“To call him an alt-right agitator would perhaps be unfair”
PewDiePie is a raw and unfiltered content creator and the internet’s most famous celebrity. The Guardian is obsessed with virtue signalling and is the world’s most famous politically correct newspaper. It’s only natural that one would not appreciate the other.
Originally a ‘Let’s Play’ Youtuber, he is the most subscribed channel by a margin of 20 million, and his influence among young people is likely unparalleled. It’s been observed he has an ‘Oprah Effect’ on obscure indie games, making hits out of games by tiny development teams that would otherwise be lucky to reach a few thousand sales.
Now he’s trying to turn that gaming Oprah Effect into a, well, regular Oprah Effect. He has started reviewing and reccomending books, largely classic literature such as Moby Dick, To Kill a Mockingbird and Brave New World. Young people using their cultural clout over other young people to encourage them to become more well-read is undoubtedly a good thing.
A bit over a year ago, PewDiePie transitioned his channel from purely gaming content aimed at under 18 year olds to cultural commentary aimed at young people generally. The transition was accelerated after Disney and Youtube cut ties with him (including TV show deals) because of a Wall Street Journal-led media frenzy casting him as a legitimate anti-semite for racially offensive jokes in his videos. And this is where The Guardian’s issue with PewDiePie stems from.
Always inclined towards the type of humour common on the forums of 4Chan and murkier subReddits, Kjellberg has nowadays doubled down on material that is, to put it gently, anti-PC.
You see, in the world that The Guardian’s writers live in, standing against political correctness and for free expression is one of the most damning accusations one could make.
His ironic tone means he rarely says anything explicitly offensive. But the themes and memes that recur in his videos are consistent: images of famous African-Americans (Neil deGrasse Tyson, Barack Obama) captioned with the wrong names; a meme to which the punchline is “respecting women”; African voices sampled and replayed in incongruous situations; recitations of English language posts on Indian Facebook. Pepe the Frog will also make appearances.
The Guardian’s snarky elitism mean they rarely say explicitly that they are terrified of a 28-year-old man who doesn’t adhere to the cult of political correctness.
Christ. No wonder this guy is so humorless. He probably thinks people who share ‘Zucc’ memes genuinely believe in David Icke’s lizard person conspiracy.
PewDiePie also features memes that make light of European history. I guess he’s a thought leader of the black power movement too.
As for Book Review, the final item on last month’s edition was Jordan B Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. Kjellberg gave it a rave review. “I really enjoyed this book,” he said, “it made me understand people around me better.”
You’d think I was cutting this paragraph up, but no. That’s the whole thing. That’s the “troubling content” of his book reviews. The Guardian’s audience is presumed by its writers to think of Peterson as an alt-right figurehead cultivating fascists through his self-help book. In PewDiePie’s review, which I doubt this Guardian writer watched, he noted Peterson’s religiosity and how this caused him to be more skeptical of his claims, as Peterson frequently cites Bible stories for their psychological meaning in 12 Rules.
Felix “PewdiePie” Kjellberg is funny, intelligent, innovative and highly charismatic. He also has one of the world’s biggest public platforms and a remit restricted only by YouTube’s terms of service. To call him an alt-right agitator would perhaps be unfair as he has never publicly identified with the proto-fascist movement. But he shares much of their culture and amplifies it across the world. People should pay PewdiePie more attention.
All of this highlights how absolutely ignorant left-wing media types are of the actual alt-right, which is the real danger since they control most mainstream media. From 2015 to even early 2016 the alt-right wasn’t really well defined but was an evolving movement thought to be a big tent of mostly younger American conservatives from the edgier denizens of the internet to disenfranchised blue collar workers who hated the good manners approach of the establishment GOP. We now know “alt-right” is simply a euphemism made up by Richard Spencer because “white supremacist” causes people to run for the hills.
Despite what the headlines of the click-hungry media say and will continue saying, the alt-right hates mainstream conservatives and liberal thinkers like Jordan Peterson for being “milquetoast”, anti-collectivist and anti-identitarian and not agreeing with them on “The Jewish Question”.
Pretending PewDiePie is a closeted fascist and “perhaps” an alt-right agitator, which is obviously absurd, does nothing but push more people into the movement’s clutches. The stigma attached to white supremacy is severely weakened if under 18 year olds think it is legitimately occupied by people as apolitical and mainstream as YouTube’s biggest star.
Pop and Locke is a libertarian-traditionalist popular culture and politics blog bringing you news, opinions, analysis and reviews that cut through the mainstream mould. It was inspired by an appreciation for Western political and philosophical tradition and a fascination with our increasingly wacky popular culture.