Everyone involved is making money off this, even Destructoid!
There’s a pretty interesting Youtube video about how “the marketplace of ideas” is a load of crap powerful enough to help get an unthinkable candidate elected president. It speaks to the idea that “The Discourse” in today’s social media trickles down to what people talk about and think about in real life as well, leading them to prioritize whatever issues are propped up by celebrities and media talking heads at that time. Most people want to be heard, but unless you are talking about what everyone else is already talking about, no one is going to listen.
Case in point, the current kerfuffle between The Wall Street Journal and millionaire Lets Play personality Pewdiepie. After being celebrated by several Neo Nazi groups for some of his “shock humor” jokes, based in Anti-Semitic words and images, Pewdiepie was dropped by Disney and Youtube Red as a partner, though Pewdiepie’s main Youtube channel remains relatively unchanged in the face of the “scandal”.
In the video below, Pewdiepie alternates between taking responsibility for the situation and blaming the Wall Street Journal for it. He feels that their attacks on him have been personal, and are out to try to damage his career. My guess is that this isn’t the case. The Wall Street Journal has to know that this whole thing is going give both them and Pewdiepie a bump in viewership for as long as it lasts.
It’s also likely that the writers in question at the The Wall Street Journal just honestly believe that Pewdiepie has been insensitive to the seriousness of the growing normalization of Anti-Semetic and KKK/Nazi-themed messaging in the world today, and has played a part in normalizing them. The fact that Pewdiepie takes the time here to complain about how “The Media” tends to focus on how much money he has, and not how “cool his story is” speaks to why the WSJ writers may feel that way. This is all despite the fact that the media has, in fact, spent plenty of time talking about how cool his story is. For an apology video, Pewdiepie spends a whole lot of time painting himself as the victim here.
I think his feeling of victimhood may be genuine though. Pewdiepie seems sincere enough, but I don’t think he’d ever claim to be the most emotionally mature man on the planet. It very well could be that he just can’t help but worry more about his image than whatever he may have inadvertently done to empower or encourage Neo Nazis. More so, the frustration that can come from being willfully misrepresented by the media can definitely blind your judgement, even when you happen to have just as much influence as the media in question.
It’s happened to me more than a few times. Once it was with a freelance writer for Slate. He announced that I declared that Gamers are dead. I didn’t. I asked him to edit his article to reflect this. He refused, and later, doubled down on actual personal attacks on me via email. I stopped talking to him after that.
I don’t blame all of Slate for that though. I also know that anyone who cares enough about the topic to actually read my post can easily see that what was written about me at Slate was, in fact, crap. If I really cared what people thought about me beyond that, I would have just used my equal-to-or-greater-than power to communicate to the masses to write yet another post about the situation to set the record straight. But I didn’t because, frankly, who cares?
The truth is though, a lot of people care. People still hit me up on Twitter on a fairly regular basis, getting pissed at me for saying that Gamers are dead, or some other thing that they heard that I said from one of the “anti-media, anti-SJW” talking heads that they follow, but never actually said. What I say and do is taken out of context all the time in order to keep the illusion of a non-existent conflict alive, usually by professional shit-stirrers on Youtube or Twitter. If I cared more about drawing attention to myself, and making money off of that attention, you can bet I’d be stirring that shit myself every day.
Which brings us back to Pewdiepie and The Wall Street Journal, and the overall “Celebrities Vs. The Media” nonsense that’s rising in people’s awareness today. Like Pewdiepie said, I hope you don’t fall for it. It’s a distraction from the real issues, and the more you pay attention to it, the more powerful you make both sides of “the conflict”.
If you’re just looking for a distraction from all the real problems in your life, then sure, soak in all the fake drama you want. Just don’t lose sight of how fake this drama really is. Pewdiepie is not a victim. If he feels bad for the people who lost their jobs on his shows, he could just use his millions to produce a new show, and hire them all back. If he thinks people aren’t telling his story right, he can just tell it himself. And of course, if he doesn’t like that people think he’s Anti-Semetic, he can just stop doing the things that cause people to think he’s Anti-Semetic. He has all the power in the world here.
I’ll give him this though, at least he hasn’t asked his followers for donations to help him get through these “tough times”.