I've tried to write Wikipedia entries about him on two separate occasions, but they've deemed his influence and importance as negligible. I guess they're right. However, Rebecca Bradley over at the Skeptic Ink Network, has written a more-concise-that-I-could-ever-do summary of his characteristics:
I think it's important, however, to also highlight the folk-art industriousness with which William Tapley has made his videos. There's an artistic quality and sense of balance in Tapley's videos that most YouTube cranks don't come to realize. He pays attention to little details: in his earlier videos, for example, he stands or poses out in nature near his home in upstate New York, framed carefully by interesting, irrelevant backgrounds.
Chronologically, he has adapted to new elements in his videos: in his first video, he speaks directly to the camera, but he holds a microphone by his fifth video; for his early outdoor videos, he moves to a different location for each video; for his indoor videos, he stands in front of a flannelboard with Bible verses printed on coloured sheets of paper, always with a slightly different background; I was a little disappointed when he started using a green screen, but he's started to become quite adept at interacting with its images and mixing digital and handmade elements. He adapts to new technology quickly, but also appears to have a good "get things done" sense of quality control: if the flannelboard and Comic Sans printed papers are more effective for his purpose, that's what he'll use.
I'm not saying that his videos are "high quality" or anything like that—they're exceptionally cheesy and lo-fi. But there's a quality to them that's certainly more interesting than the "talking to a webcam" style that pervades a good portion of the videos on YouTube. He's actually trying to produce a show. He's doing his best to set up a way to get his message out there.
A few of my favorite Bill Tapley videos
I first heard William Tapley when I saw "It's Prophesied" posted to a few weblogs I read. However, a few weeks later, Tapley released this little ditty with some of the worst end-rhymes I've ever heard. It was a tough choice, but I think "Doom & Gloom" is a better song than "It's prophesied."
Here's a video where Bill discusses his sculptures of "attractive young ladies."
This short video has some impressive conservative misinformation and a very pleasant background.
There's one more I wanted to share, wherein he starts by showing himself making maple syrup in, I assume, his back yard. But I can't find it right now.
All I can say is that I hope I am as productive as Bill is when/if I get a chance to retire. He's a real creative workhorse, even though I don't agree with a thing he says. I admire his determination to produce new work each week.
YouTube: ephemeral ideas
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