August 13, 2022

You’re the most online generation in history. Act like you’ve been here before.

In the Dad Weighs In column, I step in with some tough love and modern life lessons in case your dad thinks “YouTube” is some kind of condom.

So, I’m minding my own business and sweeping out the hard drive over the weekend when suddenly my entire timeline is about the same YouTuber.

“He’s lying!” they tell me. “He’s disrespecting women!” they say. And it looks like they’re right.

“Well, who is he?” I ask, but no one knows, and no one anyone knows seems to know either. We could have kept it that way, right?

I’m not sure what’s so interesting about Twitter’s latest Main Character. He says he’s a former Googler and worked for Facebook which I guess feels actionable in some way. He definitely has an assload of followers on Twitter and YouTube which is probably earning him a fortune alone. The “Jesus, you can’t say that” vibe is strong, but that’s the whole gig he’s made for himself, and it’s only possible because everyone’s making it work for him.

Imagine how pissed the actual tech lead at YouTube must be right now, by the way.

This guy’s whole game is that he’s trying to blend career advice with satire, sometimes attempting both in the same video. The problem is he may not be all that good at either one. The advice I’m seeing is controversial at best, and the jokes sound like they’re being read into evidence in court. Sure, there’s always a discussion happening in the comments, but what the hell are you doing trying to figure out life’s problems with other YouTube commenters?

There are two challenges on YouTube: doing something interesting and convincing strangers to look at it. This guy’s solution to the strangers problem is to try to piss them off, and he’s really knocking it out of the park this week.

But I’m not worried about him, reader, I’m worried about you. An army of you are stopping to bark back at this guy while he rakes in the ad money. Do you think that’s going to result in less of this or a shitload more?

This is not empowering for you because he doesn’t care what you think. This is like missing work to argue with a billboard you don’t agree with. You’ve let an otherwise uninteresting person fabricate a WWF-style villain persona for himself—don’t be the dude watching at home who calls the cops because he has no idea none of this is real.

Don’t @ me, that really happens all the time.

I know the counter-argument: left unchecked, this guy goes on to assemble another army of divorced dudes who have four free hours left in the day between new Joe Rogan episodes. You inserting yourself into that situation only makes it worse. You’re giving the group a common enemy, tons more to talk about, and opening yourself up to more time-wasting, soul-sucking harassment.

If you’re always incapacitated when an asshole gains a little momentum, you’re always going to be incapacitated, and there’s always going to be a new asshole with a little momentum. If you move on with life, he goes right back to the plane of existence you only see on DMT.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

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