This is an editorial based on what I have gleaned from the internet and popular culture in general. In an effort not to turn this into a research paper, I will use the phrase “People have said” too much. This is a bad habit. If you would like to make a serious and convincing argument to others you should not do this.
As this is an opinion piece and is entirely my opinion, I will be alluding to what I FEEL, not hard research. If you disagree with me that is fine, but keep your comment short, because I am not in the mood for a real argument.
This will read a little disjointedly.
One of the bigger issues with Youtube seems to be the lack of self-awareness that comes with the platform for many of the more popular contributors. They say what is on their mind and if they have enough technical proficiency they will garner an audience that not only agrees with them but will reinforce their egos and “fight” on their behalf.
Ego trips for people who are the single creative voice for a project that is watched by millions are inevitable. You can’t help it, human brains are wired for an emotional high when people agree with you, but this has an unfortunate side effect. Too much self-acceptance is a bad thing, and self-aggrandizement is borderline evil.
I have noticed that some people have said, in the context of modern internet, Saturday Night Live is obsolete, that you can’t do biting topical commentary when you are hamstrung by standards and practices.
While the FCC’s prohibition against profanity is far too conservative that is not what is holding back TV shows like SNL and the internet is not what is making them obsolete. It isn’t obsolete because they will have something youtubers don’t, a little perspective.
SNL is a team. A large diverse cast that is trying to make people laugh, but at the same time they are not trying to hurt anyone. By surrounding each other with different perspectives they can keep each other on message, “Be funny, not hurtful”. One-person-show youtubers don’t have that and in an attempt to push themselves they go for the easy transgressions. Racism, misogyny, trans-phobia, the Jews, and any other punching bag that will attract a fervent fan base.
They are getting likes, so by their own self-fulfilling logic they are doing something right. But are they making the right kind of jokes? Are they being harmful?
I know that everyone out there likes to think that they are so above the influence of the media they consume. That watching a dozen well-made shows about sociopathic egomaniacs will not somehow warp them but after years of “Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men”, and “House of Cards” we have Donald Trump in the White House.
You don’t think there might be some kind of mass cultural swaying caused by the allure of villain protagonists? In the latest Superman movies, Superman kills bad guys he could easily stop as they pose no threat to him... and he is the “good guy” of his movie. I think something might be broken.
The reason I am talking about this is two instances that exist in the spheres of the internet I frequent. JonTron, a goofy comedian on youtube with production values well above the typical youtuber started coupling himself to Breitbart news and other elements of the internet that I do not care for. I stopped following him because, fuck’m.
At the same time, the most watched youtuber PewDiePie made a video in which he paid poor people to hold up signs calling for the “deaths to all Jews”. And then tried to play it off as some kind of social commentary.
Hate to tell you all this, but when a white millionaire pays poor people to display hate speech he should not be looked at as delivering some kind of revelatory message, because it shouldn’t be news to anyone that there are a lot of people who would do that shit for free at the behest of a white millionaire.
I never followed Pew before, his stuff is the lowest common denominator of humor and has zero value from my perspective.
Fact is, these guys are goofy clowns who are on an ego trip. They have more money and attention than they can healthily handle and it is allowing them to indulge in every stupid thought that they have. They don’t have people around them saying, “Don’t go on Breitbart” or “Don’t pay to have anti-Jew signage displayed” (because apparently that needs to be explained for some reason).
Ignore them, love them, do whatever you want. But realize that this is the inevitable end of these kinds of focused projects that demand so much output. This is your auteur theory, people keep pushing their own boundaries and the boundaries of others until they are paying poor people to hold up hate speech.