Bolchegeek: pop culture in analysis


Bolchegeek, the name immediately announces the color. Benjamin and Kathleen explore popular culture using, among other things, theoretical tools usually mobilized for economic and social issues: materialism and Marxism. Since 2014, they dissect any popular cultural event. The low-key hobby has turned into a real business as of 2019, with some videos now peaking at 500,000 views.

Film images, quotes, philosophical and political principles

With each new idea, an envelope is opened and hung on a large corkboard in their office, between computers, old objects and posters of video games. Imagine a detective in front of a blackboard, doodling, drawing links, cutting out the newspaper and hanging a picture. Bolchegeek replaces photos of suspects with film footage, quotes, philosophical and political principles. Some envelopes have been full of ideas for a long time, but the video still hasn’t been shot. Others are still empty. This is the case, for example, of the project on the film Kong: Skull Island. “You see helicopters on a setting sun with rock, you think of the Vietnam War. The film appeared to us as a way to explore why the Vietnam War has become a true cinematographic genre, with all that that implies for the imagination around this major event. » If the track seems good to them, they have not yet dug the subject. The video will wait.

Watch the debate at the Fête de l’Humanité:

An approach designed through popular education

There is no shortage of ideas, as the production of pop culture objects is enormous: « It’s something that affects everyone. The idea is really to take the stuff you like and try to understand. » The objective is to remain in control of what we consume in order to have a critical approach, to learn by formalizing concepts. “We do not transmit knowledge or academic knowledge, but we mobilize them to offer a different reading grid. » They think about their approach through popular education and self-training: using objects from pop culture and reclaiming them to open the debate, ask new questions, share an experience with their audience. After viewing one of their productions, you will understand the political meaning of Lord of the Ringsthe link between social contract and action films at the John Wickor why the series Squid Game had so much success. Dinosaurs intertwine with the representation of the world, superpowers with civil rights.

A decryption in six steps

If the duo constantly works together, each remains well specialized. First step: find a topic. Kathleen takes on the role of Benjamin’s sparring partner (pugilist participating in the training of a boxer before a fight – editor’s note). They compare their ideas. Second step: research and writing. Benjamin conceptualizes and structures the video. Third step: proofreading. Kathleen is uncompromising. Once the text has been read, re-read and re-read, the fourth step: the presentation. If we mainly see Benjamin on the screen, Kathleen intervenes in voiceover. Fifth step: assembly. While Benjamin initially also took care of this, it is a task that they now manage to entrust to other paid videographers. Sixth step: verification and final tweaks. Once Kathleen validates, the video is put online. In parallel with all this creative process, she also takes care of all the production and administration work.

Maintain independence from YouTube

Do they manage to make a living from this activity? Not so easy. Crowdfunding, small income from YouTube, copyrights are mainly used to finance the people who work with them: editors (Ace Modey, from the Lo Film channel, and Matthieu, from the Le coin du bis channel, in particular) and cameraman ( Maxime, from the chain Le fils de pub). And since they want to be relatively independent of the platform, as YouTube is part of a precarious, changing and demanding economy, they work on the side. Benjamin works intermittently and edits for other structures. For her part, Kathleen is in charge of production and distribution for theater companies. She also teaches the profession of cultural project manager at the university. A daily demonstration that passion for pop culture and other geekeries are not synonymous with start-up spirit and logic.

POPulaire, a monthly column to see what pop culture has in store

With POPulaire, Benjamin Patinaud, alias Bolchegeek, returns every month for Humanity to offer you an analysis of everything that popular culture reveals about our world. Cinema, comics, series, books or video games: from artistic, social and political angles, he has been deciphering pop culture for 7 years on his Youtube channel by summoning Graeber, Lordon, Pif and Naruto. He makes this culture his “point of observation of the world and times, of common imaginations. For a materialist analysis, it is abundant. And in fact, in his videos, it abounds, it geeks, it Marxizes, and it disperses like a puzzle!


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