I have been really disappointed by Benjamin Cook recently.
I have been following his YouTube series/documentary/WTFidontknow since it has been launched eight months ago. A few weeks ago, the latest installment of "Becoming YouTube" has been uploaded, and after I've seen it I thought I'd have to kill something. I'm being totally serious here.
First, I thought I could record a video and post it as a response to the tenth episode, but, well, I'm still awfully clumsy and inarticulate when I have to speak in English. So I'm pouring everything into this post. Writing still seems so much easier.
Please bear with me.
As I mentioned, I started to watch "Becoming YouTube" right from the beginning, after it has been promoted by either Alex Day or Charlie McDonnell (or both, can't remember). I was excited - there were so many great people involved, so 'It must be great!' I thought.
And it was - it was interesting to hear what the big Biritsh YouTube "digerati" had to say, and the little sketches in between were funny. It all started off so well. The series/documentary was so well made, funny, rich in variety and the people were just great.
But then there was "Girls on YouTube" (which insulted many people). And "Musicians on YouTube" (I still don't know what that was actually about). Then we got something about Cheeky (?!) and then, the latest one, "YouTube vs. The World", (a silly pun on "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World"), but it actually could have been called "BEN HATES ALL OF YOU JUST GO AWAY YOU SUCKERS". At least that's what I perceived.
I'm still not really sure what the theme of this video was about (I presume it was about boys with hair too long and colourful for their own good, but that is just a wild guess)...[EDIT: I just re-watched the beginning and the video is actually about YouTube "changing" the world. Just so you know.]
The beginning of the whole video was actually really boring, something about Ben wanting to write a song and needing the help of his friend and the problem of finding a theme for the song (and probably something about hair as well) and blablabla. I really thought about skipping the video, until Ben suddenly became VERY ANGRY and began to rant at his viewers for at least an eternity.
So, what did he rant about? A lot of things. Mostly he complained, that any of his viewers care much more about watching YouTube videos than talk to their families, send their favourite YouTubers presents than to those who actually need aid, and that we, as his audience, waste our precious time sitting in our pants in front of our computers and watch a free, half hour series/documentary/whothefuckcares than actually go out and change the world. We are, as he said, worse than the Janoskians, who apparently masturbated over a baby (I haven't seen that, thank non-existing gods, but as much as I have seen of them, they seem to be the bastard child of Y-Titty and DieAussenseiter, which is worse enough).
"At least they do something! At least they have something to say!", is what Mr Cook says about the work of the Janoskians compared to our (the audience) apparent inactivity.
Seriously? Am I worse for not doing anything instead of doing something, and something being recording dickish behaviour and stupidity, which, in no way, changes the world IN ANY WAY except makes some pre-pubescent kids laugh? The Janoskians (or Y-Titty and DieAussenseiter, for that matter) certainly do not care about changing the world. But, according to Cook, we (the audience) do neither. All we care about, is YouTube. And boys with fringes (why fringes, why is it always about fringes?!).
When I first saw the video, I was so angry and agitated afterwards, that I wrote down four pages of a script I never filmed, and walked around the house for at least an hour, trying to think about how to express what I was feeling.
I wasn't as angry as much as I was disappointed. I was looking up to Ben. I felt, in the early stages of Becoming Youtube, encouraged to try YouTube myself. And that is exactly what I did.
But this - it just hurt, somehow. Yes, it hurts to see that the person you look up to is actually kind of a dick.
And I don't want to hear that this is not true. I mean, who insults their audience in a video, being horrendously snobbish while doing so?
I am one of his 132.431 subscribers (and there are more and more every day) who made him what he is now. And I am being called a dick for liking Becoming YouTube and not changing the world by doing, well, what? Making videos like you do, Mr Cook?
I first thought that he was just being sarcastic. But, after watching some video responses and seeing the reactions of some people in the comments, and thinking about what Cook preached over his previous videos, I knew he was being serious.
He always said that we all should go out and do our own thing on YouTube. If we wanted to. Because, if we did, we should try and do it, and have fun while doing it.
The first video response to "YouTube vs. The World" was from bravelittlecat, who tries to explain what Ben meant by his rant. She correctly observed that most people came out of this video feeling like shit. But then she says that we just should not accept that we are a worthless piece of shit who sit on our asses doing nothing, or not enough, and then goes on saying that Ben's rant was actually supposed to change exactly this. We are supposed to try to "want to be better". Whatever that means.
Anyway, if someone else has to stand up and explain what Ben meant, and coming up with something he has preached to us in each and every of his videos, than something went terribly wrong.
Also, this whole rant implied that each and every viewer is not having a life besides watching videos on the internet and maybe slash AmazingPhil and KickthePJ (no no no, definitely no those two, thank you very much). We do useless stuff, instead of "care". But what should we care for? Changing the world. Well, how am I supposed to change the world? By making a "weekly" YouTube series/documentary/thisisgettingannoying,
Seriously, what am I SUPPOSED TO DO?
I am having trouble to write down what I'm actually thinking. There are so many issues in my head crushing each other, creating an altogether nasty splotch at the back of my mind, and although I want it to go away, it doesn't. It keeps being there, incoherent and so fucking prominent at the same time. It has been more than a week that the video has been uploaded, but I just can't get my head around it. Or out of it.
In the end, I don't really know why this all upset my so much. Maybe it was the fact that it was all so priggish. That I felt undervalued as a viewer. That other people I don't actually know were upset. That all we do is waste our time watching videos. The fact that some people think everything that Ben says is made of solid gold. That Ben was just being a prick. Period.
At least, he has been right about one thing. He's just "another British boy with a fringe".
There is one other thing that annoyed me about this rant, and I just consciously realized what this was. Before Ben starts off with his rant, there is a sudden break in the scene, as if the take went wrong and actually something else was supposed to be recorded. But then Ben begins to rant and the whole scene looks like it wasn't supposed to be recorded, least taken into the video, which I know is wrong, of course it was scripted, but that's not the point. I'm talking about the fact that this scene was, apparently, not planned and therefore makes the viewer feel as if the following is an honest, non-scripted talk. Actually, this kind of device is ubiquitous, and it is used to make the viewer feel aware of the sincerity of the speaker.
So, bearing that in mind, is Bens now most famous rant really that sarcastic?