It seems that the qualifications necessary for someone to be considered a nazi are not what they used to be. Apparently, making a few offensive jokes and displaying nazi imagery in any manner is now enough for someone to be considered one of these guys:
Recently, an article from The Wallstreet Journal took aim at youtube personality Felix Kjellberg (aka. PewDiePie). PewDiePie is the most popular YouTuber of all time. Known primarily for his goofy gaming videos and silly antics, Felix has amassed a following of over 54 million subscribers. Up until recently, one thing PewDiePie was not know for was delving into politics (or seriousness for that matter). That is why it struck me as surprising when I first came across this video from The Wallstreet Journal.
I was at first baffled as to how a ‘serious’ news organization could justify spending time and resources going after PewDiePie as if he were a serious threat to the moral fiber of humanity. I was also thrown off by the fact that all they have to support their claim were a few out of context clips, all of which were obviously not meant to be taken seriously. Now, I completely understand why a news organization would call out a public figure for inciting hate, but this is clearly not a case of that. They reference his massive follower base and apparent support from the Alt-Right, specifically from The Daily Stormer, a website well known for spreading actual hate speech and racist propaganda as their reasoning for dubbing him a worthwhile target. Others in support of the WSJ‘s coverage of PewDiePie claim that even if his comments were made in jest they still result in spreading hate and normalizing racist views. For example, Jonathan Vick of the Anti Defamation League argued that even if not meant to be taken seriously, Felix still caused harm because“Just putting it out there brings it more and more into the mainstream,”. As a result of their ‘journalism’ PewDiePie had production deals with both Disney and YouTube pulled. The loss of these deals cost Felix hundreds of thousands, but fortunately due to his massive follower base and level of success this was little more than a bump in the road for his career.
Now this brings us to my reason for writing this article. If Felix was not yet at the level of success and popularity that he currently enjoys, this irresponsible journalism could have cost him his career over a few jokes made in poor taste. While he did indeed make the jokes that the WSJ alleged, the context they were made in was completely left out of their reporting. As Felix points out in one of his responses to these allegations“We’re going to have to start separating what is a joke, and what is actually problematic.” Despite what the WSJ and people like Johnathan Vick seem to believe, there is a real difference between someone making a joke, and someone seriously advocating a hateful political agenda. To try and paint someone like PewDiePie in the same light as an actual advocate of racism such as Richard Spencer is not only unfair and inaccurate, it also diminishes the response the public has to reports of genuine racism. One of the most common criticisms of ‘the left’ recently has been how quick they are to label someone as a racist. This is one of many examples where this criticism stems from. Throughout the last election cycle there were similar, non-stop attacks on Trump supporters. While there were some genuine instances of hate-speech, white nationalism and racism, the majority of these accusations were unfounded; and nearly everyone recognized this. This is why the public reacted as it did to Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment. The liberal media and far left ‘social justice warriors’ have overused accusations of racism to the point of making them ineffective, in some cases even comical.
Now, this is not to say that racism is not a genuine issue. There are real racists, and advocates of hateful ideologies. These views need to be dealt with, but not by censoring them. Even in genuine cases of hate speech, I believe it does more harm than good to silence the speaker. Not only does this enable them to play the victim card, it has repeatedly helped them spread their message further. Unlike Johnathan Vick and the multitudes of others who wish to silence those they disagree with, I have more faith in the public than to believe that hearing someone like Richard Spencer’s nonsense will turn us all into Nazis. Not even to mention someone like PewDiePie who is clearly just making jokes. If we want to get things back on track, and start really dealing with racism and hate-speech, the first step is to stop yelling “fire” when there isn’t even a spark to be found. If you can not tell the difference between a joke from a channel that has nothing to do with politics, and a genuine advocate of hate speech you have no place reporting in the first place. Whether you like it or not context does matter, and sometimes what someone says as a joke may offend you. That is an inevitable consequence of having free speech. Personally, I would rather have free speech and a few assholes spouting offensive views, than to live in a society where everything we say or present must be policed to assure that it will in no way offend anyone. Until we stop treating a guy who makes silly gaming videos, (including a five minute response to this whole WSJ ordeal consisting almost entirely of shooting Nazis in the testicles) in the same way as a genuine racist rally people will not start taking the media’s claims of racism seriously. Check out the videos for yourself and see if you can’t spot the difference.
By, Frank Bursese