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Facebook is cracking down on independent media personalities like Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson—an action largely supported by the mainstream media, which has used the tragedies of Christchurch and Poway to silence anti-establishment figures by embroiling them in the actions of extremists.

Facebook is cracking down on independent media personalities like Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson—an action largely supported by an establishment media which has used the tragedies of Christchurch and Poway to silence anti-establishment figures by embroiling them in the actions of extremists.

The media, keen on scapegoating anti-establishment voices, keeps searching for new targets to silence.

Others who enjoy exercising the right to free speech are surely next. Keen on scapegoating anti-establishment voices, media figures keep searching for new targets to silence.

Felix Kjellberg—better known as PewDiePie to his 95 million YouTube subscribers—has become the focal point for the recent tragedies after he was referenced by the shooters at both aforementioned atrocities. They used his celebrity to draw attention to their acts of terror.

The Christchurch shooter said “Subscribe to PewDiePie” before carrying out the massacre, killing 50 people.

It quickly became a news story as numerous outlets sought to blame the popular YouTuber and memes in general for his actions.

Vox’s Aja Romano argues the memes not only drew public attention to the shooter’s 74-page manifesto but also “normalize unconscionable beliefs and behavior”.

The “Subscribe to PewDiePie” meme was spread by Kjellberg’s fans in support of his efforts to remain as the platform’s number one content creator. In the face of competition from corporate-run channels, the meme became, as Romano describes, “shorthand for ‘us versus them’.”

But Romano, like others in the media, have been quick to dredge up false claims about Kjellberg’s supposed endorsement of white supremacists and embroil him in it.

Much like the Christchurch shooter, the synagogue shooter in Poway, California facetiously cited PewDiePie in his own manifesto.

“I think it is important for you to know that I did not do this alone. I had the help of a man named Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg (The real name of PewDiePie),” he wrote, in addition to numerous other references to video games and in-jokes on social media.

Both shooters were, without a doubt, extremely ‘online individuals’.

Born into a generation that hasn’t seen a day without the glow of a touchscreen, while their motivations are driven by xenophobia and desire to effect political change, their references may seem draconian to anyone unfamiliar with online culture.

It is the ignorance of the masses that allows the media to scaremonger about the dangers of memes, essentially blaming memes for their actions.

It is the ignorance of the masses that allows the media to scaremonger about the dangers of memes, essentially blaming memes for their actions.

In and of themselves, memes are largely jokes and in-group references that have the capacity to propagate certain ideas. They are not dangerous, but they frustrate out-of-touch liberals who are often the butt of mockery, triggered by visuals of Pepe the Frog, the OK hand sign, and the NPC meme—all of which are used to poke fun at humorless scolds, often times inadvertently.

Hillary Clinton gave power to Pepe the Frog, describing the crudely-drawn character as a “symbol associated with white supremacy” to attack the Trump supporters who popularized it. The ‘OK’ hand gesture was also designated a white supremacist dogwhistle after journalists fell for the efforts of anonymous 4chan posters who conflated, through a series of mocked-up diagrams, the common gesture with “white power.”

Video games, which are often scapegoated for school shootings by the media, are obfuscated—deliberately or otherwise—by their very detractors. Game journalists and media academics who’ve otherwise failed at attaining political relevancy seek to use their supposed “expertise” in the medium to attain a louder voice in the broader cultural conversation and castigate popular games for their supposed promotion of “toxic masculinity.”

Unlike their predecessors in the media, these game journalists grew up playing video games with the rest of the current generation. They aren’t so out of touch as to directly blame video games for violence but instead, through postmodern mental gymnastics and syllogistic arguments, blame video games for “toxic masculinity,” which they claim inspires violence.

You can thank the popularization of feminist and postmodernist concepts in college English studies departments for that.

no conclusion is too insane to arrive at through the aid of postmodern philosophical concepts…

No leap is too far, and no conclusion is too insane to arrive at through the aid of postmodern philosophical concepts like critical theory, which supposes that any and every subject can be dissected through a “critical” lens and found responsible for social problems—or “problematic” in other words. 

Despite the convoluted argument, the solutions they propose are always the same: censor video games, censor memes, and censor those who promote them. In other words, censor PewDiePie.

Kjellberg himself is no stranger to the ongoing debate on free speech online. The YouTuber was first taken to task by the Wall Street Journal in 2017 for posting a satirical video in which two Indian men held up a banner that read “Death to all Jews.” Within proper context, Kjellberg posted the video with the anti-Semitic statement to draw attention to other content creators on YouTube who were abusing freelancers on the media creation platform, Fiverr, through controversy. Kjellberg’s efforts to expose the practice backfired after the media decided instead to hold him responsible for “promoting” white supremacy.

PewDiePie in 2015

He has since been criticized for his irreverent sense of humor, mockery of the social justice movement, and for promoting other creators, including a YouTube channel that used edgy memes in its movie reviews. It’s plain to see why Kjellberg – who much like Paul Joseph Watson often pokes fun at the left in his analyses of popular trends – could be framed as an “extremist” by the mainstream media. Once again, no leap is too far when everything is problematic.

It plays right into the hands of extremists like the Christchurch shooter who, in his own manifesto, predicted that the media would try to scapegoat the subjects he referenced.

Efforts to demonize and silence anti-establishment figures have the effect of sowing political and cultural divisions between a media hostile to a demographic it barely understands and chooses not to, which in turn makes the efforts of terrorists like that much more effective.

It plays right into the hands of extremists like the Christchurch shooter who, in his own manifesto, predicted that the media would try to scapegoat the subjects he referenced.

As it stands, the media and the extremists who grace the front page of newspapers maintain a parasitic relationship as it helps both parties get what they want.

Terrorists want to sow dissent and discord, and the media uses tragedy to justify silencing independent voices—while getting plenty of clicks in the process.

But make no mistake, just as entropy is a core property of any system, the media’s efforts are only accelerating society towards collapse.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and runs the gaming YouTube channel Hype Break. The gaming channel features all manner of insightful analysis of games, criticism of game journalism, and the culture surrounding video games.

Written By

Ian Miles Cheong is the managing editor of Human Events.

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