Crash Course Astronomy (2015 Youtube Series) review…

Pausing between sentences now appears to be optional… After the break…

Crash Course Astronomy (2015 Youtube Series) review…

John Moschitta became famous in the early 1980s for speaking incomprehensibly fast in toy commercials.

Ross Bagdasarian created an entire franchise simply by recording his voice while speaking slowly and then playing back his voice at a sped-up pace.

Ben Croshaw has become a minor Internet celebrity by posting a series of YouTube videos where his rapid speech and blunt reviews of video games is coordinated with simplistic animations.

And now famed Internet astronomer, known for his blog “Bad Astronomy,” Phil Plait enters the fray in a series of rapid-fire YouTube videos called “Crash Course Astronomy.”

Where’s the pause button when you need it?

I have nothing against the science of astronomy (I know, I know… It should be “astrology” but, as Plait explain to us, the nutcases took it over with their goofy horoscopes) – It’s a great science and, without it, we’d be hopelessly Earth-bound which is something that our species can ill-afford considering that the Sun will eventually expand and swallow the Earth in a couple billion years or so. Therefore, studying the universe so that we can one day avoid being permanently char-broiled is probably a good idea.

I also have nothing against the astronomer Phil Plait who, by all accounts, seems to be a perfectly nice guy who has leveraged his Internet fame fairly well from humble website to author to blog writer to temporary president of the James Randi Educational Foundation to… Generic science guy making the 10-second soundbite on television whenever reporters need a science-y guy to explain why an asteroid won’t strike us.

However, “Crash Course Astronomy” is edited in such a way as to cause headaches not five minutes into either of the first two episodes (and probably more). It’s not that the science is bad… It’s that the philosophy of the series is to never pause the speaking.

In the series, Phil Plait comes across more like the guy at the carnival trying to sell you a 50-piece kitchen set than someone who wants to genuinely teach you about the merits and accomplishments of the field of astronomy. Maybe this is how the kiddies like to drink their videos but, honestly, the end result of jump cuts and quick edits that cut the pauses out between sentences is so tiring and jarring that I had to pause both of the first two videos in the series more then a few times.

Pauses between sentences are a good thing. Doyoureallywanttoteachpeoplesciencewhilespeakinglikethis?Idon’tthinkso.

It’s funny when someone with an Australian accent is doing his darn best to impersonate the caustic music executive Simon Cowell while animated figures stroll across a screen.

It’s amusing when you envision hyperactive chipmunks bickering with a human stage manager.

It’s slightly impressive when you see someone in real time speaking really articulately and quickly while selling a line of toys.

Yet, when you are attempting to teach someone something serious, speaking fast nullifies their education. The whole point of educating someone is to ensure that they understand clearly what you are attempting to teach them. Speakingrapidlyandnotpausingbetweensentencesreallydoesn’taccomplishthatgoal.

I don’t know how the kiddies think nowadays. Maybe they love this kind of thing.

Myself? I’ll just crack open an astronomy textbook and learn at my own pace, thank you very much. Especially if the alternative is to attempt to follow the rapid-fire delivery of a man who left the presidency of JREF to sell astronomy as though he’s calling a horse race over the radio.


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