“Youtube’s not good enough!”

Disregard of privacy. Hatred of change. Entitled attitude. Immaturity.

Those are the dark traits that people familiar with Youtube cultures associate with Youtube fandoms. They are common knowledges.

But, I am surprised most people (seemingly) have yet to notice another frustrating trait about the fandoms: obsession with giant corporate media networks.

On some occasions, you can see fans wondering why their beloved idols are not signing up to those corporations.

And that irks me every time.

One thing for sure is they don’t know how the media works. They probably think those giant entities provide creators with not only big platforms and big funding, but also complete creative freedom.

You know, a make-believe.

They don’t know how creators are also responsible to the network executives. If they deem the creations unprofitable or ideologically “deviant”, those creations would not even survive the pre-production stage.

As bad as Youtube can be, its content creators have freedom that many of theirs counterparts in other platforms can only dream of.

Your videos can be taken down for violating guidelines (or falsely and/or unfairly accused of doing so). But, they can never be taken down solely for low viewerships or ideological deviance.

In fact, Youtube is full of creators who espouse controversial opinions regarding humanity and who scathingly condemn the establishments. Not to mention there is an abundance of creators like Filthy Frank whose style described by Nerd City as “post-ironic” (Click and go straight to 16:45).

But, this is not even the most frustrating about the fandoms’ wish. Their elitist attitude is.

Why is Youtube not good enough?

Of course, if a more stable source of income is the argument, then I am all for it. Youtubers have been struggling gaining profits from their videos in recent years.

But, that’s not what fans want; from all of the ones who have expressed such desire, I only encountered one that mentioned income. One.

In fact, not only it is the only clearly-elucidated reason that I encountered, fans also know Youtubers can either get direct sponsorships, donations through Patreon, or both. Seemingly, they don’t have any reasons to make such demand.

While I cannot have make any concrete (and objective) conclusions, I can tell you about the mentality of Youtube fandoms.

They suffer from inferiority complex.

I am not talking about how their idols are talentless or something; just like fans of traditional idols, many Youtube fans certainly see theirs as talented. I am talking about how they see Youtube as a career: for them, it is not a real job.

Admittedly, it is extremely rare for me to see those comments. But, I do have encountered fans who genuinely believe the jobs of their idols are not “real jobs”. In fact, they seem happy if their idols have jobs other than making Youtube videos.

What are “real jobs”, anyway?

  • If a job gives us complete or near independence, is considered a novelty and disregarded by the establishment, and/or does not offer a stable source of income, then it would not be considered as “real”.
  • I reach to such conclusion because, from what I observe, the jobs labelled as “not real” often possess some or all of those characteristics. I have never heard people calling blue collar jobs and most white ones as “not real”.

    From this observation, I already have a clear imagination of what some Youtube fans are thinking:

    Yes, we know our favourite Youtubers are creators who rise to the top despite the independence from the old-age establishment. And that what makes them unique.

    But, because of that same reason, we fans feel insecure about ourselves because there is no prestige in admiring those who are not parts of the establishment.

    Therefore, it would be selfish of our idols to stay independent and refuse to become corporate slaves.

    Yes, I know my assumption is plagued with meanness and exaggeration… and also dishonesty considering how Youtube also has its own (younger and less powerful) establishments which are divided into different linguistic and/or national categories.

    But, whether those fans are aware of how the media works or not, you have to admit the feeling of inferiority is there.

    If it isn’t, why would they be aroused by the prospect of their favourite Youtubers branching out to the more conventional yet not-always-rewarding realms?

    If it isn’t, why aren’t they content about idolising those who make a living solely out of Youtube?

    I am on the opinion that believes Youtubers need to mature in order to bring their communities forward.

    But, I believe the fandoms’ lack of self-assurance is also a major hindrance to the progress as they refuse to uncover the platform’s fullest potentials.

    It is not far-fetched to say the collective feeling of insecurity is one of Youtube’s biggest enemies.

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    My initial thoughts about Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

    I am not a gamer. Nowadays, I almost never play any video games; when I was younger, I only played racing games, not ones akin to Zelda and Final Fantasy. So, it is bold and stupid of me to review something which belongs to a realm I have almost zero experience with. But, I cannot help myself from doing it.

    I mean, this is a Harry Potter game, after all. As a pothead who has relatively good understanding of the HP universe, I am credible enough to review it, even if I know next to nothing about the medium. But, in this case, I am confident with my game design critique.

    Even from the first seconds I played the game, its flaws were immediately obvious: this supposedly interactive media work is anything but. Instead of allowing players to explore the settings in great details, it only allows us to stare at our avatars doing nothing but standing; they move only for doing tasks.

    At first, I loved the energy points. The fact that it took four minutes to restore only one encouraged me to drop my phone more often. But, the more I play it, the more I am agitated by it. They force me to undergo choppy and ungratifying pacing, which leave a bad taste in my mouth; if I want a more seamless experience, I have to spend actual money.

    God, I hate how on-the-nose the microtransactions are!

    If we want to gain energy quicker, we must spend our gems. Sometimes, we need to wait hours for the next task and the only way to speed up the time is to spend some gems. While they are obtainable by attending classes, doing the extra tasks and reaching a new XP level, we never get them in bulks; therefore, spending money is the easiest way out.

    One can argue this is how the developers of this free game get their cash; in other situations, I would agree with that sentiment. But, the problem is they also sell galleons which, unlike the gems, are extremely easy to obtain; if you want more cash, just attend more classes.

    Thanks to my obsessive tendency to attend the virtual classes (can’t say the same thing about the real ones), even when I don’t have to, my galleons are almost always 50k, the maximum limit; they almost never go below 49k. That’s how easy it is to obtain them. While I can see the validity in the ‘income’ defence, the fact that they sell easily obtainable items show how greedy the people behind-the-scenes are.

    If I want to implement a Marxist lens here, the feature is a reflection of real-life economic inequality; if one wants less discomfort, one has to spend more money. Obviously, this implementation does not hold strong ground; surely, the accessibility of education, healthcare and legal defence is more consequential than the ability to experience good gaming immersion. But still, the shameless display of greed is too grotesque to ignore.

    The way the classes are designed also does not make much sense. While teachers mostly ask topically relevant questions, they also occasionally ask about irrelevant topics, like the colour of Madam Hooch’s eyes or the name of Dumbledore’s predecessor. To make it even stupider, we also have to answer our classmates’ questions, none of which are relevant to the lessons! But, there are also other features that I love.

    You will also require to complete these three tasks: 1. trace your fingers along shaped lines; 2. tap an ever-expanding and shrinking circle and make sure it stops within the given outlines; 3. tap an icon in a vertical bar, make sure it stays within the marked area until it becomes fully green and you have only thirty seconds to do it; the only way to move the icon is to tap (going up) and untap it (going down).

    What I like about those three tasks is they require our concentration; I still have problems with the first and it took me a long time to fully master the third. While I doubt they are the most difficult things video games have to offer, they are undoubtedly more superior the topically-relevant questions which enforce the traditional and often-worthless rote-learning. And that’s not the only good aspect of the game’s design.

    The characters’ movements are often repetitive and when they assemble in large together (especially when they attend the Weird Sisters concert), each individual has the exact same movement, resulting creepily robotic-looking crowd of androids. When I mention bodily movements, I exclude facial expressions.

    The characters are able to exude subtle, expressive and relatively true-to-life faces while still looking very cartoonish. Again, while there is nothing ingenious about it, I am impressed by the animators’ ability to avoid the uncanny valley which many in the industry still fall for.

    Now, about the world-building aspect…

    There is one Extra Credits video that discusses about kindness in video gaming. They cite NieR: Automata, a game where it encourages players to risk losing their save files just for the sake of helping their fellows, most of whom they will never meet. It is a contrast with other video games where helping others will give us more rewards, where the kindness is phony and insincere.

    That video influences how I view Hogwarts Mystery, where we also get rewards for helping the main character’s friends. While getting more knowledge, empathy and courage points does make sense, why the hell would we get more galleons and gems for doing so? I cannot say if this can negatively affect the psyche of young players. But, it sure reminds me of the real life, where kindness is often phony and insincere.

    Obviously, helping my avatar’s friends require interactions and they reveal how dreadful the game’s writing is. The dialogues are so cheesy, cliched and unrealistic, they make Rowling’s uninspiring writing style looks masterful in comparison. Frankly, in this case, I hate it because they distract us from how deep the characters are.

    Okay, the characters do have problems. Barnaby Lee, for example, is a brawny and kindhearted airhead; he is two stereotypes combined into one. Ben Copper is fearful of literally everything. Merula Snyde, the main character’s enemy, is a Slytherin known for her constant gush of conceit and condescension. Madam Pince is an even bigger scowling guardian of the books. Rowan Khanna is a bookworm who enjoys studying. They seem like one-dimensional characters. Seemingly.

    In general, it is impressive how the main character befriends Slytherins like Liz Tuttle and aforementioned Barnaby, despite not coming from the same house; it is a contrast with the canon where the characters have almost entirely volatile relationships with the Slytherins, who are seen as moral lepers. Even Merula will extend some goodwill gestures (albeit insults-laden) from time to time by helping the main character in a handful of quests.

    And Merula is not mean just for the sake of it. She suffers from insecurity due to being a child of imprisoned Death Eaters; it also does not help she got backstabbed by fellow student, Tulip Karasu. No matter how mean and arrogant she is, I cannot help feeling sincerely sorry for her at times.

    Barnaby Lee, another Slytherin who stopped befriending her for her nasty personality, is also a child of imprisoned Death Eaters, who were abusive to him. So, beneath that stereotypical kindhearted yet dumb facade lies a child who knows how it feels to be hurt and who presumably refuses to make others experience what he experienced.

    The aforementioned Tulip Karasu is an eccentric and seemingly happy-go-lucky prankster. But, she sincerely regretted how she backstabbed Merula and she often convinces the main character how his/her nemesis isn’t as bad as she appears to be. And Merula is not the only one who is kinder than she appears to be.

    I never remember Madam Pince showing a soft side in any of the books. But, unexpectedly, she gives the game’s main character and his friends house points for making her recall affectionate memories of James Potter and Lily Evans. Despite still being a stereotypical obsessive librarian, she has a soft spot for the students.

    I think Severus Snape in this version also has a soft spot for the students. Well, not really. But, despite the aloofness, he is not a teacher who unfairly favours Slytherins and who bullies every student he deems weak. Basically, this version of the character deviates the canon. And I don’t mind it at all.

    Snape grew up in a volatile household and was bullied by the Marauders (a fact many potheads love to sweep under the rug). Such individual would grow up either as an individual whose desire for vengeance turns him into a bully (and I wish some in the pro-Snape faction stop romanticising him)… or as an aloof one who detest bonding but still refuse to inflict pain on others, having first-hand experiences with it. While the latter is clearly not canon, the resulting alteration is not contrived.

    I should also mention Rita Skeeter, whose depiction is a lot more nuanced. In the novels, she does nothing other than ruining the characters’ lives. But, in the game, the sleazy reporter encourages the main character to open his/her eyes to the ugly side of humanity.

    While some may perceive this as cynicism, I consider this is as a dose of realism. She is right to assert that humanity is not all flowers and rainbows and perceiving it through a sugary lens will detach us from the reality. Well, she only lightly slaps us back to reality. But, it is still a slap, regardless.

    Oh, I almost forgot about Ben Copper. So far, I see nothing deep about the character. But, what I love about him is how his existence gives the fixation with Hogwarts Houses a giant finger.

    Yes, Ben Copper is not canon. But, in an article I made where I chastised the obsession with the school houses, I pointed out that not only the characters betray the values of their respective houses, the values themselves can be destructive in the context of education. In the end, substance is more crucial than labels.

    Now, about the story…

    So far, despite the poorly-written dialogues and the sometimes-superficial characters, I love it. I am personally intrigued by the never-ending stream of mysteries and I love how we often doubt certain characters’ motives, encouraging us to not fall for their potentially-deceptive veneer. But, as this game is still unfinished, I don’t know if the conclusion will be profound or disappointing.

    In fact, there is a chance I will change my mind about this game once it is completed; I may end up hating the potentially-overdone revelations and I may end up finding certain characters deeper or more shallow than I previously thought.

    As I am writing this, I am still on the 22nd chapter of year five, waiting for the next quests. I don’t know how long the devs will take to finish the game. But, I do know it will be long enough for me to change my mind eventually.  

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    My thought about Shane Dawson’s Jeffree Star series

    Yes, I know I am a bit too late. Yes, I know I should have written this before I wrote about Shane’s Jake Paul one. But, after reading the comments that equate Jeffree Star with the youngest of the Paul Brothers, I have the urge to make this essay, arguing how both individuals are different from one another.

    And yes, the title is misleading. Instead of only focusing on Jeffree’s, I will compare both. Does that count as a clickbait?

    Now, first of all, I have to point out the intentions of both series, which are indeed entirely different one another.

    When it comes to Jake Paul, Shane never intended to befriend him in the first place. Throughout the production, he acted more like a sometimes-unethical documentarian/investigator who would do anything to know about his (seemingly) monstrous subject. There are eight videos in total and Jake appears only in three of them; the other five are all about Shane digging some info about him, sternly reminding us of the horrible things he has done.

    Also, thanks to the much-criticised ‘manipulative’ editing (even though ‘manipulative editing’ is such a redundant term), the entire series feels like a psychological thriller; it feels like Jake will ambush Shane without warning and kill him. With Jeffree, it is the complete opposite.

    Shane did not treat him like a mere subject. In fact, probably because they had had interactions prior, Shane genuinely wanted to befriend the personality behind the controversial beauty guru persona, bonded with him on an intimate level. Jeffree appears in all five videos and Shane did not spend a single second digging info about him behind his back. Apart from a handful of serious and emotionally-heavy scenes, this series shares goofy (and bizarre) light-heartedness of Shane’s other recent videos.

    While we are also exposed his ugly side, the videos are not over-saturated with such details. Instead, we are encouraged to swallow our judgement temporarily and let him do the storytelling himself. We are encouraged to believe that we know nothing about him. In the end, both series possess two entirely different lenses.

    Jake does appear as a normal human being with feelings. But, after being constantly reminded of his ugly side, his seeming niceness fails to gain my sympathy. In fact, months after the series’ conclusion, I end up viewing him as a frail and pathetic human being who uses his shitty familial background to excuse his horrible behaviours. Again, that’s not the case with Jeffree.

    Unlike Jake, he does not seem to care about how he is perceived. For one, he swanks his pricy personal possessions, a gesture known in the Youtube community as ‘flexing’ (assuming you are not a part of); it is deeply frowned upon and is seen as a sign of insecurity.

    And yet, I am not disgusted by Jeffree’s action at all! Maybe it is something to do with the intention: while others just want to show rich and successful they are, he seems to care more about boasting his taste in fashion, something he seems to be genuinely passionate about. Maybe it is just me.

    While Shane may claim he can feel for Jake regarding the relationships with their respective fathers and regarding their status as personae non gratae, the bonding between the two seems superficial. I will never know if there is a genuine emotional connection or not when the camera is off. But, I can confidently say the on-camera relationship is purely akin to one between an interviewer and an interviewee. Again, not with Jeffree.

    I (and possibly other viewers as well) notice how Jeffree and Shane are sincerely amused by each other’s antics, bonding through a kindred sense of playfulness. It is evident how there is a bona fide connection between the two contentious personalities and the effortlessness is what makes it wonderful! To make it even more so, Jeffree is seen interacting with other members of the squad, like Andrew the cameraman, Garrett and Ryland, with relative ease. In spite of his air of mystery and aloofness, he seems pleasant to interact with.

    Now, I do have to say what I just described above are the things Shane and Andrew wanted to include in the final touch. Therefore, both series are shaped by their perspectives.

    (Side note: I also did an essay about the Jake Paul series, in which I ignored Andrew Siwicki’s pronounced involvement even though I already knew about his existence. My mistake).

    But, if you go back the very first paragraph of this essay, I said something about how people compare Jeffree and Jake not because of those series, but because who they are as individuals. Some people actually believe both are the same and should never be given heartfelt tributes.

    Obviously, those people are idiots.

    Jeffree is perceived as a toxic public figure for his shamelessly provocative tendency. But, even if everyone absolutely agrees he emits a large amount of toxicity online, he is still not Jake Paul!

    In case you are one of those idiots, you should know Jake specifically targets his brands towards children! As exposed by countless Youtube commentators, he deploys manipulative marketing manoeuvres which ensure a large section of his impressionable young fans (presumably the majority of them) will definitely purchase his merchandise. Oh, and merch is not the only thing he is ‘selling’ to them: he also sells transgression.

    His videos also showcase some of the most crass pranks one can think of and shameless display of eroticism. At one point, he also made videos about how he supposedly got tormented by a gang of evil clowns… and tried to present them as ‘real’. Just a reminder: many of his fans are young children!

    Then, while being confronted by Shane, he asserted that many of his fans (whose brains are objectively not fully developed yet, mind you) are smart enough to identify native advertising and won’t be tricked into pressuring their parents to buy the merch for them, smart enough to distinguish what is real and what isn’t. He also asserted how the critics were being pedantic and were mad about nothing.

    See what he did there? Instead of admitting and apologising for his sins, he insulted everybody’s intelligence by giving an assertion anyone with a strong footing in reality can easily refute. He was so arrogant, he thought he could ‘own’ his ‘haters’ by treating us like his juvenile fans. Even though Shane gave him the platform to humanise himself, the smugness makes me loathe him even more! Again (I am not sorry for this repetition), not the case with Jeffree.

    No matter how toxic his online persona is, his behaviours are still bound by some degree of personal ethics. For one, he markets his brand towards cosmetics enthusiasts (did I use the correct term?) who can handle brutal honesty and sass. He never targets it towards young children, let alone manipulating them to do his bidding!

    Jeffree also hates pretension. Since his MySpace days, he always wittingly introduces himself as an individual of poor and unrefined character. He deliberately makes it so easy for everyone to hate him! Even then, he still can feel guilty about his past actions.

    After it was revealed he yelled the N-word in a video, he made a really good apology video in which he does not deflect the blame on others and does not try to make us feel sorry for him. While I find it a bit too long and not straightforward enough, it is as sincere as Pewdiepie’s after he was also caught yelling the same abusive word.

    Despite my lack of familiarity with every single one of Jeffree’s dramas, I am very certain he is being mean towards people whom he considers are deserving, like his snakes of so-called friends. As mentioned before, he treated Shane and the squad with a pleasantness one would never expect from an individual of such reputation! Oh, and he also does consumer protection.

    At least, that’s what a fellow Youtube commenter told me. He/she said, thanks to Jeffree’s reviews of certain cosmetics brands, he/she and his/her family were staved off from spending a fortune on useless products and they ended up saving lots of money. I don’t know if his/her case is an anomaly or not. But, my God, that was seriously unexpected!

    I am certain my description of Jake is almost universally accepted; the ones who defend him are either his own juvenile fans or adults who are so tolerant of transgression, they should never be allowed to have children (but, I cannot force them to not breed because a part of me still loves liberty). In spite of the fame and fortune, he and his brother are popularly seen as the human incarnation of faeces that inexplicably grow its own tumour.

    Jeffree, on the other hand, draws very divided public opinions. Some love him, some hate him and some don’t know what to think and feel; it may depend whether you have watched his content or not. But, despite the possible contention, I am confident my relatively-sympathetic description of him will gain some degree of collective acceptance.

    And now, we go back to Shane.

    If someone asks me who he is, I would answer he is an internet entertainer. Unless he has proven himself, I will never call him a journalist or researcher. None of his videos demonstrate his strong experience in objectivity and systematic analyses… and scientific methods, if I want to go further. I have to exclude Andrew from this as I don’t know the extent of his influence.

    Without dismissing Shane’s intelligence (which he clearly has if one has actually watched him), he seems to think the combination of public discourse and personal curiosity is a suitable paradigm for his ‘documentaries’. And, because of that, both series end up as two distinct entities.

    I have mixed feelings about this approach. Its results include the pointless Tanacon videos and, of course, the half-intriguing half-problematic Jake Paul ones. But, at the same time, the results also include the Molly Burke, the Grav3yardgirl and, of course, the surprisingly-witty and surprisingly-profound Jeffree Star videos.

    Unless one does not care about ethical implications, the Shane Dawson formula should never be used when one enquires into figuratively and literally detrimental phenomena and big names who receive near-universal condemnation. It can, however, be used to enquire into big names who receive a greater degree of admiration as the ethical implications are minimal. My suggestion is, if one cares about journalistic and scientific integrity, one must avoid it at all cost.

    (Side note: yes, it is not easy to determine whether one is universally-hated or somewhat lovable; but, just entertain the thought that it is easy to do).

    Oh, and I actually made an essay about the potential problems with Shane Dawson. I know some of the things I state here should belong there. But, I published it too soon and since then, I have had more ‘revelations’ about him. Oh well…

    Just like with my Jake Paul series review, this one will also use Shane’s picture in the thumbnail. Again, his videos reveal more about him than they do about his subjects.

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    My thoughts about Shane Dawson’s concluded Jake Paul series

    Well, I will go straight to one of the most glaring problems: the therapist.

    Unlike some people, I actually don’t have a problem with her having an ‘irrelevant’ specialisation; when you are specialised in a subdiscipline, you HAVE to know the basics of the overall discipline! Whether she accurately described sociopathy or not, that is an entirely different problem and I am not confident enough to comment on.

    What I do have a problem with is the possibly unethical practice as seen on episode five and six where she became an ‘undercover therapist’. I would feel violated and betrayed if a therapist does that same thing to me! If I am having my psyche evaluated, whether it is for my sake or science’s, I want to know about it! For me, those particular episodes are the most exploitative, not episode two as some people argue. But, I do think it is also problematic.

    Its portrayal of sociopathy is too exploitative. Shane was condemned for his manipulative editing which utilises visually metaphorical stock footage and ‘scary’ sound effects, making the personality disorder sounds scarier than it is. With the existence of socially reckless entertainment like Criminal Minds, this will exacerbate the already-severe stigmatisation of sufferers of mentally illnesses!

    But, I am also a fan of Shane. So, let me make an unsolicited apologetics, defending him on his behalf.

    Even though Shane was being irresponsible on his part, we should remember that he is an entertainer first! His main duty is and will always be to entertain! It is obvious how his so-called documentaries look less like quest to obtain objective truths and more like the fulfillment of his own curiosity! Even though his cameraman Andrew was a also contributor of opinions, Shane’s personal outlooks defines the series’ angle.

    Every scene that mentions sociopathy was made to feel ‘scary’ because Shane, an emotionally sensitive person, was genuinely terrified by its existence! Heck, even I am deeply unnerved by the existence of a personality disorder that can impair one’s empathy; I still cannot comprehend the existence of such condition on any human beings and the fact it is more common than I would like to believe!

    Well, that’s why I call it an apologetics. As it is purely motivated by my fanboyism, my defence of Shane’s exploitative inclination is built on a feeble foundation which can crumble by the slightest gush of comebacks. But, I do have stronger defences for the humanisation and the so-called ‘stalling’.

    I refuse to call it ‘stalling’. Whether Shane was a good researcher or not, it is up to a debate. But, he did try to be a thorough one. While others think the series dilly-dallies, I think Shane didn’t want to keep his viewers in the dark about many crucial information and about how he obtained them! If he went straight to interview Jake Paul, he would not know how to make his prime interviewee to open up.

    When the series was announced, many people were angry because they deemed it as an effort to humanise Jake. Why was that controversial in the first place? Besides the obvious thing that he is indeed biologically a human being, it will also be easier to criticise him.

    If you keep portraying a public figure you hate as a monster from another realm, how are you going to convince people who are either supportive of or apathetic about him/her that he/she is an earthly being we must condemn for moral reasons? In the end, you look like a paranoid person… or worse, the monstrous one who loves to dehumanises others!

    As I mentioned in my previous Shane Dawson article, one of his strengths is his desire to connect with fellow human beings on an emotional level. Admittedly, it can be a weakness if one is not careful. But, in this series, it pays off.

    During the humanisation process, which peaks in the last episode as shown by Jake’s increasing vulnerability, Shane confronts him regarding his horrible Youtube content, simultaneously reminding us of its existence. While he may be a genuinely pleasant person to hang out with, he is still a socially irresponsible content creator!

    Instead of watching an unearthly creature as people believe him to be, the viewers watch a seemingly amiable yet deeply-flawed and insecure human being who still has lots of things to learn in life. For me, that’s a relatively perceptive and realistic judgment of an individual!

    Again, as I also mentioned in the previous article, humanising our enemies is easier said than done. If I were a Youtuber, I would create mean-spirited commentaries. If I try harder, I can be just like Youtubers like Nerd City, who is praised for his excellent research and sound arguments. But, following Shane’s footsteps will require me painstaking self-reflection which, while essential for my growth, is not something I can do effortlessly… or willing to do at all!

    The humanisation aspect makes me wish the series also enquire into the minds of Logan and Greg Paul as well. From the limited information we get, it seems they are among the reasons why Jake’s personal and professional lives are a big mess. They are also entangled in the spider web. Some viewers (me included) start to believe they are the sociopaths; interviewing them would probably refute or confirm the accusations.

    Actually, I believe it is a good idea to interview individuals who have been professionally and personally involved with him.
    As imagined, the interviewees give contradicting statements regarding certain controversies. While Shane seems cautious enough to not take sides, some of his viewers may not be hesitant to do so. Personally, I refuse to take sides because I need to do my own research as well… which I am unwilling to do. But, I am confident to say this: the interviewees, including Jake himself, have very believable claims about each other.

    Let’s use the Team 10 kinship/membership as an example. Ex-members claim Jake was being abusive and greedy. Jake, current Team 10 members and Nick Crompton claim those individuals took advantage of Jake’s familial affection and were on it only for the fame and fortune. I find both sides believable.

    Jake is an immature young man whose fame commenced rapidly, who is strongly implied to have been raised with toxic masculinity by his allegedly sociopathic father and have a purely physical, one-sided relationship with his dominant and also allegedly sociopathic big brother. Even if he lacks any ill intentions, he may unintentionally abuse his friends with his transgressive fun; regardless, he still needs to sincerely apologise and changes his behaviours for the better.

    But, Jake is also a celebrity. Inevitably, having such status means one would be attractive to bloodsucking leeches who yearn for quick fame and fortune; if Jake really does regard the team members as his family just like some people claim, they betray him on a deeply personal level and, in spite of what I said on the previous paragraph, I can’t help but feeling sorry for him and feeling hateful of them.

    I think this topic is more interesting than the horrible content of Youtube videos (which I still find compelling nonetheless). I am always intrigued by the (in)sincerity of human relationships, particularly when one lives in a society where human bonding is judged by its quantity, not quality. In fact, such discussion is a major reason why I love the series. But, when judging it in its entirety, my feelings are very mixed.

    As mentioned earlier, I am still uncomfortable about its unethical production with the ‘undercover psychiatric analysis’ on episode five and six and the exploitative editing on episode two. Even a big fanboy like me can do nothing but being an apologist for him. Citing my previous Shane Dawson article again, he may unintentionally indoctrinate his viewers with falsehood.

    That fact alone convinces me how entertainers need a sense of social responsibility. No matter how good the intentions are, every content creator, especially ones with large followings, needs to be more considerate with their endeavours. While social responsibility is not an objective occupational duty of theirs, it sure can elevates their moral standing as artists and entertainers.

    Outlook wise, it feels patchy considering how he did not interview Logan and Greg. But, overall, it is still very well-rounded! The interviews of individuals associated with Jake not only dispel the accusation of giving him full and compliant platform, it also convinces me (and hopefully other viewers) about the intricacy of the problems. Even though one cannot help from making one’s own so-called ‘theories’, it is more righteous to assume ignorance.

    Oh, and I cannot stress this enough and I will repeat this till the end of time: humanisation is key! It will ease your efforts to discredit your target on the eyes of doubters and it will keep you on a moral ground higher than your target’s, whom you claim to be immoral. Shane is sublime regarding this and it is a shame he is ethically-challenged in other aspects; otherwise, the series would be much more wholesome.

    I don’t know how this will affect anyone involved. But, regarding Jake and Shane, I hope they listen more attentively to the criticisms against them and thrive to become better content creators. It will be good for their fans, the overall Youtube community and, most importantly, for themselves.

    I do realise many of the criticisms I directed to Shane are also relevant to Jake. But, we should learn that commentaries reveal nothing about their subjects. Instead, they reveal the true nature of the commentators.

    This series reveals more about Shane than it does about Jake.

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    Why I’m all for social democracy: an unconvincing, unoriginal and rambling argumentation

    Okay, the title is a lie. There are some practices of social democracy which I am not a big fan of.

    The Nordic Model, for an instance. The idea of high, flat rate income tax and extremely generous handouts are jarring to me; the former seems to discourage everyone from having savings and the latter is prone to abuse. But, I am not entirely opposed to the system.

    I love the idea of providing free-of-charge education and healthcare, I am all for giving handouts to people who are unemployed because of reasons other than simply not having jobs (e.g. poor health), I am all for unionising the workers and I am open to the idea of implementing high income taxes for the super rich (not the middle class) and all while still embracing free market capitalism.

    People complain such policies will cost taxpayers lots of money. But, isn’t that the point of taxation? To improve a country’s state of being? If that’s the argument, why bother paying taxes at all? Also, why are beneficial policies seen as financial burdens while increasing the budget for the most funded armed forces in the world isn’t?

    I have made this rant many times before. One person gave me nonsensical replies.

    First, he accused me of being arrogant; he said I acted like I knew more about how to make use of taxpayers’ money more than the government itself, as if ranks and power instantaneously guarantee you reason, knowledge and expertise. Well, that belief rings true to you if you are a feudal meritocrat who live among maggot-infested cadavers and hellfire.

    I am not being arrogant, I am just embracing common sense. Education, health and good finance benefit a society just like balanced diets benefit our bodies. Because of them, we are able to live wholesomely and collectively move forward with our lives.

    Second, he also said it makes sense for the US government to cut education funding considering the increasing ineptitude of American students in the recent years. In what infernal maggot-infested universe does that make any sense?

    It is obvious the problem lies in how the education system runs itself. If I have a poor eating habit and your solution is to take away my food money, you are going to worsen my well-being as I would eat less altogether! Instead, you should encourage me (or force me) to change my life style. Cutting fund for education does not explain why the ineptitude exists in the first place. In fact, I am sure it will worsen the disease. You know, that one thing those fiscal conservatives supposedly hate!

    Regulations. Oh, I almost forgot about them.

    Why do some oppose them in general? What’s wrong with preventing exploitation of labours? Fatal accidents? Environmental disasters?

    One common ‘rebuttal’ to those questions is another question, an egocentric one: what about freedom?

    Goddammit…

    If regulations that are meant to curb sordidness threaten your sense of freedom, what does that say about your character as human beings? I can’t help but thinking you embrace freedom not because you love righteousness, but because you want the free rein to abuse anyone as you desire! Did I just commit an ad hominem? Yes, I did. But, can you blame me or anyone for bearing such sentiment? No, you can’t.

    Then, there is the ‘ineffectiveness’ argument.

    They assert how regulations are inherently impotent in tackling human vileness. Why do they believe that? Is it because they have actual data to back those claims up? If they have, I want to read them. No, seriously. Prove me wrong that they are impotent in doing so.

    Do they believe so simply because their beliefs say so? Well, if that is the case, why bother criminalising murder and rape when murderers and rapists still exist? Why bother having laws at all? They may as well embrace anarchism… which I am sure many in the right edge of the political spectrum find off-putting.

    Then, there is also the ‘bad-for-business’ argument.

    If your business cannot thrive without your corruptness, then you are not a good businessperson in the first place! In fact, if that’s the only viable way for you to make cash, you don’t deserve to be called a ‘businessperson’! The only title you deserve is ‘villain’!

    Besides having actual business skills, what else do you need to have a thriving business? Well, living in a social democratic country sure helps in the long term.

    You have to acknowledge the success of your business also depends on the public’s state of being. The more prosperous the people are, the more likely they are able to pay for your products and services. The more skilled the people are, the more likely you can hire good workers.

    If you are well-educated, not only you would be skilled, you would also be adept at learning new skills which means you would have a relatively good chance in the job market and therefore, you would have some level of ease in grasping financial stability.

    If you have access to good and free healthcare (assuming you have a healthy lifestyle yourself), you would have more time to work, to find work or to learn new skills and therefore, you would not have medical debt and, once again, have a better chance in the job market.

    Strong environmental protection means one cannot exploit natural resources recklessly to satisfy one’s greed. It means we would still have them in large supplies for future use and we would not pollute the nature, preventing any public health problems. Focus on the emphasised word. Remember what I said earlier.

    If you think that would increase the prices of products, then we should do more scientific researchers to discover greener alternatives. In the long-term, that’s the wise choice considering how limited natural resources are. What would we do when they cease to exist and there is no available replacement? Cry?

    God, this is getting long…

    Another anti-regulation argument I encounter is this: the free market regulates itself! Well, if you believe that corporations are inherently ethical and moral entities, that would sound believable.

    In theory, a for-profit entity would try to win its customers’ heart by providing them satisfactory products and services at reasonable prices and a sleazy one would not survive a day in the market.

    In theory. In practice, it is an entirely different reality.

    First of all, not everyone becomes upstanding on their own initiatives. When driven by the desire to gain profit, the more corrupt among us would do anything to satisfy it. Who cares about fucking up the people around you? All is good when profit is gained.

    Second, many customers don’t give a fuck about moral integrity. Who cares about suicidal overseas labourers? Who cares about homophobia? Just let me have that smart phone and chicken sandwich!

    Third, the customers don’t always have the options. When corporations are aware about their monopoly in certain regions, more of than not they will drop the pretense and show their true faces! Oh, you hate our low-quality, expensive, yet essential services? What are you going to do? Move on to our non-existing rivals?

    Remember the man who called me ‘arrogant’? I want to pick on him behind his back one more time.

    He said it was unfair of me to bash the big businesses as evil. He pointed how a corporation is a collective that embodies a horde of distinct human individuals. Therefore, a corporation cannot be evil. On the surface, his argument seems well-rounded. But, that actually makes me despise him even more.

    For one thing, a corporation is indeed a collective… a formal collective with actual ranks, voluntary membership and which members share the same common objectives. Its mechanism is different from the one in a religious or ethnic group. Such lack of nuances in his thinking does irk me. But, this is actually the least anger-inducing thing about his argument.

    While he declares the ‘humanness’ of corporations, he also actively denounces governments as evil entities who should always be shackled from interfering with the people’s life, brainlessly not realising each government also consists of different human individuals!

    His belief about big businesses’ sainthood convinces me that his outcry against authoritarianism and police brutality is solely motivated by his anti-big government libertarianism, not by his sense of humanity. When it is purely ideological, your moral outrage is insincere. Does that also count as an ad hominem? Yes, it does. Can you blame for reacting negatively to such hypocrisy? No, you cannot.

    When it comes to deciding which groups knows what’s best for our countries, we cannot reach a consensus. Some of us may say the people should decide everything, as they are the majority. Some of us may say it should be the government, as we all need strong authority figures. Some of us may say it should be the corporations because they bring wealth. Obviously, I disagree with all three.

    While I believe in democracy, I also cannot stand with the ‘people-are-always-right’ belief. It is literally the bandwagon fallacy! If you decide the rightness or wrongness of something should be based on popularity, then you unwittingly let the tyranny of the majority come into being.

    While I believe in the effectiveness of strong authoritative figures, I also believe they should possess actual competence, intellect and moral compasses. The belief that ranks and powers instantly guarantee rightness is literally the appeal to authority fallacy! If you give authorities unrestrained power, they would violate your human dignity every time opportunity arises; the prosperity they prosperity is nothing but bribery.

    I acknowledge big businesses for their contributions to the societies. Besides providing jobs, they also encourage the growth of innovations which are beneficial for the people in the long-term. But, you should not let them be the ones who control our lives.

    The idea that a government should be run like a business infuriates me! It implies every single deed we perform must have direct monetary returns! People who adhere to such doctrine barely try to conceal their money-worshipping tendency.

    I am also cynical about corporate philanthropy. If corporations actual care about generosity, they would not stamp their logos at every facility they build, they would not brag about it in their ads. Nowadays, indirect marketing is good marketing; they successfully blur the line between marketing and PR. In the end, what is good for the corporations is mostly good for the executives.

    I am glad I took that basic PR course.

    In an ideal world, a near-perfect society is the one where the voters are well-informed and civil, where the authorities are not only driven by the desires to benefit the people, but also take scientific and ethical consideration in their decision-making, where the businesses restrain themselves from exploiting the masses. As I said, in an ideal world.

    No wonder escapism is popular. The real world sucks.

    *****

    In case you didn’t know, I am an Indonesian. Every time I make comments about other and more developed countries online, I often got these responses:

    ‘Why do you make a fuss about other countries’ domestic issues?’ ‘

    Shouldn’t you just stick talking about your shithole third world country?’

    Well, I make a fuss because I can. If foreigners can make false assumptions about my country and invade other countries to satisfy their white saviour complex, why can’t I make relatively more sound observations about their beloved and so-called perfect countries?

    Also, I actually envy countries where social democracy is a widespread ideology. I wish it has a bigger presence in Indonesia. I wish more Indonesian voters vote for social democrats. I wish more Indonesian politicians embrace social democracy. But, considering how even publicly-funded primary schools charge tuition fees, the idea of social democracy is too alien for the masses.

    The US is indeed not a social democracy. In fact, in many ways, the system seems to treat social democrats as parasites. Not to mention the so-called ‘left-wing’ party in the US Congress is behaving like a centrist one, often shares the neoconservatism and neoliberalism of the right-wing party. But, despite everything, I envy how the ideology is openly and proudly embraced by a large chunk of the American population.

    I envy how aware they are of how the system they live under is in an ill state of being.

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