Clay Shirky, what's the last great thing you saw?

I love Afridi's video for two reasons. First, of course, I love it for its content. As an old white guy, I grew up in a world where almost all media was both from and for my point of view, so seeing her act out the "Baba Death Glare," or the awkwardness of taking off her hijab in front of non-Muslim women, and the hilarity of their reaction, is funny but also, for me, shocking. It feels like the sort of thing I'm not supposed to see.

But I also love it for its style -- with little more in the way of production technique than a black-and-white filter and some minor costume changes, she's able to take a classic web closeup, and sketch out the part of her world she wants us to see. There's nothing fancy in the way she makes the video show us herself, her family, and the white people she meets, but in her use of those simple techniques, I see a kind of confidence in visual communication I find fascinating.

Clay Shirky holds a joint appointment at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program and the Journalism Department.
APRIL 30, 2012  •  GREAT THING 1 OF 20

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