This morning, Logan Paul appeared in the media and again made a fool of himself. But to his subscribers, he’s a preacher and the arbiter of right and wrong.
In the eyes of the adult internet, Logan Paul is a bit of a tit. A man who has been memed as much as he’s courted controversy. Some say that he’s energy drinks and teenage bodyspray come to life, but I believe he’s the Frankenstein of Dr Internet’s creation, one that stumbles around for the benefit of the angry mob who want to run him out of town.
This morning, he struck again, appearing on Fox News to talk about himself, and again approach the shores of abject nonsense.
Logan Paul was just on Fox Business and, well, it was something pic.twitter.com/MbCCoERNu3
— jordan (@JordanUhl) July 22, 2019
Paul, the self-proclaimed “ex-controversial YouTuber” made $15 million dollars in 2018, up slightly from the year before. This, mind you, was in the same timeframe where the world wanted him dead. Clearly, the man, like the mafia, is immune to scandal or logic. Whether he’s depressed, on drugs, or the victim of snarky Twitter editing is beyond the point.
What he truly represents, is the death and resurrection of talent. He presents himself as the rocker/actor of yore, but completely sans discernable talent, beyond being irritating. In the age of YouTube where nothing can become something, and nobodies can etch out a following, and seemingly, a fortune. All that’s needed, is a desire to be the most frequent, the most plastic.
However, as an adult, it’s simple to criticise Paul and ignore him between the headlines. Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg aka PewDiePie is very much the same, and despite being name-dropped by the Christchurch shooter, his trajectory continues upwards. These internet birthed and cultivated manbabies will seemingly be the death of us all. But while death by a thousand pieces of obnoxiousness may be grating penance for us, these people represent something grand to those below us.
My son has recently turned ten. Of his oft-repeated hopes and dreams, the primary goal is what he hopes to do on the same platform. To him, Logan Paul is his Xanadu, his easy way to the gaudy wealth we all hope to achieve before we reach puberty. Unlike myself, he has that opportunity. All you need, as he tells me, is a following, and from there, your dreams will come true.
However, I believe that these figures are less the greater minds of business next, and more a redux of another great tradition, the charlatan and the religion they build around themselves.
In many ways, they’re the same. Their acolytes follow their teachings without question and often tithe their income to support the continuation of the gospel. Those who donate are publically congratulated, earning titles to separate themselves from the flock. Those who criticise the hackneyed pop-up nature of this belief are shouted down, and replaced by waves of support. The difference between subscribers and believers, is negligible.
The danger, at least in the minds of the parents who don’t get it, is that these people are doing our jobs for us. We’re inadvertently deferring the points of our moral compass to these figures, those who flash wealth and judgement in engineered situations. Like the church, these lessons are grounded in seemingly everyday instances to make sure we understand what is right, and wrong.