Argh, I am so mad right now. Like, incoherently, making random noises of frustration at my laptop screen, wondering why the world is so stupid angry.
A couple of days ago, I wrote about the current situation with Pewdiepie on my other blog. Honestly, I thought I was hovering on the line of being too forgiving of offensiveness in an attempt to understand the mindset of the people supporting him. And even six months ago, I would have told you that I didn't really like the Pewdiepie persona, but I liked the guy behind the channel, Felix, well enough. He seemed like a decent guy, and I liked seeing him and his girlfriend Marzia in her vlogs. Since he amped up the "shock" humor in his videos, I started to be really uncomfortable with him, because even if it's just a persona, he's still choosing to create that character and broadcast that to millions of people. All this backlash over his Nazi jokes seemed inevitable.
What didn't seem inevitable -- although perhaps it should have -- was the entire Internet seeming to show up in support of him. I get that this must be a really tough time for him. He's dealing with a lot of public backlash, a lot of guilt over the cancellation of his show, and a giant spotlight on him while he grapples with all this. But, you know, he also chose to say those things. Actions have consequences. And the number of people I've seen twisting this around so that it's the mainstream media bullying him and taking his statements out of context is mindblowing.
Anyone who talks to me about Youtube for more than a minute will figure out that there are two (well, three) Youtubers that I really love: Jacksepticeye, and Dan & Phil. These are my "watch their stuff as soon as they put up a video, don't miss their liveshows, genuinely think they're awesome and would watch them painting a fence for an hour if they filmed it" Youtubers. And they're all friends with Felix. Dan and Phil haven't said anything, because they never comment on serious issues, unless it's in a liveshow. But yesterday, Jack put up a video talking about the Felix drama, and while I didn't agree with everything he said, I thought his response video was incredibly sensitive and measured, talking about how Felix is a good friend, but that he definitely messed up, and that he can't blame companies for reacting the way they did. Basically, saying Felix is a decent person, but his jokes failed spectacularly and crossed the line into offensive territory, and now he's seeing the consequences of that.
So, of course, the internet seems to have imploded with hate for Jack, saying he backstabbed Felix, calling him horrific names, and generally being so intense that he has now said that he regrets the video. It's a mess on the level that only the Internet can provide, where over-intense strangers pile onto somebody because of some perceived infraction -- this time, for being too "SJW-y," despite the mildness of what Jack even said in his video.
And it's just exhausting. It's exhausting and depressing to see someone say something so middle of the road and be lambasted for it. It's exhausting to see someone you respect then backtrack in response to the pile-on criticism. Gotta be nicer to the person who has been vocally supported by Neo-Nazis because of his "jokes," after all! It's exhausting to see how people are the worst, and will go to extreme lengths to insist that that popular white guy who said really offensive things did absolutely nothing wrong and should face no consequences for his actions.
I hate internet pile-ons, no matter the cause. Liberal or conservative, 4chan memesters or "SJWs," I find the entire culture of mass insulting and shaming abhorrent. This is apparently an unpopular view these days, where a lack of willingness to join the pile is taken as a lack of caring about an issue. I also hate how the culture of the internet seems to default to hurting others. It's shock jokes, jumping to telling people to kill themselves when you disagree with them, enjoying the schadenfreude of someone else's humiliation, swinging from idolising someone to despising them at the drop of a hat, just... everything is so big and so negative, where being offended is a far bigger crime than being offensive, and sympathy to the nuances of a situation is the ultimate betrayal. And it's so depressing, and so infuriating, to see all of this falling down on someone for daring to say that hey, maybe a more considered and sensitive approach is in order here.
I'm stretching for a wise-sounding way to conclude this, but I got nothing. This is basically just a rant. I almost want to ask why any of us bother existing online at all. It's just all so much, so stressful, so dark. And then, of course, I come back to the fact that one of the reasons I'm upset is because I must have spent hundreds of hours at this point watching Jack's videos, having them cheer me up when I feel low. Without the internet, without the structures and content at the heart of this culture, that wouldn't exist, and that would suck. But I don't know, guys. Maybe we could try and take the good parts without all the violent words and hate as well? Maybe?