YouTube star PewDiePie has announced he is taking a break from the platform, saying he is "feeling very tired"
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- 'Very tired' PewDiePie to take break from YouTube
- Dec 16 2019
- Word count
- 266 words
He needs to take a break to be able to enjoy the fruits of being a bigot on YouTube.
I'm not immersed in YouTube culture, but from the things I read about him I got the impression he's an imbecile, but not really a bigot. What makes you think he fits the bill?
Maybe bigot is over ascribes intentionality.
Let's says he's a widely insensitive and possibly intolerant imbecile.
I agree with that characterization. He certainly may be a bigot, though. (update: it turns out he is)
Not that I think he needs defending, but I believe that when we misapply words like "bigot" they can lose the power to describe those who truly fit the description.
I think for me, the question of intention is a bit of a misdirection. I've seen the same conversation happen over and over again, for PewDiePie and plenty of others online. It's an easy hole to fall into where intentionality can't be proven, so people can spin their wheels on both sides arguing whether or not he meant something.
This, in my mind, misses the larger conversation, which is one of responsibility. Regardless of whether PewDiePie did specific things with intention or not is less important to the fact that he has millions of kids who enjoy his output, look up to him, and count him as a significant influence in their worldview. This imbues him with an unignorable responsibility to those kids.
This is something I take seriously because it's part and parcel of my job. As a teacher, I'm constantly aware of the role I play in students' lives and the influence I have over them. One of the ways students learn from the adults around them is through the adults "modeling behaviors" for the students. Basically, kids learn how to behave by watching adults, and this goes beyond explicit lessons about behavior. For example, an adult who yells at kids when they're angry is teaching those children that yelling at someone when you're angry is an acceptable and functional way for dealing with anger. This is often a problem when the message isn't in alignment with the method (e.g. yelling at kids for being loud sends a very mixed message -- the words the adult is saying says being loud isn't okay, but their behavior is showing that it is).
I have to be constantly aware of my behavior and how I engage with students because I have to be careful that I'm not unintentionally teaching them the wrong ideas about how to conduct themselves. Furthermore, I would be looked at with the utmost scorn if I were to do something even borderline offensive. If I cracked a racist or antisemitic joke in front of my class, my transgression would not simply be one of discrimination but it would be rightfully looked at with a higher scrutiny because I am a teacher and I said it in front of a room full of kids.
This is also something we take home with us. Even off the clock, my personal conduct can come under fire because of my role. If I go drink at a local bar one weekend and have a few too many, I could be seen by students' parents or other teachers and be judged for my behavior. Anyone else getting that drunk in public might only raise a few eyebrows or garner sympathy, but as a teacher it can become a local moral scandal. I'm held to a higher scrutiny because I'm a role model for kids. By getting publicly drunk, am I teaching them that's okay? Where do we draw the line between my individual personhood and my role? Most err on the side of caution, drawing the line wherever is best for the kids, not necessarily me.
PewDiePie and most of the other influencers out there neglect this duty. For them it's a one-way street: they get all of the attention with none of the responsibility. They get to be role models without worrying about what they're modeling. Their decisions instead get judged as individuals, acting alone, when really they have the eyes of millions of kids watching them. If I can lose my job, social standing, and professional respect for a slip up in front of a class of 30, why should he be given a pass for repeated, flagrant violations broadcast to tens of millions?
I get that he's not a teacher, and I get that he's essentially an entertainment product. If I could distill my beef down, it's that entertainment at large isn't interested in good child development or any of those things that will help our kids turn into the best versions of themselves. This is a bit beside the point from where I started, but I mention this here because I ultimately don't care whether or not PewDiePie and others like him mean what they've done, because the bigger issue is that millions of kids see them doing it and they don't seem to own the requisite responsibility that comes with that.
I agree with you on every count. My intention was not to make light of the subject, but rather make a distinction I thought relevant. I believe my answer to another comment may make that clearer.
Definitely, and I should have clarified that my comment wasn't necessarily aimed at you specifically, it's just that I felt that your comment was the best point to jump into the conversation. I wasn't intending it to be a rebuttal to you but more of an addition to the comment thread.
I'm glad to be useful, then ;)
I'm probably one of the old people you're talking about here, and, true, maybe I'm just clutching my pearls and have forgotten what it's like to be a kid. I'd be happy to listen to your perspective if you're willing to share it. After all, moral panics among adults are common and often misplaced or misguided.
I understand what you're getting at but, I don't know -- this feels different to me? PewDiePie was directly mentioned by two different mass shooters. I am not saying he was responsible or even culpable, but can we just discard him from having any role or influence?
I think kinda helps demontrate the point:
Or the whole retracted donation to the Anti-Defamation League (or whatever) because his fans get super triggered by not being a flagrant shitlord.
He's doing the 4chan "humor" thing where he just says something outrageous about "the jews" for fun. IMO that shit might be funny if, from context, it's very, very obviously meant to mock actual racists or overreactions (think Southpark, on a good day). But with what we've seen over the past 5 years or so, the internet is now overrun by actual racists spreading that lol-randum shit like a virus and basically brainwashing kids into adapting genuinely fascist views. You don't really need the biggest youtuber to pour any gasoline on that fire.
Weird, I find when people tell racist jokes, they are actually racist, and use the "I'm just joking guys" when faced with repercussions of publicly being racist.
I mean it’s not that easy IMO. I think it probably wouldn’t end well if we flat out banned jokes that require you to play an asshole. There’s context and tone. If Dave Chapelle makes a racist joke it’s clear to me he‘s doing it to mock racism not to celebrate it. But you need the right context and tone and that shifted far into alt-right territory in recent years.
That's fair. But in this case, with pp, he was flagrantly racist, and used the "I'm joking gais" when called on it.
That "4chan humor thing" is really just being racist, and thinking it's funny.
I only remember seeing like 3 clips of that a while ago and I believe he isn't an actual racist. I believe to be a genuine racist (as opposed to being "insensitive") in his age range in Europe, you have to make an effort and really adopt it as a lifestyle choice and I don't see that being the case. His using the n-word, for example, is the typical, cring-y Europe understanding of hip hop which misses out on a lot of racial tension. Then there was the thing where he paid two guys for holding up a hyper-racist sign and it was clearly a clumsy attempt at gross-out-humor.
I'm not defending his insensitivity and I acknowledge that that kind of internet humor has crashed and burned. I'm just saying that in my understanding, there's racism as a social/political attitude and then there's cringeworthy/insensitive humor. His shit falls into the latter category.
I always bring up Southpark since it seems to be immune to criticism and they did Hitler Cartman in like 1997. There's decades of taboo comedy trends and the internet happily participated, trying to make people feel themselves while sitting in front of a monitor 6 hours a day, mostly through shock humor. I think we're kinda done with that but I'll admit I laughed at a lot of that shit over the years without feeling like it made me more racist or whatever. I'll happily declare that period of comedy kinda over, that's fine with me, but let's not pretend like everyone who awkwardly references it in 2019 is now suddenly a cancel-worthy piece of trash racist.
Yep, Southpark did Hitler Cartman. You do know Cartman is the fool in every episode. Pretty much, whatever he does is considered by all other characters things that makes him an ass, to include his anti-semitism? They're not getting a pass because they employ racist humor. They are getting a pass because they are lampooning racism and shit.
PP is far from insensitive. He is a flat out racist ass. And then uses the "Gais, just joking" when called on it, and it hurts his profits.
His use of the "N word" is because he sees POCs are less than him, and a source of something to make fun of. Notice he doesn't use "Cracker"? It's hardly a bad attempt at trying to adopt hip hop culture.
Dude, he said it like once in a PUBG stream and obviously acknowledged it as a Tourette’s-like outburst. It’s nothing to be proud of but online gaming has decades worth of people spamming that word in chat to get attention like a 5 year old running in circles while screaming „shitty shit shit!“.
I think that context is as important as it is for Hitler-Cartman. I‘m continuously baffled why Southpark gets away with its highly insensitive (and often not that funny) shit and I hate defending pewdiepie for being an asshole but there’s gotta be some room between racism as a genuine way of life and political policy (which is very present all around) and jokes made in poor taste. Otherwise nearly everyone is secretly a racist pIece of shit for once having said something in poor taste.
I know that even for that, there’s “comedians”, in the unfunny Joker/Watchmen sense, who try to slip racist bullshit into the mainstream by claiming it’s “comedy” but even that isn’t the case here. Pewdiepie doesn’t have a racist agenda. A Swedish dude saying that word on a game stream isn’t the same as a US politician yelling it at a waiter or something. Context still matters, here.
He has used racial epithets many times. And apologized/explained away every time.
Southpark is lampooning that behavior, and not promoting it as "Just a funny joke, gais".
You're right. The former is an example of the normalization of being a bigot, caused by the latter.
When? The only time I've ever heard of was the PUBG bridge.
Well, there was the fiverr gig. There have been many times where he screams racial epithets while gaming. And then, of course his trotting out of racist conspiracy theories about jews too...
I know about the fiverr thing, which wasn't him using racial epithets. I don't know about any other instance of him screaming a racial epithet when gaming though.
He interviewed a bunch of white supremacists after getting in trouble. He's, uh, not joking. He is taking advantage of people willing to assume as much though.
He actively interviewed a bunch of white supremacists after he got in trouble for the jew stuff. He is not doing it for the humor.
Okay, I subjected myself to this (I should know I wouldn't resist). If anyone is following my train of thought, know that I changed my mind: he's absolutely 100% a racist bastard.
I don't think this change invalidates my previous arguments, but this new information puts PewDiePie well within the group of incontrovertible racists.
I'm curious as to what specifically changed your view that he is racist?
All I heard, and subsequently read on AZLyrics, were meme references, and one Yu-Gi-Oh reference. The one exception was the diss on the language, except it's followed up again by the No Papa Yes Papa meme, which I believe that line references.
My view is simply different, but I don't see the song, or him, as racist. Maybe it makes me a piece of shit but I just don't see it.
It is not possible to have actual certainty in this kind of discussion, so we must settle for a pragmatical truth or a relatively weak induction, which is what I did.
It was nothing in particular, but the sheer volume of evidence: a pattern of constant use of racist language that is, to me, proof of a concerted effort that signal his adherence to a racist view of the world.
 In relation to science
 Which may be unconscious, to no detriment of my conclusion
I did not know about that. This certainly changes my opinion about him from "irresponsible asshole" to "most probably racist". I would have to watch the video know for certain, but IDK if I want to subject myself to this.
Ironic racism is simply racism.
This seems simple, but it is not. Is every killer a murderer? Not if you're a soldier or killed in self-defense. Is every thief a criminal? In my country you're not, given that you stole food because of extreme hunger. You see, to evaluate the morality of an action we need to understand intention. And sometimes intention is very hard to determine.
There are cases of incontrovertible racism, in which an individual shows they clearly consider an ethnical group inferior to theirs. In other cases, it is not clear if the utterance of loaded words is accompanied by that sentiment. Sometimes, the cause may not be a specific attitude towards a certain group, but an irresponsibility/misunderstanding of the consequences of hate language, a general insensibility towards humankind as a whole or even full-blown psychopathy.
That said, I must make it clear that I do not approve of this kind of behavior, which I find unequivocally abhorrent. There should be serious consequences for this. But it is wrong to think that every anti-social behavior is the same. Even though they're certainly similar, there's a difference between an asshole that uses racial slurs from time to time and the president of the Ku Klux Klan. They should both be strongly opposed, but it is not productive to think they're the same.
Good old irony poisoning.
The anti-semitic remarks, racial epithets, "Death to all Jews" fivver stint...
Actual video (invidio.us YouTube client)
PewDiePie responds (nitter.net Twitter client)
As for my thoughts, not much, I don't really watch him very often. But he has uploaded a lot for a very long time so the break is well deserved.
Yup. He just got rid of everything on his twitter. He just posted a video on it as well.
maybe I'm just old but I don't get youtube "stars" or influencers. I was on justin.tv which became twitch and then now allowing content that was on justin.tv to begin with. It's weird when you see people you've known for years appear in your steam feed like "Watch so and so play this game" It's a different type of hollywood I guess
We had professional celebrities — people whose only claim to fame was the fact of being famous (recursive notoriety, maybe?) — way before the Internet. They were shallow and stupid then, they are shallow and stupid now.
Why is it immediately shallow and stupid to like people for their personality?
For example I'm a long time fan of Day9, one of the original justin.tv streamers, first twitch subscription-enabled streamer. He's an all-around great guy, Ive met him in real life on occasion. Watching him is entertaining not just for the content but also for his own commentary, often on life, work and what not. He has a lot of great non-game content on the entire industry, his own career, personal and psychological advice, coming out of his streams.
Or is that not what you meant, because it's not shallow enough? Well, maybe you learned something then...
I don't know that YouTuber, but it seems to me that you're describing a person who is neither shallow nor stupid. Quality commentary is a skill and can be good content in itself.
Then I guess I misunderstood your earlier post, I apologize.
No problem, my friend! ;)
Based on my experience as an observer of popular culture. The "internet star" as a phenomenon will be studied and eventually perfected and manufactured. I'm imagining contractual agreements in adolescence followed by programs and regimens similar to what those K-Pop stars are subjected to. This backed by a professional industry of writers and social media (PR) experts. There is already a trend of youtube programs with high production budgets that attempt to mimic the DIY aesthetics and "authenticity" of youtubers as explored by Lindsay Ellis in this video from last year.
I've also been noticing that many YouTube channels greatly resemble TV shows I used to watch -- apart from reviews, technical stuff and links people send to me, I didn't watch much YouTube before 2019. There's a great audience for YouTuber's "quirky spontaneity", but older folks like myself still enjoy a more formal presentation.
What's not to get? Youtube has replaced television for a lot of people. The guy uploads videos, people watch them. It's just that in this case, 100 million people watch him. Hence; star.
Let me reframe my comment. I actually used to really be into the twitch scene but when the IRL and just chatting channels came about so did idiots. I still have my account and I follow speed runners. It's just that they ended justin.tv only to recreate it. I don't know
e: okay this is hilarious. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50809222 justin.tv had all sorts of pirate channels now they are getting sued by russia
I was shocked when I discovered this guy pronounced his name as phonetically "pew-dee-pee."
He is mentioned in social media all the time.
Internet popularity feeds in on itself, and I don't see it as a good thing.
I don't think he normally does that.