As I’m sure most people are aware, Youtubers (and by extension the internet itself) have been ruthlessly critiqued by the traditional media recently. Although some hostility has been present before, it was arguably the Pewdiepie situation that encouraged all the news providers to come out of their holes to make a desperate attempt to attack the internet for it’s supposed wrongdoing.
The Pewdiepie situation, in which the details I will not go into, involved a satirical joke about an admittedly sensitive subject which was taken wildly out of context by the mainstream media outlets. I was not/am not a Pewdiepie fan as 53 million others are, but after some basic research I concluded with many others that these hostile accusations were highly misinformed and downright false. I think one of the saddest results of this attack on Pewdiepie (real name Felix Kjellberg) was when one of my heroes J.K. Rowling voiced her opinion which was also misinformed. She is incredibly clever and it shocked me and others to see that her thoughts had been tainted by the lies of the media.
A few days later I listened to a very interesting and intelligent podcast by Jenna Mourey and Julien Solomita in which they talk about the situation and propose the idea that the traditional media feel threatened by these new Youtube stars and are trying desperately to ruin their image. These outlets post ridiculous articles to attract the outrage of people and gain thousands of clicks. Jenna and Julien also conspire that the whole ordeal really has nothing to do with Felix’s seemingly distasteful joke, but instead on individual content creators as a whole. A method to subtly turn the public against this new and powerful media.
At first I did not wholeheartedly believe in that, and merely thought that these news outlets were being petty but the more articles I read attacking particularly Youtubers, the more this sentiment made sense. Then I saw an embarrassingly out of touch article by Zoe Williams from The Guardian which only confirmed my belief in this theory.
This article was hilariously petty and very blatantly hating on the Youtube community which logistically was probably not the smartest move considering the countless internet loyalists. The piece focused on the criticism of Youtube star Zoella (real name Zoe Sugg), but included other names in the slamming of Youtube.
The piece started off claiming that Zoella is to blame for the decline in teen literacy, but soon digressed to an all over the place rant about Zoella and Youtube as a whole.
Williams, after a brief bit about Zoella as an author, goes on to quote meaningless lines from Zoella’s recent videos. One of the more amusing parts of the article said this: ‘She sometimes segues into the third person, though it’s unclear (to me, at least) what it is in the subject matter that necessitates the gear change. “I was 14 in that photo … she’s got Orlando Bloom on her wall.” The form itself is the endpoint of narcissism, a stage of self-enthralment so complete that there is nothing too trivial to share.’ . Which is all well and good, except when it is completely and utterly untrue. Zoella does not talk about herself in the third person, she speaks about her own age then explains her friend (the ‘she’ in question) has an Orlando Bloom poster on her wall. This is either a direct attempt to distort the video’s content, or an embarrassing lack of research and understanding on Williams’ part. This furthers my belief in the fact that the media don’t actually care at all about the specifics of any content creator drama, but just use any excuse to make a harsh attack on the internet.
‘But the depth of her fascination with herself is also rather alienating.‘ Pathetic, petty and out of touch.
‘ The male Zoella is probably Dan TDM, who plays Minecraft, commentates on himself playing Minecraft, and posts it on YouTube.’ Precisely, just like the male Cleopatra is Liam Neeson. She goes on to slag off family favourites such as Stampy before ending the segment with ‘asking a nine-year-old what they’re up to, “watchingpatnjen” … “pewdiepie’sanazi . What’s a Nazi?”’ as if teaching a nine-year-old about important historical events is to be frowned upon.
‘Aficionados say that he [PewDiePie] had been making subtle Hitler references for years (“years” in a vlogging context means more than one month), you just had to know where to look.’ Making PewDiePie out to be a legitimate Nazi.
Overall the article was clearly fearful of her. Williams pointed out and even made up petty/irrelevant flaws in Zoella and the Youtube community. The whole thing was entirely distasteful.
I encourage everyone to keep updated on the media’s attack on the internet and to make your own responses to the situation.