And other acapellas
There are a lot of names in the title of this video, and while this video isn’t a hamfisted attempt to shove as many buzzword names as I can into a title, it’s also not not that.
Media is in a very, very weird spot right now. Let me share my take on it.
I am a journalist. I do journalism. For eight months a year, I study and perform journalism. And if you want someone preaching the doom and gloom that’s headed towards journalism, you don’t have to look very far. I’m not going to do that.
But there is some weirdness going on. It’s a strange, counter-productive problem and it has its roots in internet culture. Our culture.In many ways, it is a problem inherent to the culture of outage, and the culture of counter-outrage.
This is a problem directly related to infamy. It is what leads to those the public hating to ultimately getting the best of them in the end. It is what turns hard-hitting attacks into helium for those don’t deserve it but thrive on it. And to illustrate this problem, I want to look at some recent and not so recent news stories.
First and most recently, there’s the case of the instagram model Christian Burns verbally assaulting a security guard during VidCon. The assault was covered by several YouTube news sources that look for controversies to garner attention from.
Watch the video. It is hard not to have it elicit an emotional reaction. Here’s a kid that is in many ways emblematic of a perceived problem eating away at society. Youth are narcissistic as fuck, entitled, whiny, spoiled. The attractive are treated as gods and view themselves as gods, and when they brag about that fact we spew vitriol at them because partially know they’re right.
When this kid brags about his fame because he has 20 thousand instagram followers, we laugh. This is absurd. 20 thousand instagram followers is essentially being a nobody.
And so our culture vilifies him, the internet culture, the culture you are probably a part of if you’re deep enough down the YouTube rabbit hole that you actually managed to find this video, eventually chooses some cases to focus on. Rightfully so. This guy is truly reprehensible.
But he won.
Today, Christian Burns has 500 thousand instagram followers. Overnight, he became 2500% more famous than he was before that video. Let me say that again. He won.
There is a certain nearsightedness that occurs online when a target is the victim of ridicule or rage. There is the initial wave of hatred. Nasty stuff. Death threats and anger, mockery and reporting. Reaction videos. News releases. More outrage. Their name blows up in google.
And then the hate disappears. And what’s left is the fans of that person. The new fans that stuck around after the wave of outrage had left.
If I’m not explaining myself properly, here is the emotional core of my argument. People are making money off of being reprehensible. And here’s why.
There is a woman called Nicole Arbor. Maybe you’ve heard of her, maybe you haven’t. If you haven’t don’t look her up but the fact that I know her name means that somewhere along the line, she won. In the battle between the internet’s outrage and her public image, she won. Let me explain.
A few years ago, Nicole Arbor made a video called “Dear Fat People.” It basically tore to shreds anyone that was overweight. It was a shitty, unfunny, mean-spirited video that Arbor herself admitted was made specifically to generate outrage. And it did. People were all over her, dissing her, reaction videos, blah blah blah blah.
And then people forgot about her. Guess what happened.
Nicole Arbor is now a thousand times more famous than she was before that video. Because when we are outraged, we share this outrage with our friends. And not all of our friends agree with us.
Some of our friends might like shitty, mean-spirited, unfunny videos. They would see Nicole Arbor’s trash and laugh and think “haha hey this chick’s pretty funny.”
And this is why we’re kind of fucked. Because what is worse, witnessing a video like Christian Burns’ and not reporting on it at all? Or witnessing the very same video and helping him.
Attention is power. Humans do not have unlimited attention. We are small, we have tiny frames of reference, and we stick to those tiny frames of reference most of our lives. It is very hard for us to focus on a topic for a very long period of time. We forget.
Let’s say I have a fanbase of ten thousand people. Ten thousand people know about me. They all have a pretty good emotional reaction towards me. They don’t love me, but they don’t hate me.
Now let’s say I do something crazy and hateful and stupid that pisses nine thousand of those ten thousand people off. Nine thousand of those people hate me, but of course the one thousand that are left adore me because I’m saying the crazy bullshit that was on their mind.
Which scenario is better? You know the answer to that question. Machiavelli’s “it is better to be feared than loved” is now so true that it is better to be hated than liked.
Nobody is more indicative of the flames of outrage than Donald Trump, but I’m not going to talk about him. I want to talk about someone else. I want to talk about Laura Loomer.
Laura Loomer is… you know what it’s 2017 let me just show you the video.
Basically, Laura Loomer is a jo- a jour-
Laura Loomer calls herself a journalist, in the same way some people on Tumblr call themselves unicorns. She paired up with a person who didn’t like the play to interrupt the play. The play featured Donald Trump as Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar.” Donald Trump was assassinated. They didn’t like that, so they interrupted the play to protest.
Loomer was arrested. So far so good. But oh wait shit now she’s viral. You see where this is going.
90% of people think what Laura Loomer did was dumb. She violated the actor’s freedom of speech, but also she was seeing a political move against her candidate where none really existed. This is personally VERY disturbing to me because Laura Loomer calls herself a journalist but then also intentionally causes the controversy that creates the news. This is the equivalent of me putting a kid in a dangerous situation just so I can report on the firefighters that save the kid (journalists have done this in the past by the way and it’s hilarious look it up)
Anyways, even if 90% of people hate you and think you’re terrible, it doesn’t matter if it’s on the internet. Realistically, think about it. What are they going to do. Send you an instagram message saying “kill urself”? Loomer knew this would create controversy, knew people want to talk about her after she pulled this stunt, and had a gofund me page created before she was even arrested, showing that she knew what she was doing.
All of this to defend a president whose rise to fame was eerily similar to what I’ve been describing before. If you can get a huge swathe of people to hate you and think you’re crazy and a joke, you are still getting people to listen to you. People naturally have very short attention spans. And if someone starts listening to you because they think you’re a joke, and you say something that they agree with, they’re going to forget the fact that they originally tuned in because you were a joke. All they’re going to do is remember that you say what they like. Your fervent haters become your biggest supporters.
These examples have all been pretty heavy. One more that’s a little less so. Jake Paul.
Think Christian Burns but actually famous. He made a video called “It’s Everyday Bro.” If you haven’t heard of it then you probably haven’t made it this far into the video because you actually have a life, but here’s a clip just in case.
It’s a shit video made by a shit person. Classicly reprehensible. But at least half of its popularity was spurred on because it was bad. Basically, if you create a piece of art that is shitty in just the right way, you can make that art more successful than genuinely good art.
I can slave away for years on a perfect piece of art that nobody will look at twice, but if I slapdash some art that gets people talking about it then I can blow up and become viral. Hmngh.
All of this leads me to ask. What do journalists do about these stories? Outrage is attention. Attention is money. If you can get enough eyes on you, it doesn’t matter how you got them there. Outrage is power, power is money.
I don’t know. I don’t think this is a clear cut answer. I don’t even have a good conclusion to this shitty slapdash video essay.
DID YOU MISS ME
Haha just kidding I KNOW
that nobody visits this website YOU DID
How am I gonna herald my triumphant return to this blog? GOOD QUESTION
Let’s talk about how people thinking they want to die is bad
We treat them with empathy cause we don’t want em opening their wrists up all over us, I get it, I get it
(STAY WITH ME)
But you CAN just “get over” depression
(STAYYYY WITH ME)
Everyone’s gonna tell you “oh no you can’t just think your way out of depression that’s bullshit”
And it IS BULLSHIT IT IS
You can’t like just THINK and BAM all of a sudden your depression is gone
You can use your noggin to develop techniques to help you FUCK DEPRESSION UP MY MAN
ok look quick disclamer
there’s 2 kindsa depression, fukn fake depression which is what most people have and actual clinical “Major Depression” which u’ll need a good amount of pills for
ARE WE BACK? OKAY GOOD
Use your noggin to say “if i get depressed i will fuck up my depression”
That’s a good thought, instead what people think is
“I can’t get over my depression it is an unassailable force guess i”ll just ride it out and eat FUKN ICE CREAM ALL DAY” SHIT THAT SOUNDS PRETTY GOOD LET ME DEPRESSED PLEASE
that is a joke i am please help me
HAHA WHATS THIS GUY EVEN TALKNNNNNNNNNNN ABOUT
Look, it’s 3 am, look.
When someone tells a depressed person “snap out of it” our societal instinct is to LAUGH AT THE STUPID MOFO SAYN “SNAP OUT OF IT”
Because we think you cant’ snap out of depression
I don’t fucking know if you can or not actually stop reading this blog post. I just tagged it as every category on my website, including Uncategorized, what are you gonna do about it? Huh? That’s what I thought.
I’m 5/8ths peppercorn chip and banana DNA. What about you, huh? Did you think this would be coherent? You want me to make an argument? Fuck you I don’t owe you anything.
I want to be a rock. You know, rocks dont really feel much do they? They can get trampled on all day and fuck shit this is depressing again
My swearing probably isn’t endearing. In the futuer I’m going to asterisks out all my f*cking swearing okay? I’m sorry.
I saw a thing. It was fucki*g dumb.
It was “this is what depression feels like” and it was like a
Like, it was a woman sitting in a bathtub she pulled the plug and all the water drained around her or something and it was like “this is depression”
THATS P FUNNY
cuz it’s P INACCURATE
but nobody really knows how to describe depression, all i’m saying is you know take a dead fish and rub it against your face, THAT’S depression
the point is you shouldn’t call yourself depressed because then your brain latches onto the feeling and instead you get sad and tired and depressed more easily instead deny your feelings and repress them
That’s a great lead-up into my next piece called “Suck It Up”
Here’s one unrelated to you
I am insulting you
In the only way
A storyteller can
I am not going to let you be
A sympathetic character
In my story
You are not going to be a person
You are going to a person-
No, not an antagonist
I am turning you into
In memory, you will not have taken up thought
Even if in the present you take up
I would like to admit
it is not that
I was too good for you
You were too good for me
We were too good for each other
You wanted effort
I wanted lessness
That doesn’t mean
I loved you less(ness)
But I did.
And it wasn’t your fault.
I am apologetic not in conclusion
But in execution
I caused confusion
With interior collusion
And for that I am sorry
But do not worry
You times I
Was an interesting fusion
You * i
Can’t wait until robots take over the world
It will start with Apple making the iYou
Literally just a robotic replica that—
This is about you
But I did say
These poems were for me
Talking with people
Has a funny way of depersonalizing me
Because I no longer become solitary
Instead I become one half of a conversation
The same goes for talking with a group of people
If I have no voice in a group of ten
Then I disappear
Maybe that is why
I prefer the individual
And the sound of my own voice
(In case it wasn’t clear
How the above poem related:
I would rather be full me
Than half of someone else)
((In case it wasn’t clear
How the above poem related:
I do hate myself (most of the time
Though some days (like today) I
Am better than others and some
Days (like tomorrow) I will be only
Okay and some days (like the day
After that) I will not be.)
But I enjoy dwelling in dislike)
Not sharing it)
Introducing: Apple’s New and Improved iYou!
It’s literally just a relationship! In robot form!
Spend time with your mate! Love her through
Thick and thin! Be afraid of dying alone!
Settle for a good relationship!
Don’t go for the great one!
You wanted me to put more effort in
I wanted the effort you put in
To put less effort in
That means I loved you less.
As it was my failure
To adequately explain
Why it was that we were no longer
I will instead attempt
To explain to you
Why we were
These poems are for you.
I know you have said that my explanations were for my own piece of mind.
They are not.
I have taken a piece of you
and mistreated it.
Here is a piece of me;
do with it what you will.
I do not know.
If you want the/the/sis statement there it is.
If you want to dodge the question, read on.
Let me be clear when I define a relationship.
A relationship is not a sum of two parts.
Rather, it is the product of them.
Sometimes, one part is negative.
This turns the whole equation negative.
I think I was the negative one.
Let me be clear when I say
That my choice was not a criticism of you
My choice was a criticism of you times me
Just because I like 2
Does not mean
Floats my boat
Marriage is a mutual delusion
Yet it is the best we have.
I had chosen long ago
Not to marry unless
Something otherworldly hit me
And stuck with me
As I would always prefer my own company
To the company of another.
I am not even twenty.
Is a good age
To lose it.
My first girlfriend
Attends my first parts
My first real kiss
My first fake kiss
I do not believe in relationships
I do not believe in relationships
I still do.
Not for me
But for you
were for me
i am sick and sad and tired of this drip-feed fame
i am sick and sad and tired and sad and sick and tired and sad and tired and sick and sad and tired and sad and sick and sad and tired and okay and tired and sleeping and tired and sick and better and trying and smiling and healthy and better and happy and smiling and laughing and for the moment okay
I want to feel something.
I’m sick of these lonely bus rides
Eyes searching for someone with discomfort on their face
Instead of that same old glassy stare.
I want to feel something.
I’m tired of speaking to the same people
About the same things, forgetting
That the world is burning in favour
Of focusing on the falling snow.
I want to feel something
Anything, anything at all
That could bring me some amount of being happy again
I want to
I want to
I want, too
I want to feel something
They tell me
“Write something with heart”
They don’t get my irony, my comedy
The way my mouth twitches at the end of a punchline
They don’t get my contradictions,
The way I say one thing and mean another
They don’t get that my heart contradicts itself in the same way
They tell me write something with heart
They overlook the part
Of my heart
Laced with contradictions
They tell me that they don’t get my comedy
Well I don’t get my comedy either, I don’t get most humor that’s why I’m trying to give it to you
They tell me
“Write something with heart
Something people *get* you know?
Stop saying one thing
And meaning another”
I ask them how am I supposed to write something
Broad enough to appeal to people
That still comes from the heart
You don’t get my comedy?
I don’t get my comedy either
To give it to you
They tell me write something with heart
I tell them look harder
The world has told me to give up
Too many times to count
And it’s true
That I am not a fighter
Or very emotionally powerful
Or good at being with people
Or doing anything, really
Actually, you know what,
I am kind of tired
Yeah forget it
Price of planned building was to be paid by future students
Student representatives of clubs and communities across campus gathered in Robertson Hall on Monday for their academic government’s second meeting this year. Discussion ranged from plans to deliver free food to students studying in the library to the announcement that the physics society had won a bid to host a Canada-wide undergraduate physics conference.
While many issues were discussed, none brought up more debate than plans to begin construction on a new building that would charge students at Carleton University an additional $40 of tuition per semester during its construction. The new building would begin construction in four years, and its price would be in addition to a three per cent annual tuition increase.
The spokesperson for the planned “Student Union Building” was David Andrews, who spoke at length on the reasons to support its construction during the meeting. Andrews is the vice-president of finance for the university’s student association, which is pushing to gain public support for the building.
“This new building will help us attract more students and help make us more competitive with other universities,” says Andrews, promising 24-hour study space and dedicated office space for clubs. “Carleton is unique not just in its growing student numbers, but also in the sense that we don’t have Student Union Building, unlike many other universities.”
Andrews assured the crowd that the bill would not just be coming out of the undergrad pockets in four years. “In order to remain competitive, the university agreed to front the cost of the first $20 million,” he says, and that the other half of the building will be paid for by the student association. The caveat is that the university will use an eighth of the Student Union Building to set up food stands.
“One of the big misconceptions I hear so far is people asking ‘if we vote yes, are we going to start paying for it tomorrow?’ The answer is no.”
“But we want to make it non-profit,” he says. “That allows us to provide the food and drink at a much lower cost to students.” Andrews’ speech comes about one week before the Student Union Building referendum, which will decide whether or not plans will continue on the construction of the building.
“One of the big misconceptions I hear so far is people asking ‘if we vote yes, are we going to start paying for it tomorrow?’ The answer is no,” says Andrews. “No student will have to pay for any part of this building whatsoever until it’s constructed and complete until 2020.”
Andrews concluded his speech with a plea to think about the future of Carleton University. “Whenever you’re a part of an organization, a team, or a club,” says Andrews, “your goal should be to leave something better than that from which you came.”
Salah Al-Basha is CUSA’s volunteer of the month and delivered this interview while advocating for the “Yes” campaign.
Charissa Feres is the psychology student representative and vice-president of a campus organization that fights against mental health issues. Feres was the first to bring up her concerns with Andrews’ speech, claiming that the $40 price tag would increase each year.
“I’m sorry,” replies Andrews, “that’s simply incorrect. It will always be $40 per semester. The increase is simply adjusted for inflation.”
The agenda continued, but not before Feres raised some questions for the academic student government running the meeting. A video had been shared on their Facebook page that Feres claimed supported the Student Union Building.
Chloe Miller, newly elected president of the student academic government, expressed her and her organization’s neutrality on the subject. “We only shared the video to inform the public about the issue,” says Miller, reasserting that the student academic government is neither for nor against its construction. “We only want people to be informed.”
Feres is unconvinced. As the same organization that created the “informative” video is also in charge of promoting the Student Union Building, Feres believes there is a conflict of interest. Neutral parties should not be sharing partisan posts, she says.
When asked if he knows whether or not the majority of Carleton University students are for or against the Student Union Building, Andrews says no. “Unfortunately, I don’t have an abacus. There has not been a poll. There has been a lot of volume on both ends, but I think that’s a good thing. Engagement is always important whether people or advocating for or against it.”
“People shouldn’t be dazzled by the promise study space and dance rooms.”
The issue is “pretty wordy and confusing,” says communications representative Alyson Duffy. “But we could always use more study space—a lot of my groups get double-booked. I would want someone four years ago to have invested in me today.”
“I don’t personally like that argument,” says Feres in response to that prevailing theme of Andrews’ speech. According to Feres, we are not necessarily “investing” in Carleton’s future. “Maybe students in four years aren’t going to care about the extra space on campus,” she says.
“What’s important,” says Feres, “is that students are informed and grasp the full implications of what is right now being offered. People shouldn’t be dazzled by the promise of study space and dance rooms.”
What everyone who spoke on Student Union Building could agree on is that above all else, students need to be informed.
The student union building referendum would result in a resounding “No” to CUSA’s proposed idea. Sophie Hayes was in charge of the “No” campaign and gave this interview after the results had been posted.