History

Videos on the kooky English language, the lunatic female vampire, and… Van Gogh.

It’s fascinating to go to classes taught by lecturers who are literate in social media. They know that there are plenty of high-quality and diverse documentaries, open courses, and clips online. They are also humble enough to admit that these videos are much more effective in spreading knowledge compared to long-winded speeches, dull Powerpoint slides, or even worse, transparency films. More importantly, they are still curious and continue seeking for new educational methods to inspire us, the visually pampered generation of students.

Videos nurture long-term learning. Though it’s been months ago, I can still remember the videos featured during my art history course. My professor introduced us to BBC’s programme, ‘Modern Masters’ featuring the charming journalist, Alastair Sooke, who brought us through the lives of Henri Matisse and other greats of the 20th century. We watched another clip on Van Gogh’s life and its relationship with Hokusai’s Great Wave that made me proud that we, Asians, had inspired one of the greatest expressionist in art history, if not, the entire modern art movement.

Oh, I’m sorry. I’ve been side-tracked by my enthusiasm. The real topic of this post is today’s fresh batch of YouTube links that would soon motivate me, like a chain of dominoes, to watch the entire series of videos derived from the same uploader, channel or subject. I get too obsessed, sometimes. Remember my Van Gogh piece? I spent an entire afternoon reading, listening and watching articles and videos on Van Gogh.

The first is a funny clip on the History of English. This clip reminds me a lot of the crazy Belgium video, only that this one talks about why the English language was, and still is, one crazy language.

The second is a product of my curiosity after being introduced to the subject by my interest-twin. What follows next is a documentary on one of the craziest female villains in history, Elizabeth Bathory. As a real-life vampire with roots to Transylvania, she probably inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

To end this post are links of a series on Van Gogh played by Benedict Cumberbatch. I just couldn’t resist putting these up. If you’re unfamiliar with Cumberbatch, his latest role is as the eccentric Sherlock Holmes in BBC’s Sherlock. It’s a brilliant mini-series of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective reinterpreted to fit in the contemporary world. Imagine Sherlock in the world of the Internet, jet planes, and cryptography. Mental stimulation is a promise fulfilled. Since the second season has just ended, which will leave us deprived of more Sherlock until 2013, I’ll watch Cumberbatch’s other roles like this one, as the people-loving and yet, maniacal Van Gogh.

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