One joke can rock an empire, a column by Jack Treu

Pewdiepie, also known as Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is the most popular YouTuber in the world with more than 50,000,000 subscribers and 15,009,237,867 views. His content consists of him playing videogames and making general entertainment videos. His comedy is like many popular contemporary comedians’ early years. It’s widely regarded as vulgar and unapologetic which is what most of his subscribers love about his content. From his start on YouTube in 2010, Pewdiepie has slowly changed his content as his original fans have aged and changed with him. The only problem with his type of comedy is that, if taken too seriously, it can be viewed as offensive. This is exactly what has gotten Pewdiepie some undeserved criticism and eventually what led to the massive demonization of many people’s channel, including Pewdiepie’s, on YouTube.

(“Pewdiepie demonetized” created by Kaden Quinn.)

According to many opponents of Pewdiepie, he is an anti-Semite that isn’t suitable for children or any other reasonable person.  This all stems from one of Pewdiepie’s most provocative jokes that was at the expense of the Jewish population of the world. Although there is nothing funny about being anti-Semitic, the issue boils down to three very important points.  First, Pewdiepie is not anti-Semitic. He is a entertainer that like many early comedians makes jokes that are viewed as insensitive and that will hopefully get him attention. Second, although some might not view it as puritanical (puritanical being morally sensitive), Pewdiepie and anyone in a free country can say whatever they want, outside of threats, without ramifications. According to documents regarding freedom of speech, any opinions are allowed expression without censorship or restraint. Third and finally, what Pewdiepie says in his videos and jokes doesn’t go against any of YouTube’s guidelines. You might not like Pewdiepie’s jokes but there is virtually no difference between him and a raunchy comedian on Comedy Central.

Another issue people seem to have with Pewdiepie is that his content is not ‘family friendly’. No, Really? Considering most of the videogames he plays and covers have at least an M rating then a child under the age of 17 shouldn’t be watching anyways. In addition, Pewdiepie has never branded himself as suitable for children on his YouTube channel. Although he has had many family-friendly games on the Google Play and iTunes app stores, his YouTube channel has always consisted of him cursing out games and screaming profanities. Some concerned parents say that their young children stumble onto his videos and that he should watch more closely what he says because he ‘never knowns who’s watching’. Blaming Pewdiepie for their child watching his videos can be compared to a child accidently turning on the TV to see a raunchy comedians and then blaming Comedy Central for having adult comedians on their network. Pewdiepie himself has shown a simple solution to this issue. There is an app and website called YouTube Kids, this duo contains only kid-friendly content so parents don’t have to worry about their kids accidently watching one of Pewdiepie’s so called, ‘racist’ videos.

The problem facing creators like Pewdiepie, and now all creators on YouTube, is oversensitivity. Although people should feel safe and respected, comedy is supposed to tap into things we are too uncomfortable to talk about and make them not as obscure. There is a clear difference between actually holding an idea as true and making a joke about it. Even with the best comedians in the world, you as an audience member can tell that that comedian doesn’t hold that idea as true. Pewdiepie is not the only YouTuber making these kinds of jokes, but he is the most popular, which has led to the massive exodus of advertisers and Pewdiepie’s lost sponsors. YouTube as a whole is dying because of the works of writers like Jack Nicas, writer for the Wall Street Journal, who wrote the catalyst article on advertisers pulling out of YouTube. If people like Nicas and many others can’t slow down to see the fact that Pewdiepie’s entire channel is satire, then YouTube as a whole may be on its last sputter cough before its untimely end.


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