When I sit at my desktop computer to pay bills, delete hundreds of emails, waste time on social media, or check to see if aliens have landed – all the while trying to avoid click bait (“Has Beyonce Just Gone Full Frontal?”…”The Photos Anne Hathaway Never Wanted You to See!”) – the first thing I do is open YouTube and start the video entitled, “White Noise, Black Screen.” For 10 uninterrupted commercial free hours it plays white noise against a solid black background. The sound is equivalent to the static you might find on AM radio, except there are no spikes at all: it’s unvarying in its volume and intensity. I turn it up just loud enough to drown out the sounds du jour: the speeding cars with modified mufflers or missing catalytic converters, the firecrackers that sound like guns, the guns that sound like firecrackers, the construction, the renovations, you know: all the turbulence of endemically pandemic Brooklyn.
However, last week after pressing play, I accidentally hit the page down button and came across the Comments section. Who would take the time to comment on 10 hours of a blank video with a white noise soundtrack? 20,000 among the millions who’ve visited the site, that’s who. Here’s a sampling…
-What terrible things are in this video that they have to censor the entire thing?
-Although this version is really good, I prefer the book.
-Just heard there’s going to be a sequel!
-The dislikes are from parents who got to the end of the 10 hours and their baby is still awake.
-Close your eyes for full screen!
-I hope to see this live someday.
-I MISSED 5 mins!!! GOTTA START AGAIN FROM THE BEGINNING!
-2:47:15 is honestly the best part and you can’t convince me otherwise.
-The story and plot are very well developed – one of the best things I’ve ever watched.
-This is my 1-month-old son’s favorite music genre.
-It’s ridiculous that I feel the urge to read the comments to this video.
-It’s almost perfect but I think it needs more cow bell.
-27,000 people dislike a black screen and white noise. Let that sink in.
-Not sure why this episode gets so much hate. You guys just don’t see the real picture.
-This is perfect for my baby brother who wakes up at the noise of an electron bumping with another electron at the other side of the universe.
-I slept to this video for the past 2 years to muffle the sound of my obnoxious neighbors and today, they are moving. So, to this video, I owe my life.
-You know, the person who uploaded this could’ve just put a clip of someone screaming in the middle of this video and ruin everyone’s night, but they didn’t. We have a lot of trust in this video.
-Therapist: What’s something you did today? Me: I realized there’s a fandom for white noise.
-This is great to listen to with headphones on full blast when you’re ignoring everyone.
-Already know the lyrics by heart.
-Noise wasn’t white enough and the screen wasn’t black enough.
-This is the best comments section in the history of history.