Sometimes, you click around on the internet and you don’t get the dishes done, and you go to bed feeling like you wasted your evening, and sometimes you are trying to eat your fried eggs and chicken sausage for dinner and you idly click on a youtube video and you end up clutching a box of tissues and learning something about yourself. Tonight was the latter.
I have been following the Brain Scoop, a youtube channel featuring Emily Graslie, who I think is about my age, exploring, explaining, and expounding at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, for a number of months now. I’m not big on watching animal dissection, personally, so I’ve avoided those videos, but I really enjoy her attitude, her curiosity, her intelligent questions, and her adventures in gems, exhibition design, fossils, and the Amazon rainforest.
I was vaguely aware that the Brain Scoop started at the University of Montana’s natural history collection, and that Hank Green of the vlogbrothers‘ empire helped launch the show. After all, that’s how I found the Brain Scoop in the first place. But I had not watched any of the early episodes, until I stumbled on this one.
I did not expect to learn that Emily had majored in Studio Art. I did not expect the announcement of her move from Montana to the Field Museum to be so bittersweet, even though I was not there, I wasn’t watching the original episodes. I did not expect my vision to blur with tears.
What was it about this fourteen minute video that so compelled me, and why was I crying? Based on the youtube comments, I’m not the only one who cried when watching this video. It’s very well made — Michael Aronda’s questions, Emily’s really sincere and articulate answers, and the editing and the pacing of the video are well crafted.
But I think I was crying for another reason.