Article Title: Bubbe is back
By: Andrew Keen
“So there I was, on the BART train, reading the newspaper-that-Rupert-is-lusting-after. I’d just finished Mossberg’s piece of hot air on the Helio (yawn) and was flipping through the other sections. I came to the Personal Journal and saw an interesting article about FDA approval for cancer vaccine. And then my eye caught the photograph in the center of the page. It was a photo of an old pale woman, standing in her kitchen, with a big plate of strudel in her hand. A very pale old woman. Too pale to be anything but from the Pale.
At first, I thought it was my long deceased grandma — Yetta Keen from the Swiss Cottage ghetto of North London. Even though it was just a photo, I could smell Grandma Yetta’s oily chicken soup bubbling out of the newspaper. And then I came to my senses. Even in this age of citizen media, when one has to fight to keep one’s face out of the press, my dead Grandma Yetta had no reason to be in the Wall Street Journal. And I was right. It wasn’t Grandma Yetta. But I was close.
So who was the familiar old Yiddisher woman staring out at me from the newspaper?
It was Bubbe! The self-broadcasting cooking maven I’d met in San Jose, at the Video-On-The-Net event. Bubbe from just outside Boston. Bubbe with the Internet tv show, Feed Me Bubbe. Old Bubbe who had become my surrogate grandma for a few minutes at the San Jose conventional center.
Bubbe has come a long way since San Jose. Now a front page star on the Wall Street Journal, she has become the pin-up for alter-kucker media. The article, by Jessica E. Vascellaro was entitled “Using YouTube For Posterity”. It was about the value of Web 2.0 media for self-broadcasting old people. Bubbe isn’t alone. Vascellaro writes about a 92-year-old housebound piano builder called Paul Gordon who made a eigh-minute clip of himself playing jazz on his piano. Now, it seems, all the old folk want to be on the Internet. They want to record their songs and their recipes. It’s the real history of old, interesting people. It’s preserving legacies that would otherwise be lost forever. And it’s fun.
And what’s so bad about that?
Nothing really. Nothing at all. So maybe I shouldn’t be such a reactionary fartface when it comes to all this citizen media. I have to admit that I would like my kids to watch old Grandma Yetta on YouTube. Yes, even I have to confess (sshh, don’t tell Jeff Jarvis) that not all Web 2.0 media is bad. Especially a media in which bubbly Bubbe is the star.”