Peak oil is “the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum production is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline.” The theory was first posited by American geophysicist M. King Hubbert in 1956, and many believe – including renowned physicists, political scientists, geologists, and a handful of my depressive friends with apocalyptic predilections and A Crude Awakening in their Netflix queues – if the current rate of global consumption continues as we reach the peak, a world energy crisis and severe economic recessions could ensue.

During the Great Depression, when unemployment reached an all-time high, 60-70 million Americans still went to the movies every week. Hollywood had its share of financial troubles, but it was still able to pack people into theaters with escapist productions that gave the American people hopeful, two-hour respites from reality. In more recent recessions, the Box Office has also performed well.

Tay Zonday is the self-ascribed moniker of Adam Bahner, a former American Studies doctoral candidate (with a focus on the impact of performance) at the University of Minnesota. But instead of studying history, Tay created it, writing his own name in the history book of Microfame after his homemade Chocolate Rain video went viral. He also gives one helluva interview.

Given his background, when I saw Tay at the Webbys I thought it’d be interesting to get his perspective on a possible energy crisis and how online video would preform in a bad economy:

Conclusions: Tay smiles a lot. He is not a spokesperson for Google, he just likes a lot of what they do. And a pack of reporters clamoring to query a YouTube sensation before an awards ceremony doesn’t make the best environment for a discussion about global economics. Still, he says some interesting stuff.

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