Let me catch you up in case you don’t live in the world of YouTube “stars”.
Logan Paul is a YouTube creator with 16m (yep – 16,000,000) YouTube subscribers (that’s just one of his channels). He’s 22 years old. He’s done a bunch of stuff, mostly starting with Vine (remember that?). He acts and makes vlogs.
Recently he got into hot water after one of his vlogs on YouTube showed footage of a suicide victim in Aokigahara, Japan. Aside from even showing the footage at all, his comments and reactions caused a bunch of hate.
He’s since apologised. Not surprisingly, some people believe him and others don’t. YouTube, after much silence, is “thinking about further action”.
And here’s where his controversy becomes our fault.
I’m going to summarise the story in a different way:
a 22 year old boy who has made millions of dollars making videos in which he acts like an idiot made another video where he acted like an idiot, but the 16m people who enjoyed and encouraged his previous idiocity thought this piece of idiocy went too far. Outrage ensued.
Logan Paul is a creation of our own hypocrisy.
Disclaimer: I’ve never watched a Logan Paul creation of any kind, as far as I’m aware – except for the auto-play videos I paused when I was researching for this post.
First – He’s a Kid, and Hardly a Normal One
The least observant of us knows that fame at a young age has a high potential to result in strangeness.
Sometimes it’s drugs or alcohol. Sometimes it’s depression. Sometimes its just a bunch of weird that nobody ever corrects them on.
There’s a pretty good chance that along the way, Logan hasn’t exactly had a bunch of people telling him that some of his ideas are chronically stupid.
Perhaps that would help.
Either way though, for all his goofy acting and silly pranks, Logan Paul is not a moron by any stretch. Pretending otherwise would be giving both too much, and too little, credit.
But this is hardly all his fault – it’s also ours.
The Societal Bait and Switch
Logan’s 483 daily vlogs, which have 52,214,622 views (although altogether his videos have 5billion views), include such headlines as:
- 100-Foot Puppy Zip Line
- We dropped 3,000 Pounds of Dry Ice in My New Pool
- We Got Our STD Results Back
I could keep going, but you get the idea. They are a particular category of humour. And while it’s not my category, lots of people have had a chuckle at his videos.
In fact – people love them.
He was egged on, encouraged, and paid to behave like an idiot over and over and over and over. By US. By OUR views, OUR subscriptions. By OUR guffaws as he did yet another outrageous or silly thing.
How many of these stunts do you think MIGHT have gone over “the line” and resulted in his “downfall”?
But they didn’t. They got rewarded. He got the views and the subscribers, and so he kept going. He kept going after making a video called No Handlebars which is quite literally him riding women like a bike. Apparently, that wasn’t quite outrageous enough.
The more outlandish, the better – after all, it’s more entertaining.
Action, reward. Action, reward.
And who’s dishing out the reward? His viewers.
So Doing Something Else Dumb is Logan Paul’s Fault?
With a long history of being rewarded for stunts, over-reactions and acts of stupidity, it’s hardly any surprise that he was going to go over the line is it?
Sure – he made a really bad error in judgment. But his lack of judgment was absolutely contributed to by his viewers. After all – it’s usually worked out OK for him in the past, right?
About the High Horse I’m On
Yep this post is a bit preachy. I also admit that Logan Paul’s humour isn’t for me. I don’t think it’s funny. But if you think this is just a dig at his channel and his type of videos, then you’re missing the point.
The point isn’t whether he’s funny or not.
It’s that the thin end of the wedge was encouraged, liked, viewed and paid for by us – the viewers. As the wedge got thicker, the likes continued, the views continued, the money continued.
Until all of a sudden – it went wrong.
And while we’re all free to say “enough is enough” when something goes too far, we also need to accept when we’ve played a role in starting the ball rolling.
We Can’t Have Our Cake and Eat It, Folks
We as a society don’t get to simultaneously reward and punish people for behaving foolishly. Time and time again we have seen it, are seeing it, and will see it. At least, until we make up our minds about what matters, which will probably never happen.
To the subscribers of Logan Paul, I have this question: have YOU taken responsibility for your part in all this? After all, you helped train him to do more and more “interesting” things so you could be entertained.
He’s not some kind of innocent victim here. But nor was he alone in the decision to film, comment on, edit and post such a terrible video. He had 16m helpers, egging him on.