Late to the Smosh fandom

When I was exposed to Youtube culture for the first time in 2014, I was not impressed with Smosh.

I found the humour too juvenile for my taste. It was baffling how its fans Anthony and Ian compared to Dan and Phil, who make entirely different content. To make it more baffling, some even said Anthony and Ian were the funnier version of Dan and Phil, even though latter made much wittier jokes.

Considering I only liked two of their older videos, I am surprised that I clicked on more of them.

Now, fast forward to 2022.

It has been six or seven years since my last Smosh videos. I don’t remember how I stumbled back to the franchise. But somehow, I clicked on their recent Smosh Pit and Smosh Game videos and I was surprised that I was laughing at the jokes!

The cast and even some crew members are able to create witty, bizarre and even dark off-the-cuff jokes. No scripts needed! I don’t remember encountering this kind of humour on Smosh videos years ago. I even never realised how dark and bizarre Ian Hecox’s humour can be.

But, I am not a big fan of the Try Not To laugh videos. While they do have some gems, the cast members often end up trying too hard to be funny; many of the jokes fall flat, feel like inside jokes or end up being too abstract.

I also tried watching their recent scripted sketches… and I was not disappointed.

The scripted humour is still over-reliant on exaggerations. But, I love how it has significantly matured. Nowadays, many of the sketches revolve around the frustrations of lives as adults and media consumers; they even spoof the daily life at Smosh office.

In fact, I notice that Smosh and Saturday Night Lives share something in common: their style of scripted humour works best when their sketches include blatant commentaries. It successfully highlights the human stupidity they critique.

But, despite the improvements, I think the sketches are not the best things about the main Smosh channel. I prefer the Funeral, Gives Relationship Advices and Interview Exes series.

Like the sketches, they involve scripted narratives. But, unlike the sketches, the jokes are made not only by a handful of selected writers, but by the cast members as well. Hence why those videos have the most dynamic and lively content in the main channel.

Of course, there is also this annoying nostalgia of the former fans.

I do have my own nostalgia. The original Scooby Doo TV show, the first two English-dubbed Pokemon films, S Club 7, 1990’s comedic supernatural-themed Indonesian TV shows, those are some of the things I feel nostalgic about. Seeing and hearing them always give me fuzzy feelings.

But, at the same time, I also acknowledge their undeniable mediocrity. No reasonable minds consider the things I mentioned above as masterpieces.

And those former Smosh fans fail to comprehend that. Not only they are unable to be critical of anything feelgood, they also refuse to grow up together with their idols.

They think their lack of growth is a badge of honour.

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“Cancel culture stops people from growing”

… is something what people argue against cancel culture. They believe even the worst of the worst should not be cancelled; if they are cancelled, they would never learn to be better people.

I disagree because it insinuates that every mistake humans make is equally bad. We know damn well that is not true. Making tasteless jokes is certainly not on par with inciting violence, being sexually predatory and filming a dead body and showing it your young viewers. You won’t grow up if you don’t taste the bitter consequences for your actions.

Obviously, the severity must be proportionate. Ruining someone’s a career just for a tactless joke – especially the one made in the past – is needlessly cruel. Stern but constructive criticism is more than enough; you would learn that likeability requires reading the goddamn room.

But, incitement of violence? Sexual abuse? Filming a corpse and showing it to children as entertainment? Do I need to explain how harmful they are?

If you committed either one and the only punishments you get are mere criticism and temporary income decrease, it sends a message that your atrocious acts are trivial stuffs which people overreact to. Why should you learn from your mistakes when you can repeat them over and over again and always left relatively unscathed?

Take Youtubers Logan and Jake Paul as examples. They were never cancelled. As severe as the criticism was, they were never on the brink of losing their careers. In fact, not only they are still thriving, they are still sleazy.

As far as I am concerned, neither of them continue targeting mature content to children (and Logan only filmed a dead body once). But now, they are peddling cryptocurrency scams.

They never stop being bad guys; they simply changed their modus operandi. Logan also created a well-received podcast which, intentionally or not, gives a false impression of personal growth.

If not getting cancelled fosters personal growth, why are the Paul brothers still the cunts that they are?

If influential and problematic Youtubers like them were cancelled, they would be powerless to cause widespread harm. Not only they wouldn’t continue mistreat lots of other people, they also wouldn’t normalise toxicity, to the point where we have extremely low bar of human decency on Youtube, making them look virtuous compared to other problematic individuals.

Would they grow as human beings? I don’t know and I don’t give a fuck.

Seriously, between stopping a disease from spreading and giving it a chance (which is not 100%) to cure itself, why the fuck should we prioritise the latter?

Why the fuck should we risk letting it spreading just for the sake of your pathetic, deluded sensibility?

Why the fuck should we responsible for their redemption arcs?

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What I hate and love about the social media…

… Is the fact that it allows virtually everyone to create content. And I mean, everyone.

The resulting content fulfils a wide range of interests. You can find content not unlike the one in traditional media, which appeals to older internet users and fans of Youtubers who still fall for the prestige of traditional media. But, you can also find content which is criminally almost absent from most traditional media outlets, e.g. urban planning and fringe arts.

Social media allow bigots, conspiracists and extremists to spread their dangerous beliefs and empower their fellow ideologues. But, at the same time, social media also allow people of marginalised communities -who are usually voiceless in traditional mainstream media and are often represented by tokens- to publicly and proudly find their voices, consequentially empowering themselves and anyone just like them.

Social media allow their users lower their collective moral standards; when we thought we couldn’t get any lower with Logan Paul and JayStation, we get Stas Reefleyy. But, at the same time, they also allow their users to raise the moral standards; nowadays, it becomes harder for the audience to tolerate Youtubers’ problematic remarks and behaviours, especially with the abundance of commentators.*

I hate and love social media because they are both boringly-conventional and refreshingly-niche at the same time.

I hate and love social media because they empower both people who shouldn’t be empowered in the first and people who are deserving of the empowerment which the traditional mainstream media deprive them of.

I hate and love social media because they compel the masses to lower and raise their moral standards at the same time.

I hate and love social media because they do things that I hate and love the most. It is an annoying paradox.

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*Yes yes, cancel culture. I know. I do acknowledge that public figures can be unfairly targeted simply for having unpopular opinions or having their words and actions misconstrued.

But, at the same time, I hate how the anti-cancel culture crowd ignore that not all of the targets are innocent. Some of them are being cancelled because their opinions and actions empower anyone who will definitely cause harm to their fellow human beings.

Oh, and your hypocrisy also warrants the backlashes against you. If you spend your entire career preaching about love and acceptance in your own books, you don’t have the right to complain when people condemn you for not practicing what you preach.

I also have to admit Youtube commentators’ sanctimonious attitude can be off-putting to behold; in the case of James Charles, they can also be impressionable morons who partake in the witch hunt.

But, whether you like them or not, they are among the first to call out problematic behaviours of big name creators, making sure we take heed of the sins being committed and commit them to memory.

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Youtube, better than TV

I have made a few blogs arguing against the belief that traditional celebrities are inherently more talented than Youtubers. I mean, considering Youtubers started their careers by doing everything by themselves and they had to wait years for their efforts to pay off (assuming they will ever pay off), the belief is as preposterous as the so-called flat earth “theory”.

But, somehow, I didn’t think of one aspect of Youtube: how the content is presented to us, the consumers.

On TV, you cannot simply watch anything you want. The TV bosses are the ones who dictate on which shows to green-light, continue and cancel, which episodes to repeat or not repeat, which time the shows should air and which scenes to cut. Customers are not kings.

Admittedly, they are not kings on Youtube either. The trending pages are rigged and there are still content restrictions; in unfortunate circumstances, videos and even entire channels can be wrongfully taken down.

But, Youtube videos won’t be taken down simply for being unprofitable or niche. Considering literally everyone has the right to create content, almost every type of content imaginable is almost certainly present on the website. If you have niche interests or if you are a member of a marginalised community, you can definitely find videos which entertain or empower you.

Oh, and don’t forget you can actually pause, rewind and restart the videos and you don’t have to watch them immediately once they are up! Once they are there, you can watch them literally at any time you want… assuming they won’t be taken down, of course.

Even if you can attest to the inherent superiority of traditional celebrities, you have to acknowledge the temporal flexibility of digital platforms like Youtube; our pesky lists of obligations will never ruin our viewing experiences.

I know I am stating the obvious here. But, sadly, it is not obvious enough for everyone.

I still encounter (admittedly older) people who cannot comprehend that pausing and rewinding are a thing. They genuinely think TV and Youtube work the same way.

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Unus Annus

First thing first, I am a fan of the channel. I love the chemistry between Ethan and Mark -two individuals with distinctive personalities, the witty and surreal sense of humour, the sudden and inexplicable bouts of ominousness and even the occasional thought-provoking and emotional moments.

It is my kind of things. A Monty Python-esque comedy mixed with psychological and cosmic horror, sprinkled with a bit of drama. Difficult to categorise, has unexpected moments of depth. It is genuinely one of my favourite Youtube channels ever… and it was intended to last only for a year.

Some people express regret about missing the whole thing. But, I argue they are the lucky ones; they didn’t have to dread about the channel’s death and they don’t have to grieve when it finally arrives.

They don’t have to deal with the mess that is the human emotions.

Admittedly, I am also among those who save some of the videos. But, worry not, I won’t share them to the masses.

Interestingly, the channel reminds me about those lost works. You know, lost films, lost TV shows, lost books, lost music, works that we will never immerse ourselves into because no known copies of them survive.

I naively thought the problem lied on reliance on physical copies and digitalisation was the solution. But, I was wrong.

Even before Unus Annus, I already realised there were such thing as lost Youtube videos. There are Youtubers -some of whom I personally adore-, who have their videos either privated or deleted for various reasons; some even remove almost the entirety of their catalogues.

If they were deleted because they featured individuals who were eventually exposed as unsavoury, I won’t miss them. But, if they were done for other reasons, I will miss them dearly.

But, it is disheartening how a significant chunk of Youtube is already lost to history, despite the website being less than two decades old. Regardless of the videos’ quality, an extensive Youtube archive will benefit the future generations of internet users, many of which will surely become creators themselves.

Yes, I am one of those nerds who think history can serve as precautionary tales. Radical, I know.

Actually, I am being a hypocrite here.

While I do think preservation is important, me downloading Unus Annus videos have nothing to do with that. If that is the case, I would have downloaded every single one; instead, I only downloaded my personal favourites.

So much for the good cause, eh?

As preservation is not a concern, I still don’t know why I spent hours downloading them. Months before the deletion, I already knew watching them as mere MP4 files would not be as enjoyable. After the deletion, my concern was proven right.

I tried watching them. But, I miss the feeling of watching videos on a platform where they were also watched by millions of fellow viewers. Even though I barely interact with any of them, even though this is not my only fandom, I still miss the sense of belonging.

It is obvious how the channel is impactful to my life. I already miss the past even though it is still less than two weeks old (as the time of writing this sentence). I am actually grieving its demise, despite knowing the date of death beforehand.

Don’t get me wrong: I will be able to enjoy the videos again. But -and it is a big but-, I have to stop watching them for many years. The longer the wait, the more I will likely to forget them. The more I forget about them, the more nostalgic it will be. The more nostalgia I have, the more positive emotions I will experience.

I am confident with my speculation because I have personally experienced something similar. The more I forgot about my childhood films, TV shows, music and books, the more enjoyable it was to re-visit them as an adult.

While I am sure the outcome is worth it, I doubt I would deliberately make the effort.

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What Jeffree Star and Jake Paul have in common

Admittedly, my essay about how different they were does not age entirely well… and it took me too damn long to start writing this follow-up.

I still think Jake Paul is more toxic than Jeffree Star because, unlike the former, the latter does not deliberately target young children with age-inappropriate content. But, after what the James Charles scandal, I realised that understating Jeffree’s toxicity was a big mistake on my part.

And the realisation made me aware of their similarity: Shane Dawson.

He made documentary series for both of them and, regardless on how you perceive his documentary-making skills, you have to admit he has the skills to depict his subjects as actual human beings instead of mere personas.

And the humanisation successfully made those two personae non gratae far more likeable, as shown by the surges of positive Youtube comments right after the series’ conclusions were uploaded. Shane Dawson had successfully cleared up their images.

Because of the increasingly positive reception they had been receiving, less people wanted to cancel them and there was more opportunity to redeem themselves. Jeffree could have tried maintaining his sassiness without being mean-spirited. Jake could have either start making age-appropriate content or stop marketing himself as a children-friendly creator. They could have tried to become better.

Of course, we know fucking damn well that is not true.

Jeffree? Helped Tati slandering James Charles. Jake Paul? Openly scammed his young viewers. Both of them? Still snake-like.

I am sure you can already see the similarity between the two. Shane successfully sanitised their public images even though they didn’t ask for it and they were not entitled to it…

And yet, instead of using this golden opportunity to become better, they simply saw it as a cooling down period in which they stopped themselves from spewing venom fucking temporarily.

The question is: do they deserve a third chance? If they consciously buggered their second chance, why the hell do we need to give them a third one?

Oh, and if Shane is as predictable as I think he is, he would definitely give people their hundredth chance. As he is infamously and consistently chummy with problematic personalities, my cynicism is warranted.

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Another thing I learned from this ongoing pandemic…

… Was I was among the people who were right about how ‘traditional’ celebrities are not inherently more talented than Youtubers.

I have said this a few times before: unlike celebrities, Youtubers are jacks-of-all-trades who need to be their own hosts, script writers, directors, editors, cinematographers, PR officers and social media managers. They have been self-reliant with their content creation since the very beginning. They delegate the duties if they have friends who are willing to work for free OR once they can financially afford to; even then, they are very particular about the delegation, making sure they hire those who compliment their styles.

Compare that to ‘traditional’ celebrities. As everything in the film and TV industry is a collaborative effort, they are not compelled to learn more than one skills. Why should they when the producers can pay others to do the duties they cannot do?

And the ongoing pandemic has exposed how professionally feeble they are.

Mind you that the current situation does not force those talk show hosts to do everything by themselves. They still have others writing, editing and researching for them. Heck, I think some of them have one or two crew members visiting their houses. But, the resulting works still come off as half-assed.

I don’t know the exact reason why. But, I assume it has something to do with the drastically decreased human contacts they have on their temporary ‘sets’. Maybe they don’t know how to be more proactive outside their usual duties. Maybe they are already used to getting direct energy boost from their live audiences.

Stephen Colbert, one of my favourite entertainers ever, does not do well in the current format. He keeps making pauses, as if he still expects receiving live laughter between each joke. It is weird.

So far, Trevor Noah is the best at this semi-Youtube life. It feels like he secretly has made solo Youtube videos before. Maybe he has his shares of Youtube viewings and he learns from those Youtubers. Maybe it is the editors whom I should credit.

But, sadly, I doubt this phenomenon will decrease the sneering against Youtubers.

Every time I encounter people those Youtube detractors, I always tell them about the multitasking aspect. Ideally, this should be enough to change their minds. But, somehow, they still insist ‘traditional’ celebrities are inherently more talented than Youtubers.

Maybe they suffer from cognitive dissonance and somehow think multitasking and not joining the ranks are signs of ineptitude. Maybe they are those who still fall for the prestige of ‘traditional’ media, not knowing prestige is arbitrary and manufactured by the establishment.

Either way, one thing for sure: even before the advent of Youtube, people already believed that NOT all celebrities were talented.

If Youtube detractors can ignore that fact, they can certainly ignore how celebrities are struggling to maintain their prestige during this ongoing pandemic.

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The overtly-polished Casey Neistat style

I call it the Casey Neistat style because that’s how others call it (even though some people think the style predated him) and I don’t have an alternative name for it.

From the title, you can easily tell I am not a fan.

Okay, I am not saying I hate the aesthetic. I actually think it looks beautiful and proves every image can look pretty when captured by the right person. But, that’s also my problem with it: it looks TOO beautiful.

Before I was immersed in Youtube cultures, I had already watched arthouse films like Andrei Tarkovsky’s and Ingmar Bergman’s. They are visually stunning and narratively compelling (for me), exposing me to cinematic art works.

Also resulting in my high expectations of vloggers like Neistat.

It is already ingrained in my mind that good cinematography HAS to be accompanied by compelling stories. But, vlogs don’t tell ‘profound’ stories (mind the quotation marks), even when they showcase out of the ordinary events or the lives of perpetual travellers.

If anything, those vlogs feel pretentious. The polished cinematography seems to do nothing but overcompensating the passable narratives.

Oh, and when I said that vlogs are not narratively profound, I meant it as a compliment. Because they are supposed to narrate Youtubers’ semi-personal lives, I always expect raw and mundane storytellings; that is what I find attractive about vlogs in the first place!

I actually do enjoy some Neistat-esque vlogs, like the ones of Evan Edinger, Terry Song and Adam Neely. The difference is theirs are more stylistically restrained, allowing a greater presence of rawness and mundanity.

Thanks to its participatory nature, Youtube has opposites for almost everything. For Casey Neistat style and the likes, there are content described by Nerd City as post-ironic.

I cannot make myself enjoy the works of Youtubers like Filthy Frank, MaxMoeFoe and IDubbz (his Content Cop videos are an exception). Apart from the crassness which I find extreme (even for a relatively crass person like me), I am also anxious about the blurred lines between irony and sincerity.

But still, despite my inability to relish such content, I cannot help but respecting those creators for their unsuppressed mockery of the insincere and synthetic charm endorsed by the establishment. While I admittedly do embrace some of the establishment’s ideals, I also despise the idea of venerating them.

Thankfully, despite the increasing pressure of uniformity, the platform still has a sizeable freedom to dissent, something those employed in the ‘traditional’ media can only dream of. Therefore, almost every imaginable type of content has a place on Youtube*.

Whether it is aesthetically and thematically extreme** or middle-of-the-road, you will definitely find it.

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*Obviously, there are restrictions to what can and cannot be uploaded. But, it is no secret Youtube content policing is both ineffective and misguided. ‘Lawful’ videos can get taken down and ‘unlawful’ ones stay. Supposedly, people have found porn on the site; while I do have found softcore films, I have yet found hardcore ones.

**Post-irony is extreme due to its depictions of life as an inherently ugly entity. But, I would argue overtly-polished aesthetic is also extreme for its overtly beautiful depictions of life; once one is accustomed to it, acknowledgement of the ugly reality feels taboo.

A bit of tangent here:

Andrei Tarkovsky said he utilised both colour and monochrome scenes in his films because those shot entirely in colour felt like animated paintings for him and therefore, felt ‘too beautiful’ to be realistic.

I never thought that I would reference Tarkovsky’s philosophy while discussing Youtube.

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Literacy increased, thanks to the internet

Media literacy, not literacy literacy. I cannot help but noticing how prevalent it is among Millennials and Gen Z, who are arguably the biggest internet consumers.

Okay, I am not saying that we are one hundred percent literate in the media. We are not. But, compared to the older generations -who consume the internet a lot less-, we are far less easily duped by internet content.

We are more reactive to clickbaits and we have great eyes for photoshopped images. We also can get belittling and even hostile towards ‘fakeness’.

Yes, my words are anecdotal. But, the generational disparity is hard to ignore and I had been noticing this for quite a while; I was even more convinced of its existence after watching a Danny Gonzalez video, in which he doctored his own photo to make himself look like someone else and his Instagram followers immediately knew it was photoshopped. He succeeded only after an impressively-meticulous planning.

(Note: I have to mention that the much younger internet consumers are also relatively gullible. But then, it has less about their internet experiences and more about having less developed brains.)

Personally I credit our relatively high media literacy to four factors:

1. The participatory nature of internet cultures

Unlike ‘traditional’ media, the digital one allows its consumers to be its content creators as well and many embrace the opportunity.

Inevitably, many internet consumers know the behind-the-scenes process of content creation; they have learned how to doctor images, edit videos, do sound design and write scripts and/or blogs.

2. The unintentionally educational nature of certain content

Some Youtubers I have watched love to make videos about having fun with photoshopping. Those who make commentaries constantly call out deceptiveness of online content creators; sometimes, even ‘traditional’ media is not free from their ‘wrath’.

Consequentially, many of their viewers will end up becoming more vigilant for doctored images and overtly-manipulative choices of words, video editing and sound design, even without any prior experiences in said activities.

If you are a Twosetviolin viewer (or one of a similar channel), you would probably be able to detect fake musical performances in films and TV shows, even without any prior experiences in musical performances.

3. The awareness about public personas

Youtube fans are becoming more cognisant about public personas.

They know how Youtubers behave on camera do not always represent their true selves and they have learned to differentiate the masks from the true faces. The fact that some Youtubers constantly switch personas in the same videos force viewers to be attentive of the behavioural changes.

Yes, idiots who easily fall for personas still exist. But, I notice their presence has waned for the past few years.

4. The embrace of irony and post-irony

I previously said that internet consumers can be hostile towards ‘fakeness’. Well, that is not entirely accurate.

‘Enjoying things ironically’ is a thing and online, it is very widespread. It is socially acceptable to enjoy things because they are aesthetically-bad and, consequentially, some content creators love making content that is meant to be enjoyed ironically.

Scripted vlogs are one of those ironically enjoyable things.

Vlogs are meant to be unscripted accounts of the Youtubers’ lives and any scripted moments easily stand out, thanks to their glaringly plastic quality. But, as long as the creators do not claim their works to be factual, the viewers will be able to enjoy the artificiality.

Post-ironic content is as popular as the ironic one, if not more. While it still involves irony, it also thrives to blur the lines between it and sincerity, forcing the viewers to work harder to separate the two.

I was introduced to the concept of post-irony by Youtuber Nerd City, who asserted that post-ironic aesthetic on Youtube was meant to defy the saccharine and overtly-manufactured one approved by the Youtube establishment. While I was never a fan of creators like Filthy Frank due to the borderline transgressive nature of their works, I cannot help myself from holding their rebellious intent in high esteem.

So…?

Obviously, you don’t have to turn future generations into internet addicts. Schools can simply start teaching basic communication and media skills.

The problem is I don’t know which specific skills that should be taught and how they can be integrated into existing curricula. I am also unsure about the necessity of theoretical media studies in this case.

Oh, and I doubt many will acknowledge the importance of media literacy. Persuasion is also an issue.

The Swede’s rhetoric

I have made a few articles about Felix Kjellberg AKA Pewdiepie and one contains my arguments about how he is actually a reckless edgelord instead of an actual far-right ideologue.

I mention how he never makes excuses for the bigotry of some of his fans, how he was (and still is) slandered by the media and how he only invited one right-wing pundit just to review memes instead of letting him spill verbal diarrhea.

But, for some reasons, I forgot to talk about his own rhetoric.

Below, I am going to list the common talking points of contemporary western conservatives:

1. Equal rights are the same as special rights for women and the minorities

2. Women are happier when they are treated as the “lesser sex”.

3. The Southern Strategy never happened and American Democratic party is still the racist party.

4. Taking down Confederate statues equals erasure of history.

5. The Bell Curve is scientifically legitimate.

6. Any violence committed by Christians of European descent, including the Holocaust, the Trail of Tears, and the Crusades, were either justified, exaggerated or fictional.

7. All Muslims are sleeper cells.

8. The world is controlled by globalist Jewish elites.

9. Sexual violence is a trivial matter, unless they are committed by brown Muslims.

I am sure there are more recurring talking points than I mentioned above. But, those will do.

Disturbingly, I have seen how they often they are “discussed” by conservatives, especially by those who make Youtube videos,some of whom prefer to call themselves classical liberals.

But, from all online personalities who have been perceived as far-right, Pewdiepie is the only one who has never talked about those things.

Seriously, I have never heard him openly or discreetly espousing any of those lies. In fact, he barely touches politics and he never talks about history; his commentaries mostly revolve around the non-political aspects of Youtube culture.

The thing about our bigotry is it cannot be hidden completely, no matter how hard we try, no matter how hard we deny its existence. Even if we are not prone to Freudian slips, our bigotry will appear subtextually in our messages.

I have encountered so many people online who claim to not be bigoted… and yet, if you read their words between the lines, you will notice how hateful they are.

You cannot say you are not a racist when you believe the mere presence of non-whites is the evidence of white genocide. You cannot say you are not a homophobe or a transphobe when you believe LGBT rights discriminate against cisgender and heterosexual people.

But, with Felix, I haven’t seen any far-right subtexts from his online content.

His commentaries are indeed laced with subtexts… classical liberal subtexts; he is all about freeing humans from any excessive constraints, both in social and legal forms. He disapproved of the “policing” of any kind of activities, as long as they are not violent.

Basically, he is the complete opposite of those far-right individuals who are supposedly all about liberty while advocating for taking it away from those who are different from them.

He, the person who never calls himself a classical liberal, is way more classical liberal than the reactionaries who claim to be ones.

About the Christchurch mosque massacre…

Both his name and Candace Owens’s were implicated because they were mentioned by the shooter. The shooter said “subscribe to Pewdiepie”, a meme created by Felix himself, during the live streamed violence while she was cited as his number one ideological inspiration.

And both public figures reacted differently.

Felix was never cited as an inspiration; the shooter mentioned the name of the most popular Youtuber because he wanted more attention.

But, not only Felix immediately condemned the massacre, he pleaded to his fans to end the meme. After his many controversies, after years of being a reckless edgelord, he has realised he has a responsibility as a public figure for every single one of his public actions… and that includes his inherently harmless meme which he created as a tongue-in-cheek response to his rivalry with T-Series.

Owens, on other hand, responded immediately by laughing it off in her dismissive tweet, despite the fact that she is the shooter’s number one inspiration!

I don’t know about her now. But, at that time, it was obvious she did not have any sense of responsibility as a public figure, even though she was famous in the first place because of her politically charged and definitely-not-trivial messages.

She was not that different from Trump who took days to condemn the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi rally attended by his own supporters.

She was not that different from other right-wing public figures who constantly incite bigotry and yet refusing to acknowledge they might have inspired atrocities like the Christchurch massacre.

But, she and her peers are definitely different from Felix Kjellberg.

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