This week Jontron of Game Grumps fame, debated Destiny and said some hilariously racist things such as
the richest black people commit more crimes than the poorest white people
We’ve gotten rid of all discrimination. Oppression in America doesn’t exist.
And in general being an alt-right shill. And while there is some debate over the severity of Pewdiepie’s actions, overall its not looking good that these popular Youtubers have such regressive views. And while these Youtubers were primarily known for their comedy, others such as h3h3, iDubbbz, and Sargon of Akkad have positioned themselves as moral arbitrators when they don’t seem at all capable or desirable as such.
They clearly have influence because I had never heard of or watched their content yet I’m constantly seeing references to their latest drama nowadays. Memes such as “cultural marxism” and “virtue signalling” get used and morphed into a vague pejorative by the /pol/ types and its bleeding into mainstream culture through these Youtube channels.
These people got popular doing things that appeal to a young audience: Pewdiepie screaming at the camera, Jon Tron with the Angry video gamer videos with a Cute bird in them (Plus Game Grumps), h3h3 doing drama.
They spend all there time on youtube and as one of Rym and Scott Mini-panels said the community makes the game. In this case the community makes the youtuber and the youtube community is a toxic bag of shit.
There is also the other factor that these people were always on that side of the political spectrum but the way the right wing is going they have just followed along sprouting the nonsense more without thinking anything about it.
I been talking about this in a discord server since it was live and the thing is like with Milo a lot of these things were known they are just being talked about more.
Yeah I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, his videos are usually pretty entertaining just for the weirdness, but this is too much. I wonder if this kind of stuff has anything to do with why he left GameGrumps as I know Arin Hanson certainly wouldn’t agree with these views. It would kind of explain why they were so hush hush about reasons when he left.
Here’s what I will say to that: context is important. No one is saying these things about Always Sunny and they make Nazi jokes all the time, they had an entire episode about it, including a scene where Charlie Day wore a Nazi uniform. Just because that exists doesn’t mean he’s bad. He’s bad for a million other reasons.
That was a really interesting article, thanks for that. My only additional thought is that the idea that South Park is okay because they “do it well” raises a weird issue that they don’t really address. Comedy is an extremely subjective thing, people have different senses of humor and different boundaries in terms of what “offends” them, the idea that someone can be objectively good at it is sort of confusing to me, obviously this doesn’t apply to the Pewdiepie situation due to the other issues brought up in the article but in the example I’ve given above I feel like it could. Other than that though really interesting explanation.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not defending him, he’s a garbage person. That being said grabbing stuff like that out of context doesn’t do much but muddle the actual issues. That’s all I’m trying to say, you can’t blame people for being surprised about this news when these things didn’t really leak into his creative work the way they did with Pewdiepie.
Slowbeef wrote an article for Polygon on the Pewdiepie situation in particular which is good - explaining why his one is so bad. (the youtube echo chamber means he doesn’t have anyone telling him “That isn’t the best joke.”)
The thing about Jontron compared to Pewdiepie - He isn’t trying to hide it behind a “It is a joke” while Jon is literally saying that Rich black people commit more crime than poor white people. Also it has hit the mainstream press.
I heard of JonTron literally for the first time today. He seems like an utter waste of humanity. However, that argument is rather weak. You give no context for why he is wearing this and it seems like he is on the set of some show or filming some other bit for some media outlet. Anyhow, if it is in the context of “acting” (very loosely used here) you can’t really use that against a person. You don’t have to share racist ideology to play a Nazi in any World War II movie or some other fictional thing and doing so isn’t exactly evidence for sharing a racist ideology.
Yeah there is no argument to be made here that Jon Jafari was “just making a joke”. The reason I say his real name is that that’s the difference between him and Felix. Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg hasn’t, at least to my knowledge, done anything wrong, the character of Pewdiepie has, now that definitely doesn’t shift blame away from him but it does make the issue a little less straightforward. In this case the opposite is true, JonTron the character hasn’t done anything wrong, but the real person Jon Jafari has. The Jon situation is much more straightforward.
Jontron is the most egregious example as of lately. I believe it’s the product of being raised on the Internet where you take a diet of lulz-chan culture. These ideas go further as time goes on where social media can be trimmed to any type of belief no matter how extreme it is. Then with his rise to fame, he gets stuck in that bubble where no one challenges his beliefs and he’ll always have sycophants no matter what defending he doesn’t really mean it or that “He’s still funny and that’s okay.”
Youtube has no way to curb it’s toxicity since it’s structure is very hands-off. So when politics became more prevalent during the 2016, things got more intense and Youtube refused to do anything about it similar to Twitter when dealing with toxicity or harassment. That’s why so many Youtubers would rather see themselves as “new media trailblazers because mainstream media is super corrupt and biased.” They are also completely self-sustained as well if you look at the number of politically charged projects funded through Patreon. There are numerous channels centered on bullying and drama that have millions of followers that the company doesn’t do anything with.
The fact Youtube/Google didn’t have any reaction when their most popular video star said anti-Semitic remarks speaks volumes to how much they care keeping a tight ship. (Or how little Youtube subscribers actually matter in the long run, because tons of people don’t know who Pewdiepie and JonTron are)
"This is how reactionary right wing thinking lives harmoniously within the framework provided by hyper-rationalism. Those who are traditionally granted the most power and access in our society — middle class white men — are given the language of hyper-rationalism without any of the awareness or experience to understand the systemic problems facing marginalized groups. The internet media landscape is filled with pundits like Sargon of Akkad who use rationalist and objectivist language to present their sexist, racist opinions as a matter of factual reality. They paint people from oppressed groups as irrational whiners, as people who selfishly abuse and manipulate the system around them — even as genetically deficient — because they have not historically been able to reach the level of measured outcome success as their oppressors within our seemingly objective meritocratic reality. Without the dominance of hyper-rationalist thinking in our culture and the intense social isolation caused by neoliberalism, there is no way for this sort of rhetoric to become so widespread.
Forget artificial intelligence: the alt-right is the true mutant child of our neoliberal technocratic society.
But what have the neoliberal technocrats of our society replaced this total erasure of the language we need to understand power dynamics and systemic oppression with? An obsession with people’s surface behavior. This is not really a coincidence. By defining racism or sexism as merely an embodiment of personal bigotry, we’re able to believe in the monuments of our great myth of cultural growth like Obama, while still simultaneously maintaining systems that continue to brutally oppress and kill people.
Our popular culture has become so steeped in a deeply cynical sort of practicality, where many of us are able recognize the contradictions and hypocrisies of modern society, but we also cynically accept that we can’t really do much of anything about them. The awareness of this incremental progress being largely the result of a long-term collective struggle becomes completely erased and co-opted. By making displays of bigoted behavior as the ultimate embodiment of evil we have a built-in justification for moving selfishly within the system because we’ve displaced our shame of our own cultural complicity with the destruction our way of life causes onto a convenient scapegoat.
This, it turns out, opens the door for people to use bigoted language we have deemed “too far” as a show of power and dominance. People like Milo Yiannopoulos are the end point realization of this thinking — a reality that sustains itself off of a fantasy world completely insulated from any awareness or understanding of the collective struggles of the past. A reality completely nurtured by the self-fulfilling fantasies of hyper-rational objectivism. Instead of technocratic liberals being motivated by some faint glimmer of empathy or awareness for the power struggles of the past and present, the alt-right has come to understand them as simply weak and submissive “beta cucks”, controlled by the irrational manipulations of the deficient. In this view, that’s the only reason the privileged technocrats can’t stay true to the principles of their hyper-rationalist reality.
The point here is that if we accept society is a true perfectly balanced meritocracy, the end result will always be fascism."
"And this gets down to what disturbs me the most about the last few years in videogames — if we had maybe tried to look at the root causes and have a discussion about our own complicity in helping right-wing extremist views propagate inside of videogame communities instead of trying to aggressively force the issue to go away as quickly as possible, maybe we would have been able to address it more effectively. If we had used the situation to have a broader discussion about the huge degree of inequality among independent game makers, or the way the game industry as a whole exploits its workers, or how the gaming press functions largely as glorified PR run by fans and has no real role for challenging the industry, or how hyper-masculine power fantasies dominating the industry have directly provided fuel for the the far right extremist worldview, maybe we could have destroyed the momentum of this movement. And maybe it would’ve just popped up somewhere else in the end — but one of the biggest heads on its hydra would have been chopped off. We certainly still wouldn’t continue to be in this hyper-vigilant state of denial about acknowledging or addressing its root causes.
When I attend the annual Game Developers Conference next week in San Francisco, I expect a similar degree of hyper-vigilant denial to what I saw at 2015’s conference after six months of gamergate. I expect industry figures to spend their time smugly taking pot shots at easy targets like Milo or Pewdiepie. And I expect more intense denial from people who will point their fingers furiously at all the internet neo-Nazi pundits who were radicalized through gamergate and loudly declare “THIS IS NOT US!”
The problem is, though, is that it IS us.
If those of us who work within the videogame industry want their medium to not be associated with far-right reactionary movements anymore, we have to use our platform to admit to some level of responsibility or complicity for helping create this problem. Games are a natural fit for realizing the self-fulfilling fantasies of hyper-rationalist numbers-based thinking. Games provide fully realized worlds constructed out of hyper-masculine colonialist power fantasies and filled with racist and sexist caricatures. Games, in general, give a great amount of power to deeply troubling and oversimplified narratives."