It’s not time to be cute, funny, or click-baity. Granted, I’m sorta about to clickbait right now.
But I need to put someone on the wheel of peasants – in a hurry!
There’s a lot of talent on the internet. A lot of people use their power on the internet for good. They use it to show off their talents and to entertain.
- Vlogbrothers: John and Hank Green have turned their over 3 million subscribers into a real brand. They host an annual 48-hour charity livestream which regularly raises millions. Their videos are usually upbeat, funny, and smart. Both brothers have used their online presence to raise their professional standing, but not in a sensational way.
- Laci Green: uses her platform to get people thinking and talking about sex and gender in an intelligent way.
- Jacksfilms: Jack Douglass combines a prodigious talent for filmmaking, an honest songwriting talent, and a nose for bad grammar and poor spelling in tweets and YouTube comments into a hilarious and irreverent stew of weird.
- Grace Helbig: has turned her irreverent humor and quirky talent into a real empire – movies, a TV show, and bestselling books. But she’s also used her platform to speak out about issues important to her and her mostly teenage audience.
- Philip Defranco: he gives his commentary on pop culture and current events in a thought-provoking and entertaining way.
- Sites like Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, and others: use their platforms to give space to writers (like myself) who want to use their voices to make a positive change in the world.
Over the past week, I’ve been seeing one name coming up in tweets from many of the same people I’ve mentioned.
And it led me to ask a question. Who the hell is Logan Paul?
To be honest, I was confusing him with actor Aaron Paul.
Apparently, this guy Logan did a video blog from the Aokigahara Forest on Japan’s Mt. Fuji. Colloquially known as the “Suicide Forest,” this has been a popular place for people in Japan to take their own lives over the years.
Paul and his friends found the body of a dead man hanging from a tree. Instead of calling the cops, they filmed the body for several minutes, talked about it, and uploaded the video.
After serious blowback, Paul has taken down the video and has issued written and verbal apologies.
I started seeing news on this over the last couple days, and I got curious.
And then I got furious.
As if this stupid stunt wasn’t enough…this peasant has 15 million subscribers on YouTube! 15 million subscribers! And the vast majority of his viewers are 13 years old and under!
Wow! Welcome to the wheel of peasants, Logan Paul!
Logan is all of 22. The YouTube analytics site Social Blade estimates that he could have pulled in an income of as much as $14.7 million from his YouTube channel alone last year.
He’s a popular, good looking kid with a huge following.
But he’s also a human being. I get it. People make mistakes and he’s owned up to it.
Despite how it’s started, this King series isn’t about calling people out. It’s about starting a bigger and more important conversation.
That’s why I’m calling him out.
How many times have I said it? We need more kings in the world. We need more people to step up and be kings.
And if you ask me – and I know you haven’t – we need more kings influencing the younger generation. Kings beget kings.
So many people have gotten in trouble for doing absurd stunts all in service of views, clicks, and money. Sometimes these stunts have been bordering on criminal. Sometimes not even bordering…
Remember the Sam Pepper controversy?
Pepper is a British YouTube personality who caught blowback from a 2014 prank video where he used a fake hand to grope women on the streets.
This may be a “get off my lawn” moment, but how is that funny? Where’s the talent in this? Where’s the skill in this? What’s the angle, other than the prurient interest?
Second, he was all contrite after he got in trouble. But he didn’t think about that as he was making that ridiculous video.
Back to you, Logan. For what it’s worth, here’s my invitation. I’m willing to take you off the wheel if you make a real effort here.
This is a suggestion. You’re more than welcome to add to it.
First: make a sizable donation to a suicide prevention charity. Maybe even record a PSA for this charity. Use your fame for good.
Second: here’s the bigger issue. A king takes responsibility for how he’s showing up in the world. You have a voice, and you have a sacred duty to use it responsibly.
Be funny. Make fun of people. Do stupid pranks that cause yourself bodily injury (I’ve read your Wikipedia entry, Logan. I read what you told Jimmy Kimmel.)
But you do not use a guy who ended his own life for views! You do NOT do that!
That guy had a family. That guy has people who love him, care for him, and are sad that he’s dead.
He was not clickbait! He is a human being and deserves dignity.
Logan, you can make this right. You can set this straight.
Our voices can make or break lives. My social media outreach is barely a fraction of what Logan’s is. And I have had sleepless nights about how I’m using my voice. What I thought was a silly joke that I made to someone was a deeper issue of my own insecurities and my own occasional self-loathing.
I was called out for it and I’m a better man for it.
We have a sacred responsibility to get real with the world. The voice of a king is an important one. Let’s use our voices to be agents of change and transformation.
Let’s be kings! For cryin’ out loud!
Photo by smswaby
(via The Good Men Project)