So this, as I’m finding a lot, is inspired by a video that Shane Dawson recently put out. Say what you want about that man but he knows how to inspire me to write. Anyway, if you haven’t already then you can check out the video here.
So the video is called Confronting My Hater. Without spoiling too much of the video (it’s quite well done and is one of the more intelligent vlogs on YouTube these days) Shane Dawson finds somebody who has criticised his videos and decides to do some research. The person in question is Bobby Burns, a fellow YouTuber, who has critiqued multiple videos. Now this is only part one of I don’t know how many, but the idea is quite sound. At the end of the video you find out that Shane invites Bobby to his house so they can meet face-to-face and talk about things. Bobby accepts the invitation.
But, and now don’t get me wrong because I do like the concept of the video, I’m not sure entirely how I feel.
It’s Bobby that I question in this post (Shane, you’re safe for now, but if you ever want a critique then I’ll be more than happy to write one for you). Basically because Bobby, in his video, comes across quite well informed and researched. His take on Shane’s videos do sometimes stray into personal but the rhetoric Bobby uses is very clever and definitely convinces you to think the same way as he does.
But I question this whole idea of criticism. When I was a child I was raised on the phrase “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” That has all gone out of the window in the last few years, especially in the media circuit.
Shane addresses in his video that Bobby does what he does for views. And we can’t blame him for that. I’ve admitted I do what I do for views and attention, Shane has even admitted when he began that he done what he had to for views. It’s the worst kept secret to success really.
But I fear we put too much celebrity on controversial opinions. Bobby Burns gets invited to Shane Dawson’s house and collabs with him on videos just because he voiced a somewhat coherent critique in his videos. I say somewhat coherent because it’s not really backed up with evidence, a lot of it is just pure opinion and Bobby talks about manipulation as if he’s not doing the same thing in his videos. It’s clever, but it’s manipulation. It’s also only somewhat coherent because sometimes, as I’ve said, it strays into personal and that’s rarely constructive.
But this isn’t just Bobby Burns we’re talking about. Think of anybody and everybody who gets famous from criticising people without that criticism being constructive. Bobby Burns tells Shane Dawson to stop, what he should do is tell him what he thinks he should be doing to improve. That’s the difference between constructive and not. Give them something to build on, don’t just tear them down. But Bobby isn’t the only one; Milo Yiannopoulos, Katie Hopkins, Piers Morgan, Kanye West, Ann Coulter. All of these people could make a living based on their negativity and controversial tweets, quotes, words, etc. It’s a world where it’s easier to get noticed for doing something bad than for doing something good. Hell, even the current President of the United States Donald Trump got there because he ran a campaign of hate and controversy.
And so why do I talk about this? Perhaps because it’s an easy way to get famous but it’s at the expense of other people. It’s a culture that rewards the tearing down of others. We’re rewarding non-constructive criticism and then wondering why the world has low self-esteem. We’re giving platforms, views, tweets, videos, to people who can say whatever they damn well please and people are actually giving them the attention they need.
I’ve considered it many times and I honestly don’t know what stops me from doing it. When I readily admit that I do a lot of what I do for attention in the hopes that somebody might hear my cries for help and actually help, why don’t I take the easy road with controversy? Possibly because my need for attention conflicts with my desire to be liked and currently my desire to be liked wins out (although I’m scared of the day that ceases to be).
Also a part of me, as always, writes this out of jealousy. Bobby Burns strings together a somewhat convincing argument and gets invited to meet Shane Dawson while I’m still struggling to get noticed and help whilst being a nice person.
Also, the difference between what I do and what they do, I can actually admit that what I do is for people to notice me. If you proclaim you’re doing it for any other reason than to be controversial or to get attention then you’re wrong. You’re not constructive, you’re just attention seeking. Not saying there’s anything wrong with that, just admit it to yourself.