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How local politics made me turn to YouTube Premium as a last-ditch sanity defense

Are you tired of seeing political ads before and during every YouTube video? Has the election reached a point where you just want to scream? We have a partial solution.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

There's a woman in my area named Deb Peterson (not her real name). She is running for some local office. But this isn't a politics story. It's a mental health story.

Deb spent most of August and September running pre-roll ads on my YouTube about how nice she is. She told us, endlessly, about how supportive, friendly, and so very caring she is.

It's not important to know if she's Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. All we need to know is she cares, she cares so much, and she cares in non-interruptible ads before every. Single. Video.

Apparently, Deb's caring shtick didn't poll so well, so in October she switched from "I care about you" to "here's why you should hate my opponent." Now, in front of every single YouTube video, I have to sit through 30 seconds telling me that her opponent doesn't care, never cared, probably caused our wildfires, and will undoubtedly doom us all to die a horrible death. In front. Of every. Single. YouTube video.

Gotta hand it to Deb. She's got enough ad dollars to make me hate her ads.

I thought about donating to her competitor who doesn't run must-watch pre-roll ads, at least in my YouTube pre-roll. But then I'd just encourage more ads.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love ads. I make my living because ads exist. Ads have paid for my coffee and pretty much everything else for the past few decades. Without ad revenue, you wouldn't be reading such incredibly scintillating articles as the one you're reading right now.

So, I'm not against ads. I'm only against ads that make me crazy. I'm only against ads I am forced to see over and over until my brain hurts.

Sure, I could just stop watching YouTube. Wait? What? No, I can't just stop watching YouTube. Not now. Not in these crazy times. YouTube is one of the very few things that's helping me hang onto what's left of my sanity.

I need my fix watching some guy restore some vintage furniture. I need my calm time watching someone sand wood until it's smooth. I need the serenity of half an hour of actually watching paint and glue dry.

I need to watch YouTube how-to videos because watching the news these days makes me want to yell or cry. It also gives me a headache.

When I'm not watching someone build something, I like to watch folks code and solder wires. Watching someone code can be more relaxing than actually coding. You get the same shout-at-the-TV opportunity you get with watching politics, but yelling "you forgot the semi-colon" or "that's not the variable you put the value in" at the TV isn't nearly as upsetting as watching any politician say...anything.

So, dumping YouTube is out. But all those ads are in YouTube. What to do? What. To. Do?

As it turns out, YouTube itself has the answer. And all you need to do is fork over $11.99 per month for YouTube Premium. There's also a family plan for $17.99 that allows you to grant YouTube ad serenity to up to five fellow quarantine inmates (what we once called members of your household).

There's even a free month trial, so if you sign up now, you can avoid election ads all the way through our upcoming hell day.

There are a few other benefits to YouTube Premium. You can download videos so you can watch them when you're out and on the go. Assuming you're ever out and on the go again. You can play video in the background, so you can listen to a YouTube video while doing other work. And you get access to YouTube Music, which is like Spotify, except not Spotify.

Also: Best streaming music services in 2020: Spotify, Apple, Amazon, and more alternatives 

To be honest, I don't care about the added YouTube Premium benefits. I've been using YouTube Premium since the beginning of the week and I can tell you that the ad-free experience is sublime. Not only are there no pre-roll or mid-roll ads, there aren't even banners.

You just watch. And learn. That's it.

It's like Xanax and Advil, all in a digital subscription instead of a medical prescription. Now, as long as I can stay off Facebook and Twitter, I can probably keep my headache away.

So, do I recommend YouTube Premium? Well, it's pricey and won't completely protect you from politics. It's more expensive than CBS All Access and Hulu and even basic Netflix. But if you love your YouTube videos as much as I do and you can budget the extra twelve bucks, yeah the peace of mind is definitely worth it.

What are your favorite YouTube channels? Let us know in the comments below.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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