YouTube: Personal Views, Policies, Historical Information, and Information Shaping about Statues

January 4, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I have never been one to tour ancient sites. Machu Pichu? Meh. The weird Roman temple in Nimes? When’s lunch? The bourbon trail? You must be kidding me! I have a vivid memory of visiting the US Department of Justice building for a meeting, walking through the Hall of Justice, and seeing Lady Justice covered up. I heard that the drapery cost US$8,000. I did not laugh, nor did I make any comments about cover ups at that DoJ meeting or subsequent meetings. What a hoot! Other officials have covered up statues and possibly other disturbing things.

I recall the Deputy Administrator who escorted me and my colleague to a meeting remarking, “Yeah, Mr. Ashcroft has some deeply held beliefs.” Yep, personal beliefs, propriety, not offending those entering a US government facility, and a desire to preserve certain cherished values. I got it. And I still get it. Hey, who wants to lose a government project because some sculpture artist type did not put clothes on a stone statue?


Are large technology firms in a position to control, shape, propagandize, and weaponize information? If the answer is, “Sure”, then users are little more than puppets, right? Thanks, MSFT Copilot Bing thing. Good enough.

However, there are some people who do visit historical locations. Many of these individuals scrutinize the stone work, the carvings, and the difficulty of moving a 100 ton block from Point A (a quarry 50 miles away) to Point B (a lintel in the middle of nowhere). I am also ignorant of art because I skipped Art History in college. I am clueless about ancient history. (I took another useless subject like a math class.) And many of these individuals have deep-rooted beliefs about the “right way” to present information in the form of stone carvings.

Now let’s consider a YouTuber who shoots videos in temples in southeast Asia. The individual works hard to find examples of deep meanings in the carvings beyond what the established sacred texts present. His hobby horse, as I understand the YouTuber, is that ancient aliens, fantastical machines, and amazing constructions are what many carvings are “about.” Obviously if one embraces what might be received wisdom about ancient texts from Indian and adjacent / close countries, the presentation of statues with disturbing images and even more troubling commentary is a problem. I think this is the same type of problem that a naked statue in the US Department of Justice posed.

The YouTuber allegedly is Praveen Mohan, and his most recent video is “YouTube Will Delete Praveen Mohan Channel on January 31.” Mr. Mohan’s angle is to shoot a video of an ancient carving in a temple and suggest that the stone work conveys meanings orthogonal to the generally accepted story about giant temple carvings. From my point of view, I have zero clue if Mr. Mohan is on the money with his analyses or if he is like someone who thinks that Peruvian stone masons melted granite for Cusco’s walls. The point of the video is that by taking pictures of historical sites and their carvings violates YouTube’s assorted rules, regulations, codes, mandates, and guidelines.

Mr. Mohan expresses the opinion that he will be banned, blocked, downchecked, punished, or made into a poster child for stone pornography or some similar punishment. He shows images which have been demonetized. He shows his “dashboard” with visual proof that he is in hot water with the Alphabet Google YouTube outfit. He shows proof that his videos are violating copyright. Okay. Maybe a reincarnated stone mason from ancient times has hired a lawyer, contacted Google from a quantum world, and frightened the YouTube wizards? I don’t know.

Several question arose when my team and I discussed this interesting video addressing YouTube’s actions toward Mr. Mohan. Let me share several with you:

  1. Is the alleged intentional action against Mr. Mohan motivated by Alphabet Google YouTube managers with roots in southeast Asia? Maybe a country like India? Maybe?
  2. Is YouTube going after Mr. Mohan because his making videos about religious sites, icons, and architecture is indeed a violation of copyright? I thought India was reasonably aggressive in its enforcement of its laws? Has Alphabet Google YouTube decided to help out India and other countries with ancient art by southeast Asia countries’ ancient artisans?
  3. Has Mr. Mohan created a legal problem for YouTube and the company is taking action to shore up its legal arguments should the naked statue matter end up in court?
  4. Is Mr. Mohan’s assertion about directed punishment accurate?

Obviously there are many issues in play. Should one try to obtain more clarification from Alphabet Google YouTube? That’s a great idea. Mr. Mohan may pursue it. However, will Google’s YouTube or the Alphabet senior management provide clarification about policies?

I will not hold my breath. But those statues covered up in the US Department of Justice reflected one person’s perception of what was acceptable. That’s something I won’t forget.

Stephen E Arnold, January 4, 2024


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