A Pointless Ramble About YouTube Stars

Every week, I get e-mails from the social media platforms suggesting ways to promote my podcast. Spreaker sends out something a few times a week. Mostly these e-mails are tips about metadata, topic descriptions and video features. They seem sensible, but I cannot help but wonder if it matters all that much. A professionally done, cleverly described and expertly distributed video on model train collecting is still going to be a video of interest to people into model trains. Ultimately, content is the determining factor in this stuff.

That said, it is useful to wonder why some YouTube people have huge audiences and why others have small audiences. Until recent, PewDiePie was unknown to me, despite his having fifty-nine million subscribers. He is the #1 YouTube personality. Having watched some of his videos, I sort of get it. Young people are wired to imitate one another, which is why pop culture is a young person thing. PewDiePie plays video games and tells naughty jokes that very gently and subtly lampoon modern piety. Kids like seeing that stuff.

On the other hand, someone like June Nicole Lapine has close to a million YouTube subscribers. She pitches herself as a liberal anti-feminist and her videos are intended to be satires of social justice warriors. Not being an unmarried millennial woman, I am probably hard wired to not get her appeal. I watched some of her videos and she is annoying and her act is trite. The earnestly stupid female who really, really cares about stuff has been done to death. At least I thought so, but apparently not.

While reviewing the above videos, this channel was suggested to me by the gods of YouTube. The assumption is they recommend channels based on prior viewing, which means some portion of June Nicole Lapine’s audience is into husky lesbians. The star of that show appears to be a carny, who bills herself as a lesbian comedian. She has half a million subscribers and seventy thousand Twitter followers. After watching some of her videos, I am reminded of why the phrase “jolly lesbian” does not exist.

Now, half a million subscribers is not big by YouTube standards. To crack the top-100 you need twenty times that number, but most of the top channels are professionally produced music channels, backed by global corporations. Given that there are (maybe) four million adult lesbians in America, it suggests that Arielle Scarcella has figured out how to tap into this audience, so to speak, that is not easily understood by watching her videos. The people watching and enjoying her work, are vastly different people from anyone I know.

It is easy to be puzzled by the popularity of alien performers, but in researching this post, I did learn that Filipinos share the American distaste for the Speedo. That aside, I was made aware of a popular alt-right YouTuber named Andy Warski. His channel has over 250 thousand subscribers. He hosted a marathon debate between Richard Spencer, Sargon, Styx and some others, which is how I learned of him. His live show set some sort of record for viewers, but I do not have numbers on it. He mentioned it in his show.

Now, I follow the alt-right and listen to some of their bigger personalities. I never heard of the Warski guy until last week. Watching some of his videos, I am thinking he smokes a lot of weed and has a drawer full of hacky sacks. I am not getting the popularity, but maybe I am simply too old to appreciate bro talk anymore. There was a time in my life when my peers used the words “dude” and “whatup”, but that was a long time ago. As with PewDiePie, young bros probably like listening to other young bros talk bro stuff.

I watched some of the Spencer – Sargon battle on that Warsky show and I kept wondering how Sargon got popular. In fact, it was the genesis of this post. Every time he said something stupid, which was pretty much every time he spoke, I thought, “why would anyone like this guy?” He is just a portly British version of Goth Fonzi. Yet, he has 750 thousand subscribers to his channel, most of whom are probably Americans. According to his Patreon page, he makes $8,000 per month as a YouTube star.

Like many of these popular YouTube stars, Sargon’s gimmick is assurance. He soothingly repeats the platitudes his listeners desperately want to be true. Americans always assume a British accent means intelligence, so Sargon’s fans are being told they are right about the world, by a smart British guy, who sounds confident and reasonable. It is why his clash with Spencer was a disaster for him. He was revealed to be a petulant, argumentative airhead. His act only works when he is unchallenged and scripted.

It is a good reminder, though, that the audience for libertarian self-flattery is much larger than realism. People like easy answers and magical thinking. It is why the number one right-wing Progressive is Ben Shapiro. His podcast is number one in terms of downloads, according to those claiming to know these things. I am always suspicious when rankings are used in lieu of hard numbers, but a search of YouTube reveals his Daily Wire stuff gets about 250 thousand views. His channel has half a million subscribers.

All of that said, the people popular in their YouTube segment all have a couple things in common. One is their presentation is calm. Internet video is like television. It is a cool medium. Shouting and craziness on video, come off like shouting and craziness in person. You can be a crazy Mark Levin, screaming like a madman on radio, because radio is a hot medium. The better YouTube people could just as easily be doing their show from your bedroom. Most shoot their shows from their bedrooms and living rooms.

The other thing they do well is they make no effort to imitate the legacy media. YouTube is not public access TV or a poor version of cable. The authenticity of the presentation seems to be what works. People like hearing people like them confirm what they think about the world. Watching a polished TV airhead repeat threadbare platitudes, even soothing ones, is not as effective as hearing a friendly voice, which sounds like you, saying the things you think in private. YouTube is a collection of mirrors that clap.

53 thoughts on “A Pointless Ramble About YouTube Stars

  1. Negative (- This word was a reference to the Google owned video utility. Negative was The only word it would allow even thought it has only 2 out of 7 letters in common.The word I actually used revered to a tribe)
    The message was: Eshew these media entierly.

  2. I have found Pat Condell’s videos to be a useful documentation of the process whereby islam takes over a modern nation. It is interesting to witness this in an as-it-happens way, esp in a place like the UK.
    I also find Black Pigeon to be of use in the difficult task of piecing together how the west came to this….
    Most of youtube, however, seems to be maximised to waste one’s time.

  3. “and what’s with all this “bro” shit? These guys don’t want to be your “bro” and I don’t blame them”

  4. Another vote for Hickok45

    I like YouTube for mindless entertainment. FPSRussia , the slingshot channel , Roadkill, etc.

    Basically cars and guns. 🙂

  5. A major reason for YouTube’s popularity if the increasing ubiquity of smart TVs and the use of devices like Roku or FireStick, enabling viewers to watch on TV instead of being limited to their computers, which most often meant sitting at a desk.

    I’ll peruse my cable TV guide and find that out of the 100+ channels, there’s nothing interesting to watch, and compare that to being able pick out any subject you can think of on YouTube.

    Back when cable was expanding, there was a lot of talk about the specialization and focus on certain subjects of cable channels. YouTube takes that concept and multiplies it by thousands. Even shows like Tucker Carlson, which I can watch on cable, I choose to watch on YouTube an hour or two later so I can avoid the commercials.

    Another appealing thing about YouTube is that the “YouTube Stars” are free to talk about taboo subjects (mostly….Jared Taylor has had a video banned). Stefan Molyneux has interviewed several guests on race and genetics, which you would never see today on cable television. Richard Spencer and Mike Enoch can talk about the JQ and the Ethno-State. Even with someone as good as Tucker, you’re never quite sure exactly what he thinks about the subjects you can’t talk about.

  6. June Lapine’s (Shoe0nhead) appeal on the male side is obvious if you happen to like her type. She does some funny videos now and then, but I don’t take her seriously. Her video on “The Pink Tax” actually got a female liberal friend of mine to change her opinion, so there’s that!

    I subscribe to Sargon, but I can’t remember the last time I watched him. miforest’s description of him in this thread pretty well covers it.

    • Also the lesbian is question does not seem chubby to me- especially compared to the lesbians of Western Massachusetts! She’s annoying, but not unattractive.

  7. For most thoughtful people the written word is best for thinking and communicating. Audio is next, and audio-visual is the worst but the best for propaganda. The brain is wired to be mesmerized by tv.

  8. So what makes anything popular in this culture? Tiny Tim? Enema? (oops- Eminem) Obama? Ya don’t gotta be profound to attract attention. (Mirrors that clap? Classic!)

  9. YouTube-SchmooTube. I love it for having allowed me to obtain a recording of Patti LaBelle’s wonderful song “Where Are You” and some others, but otherwise… Bla, bla, bla. But yeah, some DIY stuff is also useful. Listen to “commentators”? Ah Hahaha! BillH has it right.

    I have no idea who the folks mentioned above might be and have even less interest in learning more (note the comparison): less than none. I hang in here because I respect Mr Z’s work and some of the interesting and wise commentary that appears, but other than that, I look a fewer and fewer sites. Don’t live in the USA, have largely ceased caring about what takes place in a society I see as not just circling the drain but beginning to spiral down it, tend to concentrate more on the future of my grandkids in a backward society in which they’ll likely remain, due to being well set up here, but other than that…

  10. I didn’t come up with this: modern journalism is evangelizing a world view in the context of current events. The political youtube stars are doing the same thing but not pretending to be objective journalists. People like hearing their world view evangelized. Sargon doesn’t have much to say, that’s for sure. But he taps into the demsdarealrassists crowd of liberal young white men. You probably don’t reddit, but to see these folks in the wild drop by /r/kotakuinaction. They’re having a fun little circlejerk about 5 feet from the cliff of the red pill.

    • Yeah, I think you’ve got it right.

      Guys like Sargon are too far left for me but to the right compared to alternative sources of TV, movies. Even on Foxnews you won’t get an unqualified opinion that feminism as a whole is stupidity. I imagine he appeals to college kids getting forced into diversity requirement and white privilege lectures.

      I suspect his ranks are heavily populated by leftist defectors. Focusing on the easiest leftist targets makes him and people like him able to attract a lot of people. Some of those people then begin to question other sacred cows of their indoctrination.

      That’s my hope anyway, but it could be wishful thinking.

    • Right on. I’ve heard him debate a few times now and even though I agree with some of his points he’s just an insufferable pettifogger. Anytime he is losing a debate he brings up something only tangentially related or a semantic quibble to derail his opponent. Everytime the debate gets interesting he finds a way to interrupt the flow.

  11. I had no idea all this talky-talk stuff was on YouTube. When I bring it up, all I see recommended is aviation stuff, appliance repair stuff, laptop repair stuff, pool mx stuff, greenhouse mx stuff, lawn equipment mx stuff and the like. Guess I just lead a boring life.

  12. Do people tune in to these ‘casts like a Sunday morning political show, or as a continuous background like talk radio?

    I admit I’m rather surprised by the volume.
    Perhaps it’s an emerging “personal cocktail party” effect?

    (I can’t imagine spending so much time, even though lately I’ve certainly overdone it here. Every day I solemnly vow that “This Is The Last Time, swearsies!”)

    My only aquaintance with youtube is when the mechanic says, “…or find it on youtube” (they all do that, such a vast and useful skills library), or Game of Thrones clips (no cable or TV).

    • The real question is, how to grow the Zman’s power and fame until he assumes his rightful position as World Czar?

      I want to be one of the early adopters, a shameless sycophant kissing my way up the court circles of intrigue and ambition.

  13. YouTube is, itself, the reason I don’t do YouTube, or listen to podcasts (sorry, Z Man), or even do much blogging — I just don’t get it, I have never gotten it, and that means I’m missing something fundamental about what seems like 95% of my fellow men. (By contrast, I completely “get” Leftism — though I disagree with it entirely, I can feel its appeal). Watching some goofy-looking dork (or some semi-cute chick whose subscribers make her think she’s Helen of Troy) ramble makes my teeth hurt. It’s not a generational thing; plenty of old farts love YouTube, podcasts, etc. It’s just me.

    • I use YouTube for 1) How-to videos, 2) Free music and 3) the occasional clip for a tweet or maybe a blog post. I have no patience for watching long form video bloggers. Now, I listen to a lot of podcasts, but mostly history stuff.

        • the moment, I’m listening to the this one. I’ll be taking a break and picking back up on this one. Once the weather improves and I get back on the bike, I’ll be doing some Dan Carlin.

          • Thanks for those podcast recs. I’ve wanted to learn more history for quite some time but I’ve been hesitant to dive into it because I trust almost nobody these days to present an accurate representation of it. And that’s not just a recent phenomenon either, of course.

            I’ll give those podcasts a listen.

  14. Sargon isn’t a man of the right, and he admits it. He’s not a libertarian either. He’s a liberal social democrat who hates SJWs.

  15. Andy Warski and Sargon were/are part of a YouTube community called the “skeptic community.” In a nutshell, they dispute the fact that each race possesses distinct and heritable traits. They are libertarians who recognize that group differences and group identities make their political religion unsustainable, so they try to deny the existence of such things.

    • The irony skeptics are always the nastiest. They call themselves skeptics, but they are in fact believers in ridiculous oogily-boogily.

  16. Being Half Deaf, I never WILL understand the popularity of Youtube. Especially youtube ‘guides’. To me, it smacks of sheer laziness.

    Ironically, the capcha for this post was ‘DCPUA” which describes about half my ‘dudes’.

  17. Some of Warski’s stuff came up in my recommended list a while back. Otherwise I wouldn’t have heard of him myself. He seems likable enough, but definitely has that pothead bro vibe you mention. I’ve also wondered why some YouTube stars are as big as they are. There is one factor at work in some of the stars (ones you don’t mention)–being a pretty young female. Some in the Alt-Right are rather harsh on these women, pointing out that most of them just repeat established YouTube rightist talking points, but they still get massive subscriber bases and lots of Patreon/Hatreon money. Roaming Millennial has almost 250K subscribers and maybe makes one video per week. Styx has less than 200K and makes three videos per day like clockwork. Lauren Southern is another one who is lucky to make on per week, and she has 400K.

    As for Sargon, it seems that in “media” in general there is a kind of snowball effect that gathers around a few people. Once they become semi-famous, this gets them even more attention (a spot on Dave Rubin’s show, then Joe Rogan) and then their status grows even more–basically *because* they have appeared in certain places. There are lots of people who just talk into a webcam with zero production values and never get more than 1000 subscribers. But that’s basically what Styx does and he’s managed to grow his audience over the years. Why does it work for him and not for others? I’m willing to grant that (at least for men) work ethic plays a role. You’ve got to make steady content. After that, networking seems to be a big thing. Participating in one of these livestreams or having a big star mention one of your videos is a sign you’re starting to get traction. Lots of these guys seem to know one another (at least online) and that ends up counting for a lot.

    • My guess is time served ties in with the snowball effect. Someone starts out and gets little notice, but regular content slowly builds an audience. A critical mass is reached and the audience suddenly gets bigger. This cycle repeats as long as they remain steady. I think as the audience grows, the members of the audience are more willing to recommend to friends. The top YouTube people, other than the pretty girls, seem to be hard workers.

      I was going to mention the girls, but I think that one is obvious. Laura Southern is cute and funny, so buys like watching her. If she had buck teeth and wart on her nose, she is an unknown. TV has been putting bimbos on newscasts for generations because it works. That said, I can only make ti through a few minutes of their videos. I’m not their target audience.

      • Millennial Woes has been a heavy hitter intellectually but has never garnered a huge audience. I tend to think his influence is generally underestimated. Kind of an ongoing theme for the Scottish.

  18. Sargoon got his audience with a schtick called “this week in stupid” where he laughed at over the top feminism and PC stuff. He, is completely cucked on any solutions though , and is a big diversity guy. one of his favorite tricks is to get smaller authentic right or alt right you tubers to do a podcast with him . They think they will pick up some of his subscribers. during the podcast he attempts to bait them into saying something on race, then he calls them a Nazi and has his subscribers wreck the smaller guys channel with down votes, negative comments and complaints to YouTube.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp0uq-QafYQ .
    he and a youtuber named thunderfoot, and a complete loser called the amazing atheist are always doing dirty tricks on people in the right .
    they pretend to be anti-feminists, but then spend all their time bashing everyone else on the right. Think of a fat low class david brooks.
    I think all three of them are still virgins.

    on the other hand, Stephan moleneux has one of the best youtube channels out there . If you haven’t seen it , you should.

    • Stefan is good a lot of the time and works hard on his channel and site. His bromance with Cernovich is off putting, he even narrated the creeps audiobook.

      • I have no issues with cernvich. I don’t listen to him much, but he has done nothing I know of that’s terrible.

        • Can anyone explain cernvich to me? It seems like he is a used car salesman/self help guru that managed to get into the right wing media sphere. But again I don’t know anything about him really behind listening to his strange stoicism mixed with bro lift culture (which is strange considering he sounds beta rather than Chad) on Stef’s show.

          • You probably don’t buy that blue drink brain food if you have a brain either. Cernovich is apparently appealing, on the winning psychology sort of rant, but he seems hyper and souped up all the time.

  19. You are right, Sargon out of his element doesn’t sell well. His appearance on Joe Rogan’s show demonstrates that. I still think he looks like Sebastian Cabot without the class. I am not sure his British accent is authentic. Listen to him pronounce ‘Christian’.

    • I was highly annoyed by his review of the Chiappa Rhino. He kept making snide comments about its looks rather than remarking on its superior design.

    • Seems to be a recurring problem for him. But, yep, love his stuff. Ever catch his video lobbing 12 gauge foster slugs into a door at 200yds?

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