uproar about House Hunters, and the fact that the house may have been selected or purchased before the filming. Who the hell cares? I want to see the houses, I don't care which one they buy. I hadn't realized until then that people were actually that interested in the story, I thought it was something everyone thought was annoying.
posted by bongo_x at 10:54 AM on June 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


How anyone else watches things has no impact on me, but I can't help but notice the "pro" explanations here remind me of addict talk.

Ditto. There's also a denial of mortality and other human limitations. It's like a quest for the insatiable, i.e. "ah, NOW I can watch (or read, or listen, or eat, etc.) EVERYTHING!" No, you can't. You never can. No matter what. But really what's wanted is more and that more is insatiable.

Actually, it sounds a lot like pornography or drugs to me. Those are the two analogs where I can really see people wanting to FINISH what they have so they can GET MORE.

And when of course I say "people," I mean "me." ... *chug* now where's my next beer ... ?

This is like people who read the ending of a novel they didn't finish to find out what happened.

I did this with DaVinci Code and Smilla's Sense of Snow. No complaints here. Actually, I mostly read the end first (when I sometimes do) to see if I want to keep reading. If I hate the ending, I may not want to finish the book these days. Too many books to read ...

I held down PgDn while reading this article. The system works!

Even faster: just hit "End" and shout "DONE!"
posted by mrgrimm at 4:10 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


mrgrimm: "Ditto. There's also a denial of mortality and other human limitations."

Really? While neither side strikes me as "denying mortality or human limitations", if I had to pick one side as representing those things, it would be the 1x side. Watching things slowly as if one has all the time in the world seems to be pretending that you have unlimited time. The 1.7x side is cognizant of having limited time on this world and using time well. And ignoring the fact that people seem to do fine watching things at 1.7x seems to be misplacing a human limitation. "I like to walk and chew gum at the same time." "That's impossible. You're denying human limitations."

Don't get me wrong, I don't do the accelerated viewing thing. I myself am strictly a 1x person. My DVR has a 1.3x feature and while I know how to operate it, I can't remember the last time I used it. At least a year ago, if not more.

But it seems weird how didactic so many 1x folks are about how other people are enjoying themselves wrong. If you want to watch films backwards or upside-down or colorized or monochromed, then have a fucking ball. It's not plugging yourself into a nightmare Matrix dystopia, or humans sucking, or cutting your own enjoyment, or an example of everything that is wrong with modernity, or a denial of mortality. It's just enjoying yourself in a different way than other folks.

That said, for the love of god, if you're going to enjoy stuff in weird ways like that, don't review it or engage in discussions about it! If you want to watch a film slowed down to 50% speed or sped up to 200% speed, go ahead and knock yourself out, but don't review it or engage in discussions about it! If you want to add banana to that chili recipe, go ahead and knock yourself out, but don't review it or engage in discussions about it! If you decided to look at that painting while stoned, go ahead and knock yourself, but don't review it or engage in discussions about it!
posted by Bugbread at 2:19 AM on June 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


The 1.7x side is cognizant of having limited time on this world and using time well.

I might contend there's no way to use time wrong. I'm just warning of a sign of possible addiction. The defensiveness indicates. I would never say watching videos at fast speed is wrong.

Space travel denies human limitations as well. I wouldn't say we shouldn't do it though. Just be careful of what you're doing and know why.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:54 PM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


It must be a perspective thing, because I'm seeing the defensiveness as being on the 1x side, not the 1.7x side.

In reality probably both sides are being defensive and we're both just undergoing confirmation bias.
posted by Bugbread at 3:38 AM on June 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think these beans have gone stale.
posted by duffell at 4:11 AM on June 28, 2016


Because we didn't eat them fast enough.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:31 AM on June 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


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